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  1. #1
    Member rachilders is on a distinguished road rachilders's Avatar
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    Default Home to generator hookup

    Loosing power to your house is an all too real possibility for many of us. It happened to me during Ike last month for a few days as well as Rita several years ago. I have a portable generator for these emergencies, but it only has a handful of outlets and I must run extension cords to the various things I want to power - my freezer, fans, lights, etc - which is a major PITA and limitation. OTOH, I've been told that you can plug a portable generator into one of your homes power outlets and it will supply power to the other outlets in the house.

    The procedure was this... Run a line from the generator to one of your homes outlets AFTER cutting the external power off at the homes main power box. You can then use the outlets in your house as long as you don't exceed your generators power rating.

    My question is: Does anyone know for sure (especially one of you electricians) if this is true as well as safe?
    Last edited by rachilders; 10-15-2008 at 08:43 AM.

  2. #2
    Red State Rising phiya will become famous soon enough phiya's Avatar
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    This is true... The power in your home is a continuous loop that runs through your breaker box. You can supply that power from an outside source via a dual male end extension cord and then plug stuff into your house outlets as normal.
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    Old School. Baldy has disabled reputation
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    Caution! What you need is a 220 jumper made up to plug into your drier outlet or any 220 outlet you have that is run through the panel box. Besure you turn off the main breaker. Then plug in your generator into a 220 outlet. Now Besure you turn off the main breaker. Turn off AC/furnance and electric stove. Turn off any 220 items you have and everything else. Besure you turn off the main breaker. Now fire that gen up and check the frig and it should be running. If everything OK you can turn on a few lights, TV, and a fan or two. Don't get carrried away and you will do just fine. You will have to cook on the grill for a few days till it's over.

    Diconnect: Shut the genrator down and unplug. Now you can turn the main back on.

    PS: If you forget the main breaker you will get a power surge at the box when the main power kicks back in and you may have a fire.

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    Harley Dude sig232 will become famous soon enough sig232's Avatar
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    Remember if you don't turn off the main breaker when you plug a generator into your house electrical system you can have power going back into the lines that can kill the guys working on the lines. This is a big problem for them.

    The best thing is to install a box to switch from generator to house current that will cutoff the current flowing backout to the pole.

    You will need a pretty powerful generator to power your house current. About a $5,000 investment plus the electrical hookup. Best to run it on propane or natural gas if you can. Gasoline is hard to find when the power is out for the long term, plus its not as stable to store for the long term. It needs fuel stabilizer after 60 days.

    Most are powered by Propane in Oregon so that homeowners have a reliable source of fuel for about 1 week plus.

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  5. #5
    Red State Rising phiya will become famous soon enough phiya's Avatar
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    Hah - I didn't think about turning off any 220 appliances because whenever we've done this we've used a large welding generator that had no problem powering our entire house. ^_^
    The founding fathers had greater knowledge of Tyranny than any natural-born American citizen has seen to this day. They wrote the constitution as they did to protect all future American generations from this tyranny. The freedoms granted therein are granted, [read designed], to be exercised in order for Americans to continually thwart attempts of tyrannical takeover of their beloved ideology. Their America.

    "Well, everyone has their own world view, and for a lot of people - they are their world view, I guess."

    I WILL FIGHT

  6. #6
    Member rachilders is on a distinguished road rachilders's Avatar
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    I appreciate the replies from everyone. FWIW, I'm aware of the problems tapping into a household circuit from a second power source can cause (possible fire, overloading the circuit/generator, possible danger to linemen, etc) which is why I haven't tried this "plug in and play" method. I really just wanted to ask around a bit and get some second opinions before talking to a professional electrician.

    Anyway, up to now I've simply run extension cords to the items I wanted to power with my generator and will probably continue to do the same in the future, at least until I can have an electrician give me a price for wiring my fuse box to accept a generator.

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    Jay
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    I wired my own with a lockable disconnect in the garage. It's a 5KW generator wired thru two 50 amp breakers in the top of my breaker box, and powers the whole house except for a 220v A/C unit.

    I keep a detailed "start-up" check-list inside the breaker panel door, so we can make the change-over without error.
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  8. #8
    The 500 S&W stare... bigweatherby has a spectacular aura about bigweatherby has a spectacular aura about bigweatherby's Avatar
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    When you plug the 220 into your house outlet, the dryer is usually the one most people use, you will be current limited by the breaker that feeds that outlet. For example, if your dryer is on a 30 amp breaker, then that is the max current you can supply to your house. 30 amps is enough to run a lot of things at once and is the rated output of about a 7kw generator. A 5kw should only be on a 20 amp breaker. Also make sure that you have it running through a 2 pole breaker and not 2 singles side by side. It is very important to make sure that your nuetral is connected well between the generator and the house panel. If it isn't you might as well go to Circuit City or Best Buy now and plan which TV and stereo equipment you want to buy to replace the stuff in your home that is smoked. If you have any further questions that I can help with without needing to see your setup I will be glad to do my best to help. Yes, I am licensed here in Michigan.

  9. #9
    Old School. Baldy has disabled reputation
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    Quote Originally Posted by rachilders View Post
    I appreciate the replies from everyone. FWIW, I'm aware of the problems tapping into a household circuit from a second power source can cause (possible fire, overloading the circuit/generator, possible danger to linemen, etc) which is why I haven't tried this "plug in and play" method. I really just wanted to ask around a bit and get some second opinions before talking to a professional electrician.

    Anyway, up to now I've simply run extension cords to the items I wanted to power with my generator and will probably continue to do the same in the future, at least until I can have an electrician give me a price for wiring my fuse box to accept a generator.
    Here in Fla.I would say 90% use the little generator's bought at Home Depot or Lowes that cost about $350. My drier is on a 20amp breaker and it runs 2 frig's and 1 freezer plus about 3 fans and about 4 lights. No problems at all. If the cable is working we'll have a tv or computer on also.

    PS: My brother in law is a retired union electrican and he made the jumper and checked it out for us. Becareful and good luck.

  10. #10
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    I worked in power generation for 35 years. I own a 7KW portable generator and have it set up to connect to the load side of the main disconnect of my meter box. As has already been pointed out, it's extremely important to disconnect your house from the incoming power supply before connecting a generator, but mostly to protect you and your wiring, not the power company employees. Lineman NEVER work on transmission or distribution lines without grounding them first. If you managed to backfeed into the transformer feeding your house, probably the first thing you would see is a terrific overload due to the fact that you are also supplying anyone else that is fed by that same transformer. Even if you were the only customer on that transformer and a lineman was working on the circuit, the minute he placed his protective ground, your generator would be grounded. It will be instantly overloaded.

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