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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,797

    Default Re: Back up generator - choosing and how to connect them?

    One big caution, in many jurisdictions it is the law that you have a transfer switch to connect a generator to a home. Flipping the main breaker is not acceptable, and can get you fined several thousands of dollars if caught as the only separation from the line. Another point with the transfer switch I mentioned, is it leaves all other circuit connected so you can turn on a light on one of the non backed up circuits and it will light when the power is restore to let you know.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    New London County, CT
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Back up generator - choosing and how to connect them?

    To be clear a transfer switch or throwing the main breaker is not required if all you power are plug in items that by unplugging them isolate the home wiring from the generator.

    As for staying in the home for a few hours it is sometimes much more than that. With Irene it was 40 hours with no power. Without a generator that would have meant leaving home to find shelter and competing for that space with all those that do not have a generator.

    Someday this will be a burden for me, when that time comes I'll have to have a plan B, for the time being the system we have keeps us at home and safe.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,969

    Default Re: Back up generator - choosing and how to connect them?

    For sure, the transfer switch is the optimal and safest way to go.

    FWIW after hurricane Ike we went 15 DAYS without electricity. That generator came in handy.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwet
    Posts
    1,605

    Default Re: Back up generator - choosing and how to connect them?

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRemodeler View Post
    We keep 5 or 6 five gallon gas tanks handy for then the big one strikes. When the threat of storm has passed, the stored gas gets used in the family veehickles.
    Quote Originally Posted by A. Spruce View Post
    This is how all gas should be handled. With the introduction of ethanol to gasoline, the shelf life of gas is greatly diminished, 30 days or less, by some accounts. Rather than using "gas extender" additives, just pour any unadulterated gasoline into your car every few weeks and refill your back-up supply. If you've got 2-cycle fuel, this can be run through a lawn mower or just about any other small engine without any harm, so that you can keep your 2-cycle fuel fresh too. With 2-cycle fuel, try to mix the smallest amount that you can use within a short time frame, I never mix more than a gallon at a time for this reason.
    Same goes for the other emergency supplies you're hoarding for martial law, Armageddon, the zombie apocalypse, or January 19, 2038 (look it up). Those freeze-dried rations, beans, and rice may be edible in 25 years but not necessarily palatable. You should rotate them into your daily menu every so often and replenish with fresh stock.


    As for the generator, what the other people said. In addition to that, a few more points to consider: use only 12 gauge or heavier extension cords (the bigger the number the thinner the wire). Lighter gauge cords aren't meant for continuous use or running long distances. (100 foot 16 gauge cords should be banned.) Too light of a cord can be a fire hazard. Too long of a lightweight cord will result in voltage drop, which can damage appliances. If you want to get an installed rather than a portable generator, if you have natural gas service available that is a more convenient and sometimes cheaper option than gasoline, diesel, or propane.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,969

    Default Re: Back up generator - choosing and how to connect them?

    Also - when using extension cords - do not use them for long periods of time / heavy loads when coiled or wound tightly. They can overheat and light themselves on fire.


    Don't ask me how I know this.

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