Generators Info

How to install a portable generator transfer switch?

Installing a portable generator transfer switch is a critical safety precaution that all portable generator users should take. A transfer switch will allow you to safely power your home with a generator during an emergency.

If you have a portable generator, you know the importance of being prepared for power outages. But did you know that you can also install a transfer switch to make it easier to get your generator up and running. So the question is portable generator users is if you can install a transfer switch to an existing generator.

Now you don’t need to be a master electrician to install a portable generator transfer switch. Actually, in most cases it’s pretty easy and not very time-consuming

However, if you’re not handy or don’t have the right tools, then buying and installing a transfer switch is probably more than you can handle. So for this article we will just focus on how to buy and install a generator transfer switch without electrical experience.

How to install a portable generator transfer switch?

How to install a portable generator transfer switch?

Before you can install a portable generator transfer switch, you’ll need to buy one. There are two types of switches – manual and automatic, so be sure to get the right type for your needs.

You will have to install the outdoor receptacle box in order to plug in an extension cord for power. Most models come with it already installed. Don’t forget the grounding rod. It should be properly grounded outside for safety reasons.

Now that’s it’s installed, you’ll need to wire up the generator into two different circuits – one with a 30 amp breaker and another with a 50 amp breaker. So it would be best if you had at least 150 amps of power to work with in your household circuit box.

If you do not have this much power available at your home, then the wiring will still work, but you will lose some power along the way since more electricity is being used than produced by the generator at any given time. This may make your lights flicker or go out completely when running certain appliances at once

Transfer Switch for Portable Generators (Step-by-Step Guide)

To wire up a transfer switch for a portable generator, you’ll need:

  • A generator that’s suitable for the load
  • Heavy-duty power cord with 30 amp and 50 amp ends
  • Electrical tape or wire nuts

Step 1 :

Turn off the main circuit breakers at your home. If you’re not sure which breaker is appropriate, turn them all off. This may seem counterproductive since you won’t have any electricity running to your appliances, but it’s very important to avoid electrocution.

Step 2 :

Determine where your outdoor receptacle box should be installed. Your ideal location will be close enough to an existing building so as not to stretch the extension cord too far from its maximum length of 100 feet. It also should be far enough away to keep the generator and extension cord from being flooded if there’s a heavy downpour.

Step 3 :

Run your heavy-duty, UL-certified power cord from your generator to the outdoor receptacle. Make sure that it makes a direct path to avoid crossing trees or uneven ground that could damage the exterior of the plug.

The connection should also be as straight as possible without kinking or bending too tightly around corners. You can use staples to secure the wire in place every 12 inches, but make sure they don’t pierce through other wires underneath them.

Step 4 :

Plug one end of the power cord into the outlet on your portable generator and leave it disconnected for now. Then run an additional heavy-duty extension cord from the receptacle to your home.

Step 5 :

Find the incoming power box and turn on all of its main breakers. Make sure that you don’t overload it by turning on too many appliances at once and wait a few minutes so that everything can power up properly before running any sensitive electronics.

Step 6 :

Remove the small access panel from the generator’s transfer switch compartment near where you’ll be connecting your extension cord from outside, as well as both ends of the heavy-duty power cord. Then connect one end of each into their respective locations inside of this box.

Step 7 :

Securely tighten all screws and replace the access panel just to make sure that they’re not loose or leaking colored wires everywhere. If everything is secure, connect the other end of the heavy-duty power cord to your appliances and start up your generator.

Step 8 :

Throw both main circuit breakers in your home’s incoming box. This will allow electricity from your portable generator to flow directly into it and normalize with any pre-existing circuits. At this point, you’re free to turn on and use your appliances.

Step 9 :

Shut down your generator once it runs out of fuel or produce too much noise for you to comfortably continue. This will turn off all electricity in your home without having to go through the circuit box again and resetting any breakers that may have been tripped by accident.

Step 10 :

Turn on the circuit breakers of your home one by one until you find the breaker for the circuit you were using. If everything is normal, your devices should power on like they normally would if connected to an outlet in your home.


It’s important to install a transfer switch on your portable generator because it will allow you to run certain appliances at the same time without tripping the circuit breaker. This is especially useful during emergencies, power outages, or wildlife strikes that require repairs. To wire up a transfer switch for a portable generator, just follow the step-by-step instructions

FAQs :

Q 1) How much does a portable generator transfer switch cost?

This can range from less than $200 to over $1,000 depending on the capacity and other features. There are also installation fees that usually start at around $75.

Q 2) What common appliances may be run safely off of a portable generator with a transfer switch?

These include refrigerators, freezers, sump pump systems, furnaces and heaters, laundry machines, lights and outlets.

Q 3) How far should I position a portable generator from my home?

Check the instruction manual of your generator to find out what its maximum distance is. Be sure that it’s not too close to your home and appliances, and also ensure that it’s not near any flammable objects. You should always try to position it in a flat area with good ventilation that won’t cause exhaust fumes to build up nearby.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button