Connecting your Portable Generator to your Home During a Power Outage

Portable generator to home

How to Connect Your Portable Generator to Your Home

The power is out, what should we do?


You’ve had your electrical panel made ready for a portable back up generator.  Your generator is gassed up and ready.  A storm hits and the power goes out.  Now what?  You can be back up and running by following these few easy steps.  This can only by done if your home’s electrical panel has a generator interlock kit installed or a separate generator transfer panel.  Failure to have the proper connections installed in your home can be very dangerous. Electricity can be fed back onto the utilities power grid possibly harming those working to restore the power.  Lets walk through this process!

  1. First you will want to go to your electrical panel and turn off all of the circuit breakers including the main circuit breaker.
  2. Next you want to make sure your generator is gassed up, oil checked and it is in a well ventilated outdoor area.  Once here, lets connect the cord to the generator outlet as well as the inlet plug located on your home.
  3. Start up the generator.  Let it run for a few minutes to get warmed up, then check to make sure the switch to turn the power on to the outlets of your generator is on. (If it is equipped with this)
  4. Back inside at the electrical panel, double check to make sure the main circuit breaker is in the off position. At this time, move the interlock kit over and turn on the generator breaker.
  5. Looking at the branch circuit breakers of your electrical panel, turn on the essential circuits that you would want to use during this outage.  As things turn on, you will hear the sound of the generator change sounding like it is working harder to carry the load.  If the load becomes too great for the generator to handle, the circuit breaker on the generator will trip.  If this happens, turn off some of the non-essential circuits of your panel to reduce the load placed on the generator.
  6. Your generator and your home should be able to operate for hours or even days in this configuration provided you fuel up the generator every few hours as needed following the instructions provided with your portable generator.

Operating your home on a portable generator is as simple as that!


Generator power to your home


Once the utility has power restored to your home, what do you do?  Here are the steps to disconnect your electrical system from the generator and switch back to utility power.


  1. Turn off all of the branch circuit breakers, taking the load off of your system.  You will never want to switch the generator or main circuit breakers on or off with a load on them.
  2. Once the load has been removed from the electrical panel, turn the generator breaker off.  This will allow you to move the generator interlock over and allow the main circuit breaker to be turned on.  This breaker can be very stiff on some panel, so two hands may be needed to switch this on.  Never force the breaker on or use tools to switch it, damage the the panel or harm to the operator can occur.
  3. Once the main circuit breaker has been moved to the on position, turn on all of the branch circuit breakers.  You will want to do this one at a time, until full power has been restored to your home.
  4. Going out to the generator, turn the generator off.  At this point you can disconnect the cord and put things away so they are ready for the next outage.