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Posted: 1/7/2011 4:37:36 PM EDT
I have a quick generator question.

My furnace is pretty small. According to the instruction manual it needs 850 watts to run. It doesn't seem like much, but its a small furnace.

I have one set of outlets that are on the same circuit as the furnace. If I turned off the breaker for that circuit, could i plug a reverse plug into that outlet and run the furnace off an extension cord? I traced out the whole house and only that plug is on the same circuit.

Please pardon me if this is a stupid question. I would never try anything like that unless I am sure it was okay to do. I totally understand that the main breaker has to be off to avoid back-feeding the line and possibly killing someone.


I may be able to run the water pump the same way if the start up amps is not too high and nothing else at all is on.
Link Posted: 1/7/2011 4:44:57 PM EDT
your furnace might be able to run off it, but the fan that runs the forced air part might blow a fuse or 3. you could talk to a real electrician and find out... OR you could simply so it and tell your SO that it musta been a faulty generator and you need a bigger one
Link Posted: 1/7/2011 4:45:31 PM EDT
DO NOT REVERSE FEED YOUR HOUSE.

Either add a transfer switch for your whole house or have an electrician install a plug on the furnace cable and run it to an outlet so you can just run an extension cord for the furnace.
Link Posted: 1/7/2011 4:58:33 PM EDT
Originally Posted By phurba:
DO NOT REVERSE FEED YOUR HOUSE.

Either add a transfer switch for your whole house or have an electrician install a plug on the furnace cable and run it to an outlet so you can just run an extension cord for the furnace.


That is a great idea. I might be able to make that happen.

I am very aware of the risks of reverse feeding my house. Fact of the matter is that I may have to do it some day, so I might as well learn how it works. I will remind you that we are in the survival forum. We learn to do what we need to.
Link Posted: 1/7/2011 4:59:56 PM EDT
Originally Posted By fsjdw2:
your furnace might be able to run off it, but the fan that runs the forced air part might blow a fuse or 3. you could talk to a real electrician and find out... OR you could simply so it and tell your SO that it musta been a faulty generator and you need a bigger one


With the furnace only drawing 850 watts, the fan should be included in that. I am sure start up amps may be higher, but this genny peaks at 2000 watts.
Link Posted: 1/7/2011 5:00:08 PM EDT
Originally Posted By batmanacw:
I have a quick generator question.

My furnace is pretty small. According to the instruction manual it needs 850 watts to run. It doesn't seem like much, but its a small furnace.

I have one set of outlets that are on the same circuit as the furnace. If I turned off the breaker for that circuit, could i plug a reverse plug into that outlet and run the furnace off an extension cord? I traced out the whole house and only that plug is on the same circuit.

Please pardon me if this is a stupid question. I would never try anything like that unless I am sure it was okay to do. I totally understand that the main breaker has to be off to avoid back-feeding the line and possibly killing someone.


I may be able to run the water pump the same way if the start up amps is not too high and nothing else at all is on.


This will work fine B-M but your gonna hear abt it!

Link Posted: 1/7/2011 5:04:49 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/7/2011 5:05:39 PM EDT by batmanacw]
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
Originally Posted By batmanacw:
I have a quick generator question.

My furnace is pretty small. According to the instruction manual it needs 850 watts to run. It doesn't seem like much, but its a small furnace.

I have one set of outlets that are on the same circuit as the furnace. If I turned off the breaker for that circuit, could i plug a reverse plug into that outlet and run the furnace off an extension cord? I traced out the whole house and only that plug is on the same circuit.

Please pardon me if this is a stupid question. I would never try anything like that unless I am sure it was okay to do. I totally understand that the main breaker has to be off to avoid back-feeding the line and possibly killing someone.


I may be able to run the water pump the same way if the start up amps is not too high and nothing else at all is on.


This will work fine B-M but your gonna hear abt it!



Oh, well! I might as well hear about it and learn if it will work while I am getting yelled at by the safety nazi's.



ETA: I don't care if it is safe. I care if it will work. Thanks, guys!
Link Posted: 1/7/2011 5:06:21 PM EDT
Originally Posted By batmanacw:
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
Originally Posted By batmanacw:
I have a quick generator question.

My furnace is pretty small. According to the instruction manual it needs 850 watts to run. It doesn't seem like much, but its a small furnace.

I have one set of outlets that are on the same circuit as the furnace. If I turned off the breaker for that circuit, could i plug a reverse plug into that outlet and run the furnace off an extension cord? I traced out the whole house and only that plug is on the same circuit.

Please pardon me if this is a stupid question. I would never try anything like that unless I am sure it was okay to do. I totally understand that the main breaker has to be off to avoid back-feeding the line and possibly killing someone.


I may be able to run the water pump the same way if the start up amps is not too high and nothing else at all is on.


This will work fine B-M but your gonna hear abt it!



Oh, well! I might as well hear about it and learn if it will work while I am getting yelled at by the safety nazi's.



ETA: I don't care if it is safe. I care if it will work. Thanks, guys!


Post pix of your double plugged ext cord!

Link Posted: 1/7/2011 5:08:16 PM EDT
Originally Posted By batmanacw:
Originally Posted By phurba:
DO NOT REVERSE FEED YOUR HOUSE.

Either add a transfer switch for your whole house or have an electrician install a plug on the furnace cable and run it to an outlet so you can just run an extension cord for the furnace.


That is a great idea. I might be able to make that happen.

I am very aware of the risks of reverse feeding my house. Fact of the matter is that I may have to do it some day, so I might as well learn how it works. I will remind you that we are in the survival forum. We learn to do what we need to.


Sorry, I didn't mean to sound rude but linemen have died as the result of people doing this very thing.

The short answer is yes, it would work to do what you describe, but it's extremely dangerous. If there's already a nearby outlet on the circuit and you know how to do it, you can add the plug for a few dollars, the cost of the components. Having an electrician wire it shouldn't cost very much.
Link Posted: 1/7/2011 5:08:40 PM EDT
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
Originally Posted By batmanacw:
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
Originally Posted By batmanacw:
I have a quick generator question.

My furnace is pretty small. According to the instruction manual it needs 850 watts to run. It doesn't seem like much, but its a small furnace.

I have one set of outlets that are on the same circuit as the furnace. If I turned off the breaker for that circuit, could i plug a reverse plug into that outlet and run the furnace off an extension cord? I traced out the whole house and only that plug is on the same circuit.

Please pardon me if this is a stupid question. I would never try anything like that unless I am sure it was okay to do. I totally understand that the main breaker has to be off to avoid back-feeding the line and possibly killing someone.


I may be able to run the water pump the same way if the start up amps is not too high and nothing else at all is on.


This will work fine B-M but your gonna hear abt it!



Oh, well! I might as well hear about it and learn if it will work while I am getting yelled at by the safety nazi's.



ETA: I don't care if it is safe. I care if it will work. Thanks, guys!


Post pix of your double plugged ext cord!



No thanks. I am not going to stir the shit before I get yelled at.

I will most definitely look into putting a plug on that furnace though. Great idea.
Link Posted: 1/7/2011 5:10:52 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/7/2011 5:11:05 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/7/2011 5:16:21 PM EDT by batmanacw]
Originally Posted By phurba:
Originally Posted By batmanacw:
Originally Posted By phurba:
DO NOT REVERSE FEED YOUR HOUSE.

Either add a transfer switch for your whole house or have an electrician install a plug on the furnace cable and run it to an outlet so you can just run an extension cord for the furnace.


That is a great idea. I might be able to make that happen.

I am very aware of the risks of reverse feeding my house. Fact of the matter is that I may have to do it some day, so I might as well learn how it works. I will remind you that we are in the survival forum. We learn to do what we need to.


Sorry, I didn't mean to sound rude but linemen have died as the result of people doing this very thing.

The short answer is yes, it would work to do what you describe, but it's extremely dangerous. If there's already a nearby outlet on the circuit and you know how to do it, you can add the plug for a few dollars, the cost of the components. Having an electrician wire it shouldn't cost very much.


I need to look at it, but I am pretty certain I can do the job myself. I had to rewire quiet a few plugs in the house that were wired with the wrong polarity and wired really poorly.  I may have my buddy come over who knows electricity better than I do and get his assistance.


The square box the wire runs into is right behind the furnace so it will not be fun rewiring it.

The funny thing is that the box has a fused switch and there is another fused switch mounted on the furnace itself. One is most likely sufficient so I can turn the box into an outlet and put a plug on the power cord.  I am going to hate putting it in.
Link Posted: 1/7/2011 5:15:00 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/7/2011 5:27:38 PM EDT by EXPY37]
Originally Posted By batmanacw:
Originally Posted By phurba:
Originally Posted By batmanacw:
Originally Posted By phurba:
DO NOT REVERSE FEED YOUR HOUSE.

Either add a transfer switch for your whole house or have an electrician install a plug on the furnace cable and run it to an outlet so you can just run an extension cord for the furnace.


That is a great idea. I might be able to make that happen.

I am very aware of the risks of reverse feeding my house. Fact of the matter is that I may have to do it some day, so I might as well learn how it works. I will remind you that we are in the survival forum. We learn to do what we need to.


Sorry, I didn't mean to sound rude but linemen have died as the result of people doing this very thing.

The short answer is yes, it would work to do what you describe, but it's extremely dangerous. If there's already a nearby outlet on the circuit and you know how to do it, you can add the plug for a few dollars, the cost of the components. Having an electrician wire it shouldn't cost very much.


I need to look at it, but I am pretty certain I can do the job myself. I had to rewire quiet a few plugs in the house that were wired with the wrong polarity and wired really poorly.  I may have my buddy come over who knows electricity better than I do and get his assistance.



Of course you can do it! Just get started.

Residential wiring is silly easy once you get the hang of it.
Link Posted: 1/7/2011 5:23:53 PM EDT
because homemade Jesus cords make people upset. I won't tell you that its ok

Here is another idea, it will keep you from getting flamed by all of the caring good samaritans electricians, that will post in large letters that it is wrong,   they seem to  think line men are dropping dead left and right from this activity.

Cut the hard wired line (with all the main breaker off) then buy a male and female plug end and connect them. When the power goes out, you can just unplug the hard line and plug in a nice extension cord to feed the furnace directly from the genset.

When I lost power for two weeks during hurricane Wilma in 2005, I got sick of taking cold showers. I hated the fact that I had a 5k watt generator powering window units and all other items in my house, and yet I was taking cold showers. So I preformed the aforementioned modification to my electric water heater line and ran a cord to the generator, and had nice hot showers for two weeks. Then plugged back into the hard line, once the power was restored, it has been hooked up this way since the storm.

People will flame me for this, I am sure of it.

Link Posted: 1/7/2011 5:30:37 PM EDT
Just so you guys can see the fun I will be having....

Link Posted: 1/7/2011 5:31:21 PM EDT
There are two other possible solutions you may consider....

The first is a single, point of use, transfers switch that you can mount next to your furnace.  Someone with a little knowlege and a trip to Grainger's website can make one, but for the price its just easier to buy one.
Furnace Transfer Switch

or if money is tight you can temporarily disconnect the furnace AC from the junction box on the wall  (most intallations around here have a fuse and switch by the furnace).   Put a regurlar male 110V 15amp plug on the end of the furnace cord and mount a regular 110 15amp outlet on the wall where the junction box (fuse and switch box) is.  If the power goes out you can unplug the furnace from the wall  and plug it directly into an extenstion cord from your genny.

I have the transfer switch now, but the other method and some handy spare parts got me through a cold night in North Dakota once.

Aviator
Link Posted: 1/7/2011 5:35:42 PM EDT
Damn, I never thought of doing that to the hot water heater...I have a 240v outlet on my meterbase that I can run my welder off it, should I need to for some stupid reason. The last time my power went out for a while, I PULLED MY METER OUT OF THE METER BASE and then plugged the 240v off the genny into the welder outlet on the meterbase. It worked and no linemen were harmed because I isolated my genny from the outside world. I am the only one who could put the meter back, so it was an extra safety precaution. FLAME ON!
Link Posted: 1/7/2011 5:36:59 PM EDT
I personally have no problem with back-feeding a house outlet off a generator.  If you are not an idiot it's a non issue.  I'm not goin to go into how to do it properly since you either understand how things work or you don't.  Sure an transfer switch is best but.....  

I made my furnace really easy to run of a small generator by installing a "transfer switch".  What I did was replace the service switch which is a regular 120V wall switch with a heavy duty 3 way switch.  I wired it so when it is in the up position it is running of the panel and when it in the down position it is connected to a pig tail with a 120v plug that can be plunged into a cord and run outside to a generator.  The conversion cost me $15- mostly because I went with a heavy duty 277V 20 amp 3 way switch.

My Fathers furnace had romex going to it so I simply removed the romex from the service switch box mounted on the furnace and wired a 120V outlet close by.  I then made a short cord that plugs into the outlet.  Simply unplug from the outlet and plug into the cord from your generator.  Both methods are safe, simple and inexpensive.

Link Posted: 1/7/2011 5:43:20 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Blackoperations:
because homemade Jesus cords make people upset. I won't tell you that its ok

Here is another idea, it will keep you from getting flamed by all of the caring good samaritans electricians, that will post in large letters that it is wrong,   they seem to  think line men are dropping dead left and right from this activity.

Cut the hard wired line (with all the main breaker off) then buy a male and female plug end and connect them. When the power goes out, you can just unplug the hard line and plug in a nice extension cord to feed the furnace directly from the genset.

When I lost power for two weeks during hurricane Wilma in 2005, I got sick of taking cold showers. I hated the fact that I had a 5k watt generator powering window units and all other items in my house, and yet I was taking cold showers. So I preformed the aforementioned modification to my electric water heater line and ran a cord to the generator, and had nice hot showers for two weeks. Then plugged back into the hard line, once the power was restored, it has been hooked up this way since the storm.

People will flame me for this, I am sure of it.



My problem is that I have a gas hot water heater that requires electric to run and my well pump pulls too many amps not to have it direct wired to the genny.

The bigger chore might be cutting into the line that runs the water pump in front of the pressure switch and installing a big plug to handle the wattage. That way I can run the water like normal.
Link Posted: 1/7/2011 6:00:28 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/7/2011 6:00:59 PM EDT by EXPY37]
Lots of times when I need to make a quick test or sompin, I strip back the ends of some #12 wire and stick them directly into a receptacle.



BTW, what's that exposed black and white wire for???
Link Posted: 1/7/2011 6:00:40 PM EDT
A few years ago a member here Fightforyoutrights had this solution to your problem.   What he did was wire a plug from the furnace side and an outlet from the circuit breaker side.   This way all he neede3d to do is run an heavy duty extension cord to the furnace from the generator and he was up and running.





Link Posted: 1/7/2011 6:07:37 PM EDT
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
Lots of times when I need to make a quick test or sompin, I strip back the ends of some #12 wire and stick them directly into a receptacle.



BTW, what's that exposed black and white wire for???


The thermostat.
Link Posted: 1/7/2011 6:11:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/7/2011 6:11:49 PM EDT by EXPY37]
Originally Posted By batmanacw:
I have a quick generator question.

My furnace is pretty small. According to the instruction manual it needs 850 watts to run. It doesn't seem like much, but its a small furnace.

I have one set of outlets that are on the same circuit as the furnace. If I turned off the breaker for that circuit, could i plug a reverse plug into that outlet and run the furnace off an extension cord? I traced out the whole house and only that plug is on the same circuit.

Please pardon me if this is a stupid question. I would never try anything like that unless I am sure it was okay to do. I totally understand that the main breaker has to be off to avoid back-feeding the line and possibly killing someone.


I may be able to run the water pump the same way if the start up amps is not too high and nothing else at all is on.



BTW, your MAIN breaker doesn't have to be off if your breaker for the individual circuit you are feeding is off.

Just wanted that to be clear since you were talking about pumps etc.

But make sure you aren't absent minded or excitement is sure to follow.

Link Posted: 1/7/2011 6:28:09 PM EDT
Originally Posted By batmanacw:
Originally Posted By Blackoperations:
because homemade Jesus cords make people upset. I won't tell you that its ok

Here is another idea, it will keep you from getting flamed by all of the caring good samaritans electricians, that will post in large letters that it is wrong,   they seem to  think line men are dropping dead left and right from this activity.

Cut the hard wired line (with all the main breaker off) then buy a male and female plug end and connect them. When the power goes out, you can just unplug the hard line and plug in a nice extension cord to feed the furnace directly from the genset.

When I lost power for two weeks during hurricane Wilma in 2005, I got sick of taking cold showers. I hated the fact that I had a 5k watt generator powering window units and all other items in my house, and yet I was taking cold showers. So I preformed the aforementioned modification to my electric water heater line and ran a cord to the generator, and had nice hot showers for two weeks. Then plugged back into the hard line, once the power was restored, it has been hooked up this way since the storm.

People will flame me for this, I am sure of it.



My problem is that I have a gas hot water heater that requires electric to run and my well pump pulls too many amps not to have it direct wired to the genny.

The bigger chore might be cutting into the line that runs the water pump in front of the pressure switch and installing a big plug to handle the wattage. That way I can run the water like normal.


The only answer to that riddle is a bigger generator.

But I somehow got lost, why could you not apply the same idea behind the water heater mod that I posted to the 800 watt furnace? wouldn't that solve the problem in the OP, the furnace is hardwired, all you have to do is cut the hard line. You won't even have to look for heavy duty male and female plugs because we are only talking about 800 watts.
Link Posted: 1/7/2011 6:29:12 PM EDT
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
Originally Posted By batmanacw:
I have a quick generator question.

My furnace is pretty small. According to the instruction manual it needs 850 watts to run. It doesn't seem like much, but its a small furnace.

I have one set of outlets that are on the same circuit as the furnace. If I turned off the breaker for that circuit, could i plug a reverse plug into that outlet and run the furnace off an extension cord? I traced out the whole house and only that plug is on the same circuit.

Please pardon me if this is a stupid question. I would never try anything like that unless I am sure it was okay to do. I totally understand that the main breaker has to be off to avoid back-feeding the line and possibly killing someone.


I may be able to run the water pump the same way if the start up amps is not too high and nothing else at all is on.



BTW, your MAIN breaker doesn't have to be off if your breaker for the individual circuit you are feeding is off.

Just wanted that to be clear since you were talking about pumps etc.

But make sure you aren't absent minded or excitement is sure to follow.



My house is wired pretty weirdly. I have 4 main breakers that run the 240v lines. One of those breakers controls all the 120v circuits. If I flip that breaker, it disconnects all the 120V circuits from the main line power. I can never back feed through one of the 240v lines because there is no way to disconnect from the main line because there is no main breaker that disconnects the whole box.  


I can safely back feed through the 120V lines because I can kill the main to those two circuits and turn off the circuits I don't care to run.
Link Posted: 1/7/2011 6:32:12 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/7/2011 6:32:27 PM EDT by EXPY37]
Originally Posted By batmanacw:
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
Originally Posted By batmanacw:
I have a quick generator question.

My furnace is pretty small. According to the instruction manual it needs 850 watts to run. It doesn't seem like much, but its a small furnace.

I have one set of outlets that are on the same circuit as the furnace. If I turned off the breaker for that circuit, could i plug a reverse plug into that outlet and run the furnace off an extension cord? I traced out the whole house and only that plug is on the same circuit.

Please pardon me if this is a stupid question. I would never try anything like that unless I am sure it was okay to do. I totally understand that the main breaker has to be off to avoid back-feeding the line and possibly killing someone.


I may be able to run the water pump the same way if the start up amps is not too high and nothing else at all is on.



BTW, your MAIN breaker doesn't have to be off if your breaker for the individual circuit you are feeding is off.

Just wanted that to be clear since you were talking about pumps etc.

But make sure you aren't absent minded or excitement is sure to follow.



My house is wired pretty weirdly. I have 4 main breakers that run the 240v lines. One of those breakers controls all the 120v circuits. If I flip that breaker, it disconnects all the 120V circuits from the main line power. I can never back feed through one of the 240v lines because there is no way to disconnect from the main line because there is no main breaker that disconnects the whole box.  


I can safely back feed through the 120V lines because I can kill the main to those two circuits and turn off the circuits I don't care to run.


Is there another panel feeding your main panel, or is the meter just outside?

Link Posted: 1/7/2011 6:34:36 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Blackoperations:
Originally Posted By batmanacw:
Originally Posted By Blackoperations:
because homemade Jesus cords make people upset. I won't tell you that its ok

Here is another idea, it will keep you from getting flamed by all of the caring good samaritans electricians, that will post in large letters that it is wrong,   they seem to  think line men are dropping dead left and right from this activity.

Cut the hard wired line (with all the main breaker off) then buy a male and female plug end and connect them. When the power goes out, you can just unplug the hard line and plug in a nice extension cord to feed the furnace directly from the genset.

When I lost power for two weeks during hurricane Wilma in 2005, I got sick of taking cold showers. I hated the fact that I had a 5k watt generator powering window units and all other items in my house, and yet I was taking cold showers. So I preformed the aforementioned modification to my electric water heater line and ran a cord to the generator, and had nice hot showers for two weeks. Then plugged back into the hard line, once the power was restored, it has been hooked up this way since the storm.

People will flame me for this, I am sure of it.



My problem is that I have a gas hot water heater that requires electric to run and my well pump pulls too many amps not to have it direct wired to the genny.

The bigger chore might be cutting into the line that runs the water pump in front of the pressure switch and installing a big plug to handle the wattage. That way I can run the water like normal.


The only answer to that riddle is a bigger generator.

But I somehow got lost, why could you not apply the same idea behind the water heater mod that I posted to the 800 watt furnace? wouldn't that solve the problem in the OP, the furnace is hardwired, all you have to do is cut the hard line. You won't even have to look for heavy duty male and female plugs because we are only talking about 800 watts.


You are right. I can easily run the furnace. The lp water heater has a 120v plug on it already so that is super easy. For it to pay off I have to run my water pump as well. That will need the big plug and at least 20 amps to run it. The regular plugs are not rated for that amperage. I will have to make a special line for it if I want hot showers.

Staying warm is the big one.
Link Posted: 1/7/2011 6:35:15 PM EDT
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
Originally Posted By batmanacw:
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
Originally Posted By batmanacw:
I have a quick generator question.

My furnace is pretty small. According to the instruction manual it needs 850 watts to run. It doesn't seem like much, but its a small furnace.

I have one set of outlets that are on the same circuit as the furnace. If I turned off the breaker for that circuit, could i plug a reverse plug into that outlet and run the furnace off an extension cord? I traced out the whole house and only that plug is on the same circuit.

Please pardon me if this is a stupid question. I would never try anything like that unless I am sure it was okay to do. I totally understand that the main breaker has to be off to avoid back-feeding the line and possibly killing someone.


I may be able to run the water pump the same way if the start up amps is not too high and nothing else at all is on.



BTW, your MAIN breaker doesn't have to be off if your breaker for the individual circuit you are feeding is off.

Just wanted that to be clear since you were talking about pumps etc.

But make sure you aren't absent minded or excitement is sure to follow.



My house is wired pretty weirdly. I have 4 main breakers that run the 240v lines. One of those breakers controls all the 120v circuits. If I flip that breaker, it disconnects all the 120V circuits from the main line power. I can never back feed through one of the 240v lines because there is no way to disconnect from the main line because there is no main breaker that disconnects the whole box.  


I can safely back feed through the 120V lines because I can kill the main to those two circuits and turn off the circuits I don't care to run.


Is there another panel feeding your main panel, or is the meter just outside?



Its just outside. One panel with no single main.
Link Posted: 1/7/2011 6:36:49 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/7/2011 6:38:01 PM EDT by EXPY37]
Originally Posted By batmanacw:
Originally Posted By Blackoperations:
Originally Posted By batmanacw:
Originally Posted By Blackoperations:
because homemade Jesus cords make people upset. I won't tell you that its ok

Here is another idea, it will keep you from getting flamed by all of the caring good samaritans electricians, that will post in large letters that it is wrong,   they seem to  think line men are dropping dead left and right from this activity.

Cut the hard wired line (with all the main breaker off) then buy a male and female plug end and connect them. When the power goes out, you can just unplug the hard line and plug in a nice extension cord to feed the furnace directly from the genset.

When I lost power for two weeks during hurricane Wilma in 2005, I got sick of taking cold showers. I hated the fact that I had a 5k watt generator powering window units and all other items in my house, and yet I was taking cold showers. So I preformed the aforementioned modification to my electric water heater line and ran a cord to the generator, and had nice hot showers for two weeks. Then plugged back into the hard line, once the power was restored, it has been hooked up this way since the storm.

People will flame me for this, I am sure of it.



My problem is that I have a gas hot water heater that requires electric to run and my well pump pulls too many amps not to have it direct wired to the genny.

The bigger chore might be cutting into the line that runs the water pump in front of the pressure switch and installing a big plug to handle the wattage. That way I can run the water like normal.


The only answer to that riddle is a bigger generator.

But I somehow got lost, why could you not apply the same idea behind the water heater mod that I posted to the 800 watt furnace? wouldn't that solve the problem in the OP, the furnace is hardwired, all you have to do is cut the hard line. You won't even have to look for heavy duty male and female plugs because we are only talking about 800 watts.


You are right. I can easily run the furnace. The lp water heater has a 120v plug on it already so that is super easy. For it to pay off I have to run my water pump as well. That will need the big plug and at least 20 amps to run it. The regular plugs are not rated for that amperage. I will have to make a special line for it if I want hot showers.

Staying warm is the big one.


They make 20 amp 120vac better quality "standard" plugs and receptacles... Find them at H-D or Lowes.

Link Posted: 1/7/2011 6:40:05 PM EDT
I've back fed the house many of times with the dryer plug......ran it off my welder after killing the main disconnect.

I now have an external plug....but it's more because the big ass #8 cord wouldn't allow me to shut the door.

Just look out the window to see if the light out by the highway comes back on....then shut down and unplug the system....turn the switch back on....simple.
Link Posted: 1/7/2011 6:58:43 PM EDT
My natural gas furnace runs just fine with a single Honda eu2000i-the blower is small enough that I don't need to run both inverter Hondas in parallel. According to the gauge on my transfer switch the furnace surges to around 1000 watts at startup, then drops back to less than 400 watts running.

The furnace is breaker "B" on the transfer switch
Link Posted: 1/7/2011 7:08:46 PM EDT



Originally Posted By batmanacw:



ETA: I don't care if it is safe. I care if it will work. Thanks, guys!


C'mon man, really?  



Spend the extra $1-200, do it right.  You, your loved ones, and the lineman will all live through it.  I'm sure you don't take this approach at the rifle range, reloading, driving, etc.  "Safety Nazis" aren't making shit up.  







-Slice





 
Link Posted: 1/7/2011 7:30:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/7/2011 7:32:53 PM EDT by EXPY37]
IIRC, linemen who are physically handling 'dead' wires have those wires jumpered to a common ground point just for the reason of folks backfeeding the lines.

And for several more significant reasons as well.

Static charge buildup on long wires, a hot wire falling on the wire being worked on, lightning, EMP

If a lineman has been electrocuted by a homeowner backfeeding, then he might have been working wrong.
Link Posted: 1/7/2011 7:32:51 PM EDT


I'm sure they have safety provisions assuming their customers are dumbasses.  



But really, "I don't care about safety"?  That ain't like batman.  I think he was drunk...




Link Posted: 1/7/2011 7:35:32 PM EDT
Originally Posted By HomeSlice:

I'm sure they have safety provisions assuming their customers are dumbasses.  

But really, "I don't care about safety"?  That ain't like batman.  I think he was drunk...



That's not exactly what he said, is it?


Link Posted: 1/7/2011 7:41:39 PM EDT



Originally Posted By EXPY37:




That's not exactly what he said, is it?



Pretty much.  



Not trying to rip ya batman, I'm sure you didn't mean what you typed word for word...
Originally Posted By batmanacw:



ETA: I don't care if it is safe. I care if it will work. Thanks, guys!




 
Link Posted: 1/7/2011 8:09:14 PM EDT
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
IIRC, linemen who are physically handling 'dead' wires have those wires jumpered to a common ground point just for the reason of folks backfeeding the lines.

And for several more significant reasons as well.

Static charge buildup on long wires, a hot wire falling on the wire being worked on, lightning, EMP

If a lineman has been electrocuted by a homeowner backfeeding, then he might have been working wrong.



In the past yes there have been Linemen killed because of "backfeed".........how well do you function after 2-3 weeks of double shifts in the worst weather momma nature can throw at you????     ...................and what happens if it is the kid down the street that grabs the downed line????.................but then again I probably don't know what I'm talkin ' about.................
Link Posted: 1/7/2011 8:10:40 PM EDT
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
IIRC, linemen who are physically handling 'dead' wires have those wires jumpered to a common ground point just for the reason of folks backfeeding the lines.

And for several more significant reasons as well.

Static charge buildup on long wires, a hot wire falling on the wire being worked on, lightning, EMP

If a lineman has been electrocuted by a homeowner backfeeding, then he might have been working wrong.


I agree that the "electrocuted lineman" hazard is probably greatly exaggerated. Aside from the safety procedures you mentioned, there is the fact  that anyone who was backfeeding power into the distribution lines would also be connected to every other home, business and other electric utility customer in the vicinity. In most areas, this would represent an electrical load so large that no residential-sized generator could supply it for more than a small fraction of a second - Either fuses would blow, breakers would trip, or the engine would immediately stall.

Question: A 10KW generator is backfeeding power into a distribution line that is 4 miles long and serves 12,000 customers. The average startup load is 7 KW per residence, or 50KW per commercial customer. How long will the generator continue to backfeed power before something blows?

Answer: Not very long!
Link Posted: 1/7/2011 8:20:57 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Skibane:
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
IIRC, linemen who are physically handling 'dead' wires have those wires jumpered to a common ground point just for the reason of folks backfeeding the lines.

And for several more significant reasons as well.

Static charge buildup on long wires, a hot wire falling on the wire being worked on, lightning, EMP

If a lineman has been electrocuted by a homeowner backfeeding, then he might have been working wrong.


I agree that the "electrocuted lineman" hazard is probably greatly exaggerated. Aside from the safety procedures you mentioned, there is the fact  that anyone who was backfeeding power into the distribution lines would also be connected to every other home, business and other electric utility customer in the vicinity. In most areas, this would represent an electrical load so large that no residential-sized generator could supply it for more than a small fraction of a second - Either fuses would blow, breakers would trip, or the engine would immediately stall.

Question: A 10KW generator is backfeeding power into a distribution line that is 4 miles long and serves 12,000 customers. The average startup load is 7 KW per residence, or 50KW per commercial customer. How long will the generator continue to backfeed power before something blows?

Answer: Not very long!


I see your from Texas so Ice storms are not really a problem Please forgive my ignorance but I assume you have trees in Texas.....what happens if the high voltage line feeding you is brought down and broken ..........once again excuse me as I probably know nothing about this topic
Link Posted: 1/7/2011 8:27:47 PM EDT
Originally Posted By bclinehand:
Originally Posted By Skibane:
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
IIRC, linemen who are physically handling 'dead' wires have those wires jumpered to a common ground point just for the reason of folks backfeeding the lines.

And for several more significant reasons as well.

Static charge buildup on long wires, a hot wire falling on the wire being worked on, lightning, EMP

If a lineman has been electrocuted by a homeowner backfeeding, then he might have been working wrong.


I agree that the "electrocuted lineman" hazard is probably greatly exaggerated. Aside from the safety procedures you mentioned, there is the fact  that anyone who was backfeeding power into the distribution lines would also be connected to every other home, business and other electric utility customer in the vicinity. In most areas, this would represent an electrical load so large that no residential-sized generator could supply it for more than a small fraction of a second - Either fuses would blow, breakers would trip, or the engine would immediately stall.

Question: A 10KW generator is backfeeding power into a distribution line that is 4 miles long and serves 12,000 customers. The average startup load is 7 KW per residence, or 50KW per commercial customer. How long will the generator continue to backfeed power before something blows?

Answer: Not very long!


I see your from Texas so Ice storms are not really a problem Please forgive my ignorance but I assume you have trees in Texas.....what happens if the high voltage line feeding you is brought down and broken ..........once again excuse me as I probably know nothing about this topic


Certainly there are cases where by a combination of events, someone can be hurt.

Don't think anyone here thinks there couldn't be.

The best bet is to follow the electrical code.
Link Posted: 1/7/2011 8:37:01 PM EDT
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
Originally Posted By bclinehand:
Originally Posted By Skibane:
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
IIRC, linemen who are physically handling 'dead' wires have those wires jumpered to a common ground point just for the reason of folks backfeeding the lines.

And for several more significant reasons as well.

Static charge buildup on long wires, a hot wire falling on the wire being worked on, lightning, EMP

If a lineman has been electrocuted by a homeowner backfeeding, then he might have been working wrong.


I agree that the "electrocuted lineman" hazard is probably greatly exaggerated. Aside from the safety procedures you mentioned, there is the fact  that anyone who was backfeeding power into the distribution lines would also be connected to every other home, business and other electric utility customer in the vicinity. In most areas, this would represent an electrical load so large that no residential-sized generator could supply it for more than a small fraction of a second - Either fuses would blow, breakers would trip, or the engine would immediately stall.

Question: A 10KW generator is backfeeding power into a distribution line that is 4 miles long and serves 12,000 customers. The average startup load is 7 KW per residence, or 50KW per commercial customer. How long will the generator continue to backfeed power before something blows?

Answer: Not very long!


I see your from Texas so Ice storms are not really a problem Please forgive my ignorance but I assume you have trees in Texas.....what happens if the high voltage line feeding you is brought down and broken ..........once again excuse me as I probably know nothing about this topic


Certainly there are cases where by a combination of events, someone can be hurt.

Don't think anyone here thinks there couldn't be.

The best bet is to follow the electrical code.


That was what I was trying to get across.......old lineman told me when I was a young apprentice ........."breaking one rule ain't goona get you hurt if you are paying attention but break two at the same time and look out your chances of getting hurt just went up by 200% and at the end of the day those "stupid " rules were put down on paper cause someone got killed"................ once again just sayin is all
Link Posted: 1/7/2011 9:06:52 PM EDT
Originally Posted By bclinehand:
I see your from Texas so Ice storms are not really a problem Please forgive my ignorance but I assume you have trees in Texas.....what happens if the high voltage line feeding you is brought down and broken ..........once again excuse me as I probably know nothing about this topic


In most cases, the high voltage line that feeds folks like me also feeds several hundred (or several thousand) other homes and businesses in the neighborhood. It's very rare for a high-voltage line to only feed one customer (unless you happen to live at the very end of a very rural line).
Link Posted: 1/7/2011 9:12:20 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Skibane:
Originally Posted By bclinehand:
I see your from Texas so Ice storms are not really a problem Please forgive my ignorance but I assume you have trees in Texas.....what happens if the high voltage line feeding you is brought down and broken ..........once again excuse me as I probably know nothing about this topic


In most cases, the high voltage line that feeds folks like me also feeds several hundred (or several thousand) other homes and businesses in the neighborhood. It's very rare for a high-voltage line to only feed one customer (unless you happen to live at the very end of a very rural line).


I guess you guys have no trees or anything that could cause a break in the line where you live..............carry on then..........once again just sayin is all....
Link Posted: 1/8/2011 12:48:00 AM EDT
This thread is a perfect example of why SF is such a good place to be right now. Lots of great info and help. There are a lot of good minds in here. Thanks for the thread, Batman, and thansk to you all for your responses.

FWIW, I had an old Coleman 5000w for the ice storm of '08 up here. I turned off my power main, and isolated the water pump with a direct line. It worked fine - more than enough power to run the pump and repressurize my tank and flush the loo.

The old genny had seen many hours, and was just my luck she decided to give up the ghost on day three of the eight days we were without grid power. The engine still ran great, but autopsy revealed the gen-head wore some shorts in some crucial wiring. Oh well, you get what you pay for. That Coleman was bought back in the 1980's for about $500 I believe. Its no Honda, that is for sure, but it did service us well while we had it. The engine, which was a B&S Vanguard, is now running a logsplitter, hehehe.
Link Posted: 1/8/2011 4:13:18 AM EDT
Originally Posted By HomeSlice:

Originally Posted By EXPY37:

That's not exactly what he said, is it?

Pretty much.  

Not trying to rip ya batman, I'm sure you didn't mean what you typed word for word...



Originally Posted By batmanacw:

ETA: I don't care if it is safe. I care if it will work. Thanks, guys!

 


I mean exactly what I said. The endless preaching about safety I expected would not have gotten me the answer I needed. I am aware that people have died from back feeding. I am responsible enough not to hurt somebody when the time comes.

I might mention that if I did this wrong, and back feed the main line, it wouldn't work at all. Just the load from my house would kick out my little genny in less than a second if I did not isolate all the loads I didn't want to power. It only supplies 120v. This generator can't run a circular saw without kicking out. How is it going to electrocute a guy 1/2 mile away after powering 20 homes before it gets there on only 120v?

I think its possible to allow that a guy can do this responsibly and not kill someone.
Link Posted: 1/8/2011 5:34:54 AM EDT
Not trying to preach, but had a conversation last night with CJ and picture the following situations:

You are stuck at work or something and can't get home.   Can your wife or kids rig this up correctly?  

You are cold tired wet from dealing with whatever caused the power failure and after being awake 30hours make it home,   Can you set this up correctly?

Or....   You have set this up correctly and something gets hot and the breaker does not trip.   Your house burns down and the insurance does an investigation into what happened.   What happens now.  

Your call on what to do...just throwing this out there.
Link Posted: 1/8/2011 6:05:42 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Surf:
Not trying to preach, but had a conversation last night with CJ and picture the following situations:

You are stuck at work or something and can't get home.   Can your wife or kids rig this up correctly?  

You are cold tired wet from dealing with whatever caused the power failure and after being awake 30hours make it home,   Can you set this up correctly?

Or....   You have set this up correctly and something gets hot and the breaker does not trip.   Your house burns down and the insurance does an investigation into what happened.   What happens now.  

Your call on what to do...just throwing this out there.


The generator has circuit breakers on it. One generator by its self puts out 16.6 surge amps. The line is running on a 20 amp breaker. The running amp load for the generator is 13.3.

I could set this up correctly in my sleep. No wife or kids and my mom would not attempt it herself. Flipping off the main breaker and killing 4 other breakers is not that big a thing.

I may never decide to back feed the house. I needed to know if it was effective. It is, so I got my answer. I don't even have any plans on making a male/male cord. I just wanted to know about the option.



I am going to make a run to home depot and buy the plug and electrical outlet to convert the furnace over to a plug this afternoon. I will also pick up the plug for the water pump, but I might not set that up for a couple weeks. The water pump plug has to be able to handle 20 amps.
Link Posted: 1/8/2011 6:21:50 AM EDT
Originally Posted By batmanacw:
Originally Posted By Surf:
Not trying to preach, but had a conversation last night with CJ and picture the following situations:

You are stuck at work or something and can't get home.   Can your wife or kids rig this up correctly?  

You are cold tired wet from dealing with whatever caused the power failure and after being awake 30hours make it home,   Can you set this up correctly?

Or....   You have set this up correctly and something gets hot and the breaker does not trip.   Your house burns down and the insurance does an investigation into what happened.   What happens now.  

Your call on what to do...just throwing this out there.


The generator has circuit breakers on it. One generator by its self puts out 16.6 surge amps. The line is running on a 20 amp breaker. The running amp load for the generator is 13.3.

I could set this up correctly in my sleep. No wife or kids and my mom would not attempt it herself. Flipping off the main breaker and killing 4 other breakers is not that big a thing.

I may never decide to back feed the house. I needed to know if it was effective. It is, so I got my answer. I don't even have any plans on making a male/male cord. I just wanted to know about the option.



I am going to make a run to home depot and buy the plug and electrical outlet to convert the furnace over to a plug this afternoon. I will also pick up the plug for the water pump, but I might not set that up for a couple weeks. The water pump plug has to be able to handle 20 amps.


The furnace / plug is the way to go.   Also, if you come across a Kill-a-Watt meter, pick one up.  They should come with every generator purchase.
Link Posted: 1/8/2011 7:01:22 AM EDT
I had an electrician test ours at startup and load to determine the exact amperage it was pulling and install a $100 Home Depot furnace transfer switch.

Our furnace was pulling over 11 amps at startup So around 1400 watts...much more than I thought the 1/2 hp blower motor would pull.



Pretty minimal expense to know that it was done right...of course, this is on an apartment building and the landlord paid for it;

if it was my own house I might try and cheap out and do it myself
Speed






Link Posted: 1/8/2011 7:08:41 AM EDT
Originally Posted By batmanacw:
My house is wired pretty weirdly. I have 4 main breakers that run the 240v lines. One of those breakers controls all the 120v circuits. If I flip that breaker, it disconnects all the 120V circuits from the main line power. I can never back feed through one of the 240v lines because there is no way to disconnect from the main line because there is no main breaker that disconnects the whole box.

we need pitchers.

seriously, i can't make any sense out of the above.  in the USA, residential power is "split phase" 120Vac/240Vac with a common neutral.  there is 120Vac between either phase (L1 or L2) and the neutral (N), and 240Vac between the two phases (L1 and L2).  in a code-compliant installation, there is NO POSSIBLE WAY to disconnect just one phase, as the main breaker will be handle-tied across both phases.  

moreover, if you are not seeing a main breaker that disconnects the whole box, it's probably out on the pole or on a post.  so your 3 wire service drop (L1/L2/N) is terminated someplace else.  from there, a 4 wire feeder (L1/L2/N/GND)  is brought to your subpanel.  

ar-jedi
Link Posted: 1/8/2011 8:02:00 AM EDT
Originally Posted By ar-jedi:
Originally Posted By batmanacw:
My house is wired pretty weirdly. I have 4 main breakers that run the 240v lines. One of those breakers controls all the 120v circuits. If I flip that breaker, it disconnects all the 120V circuits from the main line power. I can never back feed through one of the 240v lines because there is no way to disconnect from the main line because there is no main breaker that disconnects the whole box.

we need pitchers.

seriously, i can't make any sense out of the above.  in the USA, residential power is "split phase" 120Vac/240Vac with a common neutral.  there is 120Vac between either phase (L1 or L2) and the neutral (N), and 240Vac between the two phases (L1 and L2).  in a code-compliant installation, there is NO POSSIBLE WAY to disconnect just one phase, as the main breaker will be handle-tied across both phases.  

moreover, if you are not seeing a main breaker that disconnects the whole box, it's probably out on the pole or on a post.  so your 3 wire service drop (L1/L2/N) is terminated someplace else.  from there, a 4 wire feeder (L1/L2/N/GND)  is brought to your subpanel.  

ar-jedi


I have one 240v breaker that runs the two 120v legs that run everything in the house but the other 3 240v circuits for the garage, dryer, and unused stove plug.

There is no main disconnect that kills everything at once unless its on the pole. If I want to kill everything, I have to flip four switches.

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