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  1. #1
    Gold Member
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    Default Generator and electricity flow

    I have a friend who told me his nephew was advised that because he has a 220 plug on his generator it was possible for him to power up his house through the dryer plug. He was told to make sure to turn off the main in the circuit panel before hooking up a wire with a male plug on each end and he would be able to power his house.

    Now my friend figures he can do a similar hook up using the outdoor plug (110 volt) by turning off the main and most of the circuit breakers in the panel except the refrigerators (2) and the lighting. He has propane fireplace for supplemental heat.

    Am I wrong to think he would overload the 12/2 wire to that outside outlet. He was going to make up a wire with two male plugs to transfer power into the house from the generator on his covered deck?

  2. #2
    Veteran Member chim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Generator and electricity flow

    There are a lot of things that are possible but not advisable. Both of these fall into that category. Any miscalculation could result in a disaster.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Generator and electricity flow

    What I did when I built my house is put in a small sub-panel that feeds my fridge, freezer heating and a few lights. Between this panel and my main is a 30 amp double pole double throw switch that allows me to select whether I get power from my main panel or my generator. This way you don't have to worry about pulling breakers or back feeding and powering up the whole neighborhood. Local power company gets edgy when trying to fix outages and they hear generators running. I have a 8K genset with a jumper to a male receptacle in a covered area outside.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Generator and electricity flow

    the only legal and safe way to tie a generator into a house is via some type of transfer switch, there are many types out there.

    there is not any state that has not adopted the NEC, (national electrical code), you may say I do not live in a place that has inspectors, that may be, but it does not make it any less of a state law,

    most electrical providers will shut you off if they know your doing an Illegal back feed as suggested, and does one want to go through the liability if some one does get hurt, and then what about ones conscience having live with possibly you may have killed some lineman or other worker by using an illegal hook up.

    there are transfer switches that can fit between the meter and the socket, that the generator plugs into,
    GenerLink.com - About GenerLink - The easy way to connect a home generator
    there are transfer switches that are set up for running just a given set of circuits,
    and there are whole house (double throw, double or triple pole) switch that can switch a house or farm from utility to generator,
    Transfer Switches for Generators | Northern Tool + Equipment
    there are interlock kits that lock breakers out if your back feeding a given breaker,
    Generator InterLock Kit
    and there are some that totally automatic if power fails it starts the generator and switches to it,

    and using a widow maker cord is not a wise idea, very dangerous, (a cord with two male ends on it),


    If you do not think you can afford to use a transfer switch, buy some extension cords, and do it that way,

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Generator and electricity flow

    Quote Originally Posted by PAGUY View Post
    Now my friend figures he can do a similar hook up using the outdoor plug (110 volt) by turning off the main and most of the circuit breakers in the panel except the refrigerators (2) and the lighting. He has propane fireplace for supplemental heat.
    Are you saying he's going to backfeed the 220 receptacle and the 110 at the same time, or do the 110 instead of the 220? Backfeeding the 220 will provide power to any circuit in the panel, including the 110 circuits. Backfeeding the 110 will only provide power to the circuits that are on the same phase as the circuit he's backfeeding from. So it's possible he would hook up to the 110 outlet and not be able to power any of the devices he wants to power.

    Am I wrong to think he would overload the 12/2 wire to that outside outlet. He was going to make up a wire with two male plugs to transfer power into the house from the generator on his covered deck?
    Yes you're wrong, the circuit breaker on that circuit will trip if he tries to backfeed more than it's rated for. So the wire is protected. What he's doing can be really dangerous, as others have said. The cost for a transfer switch is small in the grand scheme of things, and makes this much easier and safer.
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  6. #6
    Super Star Member Diamondpilot's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BeezFun View Post
    Are you saying he's going to backfeed the 220 receptacle and the 110 at the same time, or do the 110 instead of the 220? Backfeeding the 220 will provide power to any circuit in the panel, including the 110 circuits. Backfeeding the 110 will only provide power to the circuits that are on the same phase as the circuit he's backfeeding from. So it's possible he would hook up to the 110 outlet and not be able to power any of the devices he wants to power.

    Yes you're wrong, the circuit breaker on that circuit will trip if he tries to backfeed more than it's rated for. So the wire is protected. What he's doing can be really dangerous, as others have said. The cost for a transfer switch is small in the grand scheme of things, and makes this much easier and safer.
    Yep, back feeding 110v will only power 1/2 the panel.

    Chris

  7. #7
    Super Member grsthegreat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Generator and electricity flow

    there are soooo many things wrong with this scenario, that ill not even venture a response. there are maybe 30 other posts on this site about backup generator systems, and every-time i state how it NEEDS to be done to be safe..there is fighting.
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Generator and electricity flow

    It boils down to all hacks can kill, etc.

    If one has to ask how to do a hack then consider it deadly.

    When there is a long term power outage the stress can lead to a 'good and experience' hacker screwing up. What happens to the other family members if the hacker drops dead in the middle of a power outage from shoveling snow or some other health issue?

    Yes many of us will hack from time to time BUT we should NEVER help/give advice to another.

  9. #9
    Veteran Member buckeyefarmer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Generator and electricity flow

    There have been so many discussions of this on TBN. It's possible to do it safely, it's also possible to cause lots of damage or loss of life by doing this.
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  10. #10
    Elite Member Ken45101's Avatar
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    Default Re: Generator and electricity flow

    To summarize it for the OP:

    1) yes, it can be done

    2) it's very dangerous, it could kill someone if a mistake is made

    3) it's illegal

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