generator hookup for whole house


Old 11-18-08, 09:56 AM
mik is offline
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generator hookup for whole house

I recently purchased a portable generator and have heard that I can have some kind of 'junction' box installed to power the whole house... how is that done correctly?; is the transfer box installed in my garage or next to my circuit panel box in the basement? any other questions that I should be asking a contractor, or things I should be aware of if having this done?
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Old 11-18-08, 10:44 AM
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The transfer panel is normally mounted right next to the main panel. I have this one:

20216A Pro/Tran | Product Details | Reliance Controls Corporation

Some good info here:

What's a transfer switch / Why do I need one? | Reliance Controls Corporation

And a typical installation manual:
Old 11-18-08, 01:05 PM
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Another way to do this is have an electrician install something like this Generator InterLock Kit along with a backfed breaker and a generator power inlet. This allows you to power any circuit in your home. You just need to be careful about managing your loads or else you'll trip the generator circuit breaker.
Old 11-18-08, 06:22 PM
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I'll second Navysnipe.
We do these installations a couple of times a week and they work out great.
Old 04-02-09, 12:20 PM
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Whole-house Transfer switch


If tha main breaker in your existing panel mounts at the top of one column of breakers with empty spaces directly opposite it, you could do this:

Assuming your main brkr is 100A, mount the Generator-supplied breaker directly across the 100A mains, secure it to the panel with the NEC-specified kit, and attach a slide control to both breakers' handles such that both breakers can NEVER be on simultaneously.

Then run your #12 or #10AWG wires (L1, L2, Neutral, and Gnd) out to a weather-proof Generator Inlet of appropriate ampacity and configuration. Replace the cover on the panel (with the new breakers' knock-outs removed), and you're in business.

When the power goes out, connect and start the gen-set. then go to the box and slide the handles from UTIL power to GEN power. You will have then back-up power, but, as Navysnipe said, beacuse you are powering your WHOLE house, you will need to practice good load management, or else you will exceed the capacity of your gen-set and start popping breakers.

When utility power returns, simply slide the handle back to the UTIL position, and run the gen-set unloaded for about five minutes to allow it to cool down.

Total Expense: ~$100.00

Hope this helps.


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