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Old 04-14-2010, 01:06 AM   #1
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Running exposed romex along ceiling in garage


I would like to add a generator inlet to my home. My electrical panel is in an outside wall near the back of my garage, I would like to add an inlet to the outside of the same wall, but about 20 foot away (closer to the front of the house). I will connect the inlet to a backfed breaker and use a Square D interlock kit to keep everything to code.

Instead of ripping sheetrock down, I was wondering if it would be ok to have the romex (8-3) come out of the top of the flush mounted panel inside the wall and travel up the wall to the top and then exist and run exposed along the ceiling for about 20 foot and then enter the wall again and go down to an inlet mounted on the outside of the wall?

Is that legal to have exposed romex along the ceiling? The ceiling is over 7' high.
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Old 04-14-2010, 05:00 AM   #2
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You are allowed to surface mount romex as long as it is protected from damage. But as for back feeding the panel that isn't legal and very dangerous for someone who might be working out on the utility pole. You should get a manual transfer switch instead.
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Old 04-14-2010, 05:54 AM   #3
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He did say he was installing an interlok kit. That would prevent the main and the generator from being on at the same time, protecting utility workers, yes?
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Old 04-14-2010, 06:18 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by dSilanskas View Post
But as for back feeding the panel that isn't legal and very dangerous for someone who might be working out on the utility pole. You should get a manual transfer switch instead.
It's my understanding there's a $15,000 FINE if you get CAUGHT too!!!

My generator is going to be set up on a completely off-grid circuit. Separate outlets, normally dead, only on when power goes down and I need to run the generator.

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Old 04-14-2010, 08:31 AM   #5
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Interlock kit meets requirements for Gen connection to house panel
The Main breaker must be OFF to turn the Gen backfeed breaker on

Romex can be run along the ceiling, as stated it is OK exposed in areas where it is not subject to damage
This can be an opinion then by your local inspector
What they do not want is wire run across open joists such that the wire could be used like a clothesline

I don't see any issue with your plan



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Old 04-14-2010, 11:06 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dSilanskas View Post
You are allowed to surface mount romex as long as it is protected from damage. But as for back feeding the panel that isn't legal and very dangerous for someone who might be working out on the utility pole. You should get a manual transfer switch instead.
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Originally Posted by Shrute View Post
I will connect the inlet to a backfed breaker and use a Square D interlock kit to keep everything to code.
The SquareD Interlock kit turns my panel into a manual transfer switch. It's UL listed and the installation will be 100% code compliant. There will be a permit pulled and inspection.
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Old 04-14-2010, 11:07 AM   #7
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I don't see any issue with your plan
Great, thanks!

I figure the worse thing that happens if the inspector doesn't like the romex up there is I put a piece of crown molding over it. I'll make my garage look classy
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Old 04-14-2010, 12:50 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
What they do not want is wire run across open joists such that the wire could be used like a clothesline
But that applies to smaller cables like 14/2 to 10/3. When you get into cables of this size (8/3, 6/2, and larger), the NEC does allow NM cable to be secured to the bottom of floor joists in this "clothesline" fashion.
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Old 04-14-2010, 01:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dSilanskas View Post
You are allowed to surface mount romex as long as it is protected from damage. But as for back feeding the panel that isn't legal and very dangerous for someone who might be working out on the utility pole. You should get a manual transfer switch instead.
You're right. If people would realize how (potentially) dangerous this is. ("Backfeeding") But the OP mentioned connecting all with "An Interlocking system. I personally never worked with this "interlock" system. so can't judge whether it is safe. My work involved Transfer switches. Whether Automatic (ATS) or manual. Though an ATS would cost around $2,000.00! Minus installation! Your advice about a Manual transfer Switch is right on target!! Thanx!

Last edited by spark plug; 04-14-2010 at 01:35 PM. Reason: typographical error (Typo).
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Old 04-14-2010, 02:38 PM   #10
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You're right. If people would realize how (potentially) dangerous this is. ("Backfeeding") But the OP mentioned connecting all with "An Interlocking system. I personally never worked with this "interlock" system. so can't judge whether it is safe. My work involved Transfer switches. Whether Automatic (ATS) or manual. Though an ATS would cost around $2,000.00! Minus installation! Your advice about a Manual transfer Switch is right on target!! Thanx!
An interlock kit basically turns the panel into a manual transfer switch. It makes it so that the main breaker and backfed breaker can NOT be on at the same time.

SquareD makes their own interlock kits for their panels for about $75. You can find universal interlock kits for any panel for about $150. But I am not sure about the UL listing on the universal kits.

Universale kit.

I find the interlock kit to be an EXCELLENT product because it allows me to use any circuit in my home. I don't have to run separate "Emergency circuits" out to all areas of my home nor am I limited to 6 or 8 circuits like the typical generator transfer panel has.

There is a little due diligence necessary to figure out how large of a load you can put on your particular generator, since having the entire panel connected could lead to a very large load, but that is an easy to sort out before the storm comes
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Old 04-14-2010, 03:06 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Shrute View Post
The SquareD Interlock kit turns my panel into a manual transfer switch. It's UL listed and the installation will be 100% code compliant. There will be a permit pulled and inspection.
Good for you!

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Old 04-14-2010, 05:06 PM   #12
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The only problem i can see with an interlock kit is the poor fellow working on the pole getting whacked off the neutral. Prime reason i won't ever use one.
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Old 04-14-2010, 05:35 PM   #13
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The only problem i can see with an interlock kit is the poor fellow working on the pole getting whacked off the neutral. Prime reason i won't ever use one.
Most generator panels do not switch the neutral. In anything from the cheaper 6 circuit gen panels up to the expensive 200 amp ATS, I very rarely see a switched neutral. What mainstream residential system do you use that does switch the neutral?

I've never heard anything except speculation about a linemen getting shocked from a neutral from a generator, no real accounts of it happening. And when I hear the speculation, I've never heard of a good theory how a lineman would get shocked from a neutral.

I know it's common for people to say "The neutral could shock you and it hurts more!", but in reality, the only time I've ever seen a neutral shock someone is when they A) open it and B) get themselves between that open neutral and ground. Neither of those conditions come true when you have a generator running at your house and a lineman on the pole. The generator is a SDS and the lineman can't get himself inside that system from the pole.

This is all taking into consideration the fact that in these circumstances the neutral is bonded to ground at the house and has zero potential to ground along the line.

Last edited by Shrute; 04-14-2010 at 05:39 PM.
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Old 04-14-2010, 05:38 PM   #14
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Only the hot is switched on my GenPac unit



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Old 04-14-2010, 05:41 PM   #15
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Only the hot is switched on my GenPac unit
I've installed commercial generator switchgear that switches the neutral, but I've never seen it in residential. I'm sure it's out there, but it's not common and not a requirement. It's an easy thing to do, if there was any safety concern, they would require it I'm sure.
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