You have a backup power source, and now you need to know how to run extension cords from generator into house. We’ve got you covered!

Amid power outages, a portable generator stands as a beacon of hope. However, mishandling this backup power source can result in dire consequences.

To illuminate the path to a secure and efficient connection, this guide delves into the step-by-step process of running extension cords from your generator to your house.

Emphasizing the significance of generator safety, each stage is detailed with precision.


In this blog post, we will share why you should never run a generator inside the house, choosing the right extension cord for your generator, and how to run extension cords from generator into house.

At the end of the post, you will find links to more generator related articles.

Why You Should Never Run a Generator Inside the House


In the realm of generator safety, few rules are as cardinal as the prohibition against running a generator indoors.

While it might be tempting to place the generator in a cozy corner of your home during power outages, the potential risks far outweigh the convenience.

Here’s a comprehensive look at why you should never run a generator inside your house:

1. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: A Silent Killer

Generators emit carbon monoxide (CO), an odorless, colorless gas that is toxic and potentially lethal in confined spaces.

When generators are operated indoors, garages, basements, or even near open windows, the accumulation of carbon monoxide can lead to serious health hazards or even death.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can be subtle and often mistaken for other illnesses, making it imperative to keep generators outdoors.

Although he passed away, I can still hear my grandpa preaching about this.

He would walk through the house, and remind us the importance of installing carbon monoxide detectors, and change their batteries yearly!

2. Inadequate Ventilation Amplifies Risk

The confined space within your home lacks the ventilation necessary to disperse the carbon monoxide gas emitted by generators.

The gas can accumulate rapidly and reach dangerous levels, posing a grave threat to occupants who unknowingly breathe in the toxic fumes.

Proper ventilation, achievable only outdoors, is essential to prevent the buildup of carbon monoxide.

3. Fire Hazards and Explosions

Generators are equipped with internal combustion engines that run on flammable fuels like gasoline or propane.

Running such engines indoors increases the risk of fires and explosions due to the proximity of combustible materials within a home environment.

A spark or overheating component can lead to disaster in confined spaces, endangering lives and property.

4. Electrical Hazards

Moisture, puddles, or damp surfaces present indoors can create a conducive environment for electrical malfunctions, leading to short circuits or even electric shocks.

The potential for electrocution multiplies when generators and their cords come into contact with wet surfaces indoors. Operating generators outside eliminates this risk.

5. Structural Damage

Generators generate heat during operation, which can pose a risk of igniting flammable materials such as curtains, papers, or even nearby furniture.

Placing a generator indoors increases the chance of accidental fires, leading to structural damage that might not only jeopardize the property but also endanger lives.

6. Safe Distance from Electromagnetic Fields

Generators emit electromagnetic fields during operation.

When placed indoors, these fields can interfere with electronic devices, causing malfunctions or permanent damage to sensitive equipment like computers, televisions, and communication devices.

While the temptation to run a generator indoors during power outages may be strong, the risks associated with doing so are immense.

Carbon monoxide poisoning, fire hazards, electrical malfunctions, and even fatalities are potential consequences of indoor generator operation.

Always place your generator outdoors in well-ventilated areas, maintaining a safe distance from windows, doors, and vents.

By adhering to this vital safety principle, you protect yourself, your loved ones, and your property from the dire consequences of indoor generator use.

Choosing a Proper Extension Cord for Your Generator


Selecting the right extension cord for your generator is a pivotal step to ensure a safe and effective power connection.

An ill-suited cord can compromise both the functionality of your generator and, more importantly, your safety.

Let’s look into the essential considerations when choosing the proper extension cord for your generator setup.

1. Amperage Rating and Wire Gauge

Matching the amperage rating of your extension cord to that of your generator is paramount. Exceeding the amperage rating can lead to overheating and pose fire hazards.

Additionally, the wire gauge, denoted by the American Wire Gauge (AWG), determines the cord’s ability to carry the electrical load without significant voltage drop.

Opt for a lower AWG number for thicker wire, capable of handling higher loads, which is crucial for longer extension cords or higher-powered generators.

2. Length of the Extension Cord

The length of the extension cord impacts the voltage drop and power delivery to your devices.

Longer cords tend to experience higher voltage drops, which can lead to decreased efficiency and potential damage to electrical devices.

Consider the distance between your generator and the power inlet, aiming for the shortest possible extension cord length to maintain optimal power supply.

Typically, you want to stay away from a shorter cord when running a standby generator.  

3. Outdoor and Heavy-Duty Design

Outdoor use demands an extension cord designed to withstand diverse weather conditions.

Look for outdoor extension cords with weather-resistant jackets that shield against moisture, UV rays, and abrasions.

A heavy-duty construction ensures durability and longevity, making it suitable for frequent generator use in outdoor environments.

4. Proper Amperage Capacity

Ensure that the extension cord’s amperage capacity aligns with your generator’s output.

Selecting a cord with a higher amperage capacity than your generator’s output ensures that the cord won’t become a bottleneck for power delivery.

5. Three-Prong Design and Grounding

Opt for extension cords with a three-prong design, which includes a grounding wire. Grounding is a vital safety feature that helps prevent electrical shocks and malfunctions.

Never remove or tamper with the grounding prong to ensure the safe operation of your generator.

6. Safety Certifications and Labels

Choose extension cords that bear safety certifications from reputable organizations like Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).

These labels indicate that the cord has undergone rigorous testing and meets safety standards for safe usage.

7. Extension Cord Color

While it may seem minor, the color of the extension cord can have practical implications.

Long extension cords are the best option when running an electrical device, such as a power generator.  

Furthermore, it’s a good idea to opt for bright colors like orange or yellow extensions cords.  This is for improved visibility, reducing the chances of tripping or accidental damage.

8. Length of the Prongs

Ensure that the prongs of the extension cord’s plugs match the sockets of your generator and power inlet.

The prongs should fit snugly without any gaps, ensuring a secure and safe connection.

Selecting a proper extension cord is a critical component of your generator setup.

A well-chosen cord ensures the efficient transfer of power, prevents overheating, and minimizes voltage drop.

By considering factors such as amperage rating, wire gauge, length, design, safety certifications, and prong compatibility, you optimize both safety and functionality.

Remember, the right extension cord not only enhances the performance of your generator but also safeguards your home, devices, and, most importantly, your well-being.

How to Run Extension Cords from Generator Into House


Step 1: Selecting the Right Extension Cord

The nucleus of a safe connection lies in your choice of extension cord. Opt for a generator extension cord with an amperage rating that aligns with your electrical needs. 

Ensure the cord boasts the proper thickness of wire, denoted by the American Wire Gauge (AWG). A lower AWG translates to a thicker wire capable of handling heavier loads. 

For resilience against varying weather conditions, lean toward a heavy-duty cord engineered for outdoor use. This decision lays the foundation for secure and steadfast generator operation.

Step 2: Determining the Power Load

Before any plug meets socket, a crucial calculation or how much power awaits. Tally up the wattages of the appliances you intend to power.

This numerical insight acts as a guard against overloading the generator and extension cord, mitigating risks of overheating and potential fire hazards.

By accurately assessing your electrical needs, you safeguard your generator setup against potentially catastrophic outcomes.

Step 3: Ensuring a Safe Distance

Generators exude life-saving power, but they also emit potentially lethal carbon monoxide.

The first thing you want to do is safeguard your surroundings.  Do this by placing the generator outdoors in an adequately ventilated space. 

Ensure a considerable distance from doors, windows, and vents to prevent the infiltration of this colorless, odorless gas.

This precautionary measure preserves the sanctity of your indoor air and, ultimately, your well-being.

Step 4: The Crucial Outlet Connection

For a seamless, secure connection, introduce a power inlet or inlet box into the equation. This intermediary point paves the way for a transition between generator power and the grid with minimal upheaval.

By avoiding direct links to wall power outlets, you champion safety, preventing potential backfeeding that could spell disaster for your electrical system.

Step 5: The Essential Extension Cord Link

With your generator cord at the ready, forge the link between generator and abode.

The male plug of your extension cord finds its home in the generator’s outlet, establishing a sturdy connection.

On the opposing end, the female plug seeks sanctuary in the inlet box or inlet, cementing a reliable bridge between your generator and the heart of your electrical setup.

Step 6: Avert the Perils of “Suicide Cords”

An unequivocal no-no in the realm of generator safety is the utilization of male-to-male extension cords, infamously dubbed as a suicide cord.

Bypass this treacherous route, as these cords pose severe threats ranging from electric shocks to blazing infernos.

Abiding by this principle keeps your generator setup on the path of prudence.

Step 7: The Indoor Connection Protocol

Transitioning indoors introduces a nuanced approach. Affix the male plug of the generator extension cord to the power inlet or inlet box.

On the flip side, the female plug melds with your home’s electrical system.

This orchestrated dance ensures the harmonious flow of power, nurturing both safety and functionality.

Step 8: The Tranquil Role of Transfer Switches and Interlock Kits

For extended generator usage and seamless system integration, the inclusion of automatic transfer switches or interlock kits reigns supreme.

These strategic elements facilitate a frictionless shift between generator and grid power, maintaining the integrity of your electrical ecosystem.

Embrace this advanced layer of safety for a comprehensive power solution.

Step 9: Mastering Power Management

Steward your power resources judiciously. Prioritize essential appliances such as refrigerators, sump pumps, and life-supporting medical devices.

Equitable distribution across circuits prevents overburdening your generator, safeguarding its performance and longevity.

This power management practice is a testament to your prudent approach.

Step 10: Sanctuary of Safety

A dry, sheltered location for your generator is a sanctuary of safety. Shield it from unforgiving weather conditions, and consider a weatherproof box for added protection.

Shun direct connections to wall outlets, as this aversion thwarts the perilous backfeeding that endangers utility workers and can wreak havoc on your equipment.


The journey of connecting a generator to your house demands meticulous attention and a profound respect for safety protocols.

By traversing each step with vigilance, you forge a bond between convenience and security.

The thorough selection of extension cords, judicious power management, and the strategic deployment of transfer switches weave a tapestry of protection around your setup.

In this process, remember that safety is not a solitary endeavor; it’s a shared responsibility towards yourself, your loved ones, and the broader community.

Should uncertainty arise, consider consulting a licensed electrician, who serves as your beacon of knowledge and guardianship in the realm of generator safety.

Before you go, here are more posts you’ll enjoy:

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How to Run Extension Cords from Generator Into House