Standby generator wiring instructions

Written by cameron easey
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Standby generator wiring instructions
A standby generator is connected to the main circuit panel of your home. (electric panel image by DXfoto.com from Fotolia.com)

Home generators may be used as temporary power in an emergency situation or wired to the home as a permanent standby unit. A standby generator automatically activates when the electricity to the home goes out. In order to install a standby generator in your home, you will need to determine the correct generator for your needs and properly wire it to your house.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Electrical wire
  • Screwdriver
  • Sub-panel
  • Dual supply breaker
  • Breakers

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Turn of the main breaker to the circuit panel.

  2. 2

    Find an open breaker and secure the wires at one end of the electrical cable to the breaker. Loosen the terminals on the breaker with a screwdriver and insert the wires into the breaker. Tighten the screws to secure the wires. Connect the copper ground wire to the ground bar in the circuit panel.

  3. 3

    Run the electrical wire from the breaker in Step 1 to the sub-panel for the generator. Use a screwdriver to connect the other end of the electrical wire to the dual supply main breaker/service disconnect in the sub-panel.

  4. 4

    Connect one end of an electrical cable to the dual supply main breaker/service disconnect in the sub-panel. Loosen the screws on the breaker and insert the electrical wire. Tighten the screws to secure the wire. Connect the copper ground wire to the ground bar in the sub-panel.

  5. 5

    Loosen the screws that are used to secure the panel cover. Remove the panel cover and loosen the terminals with a screwdriver. Connect the electrical wires to the screw terminals by following the diagram that came with the generator.

  6. 6

    Insert the breakers for the circuits that are to be powered by the generator into the sub-panel. Connect the electrical wire to the ground bar and to the breakers in the sub-panel.

  7. 7

    Flip the switch for the service disconnect on the sub-panel to the "on" position. Turn on the generator to see if the circuits connected to the sub-panel have power.

  8. 8

    Turn off the generator and flip the service disconnect switch to the "off" position. Turn on the main breaker at the circuit panel.

Tips and warnings

  • You can also install a transfer switch on the sub-panel to automatically switch from the main power to generator power.
  • Never turn on the generator if the service disconnect switch is in the "off" position.

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