I've seen some thing called an Interlockkit. Put two breakers across
from each other (one from grid, one from generator). the slider bar
helps remember to shut off the mains when turning on the generator.
Heat with wood? That's so last century. You need an Obama account, and
the government will take care of you.
This stuff works IF your breaker box allows it.
My house was built in 1970. Has several main breakers that get
fed to secondary breakers that feed the house outlets.
No way to get juice from the dryer outlet to the rest of the house
without backfeeding the grid.
Not code compliant today, but many homes exist with that configuration.
Make darn sure you don't lose the common. Can make a lot of smoke on
your 120V devices.
In the world of "less than perfect", sometimes
you make do with what you got. I sense that you're
a reasonably safe operator. Lets keep a good thought
that power cuts happen when you're home, not your
less skilled relatives.
On Saturday, January 25, 2014 4:18:38 PM UTC-5, mike wrote:
This brings up an intereting point. Let's say a house has
two 150 amp panels side by side. You have a 30 amp portable
generator. Is there any reason you can't put a double pole breaker in
each panel, together with Intelockit kit or similar from the panel
manufacturer, and wire those two breakers in parallel to an
inlet that you would then connect the generator to? It would be
a bit odd, because if you only opened the main breaker on one panel,
you could have the circuits in one panel being fed
by the generator, while those in the other panel are still
connected to the grid.
And if you can do it with two, you could do it with the
several panels that you apparently have. If you can't do
it then you'd be limited to the generator only being able
to supply the circuits in one panel.
Not sure why it would not be code compliant. AFAIK, there isn't
anything that says you can't have more than one panel, add a sub-panel,
etc. It would be strange to do it if there is no logical reason,
and the inspector might look at you like you were nuts,
but that doesn't make it a code violation.
There is always going to be some exceptional case that complicates
things. But at least around here, all the single family homes
that I've seen and lived in have had one main panel and
perhaps a subpanel for some expansion. Makes sense too,
because it's easy, straightforward and less complicated. The places
I've seen some of what you describe are older houses that were
added onto piece meal, multi-family, major new addition, etc.
It's not typical for a single family house built in the 70s.
I am seeing two panels here more recently on large homes because they
have more circuits than can fit in a single panel. But those are straightforward, side-by-side.
A bigger problem with the Interlockit approach I would think
would be that the appropriate lockout may not be available
for all panels, especially older ones.
On 1/25/2014 2:04 PM, email@example.com wrote:
Service input is underground.
Comes up into the garage wall with the meter on the outside.
Bare cable goes up into the attic and down to the breaker box
on the other end of the garage.
It's an arc-fault waiting to happen.
Drive a nail thru the cable and the first current limit
is the breaker in the distribution system somewhere down the street.
Near as I can tell from discussion with the building inspector is
that it's strictly against today's code.
I looked at installing a transfer switch.
Looks like I'd have to replace the meter box and put all the
switching and input breakers in that. Not impossible, but more
hassle and expense than I'd like.
Sounds like a split-bus panel. There are up to 6 service disconnects and
one of them feeds the bottom of the panel where most of the breakers
are. Some of the other service breakers may feed stoves, driers, water
The code for many years (and maybe when your house was built) requires
the service disconnect to be at the nearest practical point inside the
building (or outside).
You may be able to put a panel outside with a service disconnect (solves
the problem above) and a generator breaker and an interlock. May still
be "more hassle and expense than you'd like".
Someone here recommended a mechanical 'lockout' sold just for this
purpose. Goes in the breaker panel, gives you positive action as to
whether generator is going IN or house power is going IN, can't
accidentally do both with it. Has very visible display as to which state
I miss the very quiet, very comfortable "octopus in the basement" heat -
the old convection furnace, you even added your own thermal mass, like
sand on top. The flame powered a thermocouple that powered the thermostat
and during power outages, our home kept toasty. Plus, the gentle air flow
was constant, with none of that blowing noise and NEVER had the peaks and
dips of an air blower system either. But alas, these systems were deemed
too inefficient so are never installed anymore and when found are
instantly ripped out.
Yes, that would be me. And others before me.
I've helped take out octopus furnace. They weren't very
energy efficient. I remember when I was a little kid,
my parents had the octopus replaced, and put in what
was probably a 70 percenter.
I do not have a master breaker in the house. I do use a male to male cord to
connect my generator to part of the house. I have to flip off all the breakers
to keep the power from feeding the neighborhood and popping the generator
breakers. I do use a surge protector on the generator and then connect my
adapter cord to the house to smooth out the fluctuations of power from the
generator. My expensive electronics are all on surge protectors as well.
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