Power failure

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I have a 5000 watt gas generator. I would like your opinion as to if it is safe during a power failure to turn off my main breakers and plug the generator into any house outlet to backfeed the power to the entire house? It sounds to me like as long as the mains are off in case the power comes back on it should work just fine. What do the rest of you think?
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">I have a 5000 watt gas generator. I would like your opinion as to if

*I know that some people do that by backfeeding into a dryer outlet. It is a very BAD idea and not safe. The cheapest way to make it safe is to install a male inlet outside and an Interlock kit with a back fed circuit breaker in your circuit breaker panel.
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Deacon_Man wrote:

Do you really thing the wire to one house outlet is going to handle all the power your house uses?
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During Hugo I plugged the generator into my dryer and ran the whole house but I have gas appliances as much as possible..
Jimmie
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Hmm. Do you mean "dryer socket" perhaps?
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During Hugo I plugged the generator into my dryer and ran the whole house but I have gas appliances as much as possible..
Jimmie
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As another poster said, you can search the group archives. My thoughts include.....
* During a power cut, gasoline is in very short supply. Use as little electricity as possible. The power cut may last several days longer than your gasoline. * Be considerate of your neighbors. Plan your power usage so you can shut down by 8 PM or so, the neighbors kids will sleep better. * Generators are a high theft item. Chain it securely. Preferably also chain next to it, a large dog with AIDS and attitude. Put ear plugs in the dog so it doesn't go deaf. * Generators pump out carbon monoxide. Run it outdoors, a couple feet away from the house. At 7:30 PM, Let the generator cool, and bring the generator indoors, and keep it securely locked. * As to your question, a transfer swith, power inlet, and proper cord is the way to go. With mains and back feeding, there is a risk that some unskilled person wrapped a wire around something, and you may kill a lineman. If you think no one does goofy wiring, read this list for the last few days.
I would never in a million years reccomend, or approve of back feeding. In my case, during the four day power cut of 2003, I unwired my furnace from the circuit, wire nutted a 3 wire power cord onto the connections from the furnace. Ran extension cord under the front door. Zero chance of back feeding. Of course, I used a lot of flash lights and battery lanterns, because all my usual lights were dark.
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The real concern isn't "if the power comes back on". The real concern is that it's possible for your generator to send power out to the wires outside your house. That power could easily fry a lineman.
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If you are feeding the wires outside your house, you are feeding the whole neighborhood. It's an impressive generator that could carry that load.
OK, I know. Maybe the break is right at your transformer.
Regardless, I think a transfer switch and proper connection is essential. During an outage, linemen are my best friends. I'd hate to fry one.
-- Doug
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On 2/20/2010 9:59 AM Deacon_Man spake thus:

As others have said here, this subject seems to get discussed to death every two months or so.
So here's the deal; this scheme *can* be safe *IF*:
1. Nobody shocks themself on the energized male plug on the generator that you use to plug into an outlet in your house.
2. You make *absolutely* certain that while the generator is backfeeding your house that your main breakers are flipped off.
That's too many "ifs" for me. But that's just me. And remember, while the result of 1) will probably just be a nasty surprise to you, the result of 2) could be a a fried (as in dead) utility worker.
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5000 peak watts means it "can" generate 5000 at full load continously, and my car can drive 135, but I dont know it would last. Anthing with a motor usualy take 2-3x startup "surge" load so you frige, sump, can overload a loaded unit. 5000 watts to be safe would run at 3000 watts powering essentials , not a whole house. And then you have to monitor voltage and watts since voltage will drop the more it puts out. I would not backfeed a gen I got a 300$ complete transfer panel which makes it alot safer on everything. There is alot more to learn about making your own power and doing it safely, then putting gas in a gen and plugging it in.
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On 2/20/2010 12:59 PM, Deacon_Man wrote:

discussion here as in previous cases when this was discussed to death. Actually, as others point out, the best is a transfer switch. I personally like this one: http://www.interlockkit.com/ It is simplicity in itself. Actually, I really don't see anything technically wrong with backfeeding IF your are very careful and always shut off the main breaker or pull the meter. I know I will hear a lot of discussion and flames to the contrary, so that's why I believe the transfer switch is the best. Anyone, even pros, can screw up. BTW, I do have an emergency generator panel in my present house, but did do the backfeed thing in the previous house. I think that if you don't drop the main breaker, the genset would probably just die due to you trying to feed the whole area with power.
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Obviously this is major safety issue. Backfeeding through an outlet would work, on a technical level, but it is terribly dangerous. If you had to run a generator to power some of the loads in your house, the safest way to do this would be to: first, open the main breaker to your lighting panel. This will isolate you from the rest of the grid, and it will protect the grid from you. Second, wire a 20A breaker in your lighting panel to your generator output. Tie the neutral and ground properly. This will give you access to 20A and about half of your home outlets and lights. If you have to, you can put a second 20A breaker on the other half of your panel. No 220V items will work.
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That is similar to what I did. I put in a 30 amp breaker and ran wiring outside near where my 5 KW generator is. I installed two 120 volt and one 240 volt sockets . Each of the 120 volt sockets is wired to a differant leg of the 240 volt line. I have a heavy duty drop cord I made with male plugs on each end that only fit the generator and the 240 volt socket for the house.
I did make up a paper checklist to keep near the generator where I store the drop cord. It lists the steps to take. Such as # 1 on the list is to cut off all the breakers and then the main breaker. # 2 is to unplug all the items that stay on all the time in the standby mode such as the TV and computers.
While the outside socket does not meet the code for ground fault and a few other things, I do not care. I installed it myself. I am an electrician at a large factory and deal with high voltage all the time.
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*It would have been just as much work and a lot safer for a professional electrician such as yourself to have installed a male inlet and an Interlock kit.
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On 2/21/2010 5:42 PM John Grabowski spake thus:
[ralph mowery wrote;]

Perhaps. But that brings up a question: I can see how the male connector is much safe when connecting the generator to the house, but what prevents one from getting shocked by it when the generator isn't connected? Is there an interlock that disconnects the power connector when you're not backfeeding the house?
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Dear David, I'll admit it. You just made a HUGE oversight. I'm man enough to admit that you appear to not have read what the man wrote.
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

There is a recessed M connector with cover you know.
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Yes, I could have installed an interlock but it would add to the cost, and would not have given me an outlet outside the house where I wanted one. I could have even made something like this or bought one.
http://www.interlockkit.com/intro2.htm
For the other question, if an interlock is installed, the outlet for the generator is a dedicated inlet only. The interlock will not let it connect to the house if the main breaker is active.
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Ralph Mowery wrote:

You would have had an outlet on the outside: there's one on the generator.
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