How To Connect Generator To House Without Transfer Switch

Before installing any electric equipment, the main concern of everyone is the benefit it provides in comparison to its cost. A transfer switch makes generator or portable generators usage reliable and easy and at the same time adds a lot to its total cost.

The transfer switch is a must, especially when you live in an area where power outage is a thing and standby generator is necessary. It will work while ensuring your safety, but if you use a portable generator only in case of an emergency, then no need to spend your money on buying and installing it. Let me guide you on how to connect generator to house without transfer switch.

Read My blog on How To Make Your generator Quiet As a Cricket Here.

While getting the required materials, keep your generator power supply capacity in mind, get a power line that’s capable of holding your generator power supply, and the same goes for the outdoor plug, circuit breaker panel, and interlock kit. Otherwise, the system would not last long and will damage the power inlet, plug. or generator breaker box.

Required Tools:

– Drill machine
– Nails
– Hammer
– Screw driver

Things Needed?

– Power line
– Outdoor weatherproof plug
– A double pole circuit breaker
– Generator interlock kit

Step by Step Guide on Connecting Generator To house Without Transfer Switch

Placement Of Your Generator

You will have to place your generator away from your house in an indoor area as it is a noisy machine and exhausts harmful gases such as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Find a suitable place for your backup generator in a shed, and there is no water leakage near its power supply plug and wall socket. Use quality extension wires for connection.

Installation Of Outdoor Weatherproof Plug

This work will require a bit of effort and I recommend getting a licensed electrician for installing plug and wall socket. First, find a suitable location that is closer to the main power supply circuit where you are going to install the interlock kit and circuit breaker. Now use a drill machine to make a hole. The hole must be 2 inches more wider than the diameter of wires combined. After drilling, install the outdoor plug from the outside of the wall, fix it with the required tools, and take extension wires connection from the inner side of the plug. There are separate water and weatherproof outdoor plug covers that come without a plug. In that case, you will have to install an outdoor safety kit first and then fit the plug.

Install A Double Pole Circuit Breaker

Always use the same capacity circuit at your sub-main or main electrical panel that is on the generator itself. If you do not know that circuit size, then buy according to the ampere drawn from it. Now the next step is a bit technical, fix your circuit breaker on the House power panel, which is now a generator circuit breaker at your electrical panel. Then connect the generator supply line to your circuit breaker. Make sure your connections are properly attached and are not loose.

Installation Of Interlock Hardware Kit

Interlock kit does not allow your main power supply and generator supply to turn on at the same time. Now it is a simple hardware design, but extraordinary that allows only one power supply method to supply at a time. You will have to buy an interlock kit according to the size of the main switch at your panel and the size of your double pole 220/240v circuit breaker. It fits in there with the help of screws, and it controls the movement of both main switch and double pole circuit breaker switch.

Plug Power Cord To Outdoor Plug

The power cord is responsible for carrying electric power from the generator to the outdoor plug. We plug the power/generator cord into a generator on one side and an outdoor weatherproof plug on another side. Ensure it’s not loose from either side and better to save it from water for longer life. Buy the power cord according to the generator capacity.


Once you have plugged in the power cord to the outdoor plug and the supply wires are connected to the double pole circuit breaker, and you have already installed interlock hardware in the panel between the main switch and circuit breaker switch. Now inspect it. Switch on the generator and make sure if it is working properly or not.

Read my guide on how to connect generator to house with transfer switch here.

A transfer switch is a must to install when you use your generator power often as it operates for the safety of your all-home electric appliance and even wiring. So, you must install a transfer switch with a generator if your grid power supply outage happens often due to the following reasons.

  • Safety of your home appliances
  • Quick and easy to function

The safety of your electric appliance, wiring, and yours should be the priority. A generator is a power generation machine if you have already taken generator supply as incoming power and have not disconnected grid supply. Then if the grid supplies power simultaneously with your generator, you will surely face a huge blow. It will result in a damaging short circuit that will damage your connected electric appliance, generator, and even your street transformer in case if a generator is capable of producing high power.

All issues with the transfer switches arise before installing them, and once you install them, they make everything easier for you. Now, you will not have to take care of generator to load connections, and if you have an automatic transfer switch that will work as an auto controlling junction between your grid supply and generator. When the grid supply goes off, it will disconnect from the circuit and switch on the generator, and when the grid supplies power again then it will disconnect the generator supply from the circuit, switches it off, and connect the grid supply to the load in a matter of seconds.

This answer totally depends upon your dependence on a generator for power production. If you use a generator couple of times in a season, and only when extreme weather condition disturbs the grid power supply, then better to use a generator without a transfer switch, and we say that with valid reasons as below.

  • Initial cost of switch
  • Installation cost
  • Reliability of power connection

Buying a transfer switch would cost you between $350 to $1000 depending on the type. Automatic transfer switch is a bit expensive than manual transfer switch but much safer. If you don’t use portable generator for backup power, then you can save this much money by using a portable generator without a transfer switch.

Installing a transfer switch requires expert-level technical skills, and a licensed electrician may charge you $150 to $500 depending upon the size of the system you are installing on. The cost behind installing a transfer switch is the main issue, and that is why we tell you how to install it without a transfer switch if you do not use your portable generator regularly.

It is easier to rely on electric equipment or device that is used regularly than the one that is not in use for months. When you don’t need a generator for months, then a transfer switch may lose its quality and react at false signals. That reaction of a transfer switch on false signals can create problems.

The extension cords are nothing but cables with a plug and socket from different sides. Cords do not contain power on its own and do not connect directly to the power source of the electric circuit. Extension cords take power from the generator cords through sockets, while switches make or break the circuit in the process, and it offers control.

FeatureExtension CordGenerator CordSwitch
Application For Power Generator SystemEssentially RequiredEssentially RequiredPower switch is not essentially required
Power carrying capacityMediumVery HighDesigned accordingly
InstallationEasyEasyRequires technical skills

We use transfer switch with high power generators. It works as a power junction that does not allow more than one power supply to operate at once, but there are again two further types of transfer switch, which are manual transfer switch and automatic transfer switch. They differentiate from each other in the following aspects.

FeatureManual Transfer SwitchAutomatic Transfer Switch
Product designSimpleComplex
Installation CostLowHigh
Installation SkillsRequiredRequired
Generator Start/OffManualAutomatic
Power Disruption detectionNoYes
Power Supply TransferManualAutomatic
OperatorRequiredNot Required
Maintenance CostLowHigh
Preferred ApplicationDomestic useDomestic, Commercial, Hospitals, and where power interruption can be critical

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In a Nutshell

You can connect a generator to house without using a transfer switch. It’s cost effective but unsafe. You better get a transfer switch if you plan to use a generator as your primary or secondary backup power source. Read why does zippo fuel run out so fast here.

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