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Can You Plug a Generator into Your Breaker Box?

Can You Plug a Generator into Your Breaker Box?

A home generator can relieve much stress and headaches when it comes to an unexpected power outage.  Few people have whole house generators installed, but many use portable generators. Typically, you will see cords running from the generator to the house, which is convenient. Still, it would be much easier to eliminate a lot of cords and hook the generator directly to the breaker box.

You can plug your generator into the breaker box, but you need to follow the essential steps.  Neglecting to follow the proper procedures will likely lead to damage.

Continue reading to learn how to plug your generator into the breaker box safely.

Plugging a Generator into a Breaker Box

The breaker box is the primary source of power in your home, so it only makes sense that you would want to run your generator through this location.  While it is possible to do this, you need to have the suitable materials to do it safely.

Materials Needed

When you prepare to connect your generator to the breaker box, you will research and gather the appropriate materials before beginning.

Manual Transfer Switch: Just as the name suggests, a manual transfer switch is installed in or near your breaker box and allows you to switch to the generator as a power source. 

Inlet Box Hookup: An inlet box hookup will go on the outside of the home and allow you to plug the generator into it. The inlet box will connect directly to your transfer switch in the house.

Before you purchase materials, it would be best to consult with an expert for input and installation.


A licensed electrician should install the manual transfer switch and inlet box.  They work with high voltage wires, which can be hazardous to the untrained person.  Because you are working with the electricity supply hub for your entire home, it needs to be installed correctly.

A licensed electrician will know exactly how to install all of the necessary components correctly, and so they are up to code.  If they are not up to code, you have a potential fire and shock hazard in your home.

Before Using

Before using your transfer switch and outlet, you need to inspect it to ensure it is entirely up to code.  It may seem that an inspection is overkill, but if something happens to your home due to the new electrical components, you maintain insurance protection.

What Happens if I Skip the Inspection?

If you decide to skip the inspection process, you open yourself up to potential headaches and danger.  When an inspector verifies that everything is up to code, that means it is safe to use, and your home and the people in your home are not at risk.

Deciding to skip the inspection does not ensure proper wiring work. If something happens to your home due to the wiring, your insurance will not cover the damages.  You also place yourself and others at risk.

Why Should I Have a Manual Transfer Switch?

To use a generator, you do not need to have a manual transfer switch, but when you hook a generator to your breaker box, a manual transfer switch is necessary.  The installation of a manual transfer switch is vital for many reasons.  Here are the most functional reasons:

  • The power goes to to the appliances you have chosen with the flip of a switch.
  • You don’t have a web of cords running into your home from the generator.
  • It is much safer than multiple extension cords.

The manual transfer switch suddenly makes a power outage bearable while you wait for the power to come back on.

Is it Expensive to Hook Generator to Breaker Box?

Perhaps you wonder what the price tag is to attach your generator to the breaker box.  Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as plugging something in and firing up the generator.  You will need to hire a professional, which means paying for both parts and labor. 

When you factor in the cost of the manual transfer switch and inlet with labor, you are looking at close to a thousand dollars or more to have the ability to hook your generator to your breaker box.  It may seem like a high price to pay, but the convenience it will provide is likely more significant. You must know the price can vary depending on your geographic location and the current demand for electrical services.

Final Thoughts

Connecting your generator directly to the breaker box is possible with the proper materials and expert installation.  Wiring is not something you want to bargain shop for because there is a significant danger when working with electricity.  Find a licensed professional, make sure the work passes inspection, and prepare to use your generator with ease.