What is a “Portable Generator Connection”?
A Portable Generator Connection is an inexpensive, legal, and safe way to connect your portable generator to your house.
Are there different types of Portable Generator Connections?
Yes, there is a Manual Transfer Switch and an Interlock. A Manual Transfer Switch contains a set number of circuits (usually 6-10) that you will be able to use during a power outage. The benefit of a Manual Transfer Switch is that it can be installed on almost any electrical panel that you may currently have installed in your home. Our customers generally prefer an Interlock system. An Interlock is a custom device made for your specific electrical panel and it allows you to energize every circuit in your house. It is also generally less expensive than a Manual Transfer Switch.
What size portable generator should we use?
We typically recommend a 5,500-6,500 watt generator. For a larger house or a household with more active people, we recommend a 7,500 watt generator.
What do we, as the homeowner, need to provide?
In order to use the system, all you need is a portable generator. We provide everything else required to safely and easily connect the generator to your home.
Do I need a generator in order to have a Portable Generator Connection installed?
No, we can install the system right now. You can purchase, borrow, or rent a generator at any time in the future.
Will the generator be connected to our house permanently?
No, you connect it to your house with the twist lock cord we provide only when the power goes out. When not needed, you can store your generator in your garage or use it elsewhere.
Why was I told that I need a huge and expensive 20,000 watt generator like I see being sold at big box stores?
Those large, permanently installed generators are an “Automatic Standby Generator System”. In the 2008 edition of the National Electrical Code, a change was made requiring automatic systems to be able to power the entire load of the house it is connected to. That load is based on a calculation that generally represents the most power that would ever be used in the house at one time. During a power outage, you are not going to be using that much power. A Manual Transfer Switch System, such as the Portable Generator Connection, does not follow that same requirement. In this case, you only need a generator large enough to power what you intend on using.
This seems too good to be true, are there any limits?
The only limit is how much power your generator puts out. For example, you probably won’t be able to power your central AC unit with a portable generator. However, you will be able to run 1 or 2 window AC units. Lights, televisions, computers, even your refrigerator all use very little power. Your natural gas fired heating system also uses little electricity, usually just a fan or pump. Appliances with heating elements use a lot of power so you may have to use them non-concurrently. For example, in the morning you may have to wait until the toaster, coffeemaker, and microwave are finished being used before using the hair dryer and curling iron.