When the Lights Go Out: Part 2

Option 2: connecting you’re a-iPower generator by way of a transfer switch

When using you A-iPower portable generator, you have two options: connecting it to the devices you want to run via a power strip and an extension cord or connecting it using a transfer switch installed by a licensed electrician.

In part one, we discussed option one. Here we look at the second option, connecting your generator by way of a transfer switch with a dedicated outdoor outlet. This option requires advance instillation before the outage, but when you need it, this is also the most convenient way to supply your home. Here are the steps to follow:

Be Prepared 

Have easy access to your generator. When the lights go out, you don’t want to be fumbling around in the back of a dark garage. Always have a light source handy and a supply of fuel and oil, especially if the power is out for an extended period of time.


Before your electrician installs the outdoor outlet (inlet for the transfer switch), pick a spot you can access easily and allows you to place the generator at least 20 feet from the house where you can point the engine exhaust away from windows and doors.  Always remember to never run the generator inside a house, basement, garage, or other closed area where deadly levels of carbon monoxide can collect.

Install a Transfer Switch and Outlet

A transfer switch is a small breaker panel installed next to your home’s existing circuit breaker. When in use, it draws electricity directly from a generator instead of the power company. The generator is plugged into a dedicated outdoor outlet which is connected, through the house, to the transfer switch, giving power to a predetermined number of circuits for heating/cooling, lights, refrigerator, pumps, or whatever you choose within the power limits of your specific generator.  The instillation of the transfer switch and outlet should be carried out by a professional. Do not attempt this on your own. Installing a transfer switch should always be done by a licensed electrician.

When the Lights Go Out

When a power outage hits, first start your generator before connecting it to the designated outlet. Once this is done, turn on the generator’s main breaker. When not in use, all the circuit breakers in the transfer switch should be switched off. Now move the transfer switch from the Utility position to the Generator. Then flip on the circuit breaker you require, one at a time, leaving a 10 second delay between each to allow the generator time to take the load gradually so as not to overload the generator with the surge of start-up electricity. When the outage ends, simply move the transfer switch back to Utility and shut everything down.

Advantage of Transfer Switch

Simply plug in the generator and go. With a transfer switch, there is no need to run extension cords through a window or door to each gadget. Unlike an extension cord, you can power things that are hardwired like a furnace/AC or devices that don’t have a standard plug like an electric range or a dryer that uses four-prong plugs.


If the lights are out for days, you will need to refuel your A-iPower generator. To do so, turn off the engine and allow it to cool down before adding the fuel, as gas on a hot engine is a fire hazard. This is also a good time to check the oil. To get an accurate reading wait a few minutes to allow the oil to settle before checking.

Final Note:

As the electric grid continues to age and the weather events become more unpredictable, we are seeing more and more outages. To live life as uninterrupted as possible, you have taken the first step with the purchase of an A-iPower generator. By following these simple rules, you can help ensure that you and your family will remain as comfortable and safe as possible no matter how long the outage lasts.

To use your generator with an extension cord, see our earlier post When the Lights Go Out Part 1

To determine your energy needs, and to find the right generator for you, see “How Much Power Is Enough” blog.