Can You Install a Whole House Generator Yourself?

can you install a whole house generator yourself

If you’ve experienced a power outage, you know the devastation it can cause. It’s especially devastating if you have medical devices that need constant power.

Whole house generators are a great solution to help your family survive a power outage. But they require installation by professionals.


When it comes to fuel, the majority of whole house generators utilize natural gas or propane. The type of generator you select will depend on the size of your home and how much power you want to generate.

Using a whole house generator ensures that you won’t be left without essential appliances like your fridge and freezer or water pump when the power goes out. It also helps you avoid food spoilage during prolonged blackouts.

In addition, it gives you access to lights at night to help you move around safely and secure your home. It can be scary to go without lighting at night because people can slip into your house and cause accidents.

Unlike portable generators, whole house generators will automatically turn on when the power goes out to provide emergency backup power for your entire home. They’ll be able to keep all of your critical systems running including your heating system, cooling system and even your security alarms.

Automatic transfer switch

Unlike manual switches, automatic transfer switches automatically switch between utility power and generator power in the event of a blackout. This saves you the trouble of having to flip a switch manually and ensures that your home will get back up and running in no time at all.

Whole house generators include an automatic transfer switch, or ATS, as part of their design. They’re a necessary part of any generator purchase because they ensure safety and comfort for you, your family, and your neighbors.

The ATS also allows you to divide your electrical load into different circuits and assign different appliances or rooms to each one. This helps you avoid overloading your generator with everything on every single circuit.

The ATS can be either self-acting or manually-initiated depending on your needs. Large industrial ATSs can even have an auto-mode that switches the ATS and starts the generator on loss of utility power and then stops the generator and switches the switch back on when utility power is restored.

Blackout detection

Having a whole house generator that detects a power outage can save you the hassle of manually activating your backup. This is especially important in stormy weather when it’s too dangerous to venture outside and activate your backup.

Blackouts can be scary and inconvenient, not to mention expensive. They also cause food to spoil and electronic devices to stop working.

A blackout detection feature is one of the best features that whole house generators offer because it automatically starts up in seconds. This helps minimize the confusion and darkness that most power outages bring.

The generator is integrated into the breaker box and keeps utility power and backup generator circuits separated, using an Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS). When a blackout occurs, the ATS monitors the public power and disconnects the utility connection, turning on the generator.

When utility power comes back on, the ATS reconnects the generator to the public utility and shuts it off again. This is a critical safety feature that will keep your family safe and protect your home from damaging overloads.


The size of your whole house generator should be based on your home’s specific power needs. It’s important to get one that is large enough to power your appliances, but not so big that it overloads and overheats.

The first step to determining generator sizing is listing all the appliances and devices you want to run during an outage. Next, find out the wattage required by each device to start and run.

Once you have this information, you can use a generator calculator to determine the total wattage your generator needs to produce. You can also consult your appliance owners manual for wattage requirements.

Typically, starting wattage (also known as surge wattage) is 2-3 times higher than running wattage. This is because most appliances require a large amount of power to start up, especially when using an electrical outlet.