How to Operate a Portable Generator SAFELY
You can use a portable generator to supply electricity to your appliances if an emergency exists during a power outage. But if used improperly they can kill you and the people who are restoring power to your building. They also can damage the appliances you connect. Generator sizes vary. Common units can be from 8 to 14 horsepower and capable of handling from 4,000 to 8,400 watts (including starting surge requirements).
Prices may range from $800 to $3,000. Connecting a generator to the main electrical supply for your house requires the services of a qualified, licensed electrician. Installing the connection and switch (as explained below) can cost $600 to $1,000. Before connecting the generator to your household circuit, notify your electric cooperative.How to Operate a Portable Generator
If you connect a portable electric generator to the main electrical supply coming into the house, the electrical generator could feed back into your electric cooperative’s system and electrocute workers who are repairing the electrical lines.
To avoid back-feeding of electricity into utility systems, you must have a qualified, licensed electrician install a double-pole, double-throw transfer switch (see illustration) between the generator and utility power in compliance with all state and local electrical codes. (A minimum of 10-gauge wiring must be used.)
Your generator might not be large enough to handle the load of all the lights, appliances, TV, etc. at one time. To prevent dangerous overloading, calculate wattage requirements correctly (see chart below).