Generator for home backup

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SMF wrote:

That's a high price. I paid $450 for mine a 5500 watt 8000 peak. Just roll it out and plug it in my outside 220 volt outlet, turn off the main and turn on that breaker. Can run everything in the house (not all at the same time. I need it because of well pump, sewer pump. TV works fine, computers are ok. No problems. Fridge and furnace run as needed. Microwave works fine as does the stove.
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Claude Hopper wrote:

Probably gulps a lot of fuel, has poor voltage and frequency regulation, and makes a heck of a racket as well. If you ever used an inverter model, you'd never want to go back, assuming you use it with any regularity.
I've been guilty of connecting a generator that way as well, it does work, and it's ok *if* you remember to shut off the main, but you don't always know when the power has come back on, not to mention it's highly illegal.
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James Sweet wrote:

Actually, if you've used one of the mostly small inverter generators, you will never want to go back to a conventional gas portable. When you find you need more capacity than the inverter models offer you will be looking at the enclosed package units.
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Claude Hopper wrote:

What happens when you forget to turn off the main or you are sick or ill and someone plugs this stuff in and forgets to open the main.
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George wrote:

We don't forget these things. That's what's wrong with mankind; can't pay attention.
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Claude Hopper wrote:

I figured you would say you are perfect, never make a mistake even though you may be tired and its 3 AM etc and will never get sick/incapacitated or incapable of managing your haybaled system.
I only wish I could be perfect.
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George wrote:

99.99% of the time your generator dies instantly. 0.005% of the time your generator powers the fallen power line in your driveway with 120/240V. 0.005% of the time your generator powers all the way back to your end of line utility pole, back feeds through the utility transformer and powers the short run to the break in the primary line with 7,200V or so.
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Pete C. wrote:

Linemen have been killed and injured by this. It may not be common, but it has happened.
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James Sweet wrote:

And in every single case the death has been attributable to the lineman *not* following their safety procedures and failing to ground the lines they will be working on, use their PPE, etc. In no documented case has the cause of the fatality been the generator backfeeding. The generator backfeeding only presented an opportunity for a careless lineman to kill themselves.
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You may wish to Google the term "contributory negligence" with particular attention to damage awards.
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wrote:

I would not advise the use of a generator feeding the panel without proper transfer equipment but I also put this "kill a lineman" thing in the urban legend pile. You would have to have a big generator to handle the inrush of an unloaded 25 or 37 KVA transformer and if there are a couple other houses on it you are never going to keep from tripping out. Just the locked rotor of a couple refrigerators and air conditioners will kill most of the home owner sized generators. The idea of feeding much "grid" is ludicrous.
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On Dec 12, 1:54pm, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

How about these:
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2008/20080729/cth2.htm
Lineman electrocuted Our Correspondent
Kalka, July 28 A 42-year-old lineman was electrocuted to death today on National Highway-22, near General Post office here. The incident took place at around 7.30 pm when Bashir Khan, a casual lineman with the contractor of UHBVN, Kalka, along with his co-workers, Rana Sharma and Surjit, was busy in repairing work of a high tension wire on the electric pole.
The eyewitnesses, including Sharma, told The Tribune that as Khan climbed up the pole, heavy spark was seen and he got stuck in the high- tension wires. The inconsolable family members told The Tribune that Khan was a resident of Abdullapur colony, ward no. 6 of Pinjore. The police had put the dead body in the mortuary of Civil Hospital, Kalka, for autopsy to be conducted tomorrow.
Sanjeev Bali, SDO of UHBVN, Kalka, said although when the maintenance work was being done, the power supply was cut off. However, the incident took place when a nearby Hotel Kingsley, opposite the post office, started its power generator, which sent the electric current to the high-tension wire, therefore claiming the life of Khan.\\
http://www.powerlineman.com/lforum/archive/index.php/t-711.html
"Rotahand07-13-2005, 08:39 PM This is no prank. The lineman killed yesterday was working for Pike Electric and picked up a line that was connected to someones house that hooked up a generator and did not disconnect from the distribution system. The linemans name was Ronnie Adams, age unknown. He had two children and a wife. As far as I know he was from Louisiana. They are trying to set up a fund for his family, but nothing I have heard of yet. I will let yall know more as I hear of it. I wish they would really teach folks the proper connection of generators, this was a really tragic and preventable accident. Stay Safe and think about it before you do it."
Also, I can give you a long list of public electric companies that specifically warn against backfeeding and state that it can and has killed linemen. That alone should remove it from the urban legend category.
You would have to have a big generator to

No one said you have to feed much, if any grid. You just have to be backfeeding and happen to have the right other conditions for your generator to kill someone. It's real and should not be minimized or dismissed as urban legend.
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Robert Neville wrote:

It is contributory negligence to the same extent as a parent providing a car to their trained licensed teenager which the teenager then manages to kill themselves with. Any judgments contradicting this are the result of inadequate legal representation.
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I beg to differ. There are obvious problems with this invalid comparison. First, there is nothing illegal or a violation of any law in a parent allowing a licensed teenager to drive their car. Second, the person killed is the driver themselves not someone else.
Backfeeding a generator and killing a lineman is like ignoring safety codes requiring smoke detectors or balconey railings that results in someone getting killed. And rest assured that courts have rendered plenty of negligence awards in those areas.
Or, to follow your own example, backfeeding a generator and killing someone is like the parent allowing an unlicensed, underage teenager to drive their car and the teenager then strikes and kills a school crossing guard.
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Nothing, like gasolene, and its safer than Ng
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ransley wrote:

Or a tree could have knocked down the primary up the road from you and when you backfeed the transformer it puts high voltage (typically 7.2kv on modern systems) onto your segment of the line. It doesn't take much power to eletrocute someone and likely any generator backfeeding in such a fashion could easily do it.
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George wrote:

Circuit breaker... duh.
TDD
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Neighbours of mine have what I would like. It is a built in generator powered by the natural gas line that powers the furnace and hot water. It has of course a transfer panel and it automatically starts when the power goes out. Their lights hardly flickered when the power last went out and they had everything in the house up and running.
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I did mine by the book (licensed electrician, transfer switch, even got a permit from the town), but I chose to go with a manual start. There have been cold nights when I stood there in freezing rain pulling the recoil starter (which is a good workout on a propane-fired 9KW unit (more on that in a moment)) and wished the process were more convenient, but I still stand by my decision. I want to decide for myself when the unit will start. If there's a raging thunderstorm going on, I don't want God and the generator to go head to head. If there's a hurricane or tornado and the house is a total wreck with exposed wires hanging all over the place, I don't want the generator to power them.
However, I did go for electric start. Even though it came with a recoil starter, the guy who installed it said it would be very difficult to start it when using gasoline, and totally impossible with propane. But one night, I found myself with no power and a dead starter battery, and I figured I had nothing to lose, so why not give it a try. It took about 20 long hard pulls, but it finally started. As my son got into his teens, I found I had other options. This power source is a lot more expensive than a new battery, but I have to pay that cost anyway, so at least I'm getting something for my money. It's been over a year now and I still haven't replaced the battery.
As for all the comments about backfeeding... of course I don't condone pushing power back into an outlet, but it's not clear to me that they can make it illegal. So long as you do remember to turn off the main breaker, you can do what you want inside your own house. You haven't made any permanent alterations, so no building codes have been violated. If you forget to throw the switch, then that's another story. I'm not buying the excuse that "I'm alert and conscientious and never make mistakes." I consider myself to be all of the above, but even working together with my son with each of us monitoring the other, we have made mistakes in the checklist of things to do when starting the generator. Of course the mistakes we make result in the probability of an accident increasing from 0.0000000001 to 0.0000000002 (or some such) - but still, it's a reminder that we make mistakes no matter how careful we are. However, it would seem the linemen should always be prepared. What happens if someone is doing cogeneration and legally pushing power back out through their wire?
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And it's illegal as hell; prove it; talk to your local code enforcement officer/office. In order to connect a generator for use, you must guarantee that it can not backfeed the lines. Period. It's the law, period.
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