Sobering reminder, that linemen do actually
get killed from home generator wiring.
Christopher A. Young
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Here is the proper/safe way to do it:
It sounds wise, to have a pro do the transfer switch. Ideally, you can have
the electrician wire a 15 amp socket on the utility power side of that
switch. Plug in a lamp, and a radio (old type with the knobs, and set it to
full volume) so you know when the utility power comes back on.
Christopher A. Young
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wrote in message
We have a 5,500 watt generator. I ran lines from the generator to the well
pump for water, the oil-fired water heater, the oil furnace, the
refrigerator and the freezer. It keeps them all going but I have to unplug
each from the house current and plug them into the generator lines when the
power goes out. Plus we have a spare extention cord that can be plugged into
one of the microwave, coffe maker, reading lamp, etc., as needed.
I wired this all myself but wouldn't install a transfer switch myself. I
plan to get a larger generator with a transfer switch next year, having a
professional electrician do the hookup for insurance and safety
Transfer box for my generator contains switch where box controls items I
have wired, well, furnace, refrigerator, freezers and some lights and
TV. When power comes back, items that were not on transfer box come
back on, i.e. any thing that had been powered on and went off turns back on.
I had mine done professionally where they had also replaced old, unsafe
breaker box. Cost was not excessive.
years old). Just kill the power and wire up a few breakers. I assume someone
fairly handy can do this yes? (did plenty of home wiring in our old house) Was
thinking 6 circuit Reliance transfer switch (20 or 30 amp) would do the trick.
I don't know nuthin' but how can a 30 amp switch be enough for a 5000
watt generator, peak or not.?
Why a transfer switch? Two extension cords, one for the furnace and one for
everything else, should be ample. Even if you install it yourself, a
transfer switch will set you back $200-$300. If you have a licensed, union,
professional install it, what with the possible permits and inspections, you
may be north of $1,000.
A couple of 100' extension cords will set you back less than a hundred
The transfer switch is a no-fuss option allowing you to run (usually) up to
six circuits with the flip of a single switch. Seems to me that after
uncovering the generator in the garage, hauling it out into the air,
charging it with gas, and otherwise fussing around, uncoiling two extension
cards doesn't add much to the project.
Except that you're overlooking the rest of the issues:
1 - You still have to do re-wiring at the furnace. And the result is
that does not meet code, eg the furnace is now on a cord.
If it does meet code, it's not that much more work and
the same skill set to install an inlet and appropriate code compliant
double pole arrangement back at the panel.
2 - With the panel arrangement, you can then selectively power
want in the house. Want to turn on a light in that upstairs closet
to get some clothes? A light in the upstairs bedroom? The gas water
heater? All that is available without running more extension cords.
3 - With the ext cord arrangement, you have to get at the appliance
cord. That means at a min rolling out fridges. And if it's built-in
like some are, you can't roll it out.....
4 - With the panel arangement, you can also power a well pump, if
you have one.
I'm sure there are other issues, but you get the idea....
I agree on the versatility of a transfer switch setup. The OP said all he
wanted to do was run a furnace, fridge, and a couple of smaller devices.
That's at most four extension cords.
As for the claim that a transfer-switch is a do-all, the most common
transfer switches control six circuits and I'll wager not one of them would
be for the upstairs closet. I suspect many homes have more than six
circuits, so you'll have to prioritize which circuits are involved with the
transfer switch. This, in turn, probably means an extension cord or two
anyway - or at least a flashlight.
Or, in the alternative, a 12-circuit transfer switch ($$$).
On a completely different matter, I'm a bit puzzled over your reference to a
gas water heater.
to store, trip over, have to route. . . .
That's why I've decided against installing the transfer switch I
bought a couple years ago and am going to go with an interlock kit--
Or hopefully, if I can find one for an old Cutler Hammer CH30JJM150
box, an *interlock cover*.
Throw 2 switches, plug things in *outside* and start the generator.
Then pick the circuits I want live.
I think the Interlockit gizmo is the way to go too. From everything I
see they are code compliant. I don't understand why people would
install a seperate sub panel for just the emergency generator circuits
when you can install the Interlockit.
For those unfamiliar, Interlockit makes what is essentially a slide
gizmo that fastens to many of the popular breaker panels. It serves
to prevent the main breaker as well as a double pole breaker in the
first position in the panel from both being on at the same time. So,
you put a double breaker in at the top, connect it to an inlet and
you're good to go. Then you can select via existing breakers the
circuits you want to power.
It's cheap, very easy to install, very little re-wiring. The only re-
is to free up the top breaker spot.
Yes, and the new high-efficiency ones also are power vented.
The discussion thread was about installing a MANUAL transfer switch.
was replying to Heybub, who was favoring using extension cords hooked
a portable generator. I was just saying that an Interlockit approach,
gives you a lot more for just a little more cost.
An automatic transfer switch implies a whole different level of
cost, ie you also need a permanent standby generator to go with it.
I see the goodness, but that's a whole different discussion and not
for me. Also with a more complex automatic system, you also have
more failure points, maintenance costs, need a steady fuel source, etc.
In my setup somebody has to go out an start the generator. I'm not
sold on the automatic setups, but if you've got one then money is no
[less of an] object and you can set up a transfer switch that does all
of your panel.
In the too sick- elderly or too young scenarios it becomes a matter of
having someone else do the job, or going to where there is power if
you need it.
If you have an automatic transfer switch the generator has to supply all
the load wired to the transfer switch.
With a manual transfer switch you can use a smaller generator and select
the load you need to run at a particular time, maybe furnace now, then
Depends on your needs and what you want to spend.
I've been reading about these since right after I bought my transfer
From interlock.com they run about $150. there are others in other
places-- but none have the UL sticker, FWIW.
But most manufacturers make a UL listed cover for their boxes. So
far, I've not been able to find one in stock for my 30yr old CH box--
but they list for $240. I'm willing to pay the extra for a shiny new
cover [mine has some surface rust because of a once *very damp*
basement] and the UL sticker.
I've got some searches with the part number stored on ebay so maybe
I'll get lucky before I just go ahead and buy the interlockkit one.
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