How To Connect Generator To House Without Transfer Switch?

If you have spent a heavy amount on the generator and now your pocket is not allowing you to spend again $500 – $1000 on a transfer then this guide is for you.

In this article, we are going to reveal some of the temporary or permanent safest ways to connect the whole house/portable generator to the house.

Though the transferer switch is the safest and recommended way for connecting the generator to the house if you have the budget, still we have discussed the two reasonably safer ways to do that without spending a huge amount.

How to Connect Generator to House without Transfer Switch?

Below are 2 tested methods to connect your generator to the house without a transfer switch.

1. How to Connect a Generator to House with Interlock Kit?

Tools And Materials We Need:

  • Compatible interlock kit
  • Drill to make a hole in the wall and electrical panel’s sheet.
  • Philip screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Weatherproof inlet plug
  • Double pole breakers if they are not available in the main electrical panel.
  • 10 gauge wire

Step 1: Shut off the Main Power Supply.

Main breaker of the electrical panel

Cut the power supply of the grid by shutting off the main circuit breaker, this will create a safe electrocution-proof workplace.

You will find a large breaker labeled as “MAIN” breaker on the top of the electrical panel, if it is not available in the main panel, maybe it is installed in a separate box.

If you still struggle to find it, go ahead and turn off the all breakers of the electrical panel.

Step 2: Mark the Nearest Location to the Main Electrical Panel.

I usually keep a 3 ft. distance from the main electrical panel for cutting down the cord expense, well you have to mark it as per the needs and drill a normal hole for running the cord.

Step 3: Install an Outside Weatherproof Plug:

Weather proof Inlet Box

Drill the hole and run a 10 gauge or other compatible wire through the wall, install a weatherproof plug outside and throw the wire inside from the hole.

If your transfer switch is in outside, connect the plug and breaker with a conveyance hose.

Step 4: Connect a Compatible Breaker to the Generator’s Plug.

Locate the main electrical panel, since it has a lot of extra breakers make sure to connect one of them with the weatherproof generator’s plug.

If your main electrical switch doesn’t have extra breakers make sure to get a double pole breaker that should be compatible with the generator’s power and amperage ratings.

Here are the instructions to connect the extra circuit breaker in the electrical panel for the generator.

  • Remove the jacket of the 10 gauge wire and connect the ground wire (primarily found in green color) to the grounding bar of the main electrical panel.
  • Connect the neutral wire on the neutral bar of the electrical panel ( mostly found in white color).
Grounding and neutral bar of the main electrical panel
  • Now you have 2 wires of red and black color, upside down the breaker and put the red wire on the left hole and the black wire on the right hole of the breaker, just tight the screws.
  • The final step is to fix the breaker in the tabs of the main electrical panel.
Connected wires of the breaker

NOTE:

  1. Don’t ever touch the 3 grid wires with your bare hands, though you have turned off the breakers etc, still, the wires have the grid power.
  2. Installing the weatherproof plug and breakers is a bit technical process makes sure to seek help from a licensed technician if you are not a handy guy.

Step 5: Install a Compatible Interlock Kit.

An interlock kit is a safety device that prevents the overlapping of the grid and generator’s power; you will have to select the one that should be compatible with your main electrical panel. Moreover, it should be allowed in your country to avoid a heavy fine.

Here is the process to install an interlock kit instantly.

  • Remove the door of the main electrical panel and flip it upside down
  • Take a drill and make 4 holes on the top where the interlock kit should be fit
Make holes on the main door of the electrical panel
  • Tight the interlock kit with the help of 4 screws
Interlock kit attached
  • Fix the main door to the electrical panel and stick the instruction labels on a clean area.
Instructions stickers of the interlock kit

NOTE: This method is also known as the breaker box method as we have connected our generator directly to the breaker, interlock kit is an extra layer of protection to avoid any accident.

I recommended you watch this video from HowToHome.

2. How to Connect a Generator to House with Extension Cord?

Tools And Materials We Need:

  • Drill and Rotary/oscillatory tool
  • Desired receptacles
  • Philips screwdriver
  • Drywall box for inside and wheatear proof box for outside
  • Silicon sealant
  • A few ft. of extension cord
  • Tapcons

Step 1: Mark a Suitable Location Inside the House for the Utility Box.

Mark a suitable location preferably inside the house, however, if your generator is placed in a garage make sure to mark a place at least 5 – 6 ft. away from the generator.

Step 2: Create a Rectangular Hole of the Desired Size:

No matter whether the wall is built from cement or wood, take a rotary/oscillating tool to make a rectangular hole and install a drywall box of the preferred size.

Step 3: Drill a Hole in the Drywall Box and Make a Passage for the Generator’s Cable to the Outlet:

Scratch out the insulation and make a normal-sized hole in the middle of the drywall box with the help of a drill. We create this hole to transfer the power cable to the outside.

Step 4: Cover the Rectangular Hole With a Waterproof Box.

Go outside locate the hole and install a weatherproof box with a nice flap that should also protect from the bugs, for mounting the box we recommend using tapcons.

Step 5: Make the Connections:

Before installing the wires, makes sure to prepare a receptacle, now fish the wires of the receptacle into the box from the inside.

For more protection from the weather, you can go one step further to join a male extension cord to the receptacle wires.

Step 6: Use a Sealant to Seal the Extra Space of the Hole and Fix the Receptacle.

Silicon sealant would work perfectly, just seal the hole from the outside and inside.

Step 6: Test Out the Connections:

Fire up the generator and connect the female cord goes from the generator to the receptacle’s male cord. Take a kilowatt and volt meter and run some tests to make sure that the connections are working.

Below is the video from the Get My Tips YouTubechannel which simplifies my process.

Limitations of Extension Cord connections:

  • You will have to connect an extension which obviously has limited outlets.
  • The mess of wires and extension cords in the house.
  • Grid back feeding or appliances failure hazard
  • There is no way to pull the whole load from the generator with an extension; hence you will not have the proper liberty to use heavy-load appliances.
  • Best for small generators not work efficiently for bigger units of 15 – 20kw

Safety Measures

  • Make sure to shut off the power from the main circuit breaker, before starting the process
  • Wear a pair of safety gloves
  • Wear safety goggles before doing any drilling work
  • Wear a pair of rubber shoes
  • An interlock kit should be installed if you are going to operate the generator with the help of a circuit breaker
  • Make sure to skim the local building codes before installing any system to avoid fines, if you can’t understand them properly seek help from Govt. Office.
  • Seek help from a certified electrician, if you are not able to make the connections properly
  • Don’t touch the cord with your bare hands
  • Male-to-male plugging is known as suicide connection it will not only harm your appliances but also can harm your family

Do I Really Need a Generator Transfer Switch?

It depends on the user’s requirements, below are some situations in which you should go for the transfer switch without thinking about other options

  • You want to get the safest one-stop solution
  • You have to purchase a bigger unit of 8 – 20kw
  • You don’t like the mess of wires etc
  • Money isn’t a problem for you
  • You want an automatic solution (preferably for data miners, data centers, hospitals, etc.)
  • A transfer switch is mandatory in your state

Below is the condition in which you should think about other options.

  • You have a smaller generator of 2 – 5kw
  • You don’t have a problem with the mess of wires etc.
  • You don’t have a budget.
  • Other options like interlock kits and cord methods are not illegal in your state.

Here is the video from the HowToHome YouTube channel.

Legal Ways to Connect Generator to House

Below are the legal ways to connect a generator to the house.

  • Through transfer switch.
  • With Extension cord
  • Through interlock.
  • With Generlink.

Which Is Better Transfer Switch or Interlock?

If money isn’t a problem a manual or automatic transfer switch is the safest way, in fact, NFPA also encourages us to use a transfer switch.

On the other hand, if you don’t have a budget and still you want to get a decent connection, the breaker box and interlock kit would be a great option for you.

Here is a detailed guide about how does a generator transfer switch works make sure to have a look.

Verdict

Installing a transfer switch would be a great investment since it’s the safest one-stop solution; as per the survey, the transfer switches significantly reduce the risk of grid back feeding, appliance and generator failures, etc.

Well, we have other cheaper options like connecting the generator through a cord or breaker box, however connection through the breaker box and interlock kit is our recommended safest and cheapest option.

For more quires comment below, we are more than happy to guide you!

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Use a Portable Generator Without a Transfer Switch?

Yes, there are several ways; however, some of them are listed above.

Can I Just Plug a Generator Into an Outlet?

No, generators are not designed to plug directly into the wall socket, it isn’t only illegal but it can burn the outlets, appliances, etc. by way of back feeding, or in the worst case, your house may catch fire.

Can You Plug Your Generator Into Your Dryer Outlet?

Yes, but it’s very dangerous we don’t recommend it. Obviously, you need to connect male to male plug for that which will eventually kill your appliances in the worst case it may get someone’s life.
Imagine an experienced lineman is working in mid of a cold night to restore your power and due to this foolish act you have sent your power to the grid/transformer. You can read one of the incidents here.

As an Energy and environmental engineer, I worked in eco bottle manufacturing for the last three years. Currently, he is the leading engineer in a Lithium Iron phosphate battery manufacturing company.

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