How Can A Portable Generator Power Your Essential Home Appliances?

Posted on: 15 September 2015

Gas and diesel-powered portable generators can be used to power plug-in appliances such as refrigerators or freezers when the power goes out. However, hardwired appliances such as water pumps, furnaces, electric water heaters, and overhead lights can't be powered by an extension cord.  

You need a generator that is hardwired into your breaker panel to power these appliances.

What are your choices for installing a hardwired generator?

Standby generator

You can opt to have a standby generator installed to meet some or all of your electricity needs during a power outage. These generators run on gasoline, diesel, propane, or natural gas, and will automatically take over electricity production when  power is lost.

Standby generators are sold in various sizes, and the size you choose will depend on your maximum energy consumption, your intended use, and the amount you're willing to pay for installation.

You may choose a standby u it that can meet all of your normal power needs, or simply essential needs such as refrigeration, well water pumping, and heating or air conditioning. Prices rise along with the capacity of electricity production.

If you live in an area with public natural gas delivery, you don't even need to worry about refilling the generator with fuel, The natural gas line can be hooked directly into the unit,

Portable generators and transfer switches

if you only intend to provide power to essential appliances, you can use a portable generator that is hooked to a transfer switch.

A transfer switch consists of six to ten breakers that are wired into your existing breaker panel. These secondary breakers are connected to individual breakers that power essential hardwired appliances. The transfer switch is then connected to the portable generator outside by a cable that runs from inside the home. 

Because a portable generator cannot power all your essential appliances at once, you can pick and choose which appliances will receive generated electricity by flipping the switches on the transfer switch. You can alternate between appliances as needed.

This will greatly increase the usefulness of an existing portable generator, and enable the homeowner to run essential hardwired appliances without the expense of installing a new standby generator. 

installation should only be performed by a licensed electrician that is familiar with standby generator and transfer switch wiring. Electricians can also give advice on which appliances can be used simultaneously when a limited supply of electricity is available, and can label the breakers on the transfer switch for ease of use when an outage occurs