DIY Home Improvement Forum banner

1 - 3 of 3 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,001 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Maybe best if I was to create two topics, but here I go....

Our power has gone out 3 times in 2 weeks for an unknown issue. This is neighborhood wide affecting about 1/2mile+ radius. Seems like a huge surge of power rushing back in when it happens as today, I heard my house seemingly creek as the power came back. Was strange!

I'm thinking maybe it's time to put a whole house surge in. Am I correct this is very straight forward or is there more to it than meets the eye? I've installed countless breakers and even some arc faults. My understanding on these are some install remotely, meaning outside the panel and you wire to an otherwise unused 220 amp breaker, and some take up the space of a breaker and wire internally into the panel, very much like an arc fault or 220 amp breaker.

My next question is are they worth the money spent? I'm guessing yes, but I have to ask. My understanding on the arc faults is they were very good for a long time, but I've had decent luck with mine and they even sensed faults in LED bulbs. What do I look for and what do I stay away from?

What if I have sub-panels? I'm guessing best place for these are the main panel, or can they be installed in one of the subs if more space is present?

My panel is a Cutler-Hammer BR2040B200.

Next on this topic of power outages is I have a Generac LP3250 propane generator. I realize it's not technically big enough to run the entire house, but my thought is if I could at least power a few items, it might be worth it during a prolonged outage. I'm thinking if it could power the furnace/central AC, maybe one room for outlets and then some lighting. I realize I would have to stay under specs, but all my lighting has been converted to LED, so low use there.

Anything to watch out for on these? A friend installed one a few years ago and they seem pretty straight forward as well. Being that it isn't modified sine wave, do I need to do anything or watch out for anything? My understanding is if you want to run sensitive electronics behind one that isn't clean, you just use a surge power strip, like you'd plug a PC into and it'll clean the power for you. Any input is appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,036 Posts
Something called a "line conditioner" is used to "clean up" "dirty power." Surge protectors may or may not have built in line conditioners. Line conditioners may be as simple as single capacitors. Of course more elaborate line conditioners clean up the power better although rudimentary line conditioners may clean up the power sufficiently for most electronics provided the power was not too dirty to begin with..

Dirty power consists of frequencies greater than 60 Hz mixed in, the next frequencies are usually 120 Hz and 180 Hz. Most line conditioners will remove practically all of the frequencies above 120 Hz; rudimentary ones may leave behind much of the 120 Hz that was found.

A quick although imprecise way to see if there is a surge when power is restored is to coincidentally be looking towards some incandescent lights as the power comes back on.

If the lights come on normally without abnormal brightening and without flickering then there was no surge.

The refrigerator will almost always start when power is restored.You will definitely hear it.

Sometimes if you had a heavy drawing appliance (such as an all electric water heater) that has clicked "on" while awaiting power, you may hear some vibration from it and/or from its panel breaker when power is restored.

If there was nothing significant (appliances, etc.) connected/plugged in and "on" when power is restored then there will be no big inrush of power. Any given branch circuit will behave the same way when the breaker was on and power came back after an outage compared with the breaker being off with no outage and you flipped the breaker on.

A whole house transfer switch is usually installed before the primary breaker panel and in that case usually requires an electrician and cooperation of the power company. A whole hosue transfer switch can also be installed between the main panel and a subpanel without involving the power company if all of the important branch circuits come into that subpanel.

You can buy a transfer switch box that serves (typically six to twelve) branch circuits of your choice. The generator is connected to that.

You can connect any 120/240 volt generator to a whole house transfer switch and use just your discipline to flip off all panel breakers except rotate among those breakers for branch circuits with important equpment such as the refrigerator.
 

·
Naildriver
Joined
·
10,641 Posts
For a generator that small, I would go with the GenTran set up Alan mentioned. You will have to physically start the generator and flip the transfer switches to "generator" mode, but far cheaper than a whole house transfer switch, unless you plan on upgrading generators.

I just had a 22k Generac generator and transfer switch installed and the electricians did it in a day (full day). I installed the generator and propane, while they did the electrical and set up/testing. They do have to pull the meter and wire it from the meter can through to the panel, so it falls far outside the DIY realm, IMO.
 
1 - 3 of 3 Posts
Top