If you’ve ever had an electric outage, then you know how important it is to have a backup power source in your home. A generator can be used to keep your lights on, your fridge running, and your air conditioners cool.
However, you need to connect your generator to your house safely. This means installing a transfer switch, which switches your home electrical from the utility grid to the generator and back again.
Line and End Plugs
A home generator’s power cord has four wires. Two are 120 volts and the other two are ground. The most significant of these wires is the one that makes your electrical system hum. It also carries the power. This is the source of the home generator’s awe inspiring output. This is the reason it’s so important to pick a suitable extension cord. A power cord that is too short could lead to a dangerous mismatch between the home’s main circuit and your generator’s output. Thankfully, many manufacturers offer a hefty selection of power cords in all shapes and sizes. The trick is to choose a cord with the right balance between length and weight. You should also take into consideration your home’s electrical receptacles, especially those with hardwired circuit breakers. You may want to consider adding a surge protector to your power cord if you have older outlets. A well-designed surge protector will prevent your home from getting blown up by a faulty or overloaded cord.
Extension cords are useful for a variety of purposes. However, when it comes to generators, they are particularly critical in terms of safety and functionality.
Using the wrong type of extension cord with your home generator can cause a number of issues, including a tripped breaker or a damaged line and end plug. To prevent these, you should use a heavy-duty cord that has been specially designed to connect with your generator.
You should also make sure that you choose a cord that is compatible with your generator and that it has all the necessary features. Here are three things to consider:
Gauge and Length (wire length) – This affects how much current a cord can carry, which is important for powering your generator. A thicker wire means it will carry more current, which is good for your generator and other appliances.
All wire has some resistance, and longer extension cords tend to have more resistance, which can lead to a voltage drop. This can cause your generator to be insufficient or hot, and can damage other appliances.
Transfer switches eliminate the need for multiple extension cords to connect your generator to the home’s electrical circuits. They also keep your house secure, eliminating the risk of electrical fires or injury for utility linemen working to restore power to your grid.
Most generators can restore power to six to 10 different circuits, depending on their power output. However, you need to determine which circuits you’ll use to power the most critical appliances and devices in your home.
A professional electrician can help you determine which circuits are needed for backup power. Once he knows which ones, he will work with you to install individual transfer switches for each of the electrical panels in your home.
Grounding is a safety procedure that helps prevent electrical shocks and other harmful situations from occurring. Without grounding, stray electricity could travel through different circuits and cause a fire, damaged appliances, or even electrocution.
A ground wire (usually bare copper) is connected to a metal grounding rod buried in the earth. It serves as a backup path for electricity to flow should something go wrong with the normal circuit, like a short-circuit or lightning strike.
Besides providing this backup path, grounding also discharges excess electrical currents that build up inside the generator. This helps keep the generator operating safely and efficiently.
To ground your home generator, you will need a pair of wire strippers and copper wire. First, remove 1 to 2 inches (2.6 cm to 5 cm) of insulation from one end of the copper wire. Then, wind it tightly around the grounding rod using your pliers to make sure the connection is secure.