A generator transfer switch is an automatic transfer switch that is used to switch the power from the utility company to the generator automatically and seamlessly. This ensures that power is never interrupted and that the appliance is not damaged by starting and shutting down. The GTS is required by the National Electrical Code (NEC).
A transfer switch is a safety device that is required to operate the generator. It is a type of circuit breaker and is usually located in the electric panel with the main service panel (the one that supplies power to the house). There is usually one main circuit breaker in the electric panel that powers the main electrical service to your house.
The transfer switch is located on the same panel box as the generator. The device is usually a double pole breaker, which means that it has two positions. It is usually either in the ON position or the OFF position.
The transfer switch is installed so that the main power to the house is turned off when the generator is ready to go.
5 Methods of How to Connect Generator to House Without Switch
There are several ways to wire a generator into the house. You can refer to the below-given points for more details.
1. Wiring through Breaker Box
One of the best ways to connect a generator to a house is to connect it to the breaker box. So, how to wire a generator into a breaker box? You can connect the generator to the breaker box by using a separate breaker with a wire. The main breaker will interrupt the power supply to the generator when it is needed. This is the cheapest way to wire a generator into the house.
2. Wiring Directly to the Main Electrical Panel
Another way of connecting a generator to the house without a transfer switch is to wire it directly to the main electric panel. Wiring a generator to the panel is not recommended because it is a very dangerous method. However, you can connect the generator directly to the main electrical panel by using a sub-panel.
3. Wiring Through a Transfer Switch
You can also use a transfer switch. It is a device that connects the generator to the main electric panel. The transfer switch interrupts the power supply from the appliance to a house while it is needed and transfers it to the main panel.
You can connect the generator to your house with the help of a transfer switch and also use a transfer switch to disconnect the generator from the house.
4. Wiring Through Relay
You can also wire a generator to the house by using a relay. A relay is a device that interrupts the power supply from the appliance to the house when it is needed. You can wire the generator to the main electrical panel by using a relay.
By connecting the relay to your generator and house load, you can make the device switch on and off automatically.
5. Connecting to the House Through a Power Inverter
The power inverter is the easiest and most efficient way to connect your home power appliance to your house. A power inverter is a device that turns the DC power from the generator into AC power that can be used by your home appliances.
This inverter has a “transfer switch” that you need to set in order for it to work. When the power goes out, you just set the transfer switch to the generator and start running your device, and the power inverter will start converting your generator’s power into AC power for you to use.
The good thing about the power inverter is it will automatically disconnect itself from the generator once the power from the grid resumes. However, you have to remember to set the transfer switch back to “auto” or “normal” once the power comes back, or else you will be wasting your generator’s fuel by running it for no reason.
How to Wire Generator To House Without Transfer Switch?
- Step 1: First, shut off your main circuit breaker to the house. This will allow you to safely work on your generator without accidentally shocking yourself. You can also shut off the power at the main source of your house.
- Step 2: Find the main line from your house to the utility pole. It’s usually on the side of your house. The mainline usually has a large metal box attached to it. Inside this box is the main breaker that you need to switch off.
- Step 3: Look for the main breaker in your breaker box. There should be a large “MAIN” breaker that is shut off. It might be labeled as the main breaker. If you don’t see it, the main breaker might be located in a separate “Main Breaker” box. If there are breakers inside the box that you’re not familiar with, go ahead and turn them all off to be safe and then proceed to the next step.
- Step 4: Find the mainline coming into your house. It should be a large copper wire coming into your box. The first step is to disconnect the wire from the breaker box. You can do it by unscrewing the wire clamp on the side of the wire. This will allow you to pull the wire out of the box.
- Step 5: Next, you need to find the square metal connector that is attached to the wire. You can unscrew the connector with a simple flathead screwdriver.
- Step 6: Take the wire from the mainline and connect it to the black wire coming from the generator. The device needs to be powered for the transfer switch to work.
- Step 7: Next, take the white wire from the mainline and connect it to the white wire coming from the generator.
- Step 8: Take the ground wire from the mainline and connect it to the ground wire coming from the appliance.
- Step 9: Next, take the red wire coming from the generator and connect it to the main breaker. Leave the main breaker off.
- Step 10: You’re done! The device is now wired to your house. Now, you can flip the main breaker on and start the generator. Be sure to always follow the manufactures instructions when working on any electrical project. Be safe, and have fun!
- Step 11: Now, flip the main breaker on. The electricity should be flowing to the house. If you have lights on inside the house, you’re good to go! If you don’t have lights on, make sure to check the generator and make sure it’s running. You might have a loose wire somewhere.
How to Connect Generator To House With a Transfer Switch
A generator typically starts and stops in response to the demand for power. This is why it is important to have a transfer switch installed at the main load center of the house. The purpose of the transfer switch is to enable the generator to supply power to the house while at the same time providing the necessary protection to the home and the utility grid.
So here is how to wire a generator into the house with the help of a transfer switch.
- Step 1: Begin by shutting off the power to the house at the main circuit breaker.
- Step 2: Open the cover of the main circuit breaker box.
- Step 3: Locate the neutral and ground wires in the main circuit breaker box.
- Step 4: Once you have located the neutral and ground wires, remove the cover of the panel box that the wires are in.
- Step 5: Note the color of the wires and unscrew the wire nuts that are connecting the generator to the main circuit breaker box.
- Step 6: Disconnect the generator.
- Step 7: Remove the screws from the main circuit breaker box.
- Step 8: Pull the breaker out of the main circuit breaker box and push a new one in.
- Step 9: Connect the generator back up to the main circuit breaker box using the wire nuts.
- Step 10: Open the cover of the main circuit breaker box and turn it back on.
- Step 11: Install the cover back on the main circuit breaker box.
- Step 12: Turn on the power to the house at the main circuit breaker box and test to make sure that power is running to the house.
- Step 13: Check the panel box to make sure the generator is not getting power from the main circuit breaker box.
- Step 14: Check the main circuit breaker box to make sure the generator is not getting power from the main circuit breaker.
- Step 15: If everything checks out, you are finished.
Still, have questions? Read this section to know more about transfer switches and how to connect them.
Do I really need a generator transfer switch?
A generator transfer switch is a device that allows electrical power from the generator to be transferred to the home safely. The device is required by code in all areas of the country. However, most of us are not aware of this.
GTS is a safety device that prevents your generator from back-feeding into the grid. If you don’t have this device, you are in violation of the NEC code.
Can I install a generator transfer switch myself?
Yes, you can. In fact, there are DIY kits available in the market. However, it is advisable to hire a licensed electrician for the installation.
If you are handy, you can install a transfer switch yourself. But, do not attempt this unless you know what you are doing and have the proper tools. This is not a job for the faint of heart.
Which is better transfer switch or the interlock?
The interlock is used to isolate a circuit from the rest of the electrical system in the event of a short circuit or a fault. This is mainly used for safety reasons and to avoid arcing. The interlock switch is more common in a household. The transfer switch is used in large buildings where there are several circuits that are operated from one switch.
Both have their pros and cons. Transfer switches ARE very good, and it’s a must if you have a generator set up. But they are expensive and bigger than interlock.
An interlock is a good alternative, but it’s not as good as a transfer switch. It’s cheaper, but it’s not as reliable.
What is the difference between a manual and automatic transfer switch?
A manual transfer switch is installed to manually connect the generator to the house and is used in applications where power loss is rare. An automatic transfer switch (ATS) is installed to automatically connect the generator to the house and is used in applications where power loss is expected.
Automatic transfer switches rely on the backup generator to start the transfer from utility power to generator power. This is achieved through a series of sensors that communicate with the device.
A manual transfer switch relies on the operator to start the transfer from utility power to generator power. This is achieved by manually starting the transfer process.
Can I plug a generator into a wall socket?
No. Generators are designed to be used with extension cords only. If you plug a device into a wall socket, you are running the risk of overloading your generator, which can cause it to shut down, overheat or even catch fire.
Do I need a permit to install a generator transfer switch?
You must have a permit to install a generator transfer switch on the primary service panel. Installers must comply with the local building codes and codes of the National Electrical Code (NEC).
The Bottom Line
The generator transfer switch is an important part of your whole power-generating setup. Wiring a generator without a transfer switch may be risky and may even lead to a fire. But, if you feel that you don’t need to spend a lot of money on a transfer switch, you can always look for an alternative and cheaper option.
So, we hope that you found this article helpful. If you have any questions, suggestions, or remarks, feel free to share it with us.