Introduction: Easy Generator to Home Hook Up

A generator is a core component to many people's emergency preparedness plans. (Maybe you have a cool charcoal powered or a multi-fuel generator.) However many fail to think through how exactly they will power the items they want to run when the grid is down.

In June of 2012 my family experienced a 10 day power outage. It was eye opening. It was 100 degrees during the day with periods of heavy rain. I had to run a sump pump to keep my basement dry, a refrigerator, freezer for food preservation, a portable AC unit in the living room to protect my infant, we charged phones, and ran the wifi router. I had power cords everywhere. It was a pain. I decided then and there I would find a better way.

A generator transfer switch is the legal and proper way to power your home with an emergency generator. There are three main types: automatic, manual transfer sub panel and a breaker interlock. Each has varying degrees of complexity, benefits and expense.

Automatic transfer switches will sense a power loss, start your standby generator and automatically move your load to the generator. These are awesome - but very expensive and require a full time dedicated standby generator.

Manual transfer sub panel switches are good option. They are less expensive than the automatic transfer switches (Starting around $300) and can be used with a portable generator. They typically only cover a few breakers which was problematic for me.

Breaker Interlock is the option I chose. It is National Electric Code compliant and is in my opinion the least expensive and most flexible option. My setup cost was just under $150. In this setup you use a breaker to energize your existing breaker box. Switching it on is easy and safe. My wife did an unassisted dry run in under 5 min - which included getting the generator out of the building.

The breaker interlock system has come in very handy for us. We can turn on overhead lights, wash clothes and keep our food cold, charge our phones, run the internet and much more....all while keeping our doors and windows closed and no tripping on extension cords!

Disclaimer:
I am not an electrician. After much consulting and over sight from a licensed 25 year Master Electrician I believe these instructions to be correct and accurate for my jurisdiction. Electrical codes vary from place to place. In my place of residence home owners are allowed to do their own electrical work if it is up to code. You are responsible for any code violations, permits or awesome good stuff that comes from doing a project like this.

Step 1: NEVER DO THIS

I've listened to and have even seen people using a double male plug to energize their house during a power outage. This is dangerous.

  • It is an electrical code violation.
  • It is illegal in most places.
  • It is a fire hazard. The power created by your generator is generally greater than the rating for the receptacle, wire and breaker.
  • If you don't disconnect your main breaker it can shock the power company linemen - and you will get sued.
  • You can easily get shocked because the male plug prongs are exposed.

Step 2: Determine Your Generator Plug Type and Amperage

First you have to figure out what type of amperage and plug type we are working with. You only want to do this on a generator with a big round plug. This will provide 220V (in the US) and power both sides of your breaker box. You will see the amperage written near the plug. Mine is a 30 Amp L-14-30.

For your convenience these are the most common sizes:

Nema L14-20 - 20 amp
Nema L14-30 - 30 amp
Nema CS6365 - 50 amp

Step 3: Supplies

Gather your supplies.

For the sake of this build we are going to assume you have a 30 amp plug on your generator - like the one shown. If your have one different please adjust your supplies.

Breaker interlock kit. Buy a UL rated device that fits your specific breaker box. These have been tested and validated to work. Many insurance companies and jurisdictions require the UL rating.

30 Amp 2 pole (double) breaker. Again you will need to buy one that fits your breaker box. All breakers are not the same.

Wire. I bought 10 feet of 10 gauge wire in black, red, green and white.

30 Amp power Inlet box.

Schedule 40 electrical conduit and fittings

Conduit body

Conduit glue

Flexible Non-Metallic Conduit and fittings (optional)

30 Amp generator extension cord. (Search Amazon for (your plug type) extension cord.)


Notice how all the amperage match. If you are using a 50 output on your generator you will need a 50 amp breaker, 50 amp power inlet box, a 50 amp extension cable and 8 gauge wire.

Step 4: Drill (or Find) Access Hole

Measure 5 times drill once.

My house had an conduit old hole in the foundation. Most people will need to drill one. A hammer drill is extremely helpful for making one. Try to get the conduit hole as close to the panel as you can.

Step 5: Mount Power Inlet Box

Remove the front cover from the power inlet box.

Remove a knock out and attach the PVC fitting. You can see here I opted for the water tight connector. Glue works just find too.

Using tapcons mount the power inlet box to the wall.

Step 6: Test Fit and Glue Conduit

Use a hack saw and cut the conduit to length.

Don't glue it until you know it fits. Once you are good glue it down.

Step 7: Wire the Generator Inlet Plug

Once the glue is dry we can start to work on the wiring.

Remove the cover on the conduit body. Pull the wires through one at a time attaching them to the plug as you go along. Remove about 3/4 of an inch of the insulation. Use a large flat screwdriver or a nut driver to tighten the terminals.

Green - Ground to the power inlet box.
White - Common, W terminal
Black and Red - Load - either X or Y terminal.

Step 8: Push Wiring Inside

Push the wires through the conduit into the house one at a time.

Replace the conduit body cover, checking proper fit of the gasket.

Fill any gaps between your conduit and the house with silicone or expanding foam.

Step 9: Prep Breaker Box for Wires

Turn off all the branch breakers and the main power breaker.

Remove the front panel of the breaker box by taking out the four screws.

Remove one knockout and screw in conduit adapter or in my case a blue non metallic conduit adapter.

Pull wires through conduit and into the box.

Step 10: Create Open Breaker Space

The breaker interlock method requires the to most upper and right breaker space to be free.

Generally you will need to move a breaker or two down. Most boxes will have enough spare wire to move things around a bit. If you do not have enough room and your breaker is 30 amps or less you can use a short piece of insulated wire and a wire nut.

DO NOT wire nut copper and aluminum wire together. They will corrode over time. You will need to pick up a wire splice at your local home store.

Step 11: Install Generator Breaker and Wires

Install your new breaker in the freed up space in the upper right of your breaker box.

The red wire goes to one terminal on the breaker and the black goes to the other.

The white wire goes to the common bond rail in the box.

The green wire goes to the ground rail.

Note: In a 2 wire home like mine - meaning no 3rd ground wire in the outlet box or the outlets in the home. It is acceptable in my jurisdiction to put the green ground wire to an open common terminal. It is not appropriate to use the ground wire for the common at the outlet.

Step 12: Install Breaker Retainer

Now it is time to lock down that breaker from moving. Install the retaining bracket. My retaining bolt was located between the main breakers and the 30 amp breaker.

Step 13: Install Inter Lock on Panel Cover

Flip the cover over and use the provided template.

Pre-drill the holes and then finish them out withe the bit size noted in your instructions.

Turn the panel back over and install the sliding interlock bolts.

Reinstall the panel with all the breakers in the off position. With the main in the off position turn the generator breaker to the on position. Ensure the interlock allows for the on position. You may have to shift the position of the panel cover.

Turn the generator breaker to the off position and drop the slide so it can not be turned on. Ensure the Main can be turned to the on position. Adjust panel cover if it will not.

If it does turn the breakers on one a at a time - with a 5 second delay between breakers. This will distribute the start up load.

Attach decals included in your kit to your breaker box and the outside service box.

Step 14: Operation

Time to load test! Write down these instructions and put them in your breaker box.

  1. Confirm power outage
  2. Place generator 15 feet from your home - with the exhaust pointing away from open windows and doors
  3. Start generator and ensure normal operating speed
  4. Attach generator extension cord to the generator with an inward push and gentle clockwise turn
  5. Attach extension cord to the home power inlet box with an inward push and a gentle clockwise turn
  6. At the breaker box turn off all the breakers
  7. Turn the main breaker off
  8. slide interlock up exposing the on position of the generator breaker - turn generator breaker on
  9. Turn on selected breakers with a 5 second delay in between each - ensuring the generator takes the load.

Avoid turning on HVAC, standard hot water heater and the stove unless your generator can handle it. As long as you can get past the initial start up load you can run a lot off of 30 amps.

Power off sequence:

  1. Turn off all branch breakers
  2. Turn off generator breaker
  3. Slide down generator interlock exposing the on position of the main breaker - turn main breaker on
  4. Turn on branch breakers one at a time with a 5 second delay between each one until they are all back on
  5. Power off generator and allow to cool
  6. Remove generator extension cord.

Enjoy your set up. It has come in very handy for us. We can turn on overhead lights, wash clothes and keep our foo

Comments

author
MoTinkerGNome (author)2015-03-24

Great Job pointing out the suicide plug. Male to Male extension cords will kill you and burn down your house

author
RaymondR6 (author)MoTinkerGNome2017-07-02

Male-to-male plugs and cables cannot kill you unless you voluntarily unplug it with the power on! Be sure you know what you are doing and prevent anyone from handling the system under operation. My system uses such cable and has been working since 1995 (see my post above).

author
DmitriyU2 (author)RaymondR62017-07-03

Agree with Raymond, since you not doing stupid things it's may be quick pragmatic solution. When you are down - it's not a time to drill a hole in a wall with a hand-drill huh? :)

author
RickN35 (author)MoTinkerGNome2017-07-02

If the generator has GFCI outlets, the male-to-male cord won't work. The GFCI breaker will trip.

author
5150tech (author)2015-03-24

I generally shudder when I hear or see people try to set up a generator for all the reasons you point out. You did an excellent job and I like how you insure your generator is never tied into the grid. @ radiat1 I have used a similar system for about 5 years now my hots go through a transfer switch and my commons (white) are solid to the sub panel since the common and ground are tied together at your main panel if you were to send power to the common it would trip you generator breaker. I have had no problems and my number one concern is not killing a lineman.

author
RaymondR6 (author)5150tech2017-07-02

Electrical generators can kill utility repairmen if powered on into the main. They must be isolated by a switch or breaker, and the main power switched out before the generator is powered on. That is why a transfer switch is better than breakers because it is designed and built for multiple operations using a strong double throw knife switch. I also recommend locking the transfer switch to prevent accidental or un authorized operation. Many transfer switches have special holes to fix the handle with a padlock.

Power utilities may have laws that requires an inspection and certification before the homeowner can use a generator, and can apply heavy fines if the installation is done or used without their approval.

author
jim.fisk.33 (author)2015-03-28

To More Cowbell, (love the name btw) As a veteran Master Electrician I just want to say "Well done". I just hope folks won't get lazy and put off the MOST important step in your article and that is the install of the "INTERLOCK". So easy to put that off because it will work without it but THAT is the killer if not done.

author
BrianG164 (author)jim.fisk.332016-05-31

My main breaker is not in the breaker panel but is mounted on the opposite side of the house. How would you recommend I compensate for this?

author
watahyahknow (author)BrianG1642016-07-10

you could mount a heavy duty 3 phase on off on toggle switch between the fuses of the main and the generator to the house fusebox you can do that near the housebox

http://www.bundupower.co.za/mcs.php

you can use it as the mainswitch between main and generator basicly it will switch between one , then off , then the other , never together / combined

author
RaymondR6 (author)watahyahknow2017-07-02

Don't use such a switch. Buy a transfer switch certified and rated for the purpose. Home Depot still sells the same item I bought (see my post above) for $53 now. The store SKU is #100065.

author
ddzahn (author)watahyahknow2016-07-10

The only problem with this is that the toggle switch would have to be listed and labeled for the application. I'm not sure you'll be able to find one.

author
watahyahknow (author)ddzahn2016-07-10

the one i showed actually WAS for exactly that setup and was labeled gen and main

author
ddzahn (author)BrianG1642016-07-10

You can put a sub panel next to your breaker panel. In between the two, you can wire a transfer switch. Wire from a 2 pole breaker (sized according to your generator) to the transfer switch (like this one: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Reliance-Controls-60-A... Wire the generator to the other line input. Wire the sub panel to the load output side. Then move only the circuits that you want to be backed up by the generator from your original panel, to the new sub panel.

Follow all local codes and the NEC for securing, bonding, etc. and you should have no problems.

author
More Cowbell (author)jim.fisk.332015-03-28

Thanks Jim!

author
dpg350 (author)2015-03-27

Breaker interlock is the same system we run and it's great! We did a test run of refrigerator, sump pumps and a/c going all at the same time and our generator barely hiccuped.

author
surgeslayer (author)2015-03-26

Does the power inlet box have male terminals?

author
More Cowbell (author)surgeslayer2015-03-26

Yes - but they are not energized until the generator plug is attached.

author
madmungo (author)More Cowbell2015-03-26

Ahh, ok. I was wondering about that too! :-)

Great instructable.

author
CPUDOCTHE1. (author)2017-07-03

I don't have a main breaker in my house. I have a main breaker on my electric pole (electric co requires it, 100 amp). From there I run to the house and a separate run to the shed which does have a 100 amp main.. How would I wire up a generator to code? I have a 14-50 receptacle on the generator.

author
Chief741A (author)CPUDOCTHE1.2017-07-04

I had a similar setup when I bought my place here in the Florida swamp - a 60 amp fused switch at the service pole, which fed the main panel in the mobile home. Except for the main breaker in the MH, the setup was the same. The switch was a kluge - ALL power (including outbuildings) hookup was made in the switch and it was "busy" and it wasn't exactly safe. What you have is not exactly safe, either. You really, Really, REALLY should have a main breaker in the house panel... or do what I'm going to suggest below.

What I did was hang a GE panel beneath the switch, replaced the fuses with slugs and feed the panel through a 100 amp double main breaker. The outbuilding branch circuits have their own breakers, and it provides branch circuits to a pair of travel trailers parked near the pole. Every circuit leaving the main panel went through 2 breakers - the main panel breaker and the branch circuit breaker.

Eventually, the switch died, and I simply removed it. Had to cut the seal on the meter so I could hook the main panel directly to the meter. Thought the power company would give me some grief - but a couple months later, the meter reader noticed the cut seal, checked the panel wiring, checked my usage, noticed that my usage hadn't dropped - and left me a new seal!

Ok, this is "below". I would suggest that you install a small panel "upstream" from the main panel, and do the generator hookup in the new panel. It would be best to call the power company and explain what you did if you have to cut the seal and pull the meter to safely rewire... you do NOT want to work with live main cables. It would be a simple matter to reroute the circuits you want on your emergency power - or not, if your generator is big enough to carry the whole house. But the new panel would allow you to install the interlock.

Actually, a different manner of interlock would work here. You could feed the panel buss from the upper right double breaker for main power and the upper left double breaker for generator power - and physically connect the breaker toggles so that tripping one connects the other, and vice versa. Drill vertical holes through the toggles and use a small piece of channel stock to connect the toggles together. Think "parallelogram". It's easier to visualize than explain. I have seen manufactured setups that do this, but not lately. The key here is that this set up physically blocks you from connecting to main AND generator power at the same time. No power company linemen to worry about - and no small generator killing itself trying to pull the entire neighborhood. But it does require you to install a separate panel between the the hole in the wall where the wires come through and the main panel.

And thinking about your problem reminded me about how to hook up the new sub panel I'm already installing so that I can toggle between generator and main power... but I haven't figured out how to power the well pump that way...

author
CPUDOCTHE1. (author)Chief741A2017-07-05

Thanks for the info. No need for a main in the house. The service entrance cable and main box is protected by the breaker on the pole. We call the electric co and tell them that we are breaking the seal and why and then tell them when we are finished and they come put a new seal on it. I had to kill the power once and called them to tell them that I was pulling the meter and they were even nice enough to caution me to make sure that it wasn't a current loop meter and that in that case, it would not kill the power.

I have a 10 KW generator. It should power everything but the welders, plasma cutter, mill and any one of the AC, water heater, and dryer at a time.

author
AlfieE2 (author)2017-07-03

The more I read the comments the more I am happy that in most of Canada, and particularly in the province of Quebec, all electrical work, beyond changing a light fixture, by law must be done by a licensed electrician. Tell your house insurer that you are planning to do your own BEFORE THE FIRE. After the event they won't even listen to you.

author
CPUDOCTHE1. (author)AlfieE22017-07-03

When I built my house, I did all of my own wiring. Completely legal and obviously better than a professional doing it for profit.

author
AlfieE2 (author)CPUDOCTHE1.2017-07-05

And hopefully got an inspection before the utilty hooked it up?

author
CPUDOCTHE1. (author)AlfieE22017-07-05

Nope. No one to inspect it. We don't have any inspectors where I live.

author
gthompson20 (author)CPUDOCTHE1.2017-07-05

Completely illegal in my country

author
Chief741A (author)AlfieE22017-07-04

Alfie, We are all very happy that you live in "most of Canada, and particularly in the province of Quebec", where it seems that everybody can afford to pay a licensed (and frequently Union) electrician to change their light bulbs and hook up their Christmas trees, hot plates, and ceiling fans.

Many of us, however, don't live in "most of Canada, and particularly in the province of Quebec", and sometimes have to choose between paying the electrician or eating, or maybe making the insurance payment on the car, or filling any of a number of demands on our income. I don't know about you, but my income forces me to prioritize and plan months out. Actually, I am currently working on my CY2018 budget. But I digress...

The bloody state didn't come out here and replace the outbuilding wiring when brushfires took everything but my home back in 1999 - I had to do it myself or do without such frivolities as my well pump. I was fortunate to have been a generator mechanic in a former (Army) life, and while I may not know all the niceties of whatever electrical code is in vogue this week, I do know about as much about electricity as the union electrician, who was probably born about the time I retired from my first career. I wired the shed that replaced the barn I lost, ran power (and water) out to 2 lots I own, and ran 3 strands of #4 copper to the new trailer I bought after the 2004 hurricanes took out the one I had been living in. No fires, nobody hurt, not even a burned out toaster. I just resurrected a 8Kw generator (it's hurricane season, y'know) and was looking for a SAFE and simple way to connect it to my particular situation. That is why I am here.

I don't know why you are here, but most of us are here to LEARN how do do things safely FOR OURSELVES. I guess that may not be allowed in "most of Canada and particularly in the province of Quebec" - but very, very few of us live there and Big Brother doesn't have such control over our lives.

author
AlfieE2 (author)Chief741A2017-07-05

I'm not sure why you take such offence to my comment but obviously your training allows you to do such work safely. We don't need licensed electricians to change light bulbs, only for work beyond the wirenuts in an outlet box. Sometimes we are forced to pay someone for their expertise like doctors, lawyers etc. Seeing those pictures and comments about male-male generator connection cables make me wince.

At times expert knowledge can even save you money. Your #4 in free air is good for 140Amps. If you needed 100A service #6 would have done and it could have been solid hard copper (regular stuff slowly streches out from its own weight). Even better, and cheaper, some #4 aluminum triplex with a steel messenger wire.

author
Roger Pearce (author)2016-07-10

Just one thing in England you would and should not get away with the this sort of wiring Just to dangerous sorry.Again a Vet Master Tec Electrician

author

Roger I curious. Why would this not be expectable to do in England?

author

We Electricians In England have a Book called the electricians Bible It is brought out by the Institute Of electrical Engineering. This book gives rules For domestic wiring to industrial wiring on how to install circuits safely. You ask why just look at the first photo into the project,it shows a cable with two plug ends, exposed conductors at both ends. say you had these connected in a garden situation, one in a generator the other in a socket to the house out side wall. two children running plying near the wall socket,one trips and pulls the plug of of the socket the other fulls on the opened ended brass contact. Bang One dead child. I would not like to see that would you. I do not think so. In any wiring to do with house holds must come up to IEE regulations. Safety come first in my book
The big question is what protection is in place if the mains power is switch back on

author
chipjohns (author)Roger Pearce2016-07-24

Hi Roger.

I'm just curious how the *code book* is going to prevent this?? Almost all countries have some sort of electrical code. The NEC here in the US, is pretty robust, as well. However, some people are going to do stupid things! These people live in the UK as much as they live in the US.

In some states in the US, people are aloud to work on their own electrical, however, an inspection by a qualified, municipality appointed inspector is required. The inspector ensures the work meets code requirements.

I'm sure this is not new to you, and I don't know the UK's position on this. But, if anyone does the work on their own and doesn't have this work inspected, well, there you have it... Dead child...

Back to my question, how does the UK seem to overcome this issue?

I truly am curious..

Thanks,

Chip

author
gthompson20 (author)chipjohns2017-07-05

The UK and MANY other countries overcome the stupidity or unskilled nature of the DIYer by simply banning any work by an unqualified person. Most people living in those countries don't have a problem with needing someone qualified to work with electricity. I am curious how others countries that allow people to do their own work as long as it is inspected overcome those too cheap to pay for an inspector. Plus to put it bluntly I would not want to buy or live in a house where some cowboy has done his own wiring and an inspector paid by the job, not the hour has given it his approval just so he can make quick money.

author

Roger, he showed the double-male "suicide cord" as an example of what *NOT* to do.

Otherwise, the rest of the hookup with the interlock plate is foolproof and NEC-approved.

When the mains come back, that breaker is open, and can only be closed after the genny breaker is opened.

You may be a wire twister Par Excellence, but I don't think much of your reading comprehension.

author

You must remember if you are as good as you say you are jack of most trades that there are people that will try any thing that is cheap and will do the trick they do not know you have to be NEC registered, to work on other people houses but one thing I have learnt over the year you do not show what could be, as some one will do the quick and easy way of doing it. I am aware of the way to install this type of equipment. using the Book of Regulations that apply to England. I have found in England not every body knows about t he IEE regulations , But I tried to explain the reasons In a simplified way using children. which people pay attention to. To under stand one thing, what looks good in America is not always allowed in England. So I say this to anyone always check the regulations of the country you are going to use the equipment in. But if you must make a comment Please read Gregfranks of three months ago. If you do not Know you should not be touching it .Safety First

author
gthompson20 (author)Roger Pearce2017-07-05

Roger, it is not just england that bans such work, most first world countries outside of the USA do also. (and for bloody good reasons)

author
greintsma (author)Roger Pearce2016-07-11

Roger please READ what is written in step one and then remove your comments!

author

Hi Roger. I see from your comments you didn't bother to read the Instructable before you made your comment. If you would have looked at the picture in step 3 you would see a picture of the interlock kit and the correct power cord to connect the generator to the house. The picture in step 14 shows the interlock kit installed on the breaker panel. If the main breaker is on, the breaker for the generator is blocked and can't be switched on. If the breaker for the generator is on, the main breaker is blocked and can't be switched on. This is how I would hook up a generator if I were doing it.

I can't quite understand how I got this reply today when I sent the comment a year ago???

author
Chief741A (author)Roger Pearce2017-07-05

Roger, how did you NOT see the "NEVER DO THIS" caption on the picture of the double male connector cable? Please READ before belittling somebody's honest effort.

author
Baldoras (author)Roger Pearce2016-07-20

I recommend that you read through the instructible and not just look at the pictures.

author

Roger, your comments tend to indicate that you did not actually read the article...?

author
John RK (author)Roger Pearce2016-11-27

Roger.

The typical know it all that tries to belittle others trying to make himself look smart.

You clearly didn't read the article as you're complaining about a image that he specifically used as an example of something BAD to do..

author
gthompson20 (author)2017-07-05

If you're thinking of trying this, check your countries rules about playing around with electricity the supply first. In many countries such things are down right illegal for unqualified people to attempt. In australia such work is not permitted and the interlock does not comply with the standards.

author
CraigR33 (author)2016-07-29

I made a power transfer cord to connect the 220 generator output to the 220 dryer output in the garage and simply dropped the main breaker at the meter so as not to back fry the power company crew.

That allowed the generator to power every outlet in my house. No extension cords. I simply powered what I wanted, when I wanted, keeping in mind the total output ability of my generator.

author
AlfieE2 (author)CraigR332017-07-03

This is dangerous!!! YOU are probably the only one in your house that knows to pull the main breaker. Someone else using the generator like that in your absence could be problematic. Not only can you kill a linesman but you may also burn down your house and your insurance company will laugh at you if you try to claim.

author
CraigR33 (author)AlfieE22017-07-03

There is only my wife and she does not know how to even start the generator so it's not a problem. Just because you lack confidence in yourself is no excuse to project your insecurities on others.

author
AlfieE2 (author)CraigR332017-07-05

After half a century in the trade I have no insecurities about doing electrical work myself. What I have seen over the years are the results, sometimes fatal, of amateur's.

Perhaps your wife should learn how to use the generator. Someday you may not be able to do it yourself. Age can creep up on you.

author
turnmearound (author)CraigR332017-07-02

This is exactly what you SHOULD NOT DO! Aside from possibly electrocuting yourself with a double male plug, the very life of linemen and/or neighbors working in your neighborhood around down lines after a storm depends on you remembering to manually and completely switch from one setup to another. Every second you operate that generator with the main on back feeds all of the downed power lines in your neighborhood with 4,000 volts - not to mention blowing your generator up if the lines are powered/turned on. You do not want to do this.

author
Chief741A (author)turnmearound2017-07-05

Please go back and read Craig's post a couple more times. It will come to you. The connection described is safe as long as he remembers to trip the main breaker before connecting the generator - and plugging the "transfer" cord into the dryer socket before connecting the other end to the generator.

Oh, and leaving the garage door open.

Won't work for me, my dryer is in the house, but it works for Craig.

author

The important thing here is that there is essentially a 'safety lockout' built into the transfer switch. The criticism about backfeeding through the 220V receptacle stems from the fact that someone could complete the circuit between your house (while under generator power) and the grid. That creates the possibility for an unknown hazard for a lineman; that's why it's not an allowed method. You're probably familiar with "2 is one and one is none"-- not a luxury lineman can afford themselves, so it's your responsibility to.
Two other things:
You probably could have put in a proper setup for what you spent making hat cord, and lastly, if your generator produces more power than your dryer circuit can handle (did you check to make sure it was up to code and done properly?), you're risking fire and other dangerous consequences.
I do commend you for making it work with what you've got, but that's a virtue to be exercised when you have to; in the mean time, I would do it right.

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