How To Connect Generator To House With Transfer Switch – Step By Step

When we talk about connecting a backup generator or portable generator with a house through a transfer switch, it is not confined to just powering the home through the generator. But it also includes restoring our power system to a typical utility-powered arrangement later on.

Before embarking upon the steps for making connections, you should choose your transfer switch considering your load demand, budget, and frequency of use, etc.

Read how to make your generator quiet here.

 Steps to follow when utility power goes out and the generator is to be turned on.

  • Turn Off Circuit Breakers
  • Connecting Generator to Transfer Switch
  • Generator Startup
  • Flipping the Circuit Breakers in Transfer Switch
  • Loading the Generator

First of all, pull all circuit breakers in the transfer switch to the off position.

Because the transfer switch is connected with both generator and utility power, we have to avoid unwanted power flow from any of the two sides.

For example, you might be using utility power before that. There are chances that utility power would be back anytime, causing power backflow if circuit breakers were at the utility power option.

The generator might not always be connected with a transfer switch all the time, as is the case for a utility power connection which is almost always connected with a transfer switch through a permanent wired connection.

So you can place your generator at a suitable location and connect it with a transfer switch through an electrical wire.

Once the generator is at a desirable stable position, get it started and let it warm up, so its performance or running becomes smooth – void of transients.

During the first step, circuit breakers were brought to the off position.

Now, your generator is ready and warmed up to power your house, and its connection with the transfer switch is already made.

So now is the time to move the circuit breaker box in the transfer switch from the off to the generator position.

Ideally, no electricity-generating machine should be loaded to its full capacity at once. It is always advised to put the load in steps.

In this case, turn on your home appliances one by one after some time gaps, so generator performance keeps adjusting to loads smoothly.

Adding load will also be safe for your generator from being overloaded.

Steps to follow when utility power is restored and the generator is to be turned off.

  • Flipping Circuit Breaker
  • Turn your Generator Off
  • Load Adjustment
  • Removing Power Cord

After the utility grid is powered, you must think to switch to an economical option and turn the generator off.

But you need to take care as two electric power sources are there and any mistake can cause disaster. So follow these steps to power your house from the utility grid in a safe manner.

As utility power is back, change the position of your manual transfer switch circuit breakers to line or utility option from generator option.

As your generator is running for nothing so turn it off. And if you can afford a power outage for a few seconds, you can turn the generator off first and then change the position of the circuit breaker box.

Some loads might have been turned off due to a power quality issue or generator capacity issue, and you need to turn all your power appliances on (as per need). This time you don’t have restrictions to turn loads on one by one or with a time gap.

Previously, we connected the generator transfer switch through an extension cord. Now is the time to remove the power line and bring the generator back to the storeroom or garage to remain safe.

Universal Transfer Switches (UTS) consist of intelligent systems capable of detecting available backup power systems and making uninterruptible power supply to the electrical panel.

When utility power goes off, what you have to do is to:

  • Turn your generator on
  • Connecting it to the generator transfer switch through the power cord

Your job is DONE! Intelligent system of UTS will detect power source, change positions of the circuit breaker box, connect or disconnect loads automatically, and the automatic switch starts powering your house.

Similarly, UTS will automatically connect to the grid and accept discarded loads when utility power is back. So now your job will be confined to just turning the generator off, removing the extension cord, and moving the generator to a desirable location (if needed).

During a utility power outage, a backup generator or other backup systems commonly use home appliances.

Installation of a generator transfer switch to connect a power generator to the house is the safest and reliable way for creating such a backup system.

Alternatively, the generator can be connected to different load circuits through a power line making the activity very time-consuming and risky every time.

Here is the list of all potential benefits of using a generator transfer switch:

  • Transfer switch enables a user to regulate power flow towards the main electrical panel from two sources, namely generator and utility power.
  • Through transfer switches, reliable, error-free, and safe connections are made with load appliances. Otherwise, using individual electrical wiring for every load will increase the chances of mistakes and damage.
  • In the case of Universal Automatic Transfer Switches (UTS), the system can connect and disconnect loads and make even more hassle-free arrangements for backup power.
  • Transfer switch ensures that there is no type of power overlap directly related to the safety and security of people and infrastructure. Hence protects all your electrical device.
  • Transfer switch ensures that there would be no power back feed or backflow from the generator to utility lines or vice versa. This would secure the electrical circuit from fire hazards and other potential dangers.

It is never recommended to use the generator without a transfer switch as per NEC (National Electric Code).

Still, there might be situations when you are compelled to omit the use of a transfer switch.

For example, a transfer switch is not available and emergency power is needed to run some equipment. Still, an interlock kit is essential to make the connection.

Similarly, suppose there are no heavy appliances or many appliances.

In that case, the generator can be connected with load through an interlock kit and power line. Provided, you take care that the generator is not overloaded.

Moreover, turn your main electrical panel power switch off before making any modifications to your electrical system if you are omitting the transfer switch.

Read my guide on how to connect a generator to a house without a transfer switch here.

In a Nutshell

Although you can connect a generator to a house with a transfer switch all by yourself but remember, there are critical circuits involved and a high risk of accidents. I strongly recommend you familiarize yourself with the steps and get a licensed electrician to help you through the process.

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