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capt2 01-02-2008 08:56 PM

Water Heater on Generator
The water heater is the final load I want to put on my new generator. Here in Mich. we chose the option where the wtr htr is on a separate meter and feed into the house. It goes to a separate breaker/box, then to the wtr htr. (Interruptable service in return for a reduced kwh rate) My idea is to use a switch. Though not sure of the exact term, schematic wise it would look like 2 3-way switches together. To wire, the 2 commons would go to each lead of the water heater. Each common would either toggle between power from the generator OR power from the POCO. My questions are--1.)Can I effectively and code wise do this? 2.)What do you call this switch? 3.)CAn I get one rated at 30 amps? 4.) What type of enclosure shall I put the switch in?
Thanks in advance.

goose134 01-02-2008 09:47 PM

What you are looking for is called a transfer switch. The way in which you propose to do it seems dangerous. If one of the switches is in the wrong position, it will backfeed the transformer and endanger utility personnel. The second problem (I may be wrong about this) is that the device still needs overcurrent protection on the load side. That is to say, you don't want the generator to keep pumping juice into a fault condition and there is nothing to stop it. I think if you look online for automatic transfer switches and related products you'll find what you need. It may incur a bit of an expense, but the prices are reasonable and safer than jerryrigging something together. :)

capt2 01-02-2008 10:57 PM

Thanks. The poco and generator feeds are breaker protected. I don't propose a jery rig or 2 switches. I just want one device that will toggle between the 2. So there is not chance of back feed in what I was diagraming. I've heard about transfer switches and interlocks, I can't however visualize them on a schematic or understand them (as yet anyway) to be comfortable enough to use them. HELP

Bondo 01-03-2008 06:04 AM


I've heard about transfer switches

Google them up,....
Basically,..... They do pretty much as you describe, usually Automatically.....

LawnGuyLandSparky 01-03-2008 01:17 PM

It might actually be cheaper to install a second "emergency" water heater. How large is the genset, can it handle a load as large as a typical electric water heater?

capt2 01-03-2008 08:48 PM

Thanks for the replies. The Gen is 13KW and I have solved the situation by ordering a 30A DPDT switch--about $50.

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