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Thread: Tying generator into electrical panel

  1. #1

    Default Tying generator into electrical panel

    I recently purchased a 4000 Watt generator. I'm looking for a simple solution to hook it up when in need and a friend of mine told me this.

    That is, to use a heavy wire (not sure what gauge), plug into the 220 outlet on the generator and plug that into my dryer's 220 outlet basically feeding the power back to the electrical panel. He said to shut off all breakers in my panel and to turn on only what I need (when the power is out of course). Oh yeah, first I'm supposed to turn off the main breaker switch first.

    Is this possible? Does this sound right? Any other suggestions? What gauge of wire should I use if this is possible?

    Many thanks in advance for the help & advice!

  2. #2



    This is not a DIY installation, your friend obviously has ill advised you, by installing the set up as you stated, you could end up killing some lineman down the line and or blowing up the supply transformer in your neighbourhood. This installation needs to be done by an electrician that knows what they are doing. You need to make sure you have an interlocking transfer switch that will lock out the line phase conductors when your generator is online, and an electrical permit.

  3. #3


    Thanks. Hey, no harm done. That's why I'm asking before doing. Many thanks.

  4. #4


    Sorry, for being abrupt, but certain installations pose higher risk than others, this falls into one of those high risk installs.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Kent, WA


    It can work if you do everything right and do not forget a step. But people get complacent or a wife or family member then starts doing it and steps get forgotten and then disaster happens. The most dangerous thing for you is a male cord on the end of a generator. Walk around with that and the generator running and you'll shock someone. If you connect it to the house, you could get a big spark if you forgot to run off loads or, even worse, forget to throw the main. In the later case you could fry a lineman.

    You need a transfer switch. A 20A switch would work with a 20A input receptacle. A 30A one would be better. Then you'll need the correct cord for your generator with a plug for the largest 120/240V plug you have on the generator and a 20A or 30A female twist lock for the transfer switch end (need to match whatever transfer switch you buy). You'll need 10-4 cord (like SJOW).

    Make sure you have a suitable output connector on the generator. You need a 240V receptacle with 4 prongs (an L14-20 or L14-30 is common on a lot of generators). One that looks like a household receptacle, but with one or both prongs horizontal or vertical, will NOT work.
    Kent, WA

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Boston, MA


    It is a DIY project IF you have the right equipment & do it as required by Code
    I have a transfer switch & will be hooking mine up for the winter
    Electric Inspector has no problem with the setup or my doing the work

    The transformer on the pole works BOTH ways (so I have been told)
    So back feeding your panel as your friend suggested COULD send a HUGE amount of of power back down the lines if someone were to turn that MAIN breaker back on

    That is the reason for the STOP!! post
    What your friend suggested could be lethal
    DIY Homeowner...not a Pro or licensed electrician

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