How To Hook Up An Inverter To A Generator

“Can you connect an inverter to a generator?” The answer is yes, but it’s not as simple as plugging in the inverter and turning on the generator. There are 4 main ways to power an inverter from a generator: connecting directly to the outlet of the generator with an extension cord; connecting through an adapter that plugs into both the outlet of your home’s service panel and then into the inverter, or by using a transfer switch which makes sure your electrical needs stay uninterrupted when you use your generator for backup power.

 

Here Are 4 Easy Way You Can Hook Up A Generator With An Inverter:

1. Extension Cord

Extension Cord

The most convenient and least expensive way to connect an inverter generator is using a standard extension cord. If your home has 120V circuits with 15-amp breakers, you can use a 25-ft 15A dryer extension cord (the kind that’s wired for 3-conductor cables). If you’re connecting the generator directly to the outside wall outlet where it plugs in, measure your reach before deciding on a length. For an alternative outlet, plan two different lengths – one if the outlet is near the generator and another if there’s a long distance from the house to the plug-in point.

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Last update on 2022-05-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

2. Generator Adapters

Generator Adapters

Another option for connecting an inverter to a generator is through dedicated adapter plugs which are specifically designed to plug into both the outlet of your home’s panel and then to the inverter. These adapters are a good choice if you’re not sure about how permanent you want to make this connection, or if it’ll require tight clearance between the generator and your household electrical wiring.

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Last update on 2022-05-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

3. Transfer switch

Transfer switch

For a truly uninterrupted source of power, you’ll want to make a direct connection between the plug-in point for your generator, and the outlet of your home’s electrical panel. This can be done with a transfer switch which is installed between your household wiring and your power line.

Last update on 2022-05-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

4. Two-way Alternative

Two-way-Alternative-Diagram

You might also want to consider why you would even need an inverter? If you have already installed an alternative energy system onto your home, like geothermal or solar panels, then it might be best to utilize your existing power source and simply run the inverter from that.

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Go Power! TS-30 30 Amp Automatic Transfer Switch , Black
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Last update on 2022-05-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

So Can You Run An Inverter Off A Generator?

Pure sine wave generators and inverters are designed to work best when connected directly. If you have an inverter, the Pure Sine Wave Fact Sheet by Yamaha says that “an AC power source should be used as input.” Pure sine wave means that you will get electricity completely free of voltage spikes, hums or noise. These characteristics are usually only achieved with larger generators than what one might find in a home. However, even if you’re not going for pure sine wave (and perhaps just want clean power), it’s still possible to connect your generator to your inverter .

 

Things You Should Consider Before Connecting An Inverter To A Generator

Are you going to run it constantly? Do you have an alternative power source already in place? How will the inverter affect your line voltage and breaker box?

  • Don’t forget that generators are not intended for permanent use. They should be used only when necessary or in emergency situations.
  • The Consumer Protection Standards Rule (16 CFR Part 1500) requires that portable generators sold in the United States meet electrical and fire safety standards, based on their wattage capacity. It also includes important information regarding proper storage of fuel and having a UL-approved generator installed by an authorized service company.
  • A transfer switch ensures your household’s electrical needs stay unbroken when using a backup generator system, as the switch will disconnect from the home’s wiring network should any problem arise from the backup generator. The switch is connected to both the home’s electrical service panel and to the generator, and it automatically switches from utility power to generator power when needed.

How Big of A Generator Do I Need For An Inverter?

The first thing you need to know is how many watts of power your inverter draws. This is called its “nominal” rating, and it’s usually in the manufacturer details or on the box that your inverter came in. Common sizes for inverters are 2500 watts, 3000 watts, 3500watts, or 5000 watts; but you can find smaller models as well which draw less than 500 Watts (up to about 1000 Watts). If your generator isn’t rated for this amount of output, you will see a lower wattage number when you look at its rating label. The next step is to take into account what kind of loads you plan to run off the inverter lights should be much less than 1,000 watts.

 

Conclusion

If you are looking for a generator, inverter, or both for your home and business, it’s important to know the different ways they can be powered in order to make the right decision. You should never try to modify a generator on your own. It is not only dangerous but also illegal in many areas of the country. If you need help deciding which power system will work best with your needs please check our some of our in-depth generator review.

Resource we use:

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

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