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Old 12-31-2013, 01:39 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
30,682 posts, read 49,455,573 times
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One of our neighbors was recently showing me their generator setup. They have two generators.

One is a small portable unit that will run for 8-hours on a gallon of fuel. It does not produce enough to power their well. But it does power their other stuff and allows them to be online.

Their second generator is a big unit that consumes a gallon of fuel per hour. It runs their entire home including the well.
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Old 12-31-2013, 04:55 PM
 
18,356 posts, read 23,531,925 times
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i have a 5000 watt generator,,,i dont have it ready to plug into the circuit breaker box--- ive been putting it off.

we lost power for 3 days this past ice storm...

i was concerned about 3 areas, the first was the sump pump basin, which 3 pipes lead into,,,i need to drain that so water doesnt come into the basement,,,

the next was the fridge, and then maybe the freezer..

i wasnt concerned about heat, i have a woodstove- that also allows me to cook - i cook also use my grill if i wanted to


the fridge i just didnt open,,

i started the generator-ran two extension cords into the house, one in the basement- which i had a multi plug in - the sump pump the freezer, the wireless router..

the upstairs line i also had a multi plug in,,,,plugged in lights,,laptops, tv, etc



i filled the bathtub with water, so we could flush the toilet



note to generator user... after a night of the generator in use for hours, then shut off, the next morning the pull cord pulled extemely hard... so i took the spark plug out, and then pulled, it was back to normal... (compression build up)
if this happens to you----try it.
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Old 12-31-2013, 09:18 PM
 
Location: Lebanon, OH
5,896 posts, read 6,327,291 times
Reputation: 12577
Quote:
Originally Posted by carpero99 View Post
A 1 1/2 horse well pump will draw 2800 watts.
That would be the surge capacity you will need, once started a 1H.P. pump only draws <1200W.

If you are only using a portable generator you won't need a transfer switch, those are for whole house generators that come on automatically when the power goes out and usually runs off a natural gas line.

This is the tornado alley hillbilly hook up method for a portable:

1. If you have an electric dryer, using a piece of 10/3 SOW cord (assuming 4 prong dryer plugs are a rarity in Maine) Make a cord that will go from the 240V/30A outlet on the generator to the dryer outlet to back feed the panel. Or hook the SOW cord up to a 2 pole/30A circuit breaker, take the cover off the panel and snap it on as you would any other circuit breaker.

2. VERY IMPORTANT! Be sure to shut off the main breaker at the top of the panel, if you do not do this you will send current downline and give utility workers a shocking surprise.

This will allow you to resume somewhat normal activities, you will be limited to two burners on an electric stove OR the oven but not both, hair dryer OR electric space heater, just not both at the same time, most everything else will not draw much and the breaker will trip if it does.

I know this is common sense, run the generator outside, people here die of CO poisoning all the time because they ran a generator in the garage.

Personally I just use candles, battery powered lights and an inverter hooked to the car when the power goes out here which happens a lot.
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Old 12-31-2013, 09:53 PM
 
468 posts, read 633,859 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woxyroxme View Post
That would be the surge capacity you will need, once started a 1H.P. pump only draws <1200W.

If you are only using a portable generator you won't need a transfer switch, those are for whole house generators that come on automatically when the power goes out and usually runs off a natural gas line.

This is the tornado alley hillbilly hook up method for a portable:

1. If you have an electric dryer, using a piece of 10/3 SOW cord (assuming 4 prong dryer plugs are a rarity in Maine) Make a cord that will go from the 240V/30A outlet on the generator to the dryer outlet to back feed the panel. Or hook the SOW cord up to a 2 pole/30A circuit breaker, take the cover off the panel and snap it on as you would any other circuit breaker.

2. VERY IMPORTANT! Be sure to shut off the main breaker at the top of the panel, if you do not do this you will send current downline and give utility workers a shocking surprise.

This will allow you to resume somewhat normal activities, you will be limited to two burners on an electric stove OR the oven but not both, hair dryer OR electric space heater, just not both at the same time, most everything else will not draw much and the breaker will trip if it does.

I know this is common sense, run the generator outside, people here die of CO poisoning all the time because they ran a generator in the garage.

Personally I just use candles, battery powered lights and an inverter hooked to the car when the power goes out here which happens a lot.
I really have to say, using a cord with a male plug at each end to back feed a dryer outlet is a bad idea. Sooner or later, somebody will forget/miss turning off the utility breaker. Just as bad, that special cord will be plugged into a running generator with the other end still loose and free, meaning the lugs sticking out of the other male end will be live - something very hazardous because people just don't expect something like that....OR, it will be left plugged into the dryer outlet when grid power is restored and switched on at the panel, but *not* plugged into a generator...then the other end is live, with the full authority of grid power behind it in full 120/240V glory too.

Then too, one day, the power may go out, you aren't home to orchestrate the generator set up, and another of your family attempts to set it up, only they don't know about live, male plug ends or shutting off the grid breaker and/or shutting off the grid breaker *first*

Just leaving a double male-ended cord around a house is a dangerous idea. What happens to that cord after you're gone? Will people know what it does and/or how dangerous it could be? I have to say, the first thing I'd do if I found such a cord is take one end of it *off.*

In electrical work, there are quite a few things that, while illegal, will work electrically, among them reversing black and white wires, putting the switch on the white instead of the black wire, using the grounding (bare) wire for a neutral when the white/grounded conductor is open somewhere and whatnot. Still, sooner or later, doing these kinds of things can and will damage property and/or injure and kill people, especially after the person that might have set up such a special situation, and knew how to deal with it, has moved on, sold the house, and so on.

Most likely a generator inadvertently connected to downed wires on the street grid will simply stall or overload the generator because there probably is a short beyond the transformer and/or your generator will see all your neighbors' homes as additional loads, and probably impossibly large ones at that. But then too, you could connect it just as a lineman is grabbing a cable on the primary side of your house's transformer when there was no other load to overload and stall your generator before doing so. He/she should properly ground the line first, especially now that home generators are becoming all the rage, but.....

For a while I had my generator breaker along side my grid/utility breaker without benefit of an interlock and I was SO careful every time I used the generator. Yes, I am a former electrical engineer, but when the weather is bad and people are flustered by events, it's all too easy to go through a sequence where both breakers are on together, no matter how careful one is. Put a proper interlock in place and I know I won't **** up and destroy my gen set or send harm out onto the utility line.

Lastly, not all generator transfer switches are for large, auto-start, nat. gas/propane generators. Quite a few medium sized portable units benefit from being connected to a manual transfer switch (or main panel set up with a proper interlock on the generator and grid breakers) and power inlet plug that enables such generators to power almost anything in the house they are capable of powering without dealing with extension cords running everywhere. Any generator large enough to have a 4 wire, 120/240V outlet can be wired through such a house inlet plug and transfer switch.

Last edited by beltrams; 12-31-2013 at 10:03 PM..
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Old 01-01-2014, 03:05 AM
 
18,356 posts, read 23,531,925 times
Reputation: 34417
Quote:
Originally Posted by woxyroxme View Post
That would be the surge capacity you will need, once started a 1H.P. pump only draws <1200W.

If you are only using a portable generator you won't need a transfer switch, those are for whole house generators that come on automatically when the power goes out and usually runs off a natural gas line.

This is the tornado alley hillbilly hook up method for a portable:

1. If you have an electric dryer, using a piece of 10/3 SOW cord (assuming 4 prong dryer plugs are a rarity in Maine) Make a cord that will go from the 240V/30A outlet on the generator to the dryer outlet to back feed the panel. Or hook the SOW cord up to a 2 pole/30A circuit breaker, take the cover off the panel and snap it on as you would any other circuit breaker.

2. VERY IMPORTANT! Be sure to shut off the main breaker at the top of the panel, if you do not do this you will send current downline and give utility workers a shocking surprise.

This will allow you to resume somewhat normal activities, you will be limited to two burners on an electric stove OR the oven but not both, hair dryer OR electric space heater, just not both at the same time, most everything else will not draw much and the breaker will trip if it does.

I know this is common sense, run the generator outside, people here die of CO poisoning all the time because they ran a generator in the garage.

Personally I just use candles, battery powered lights and an inverter hooked to the car when the power goes out here which happens a lot.



this is also a good idea- have an inverter on hand that you can hook to your car battery then plug in a/c

the inverters have come down in price alot .. they differ in the amount of continuing use watts, i believe-
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Old 01-01-2014, 08:31 AM
 
393 posts, read 827,093 times
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We have a whole-house propane generator made by Kohler. Haven't had to use it much but it does work well, as needed.
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Old 01-01-2014, 01:54 PM
 
22 posts, read 41,733 times
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Well thanks for the suggestions so far. This past ice storm we had a little 3500 watt portable generator and it barely ran a couple of little electric heaters. Really I just want heat, a running fridge, and the ability to take a hot shower.

We don't have propane or natural gas so I was looking at gas generators specifically. I never thought about solar panels so I may look into that as well although we are shaded quite a bit.

We live in Orono and the two years we've lived here we only lost power a few times, this past storm for about 3 days, so I don't want to spend a ton of money on something we won't use a whole lot.
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Old 01-01-2014, 02:23 PM
 
3,438 posts, read 4,733,569 times
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I purchased a 20k Generac whole house propane generator in Sept 2012.( I live in northern Arkansas )

It will kick in automatically and the entire cost...........set up, installing electrical parts etc was $6,200.

I was told it easily will run my entire house.
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Old 01-03-2014, 05:40 PM
 
1,297 posts, read 3,127,072 times
Reputation: 1506
Oh it will. In fact one half that size might depending what you have for other energy sources.

Generac has a nice calculator on their website for determining the size jenny you may need. I am evenly split between propane and electric for my appliances so my kw requirement was only 9-12 KW. Electric hot water, electric range, well pump, etc will all add more kw's to the requirement, but their site does that easily for you.

Generac Power Systems - Generator Sizer

I've been looking myself at buying a standby generator as I just lost about $1200 in meat in my freezer, so at that price it does not take long to recoup the cost of installing a stand by jenny. One concern that I have is that I work away from home 13 hours per day and cannot expect my wife to handle hooking everything up. While this may be a small issue for some, for me the automatic nature of a standby is a huge reason to get one so that is my reasoning for going this route.

One more note that others may want to consider. While a 11 kw Jenny at Tractor supply runs about $3000 with 50 amp 16 circuit transfer switch, a 14kw unit costs $350 more and comes with a 100 amp whole house transfer switch. I know a few hundred bucks is a lot of money, but for $350 you get plenty of power more than making the 14 kw unit a better deal.
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Old 01-03-2014, 06:36 PM
 
Location: MMU->ABE->ATL->ASH
9,127 posts, read 17,145,055 times
Reputation: 9980
One thing I don't Understand.. "I lost $1200 in meat in the freezer"

Why not just put it all outside? From what I saw last month the temp in Maine Was almost never over 30f for the last 30 days or so,
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