How to Ground a Portable Generator in Your Building
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How to Ground a Portable Generator in Your Building

you'll be able to power essential appliances during outages without worrying about electrical shock or other dangerous conditions. Take the time to follow these steps to ensure it is set up safely

How to Ground a Portable Generator in Your Building

Generators are a necessary part of life for many homeowners, especially in areas that experience frequent power outages. If you've recently purchased a generator to keep your home's lights, appliances, and other devices powered during an outage, you need to know how to prepare the generator for use as well as how to safely ground it and connect it to your home's electrical system.To get the most from your generator, follow these tips on preparing, setting up, and grounding your portable unit. Grounding portable generators are essential for safety.

Why Grounding Your Gen is Important

In the event of an emergency or natural disaster, you may need a way to power your home. A portable generator can provide you with the power that you need in an efficient and powerful manner. Unfortunately, many people who own portable generators don’t ground them correctly. Not grounding your generator can cause serious risks to both the safety of your family and the longevity of your equipment.

Having to turn off your generator in the middle of a storm or outage, or risk electrical shock is a scary proposition. Grounding is the process of connecting the cord to the generator to your home's mains and establishing a direct line of current. In short grounding, the generator minimizes these hazards by causing stray or fault currents to flow to the ground.

It is also important to add that allowing your generator to sit idle for long periods of time does more damage than good. The downtime causes moisture and gunk to build up in the engine, which can lead to costly repairs.

To avoid this issue, make sure you keep your generator running at least once a month. For example, plug in a clock and rotate tips on How to Ground a Portable GeneratorGrounding the generator is pretty simple, but it goes much deeper than just sticking a metal rod into the ground near it. The following tips will help you safely ground your generator so that you can prevent electrical accidents and damage to your property.

Step One

Use a ground rod to support the generator, grounding a generator involves placing a metal rod about 6 inches in diameter, called a ground rod, 6 inches under your generator to provide an electrical connection to the ground. A metal ground rod keeps an outside wire connected to the generator while grounding the generator keeps an outside wire connected to the ground.

Step Two

Keep your generator at least 10 feet away from exterior walls, windows, and doors. Keep it outside a garage if space is tight or if you don't have a covered parking area. In a pinch, you can also set it outside in a well-ventilated area or under a canopy for shade. In most cases, you will have to make room in your garage for the unit. A properly installed ground unit is safer than leaving the generator outside and inside your garage.

Step Three

After making sure that the generator is in a well-ventilated area, then check the temperature of the generator well with a hairdryer or similar device. The air should not reach above 140°F.

Step Four

Turn off the generator and turn off the electricity to the home or office. Remove the batteries and the lights, water heater, and any other electrical appliance.

Step Five

Use only grounded metal conductors (soffit or studs) in metal-outlet receptacles. A grounded metal-outlet receptacle is a conductor that won't become hot during an electrical overload.

Step Six

It's highly recommendable to use ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step Seven

Make sure you never attach a portable generator directly to the electrical system of your home, office, or trailer. Unless you are sure the generator has a properly installed open-transition transfer switch.

What Are the Dangers of Not Grounding Your Generator?

Not grounding a portable generator can be a serious mistake, particularly for people with long, exposed limbs. In a house fire, electricity from a portable generator could become ignitable if the home's electrical system is not properly grounded. Touching any part of the generator could create an electric shock, and if the generator ignites, a deadly explosion could occur. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that portable generators be grounded.


Portable generators provide an important service for homeowners in many parts of the country, but they can pose a serious safety threat if not properly set up and grounded. When you use our tips to prepare, set up, and ground your portable generator, you'll be able to power essential appliances during outages without worrying about electrical shock or other dangerous conditions. Take the time to follow these steps to ensure it is set up safely. It's important to know how to ground and connect your generator, as well as where it should be located for maximum safety and convenience.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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