Generator for home backup

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On Sat, 13 Dec 2008 23:59:42 -0500, "Nick Danger"

Or the teen/young man, I take it. :D
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Nick Danger wrote:

Cogeneration setups, even the small grid tie inverter systems now becoming common, have numerous safety interlocks and monitors included in them and will not feed power to the grid side if grid power is not present. The also have a test and certification process with the utility verifying all is ok before they allow backfeed and install the appropriate net metering meter. A very different setup than a simple generator.
That said, I still stand by my other post and the point that no lineman has ever been killed by a home generator backfeeding the utility lines, only their own carelessness.
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Pete C. wrote:

You can claim all you want, but there are records of this happening. Lots of rural areas out there where only one house is on a transformer where this is not difficult to do. Sure the linemen should be taking enough precautions to prevent this, but the responsibility is on both sides and if that very tiny chance of everything going just so in the wrong way, someone can get killed or injured and someone is liable.
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James Sweet wrote:

Please provide a cite for this. I've looked at a good number of lineman fatality reports and have yet to find a single case.

The liability is on the side of the lineman in every case report I've seen. It is carelessness plain and simple.
When a lineman is killed working on the lines on a normal day when they are powered by the utilities generators, nobody takes any note of it, but if the line is powered inadvertently by someone else's generator it's suddenly some heinous crime. In both cases the sole responsibility for the death rests with the lineman who was careless and did not follow the utilities mandatory safety procedures.
There are of course some cases of lineman deaths that are not due to their own carelessness, and those pretty much all trace back to failures in the equipment they are using. Often this can be traced back to carelessness on the part of other utility workers in not performing regular inspections and maintenance of the equipment.
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Pete C. wrote:

(rehashed old argument snipped)

What part of contributory negligence do you not understand? Sure, if the lineman takes the time to run all the checks, and takes all the safety steps, he will probably be fine. So what? The circumstances where the grid is down and people are using home gen sets, is usually the same circumstances where the lineman is working long shifts, often far from home, eating when he can, and cold and wet to boot. Even for trained workers, that ups the chances of making an oopsie. Anybody that hooks up a gen set without a proper transfer switch should suffer the legal consequences if somebody gets hurt by their failure to take reasonable precautions. Judges and juries parcel out portions of blame all the time- two different errors, that would have been minor if they occurred at different times, can be fatal if they happen at the same time. In industrial world, that is why you use rubber mats and such even when the lockout devices are in place. People screw up, and shit happens.
-- aem sends...
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aemeijers wrote:

This last bit is where your legal theory is wrong. The mistakes on the part of the lineman that will get them killed if a home generator is powering the lines will also get them killed if the utility generator is powering the lines. Utility linemen have been killed during storms when they were being careless and another crew down the road lit up a section too, except those cases don't get much media attention. Careless got them killed, the source of the electrons is irrelevant.
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Pete C. wrote:

Who gives a crap about legal? Why not spend the couple hundred bucks for a transfer switch, and make the world a little safer for the lineman? I'd feel awful bad if a lineman got killed (even in part) because I was too cheap to take basic safety precautions with my generator wiring. Using your scenario, if the next crew down the line DID do what they were supposed to, and YOUR generator was sending the electrons down the line, well, the source seems pretty relevant to me. Again, contributory negligence. Sure, the lineman screwed up by not following procedure, but if YOU had followed procedure, he'd be alive. That makes you partially at fault.
-- aem sends...
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news.ops.worldnet.att.net:

it seems to me that even if the lineman makes the proper checks,if the load side(homeowner's side) of the line is energized,then he -cannot reconnect- the utility's side.(phasing,voltage differences) Not until he finds the load power source and has them disconnect.That takes time that linemen probably will not have to spare and then the lineman LEAVES that line unpowered until they can get back to it,LATER,much later. That means an extra trip,and extra cost.
THAT is probably reason for a proper transfer box,the RIGHT and proper way to do it.
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
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Jim Yanik wrote:

No, if the lineman finds a section powered that shouldn't be, they just follow their normal procedure and ground the line before working on it. That takes care of both the safety issue and the offending generator in one shot.
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yeah there supposed to always ground line, think of it as a intentional short....
but dead is dead and probably few here would want to be responsible for somones death......
given all this I have backfed, but very carefully....
incidently I intentially short any circuit I am working on in my home to make certain its dead.
found a bad breaker one time doing this.
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aemeijers wrote:

If lines are down due to ice storms or hurricanes the lineman should exercise hightened diligence. In addition to the obvious hazards of slippery conditions, fallen trees, poles, and lines, he can probably HEAR the goddamn generators going putt-putt-putt all around him. I'm sure in the crew meeting at the beginning of the shift, the sergeant says "Be careful out there - people are using generators."
If, in view of all these warning signs, he still gets lit up, well.....
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gee when the power fails while your on vacation, and return home to frozen pipes, busted toilets and all the rest you might rethink the lack of auto start.
if your teenager is stranded at hs girl friends home in the next storm you might regret not replacing the battery
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I'm in North Texas so we get a few tornados and some ice now and then. The house has natural gas. Outages are measured in hours, not days/weeks.
My approach is a Honda EB3000. Using heavy-guage extension cords, running 1 refrigerator, one TV and a few lights is all that I try to do. Maybe a fan or two in the summer. We have gas logs as well as a propane construction heater that uses very little power. There are also lanterns, camp stoves and a NG cooktop.
I have loaned out the generator (as well as the red gas cans that go into short supply) a few times to friends in Miss. as well as East Texas after hurricanes.
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kohler has some new whole house nat gas gensets for about 4,000.00 i happened to see some on ebay . they are enclosed in a metal box.
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look at it for the safety of the homowner.
the generator is hooked up and running, power suddenly restored might cause a fire at the generator....... or power ines in home
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