How To Connect a Portable Generator to Your Home

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  • Portable Generator for Home or Commercial Use
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    LESLIE: Tony in Missouri is on the line and he’s got a question about getting some extra power, maybe a portable generator, maybe an extension cord through a window. Let’s find out what’s going on.

    TONY: We live way out in the country. And my wife and I have purchased a 2000-watt peak generator. And of course, you don’t want to run that in the house. What I’m thinking about doing is running a male-outside-to-female-inside socket, if I can, through an outside wall so that we can then plug in a short extension cord and run small appliances – light bulbs, whatever – inside the house when we – if have a power outage this winter, which we are somewhat prone to do out here.

    TOM: Alright. Well, you’re on the right track but this is not a DIY kind of hack-it-together thing. There actually is a product called a “transfer switch” that’s designed for exactly this purpose. They have transfer switches that are designed for big generators, like 20,000 watts. Then they have ones that are designed for very small generators, like 2,000 watts, and it kind of works just like you said. There’s an outlet that is inside the house. It could have a series of even maybe three or four different circuits that could be on this. Or it could just be an outlet that’s there. And then there’s a cord outside that would actually be plugged into the generator to bring that power in. You make a very good point by saying you can’t run it inside the house. I want to expand upon that and say you can’t even run it in the garage. I mean anywhere aside from, you know, 10 feet or more away from your house, you really shouldn’t be using the generator in a space like that because those carbon-monoxide fumes can definitely get back into the building. So, I think you’re on the right track but what you want to do is go out and pick up a transfer switch. You can find them online. It’s designed for a portable generator. And everything that you’ve envisioned will be there for you. You won’t have to build it yourself. And it’ll be a lot safer, too.

    TONY: OK, sir. Thank you.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Tony. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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