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Old 09-05-2009, 11:09 AM   #1
 
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Generator Help


I want to have a backup power source for essentials in my home in case of a power outage, especially during winter. I want to run some lights and the fridge. I can switch things on and off like the water heater, water pump, stove, etc only when needed.

I was told a 50 amp generator would provide the most adequate power. I saw the one in the link below and it says 50 [email protected] It only has two 25 amp outlets though and not a 50 amp plug.

I wanted to hook up the generator to my panel box (with the main switched off of course) via a 50 amp outlet in order to backfeed my house since things like water heater / pump are connected directly to the panel.

My question is,

1. if the generator says 50 amps, but only has two 25 amp outlets, how do I connect it to my panel and get the 50 amps?

2. Is 6000 running watts enough to power a few lights / fridge with the other big things being turned on only when needed.

Generator:
http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/w...9069_200359069
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Old 09-05-2009, 11:29 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacknase View Post
Is 6000 running watts enough to power a few lights / fridge with the other big things being turned on only when needed.
http://www.wholesalesolar.com/pdf.fo...ower-table.pdf
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Old 09-05-2009, 03:43 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacknase View Post
I want to have a backup power source for essentials in my home in case of a power outage, especially during winter. I want to run some lights and the fridge. I can switch things on and off like the water heater, water pump, stove, etc only when needed.

I was told a 50 amp generator would provide the most adequate power. I saw the one in the link below and it says 50 [email protected] It only has two 25 amp outlets though and not a 50 amp plug.

I wanted to hook up the generator to my panel box (with the main switched off of course) via a 50 amp outlet in order to backfeed my house since things like water heater / pump are connected directly to the panel.

My question is,

1. if the generator says 50 amps, but only has two 25 amp outlets, how do I connect it to my panel and get the 50 amps?

2. Is 6000 running watts enough to power a few lights / fridge with the other big things being turned on only when needed.

Generator:
http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/w...9069_200359069

You must use a transfer switch that prevents power from back feeding into the grid. The way your proposing is illegal.

A water heater is likely going to be 30-40A at 240v. Stove 40-60A at 240v. So might barely squeak by with a generator that produces 50A @ 240v. But you will have to be very selective as to what you have on.

Jamie
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Old 09-05-2009, 04:32 PM   #4
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It's great to have a backup for emergencies. We have a motorhome that provides for our backup needs.

To connect the generator to the house panel you need to install a manual transfer switch or a breaker lockout (available for many panels - forces the main breaker off if generator breaker is on, and vice versa). Either protects from having generator power fed back to the power company and danger to their workmen.

In looking at the URL you provided, the generator has a 120/240V locking outlet - use this to get the 240v. rather than the two 120v outlets.


Electric stoves, electric water heaters, or electric heat will max out a generator, unless you have a really large capacity unit. the unit you mention will do a good job in an emergency with some limitations. Options that come to mind:
  • Got gas?
  • Cold water showers or go without until the emergency passes
  • Use a microwave oven in emergency times

Last edited by vsheetz; 09-05-2009 at 04:36 PM.
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Old 09-05-2009, 05:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamiedolan View Post
...A water heater is likely going to be 30-40A at 240v. Stove 40-60A at 240v. So might barely squeak by with a generator that produces 50A @ 240v....
Most water heaters are 4500 watt @240 Volts. This translates into 18.75 Amps. I don't recommend using a small gen set for such loads, but if one has an extended outage, one could conceivably turn off everything else to heat the water tank. An alternative would be to connect the water heater for 120 Volt operation, making it 1125 watts, easily handled by a portable gen set. It will take 4 times as long to heat the water, but that is the trade-off when dealing with emergency measures.

Many electric ranges have surface elements rated at 1500 watts for a small burner, and 2600 watts for a large one. If you cook with only one element at a time, using such an appliance can be manageable using a gen set. Unless you switched all the burners on high at the same time, you'll never approach 40-60 Amps.
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Old 09-05-2009, 05:32 PM   #6
 
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When your generator is running it is energizing two wires each with 25 amps of current flow. Measured against ground or neutral each wire is 120 volts. Measure the two wires against each other and you have 240 volts. Why? Because they are in opposite polarity to each other. But each wire still has only 25 amps of current flowing through it.
The bottom line is that your generator will not give you a 50 amp circuit. It will give you two 25 amp circuits at 120 volts each (2 x 25 x 120 = 6000 watts) or one 25 amp circuit at 240 volts (1 x 25 x 240 = 6000 watts). Or it will give you a combination of 120/240 volt circuits. But never with more than 25 amps of current flow.
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Old 09-05-2009, 06:16 PM   #7
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I use a 6000 watt generator and got by just fine with electric off for 7 days. I installed a Reliance transfer switch. Buy one with as many circuits as you think you will need and just switch on and off as needed. More detail at http://www.reliancecontrols.com/. We heat up the water in the WH, then switch it off and turn on pump. Have enough hot water for 2 showers. Water pump, microwave, furnace, refrigerator and 2 lighting circuits (one with TV) on most of the time. This is not a set up to run every thing in the house and your shop but will get you by comfortably during an emergency. Heat, water, some lights, TV, food kept cold, and microwave. Switch evry thing else offf and heat water.
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Old 09-06-2009, 12:42 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kbsparky View Post
Most water heaters are 4500 watt @240 Volts. This translates into 18.75 Amps.
Sorry for that error on my part, I estimated and I should have looked up what they use. I've had gas for a number of years now.

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Old 09-06-2009, 06:51 AM   #9
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Jack, don't obsess about "50A" just because of what "someone told you".
Just saying 50A is meaningless, which is what I assume you were told.

Figure out what your real needs are, add a few hundred watts to that and you are good to go. Get a generator with running watts above that number.
The majority of typical homes, not 4500 sq/ft Mcmantions, can get by with a good quality 5500-6500 watt genset.

You MUST, repeat MUST, have some form of transfer switch or panel. This has been gone over many times and the bottom line is still the same.
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Old 09-06-2009, 11:34 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
You MUST, repeat MUST, have some form of transfer switch or panel. This has been gone over many times and the bottom line is still the same.
Or an interlock kit. www.interlockkit.com.
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Old 09-06-2009, 10:08 PM   #11
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Also make sure you get this inspected due many local area is getting very strict with this.

I know few area near my shop is cracking down pretty hard with improper transfer switch set up and some area did not even have legit set up .

Merci,Marc
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