Generators for Power Outage

SamSpade

Well-Known Member
Never bought one - but one of these days, I'm going to seriously wish I had. It's been quite a while since we had a power outage that lasted more than a couple days, and we've usually found alternatives (stay with friends, relatives and so on).

But the main thing is - I really don't know much about them. My main concern is - can they be easily connected to your home's power, or do you have to run cords throughout your home? Because the MAIN thing I need is, power for things like refrigeration, and the water pump (or else the sinks and toilet don't work). I can get around the toilet - sort of - by collecting buckets of water from the pool - but I'd rather not.

So the ideal thing is, a good sized portable that will last a short time that can handle the water pump - refrigeration units - and possibly the heat pump. Maybe the water heater. But - DO they just hook into your electrical box? How does that work?
 

Bird Dog

Bird Dog
PREMO Member
Never bought one - but one of these days, I'm going to seriously wish I had. It's been quite a while since we had a power outage that lasted more than a couple days, and we've usually found alternatives (stay with friends, relatives and so on).

But the main thing is - I really don't know much about them. My main concern is - can they be easily connected to your home's power, or do you have to run cords throughout your home? Because the MAIN thing I need is, power for things like refrigeration, and the water pump (or else the sinks and toilet don't work). I can get around the toilet - sort of - by collecting buckets of water from the pool - but I'd rather not.

So the ideal thing is, a good sized portable that will last a short time that can handle the water pump - refrigeration units - and possibly the heat pump. Maybe the water heater. But - DO they just hook into your electrical box? How does that work?
Three types

1. Portable......use extension cords

2. Hooks into your current electric system via panel on your house.....pretty good but not for heat pumps and AC

3. Automatically turns on when power goes off via a transfer switch, powered by propane.

Obviously price is from 3 to 1.

I have a 25KW with an automatic transfer switch. It powers the entire house AC, well and septic included. Generac

https://twitter.com/Generac?ref_src=twsrc^appleosx|twcamp^safari|twgr^profile
 
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If you want it hooked into your house then you need to hire an electrician to install a transfer switch which is what you need if the goal is to be able to run the water pump. If you just want to run your refrigerator/ freezer then you can run cords.
 
If you want it hooked into your house then you need to hire an electrician to install a transfer switch which is what you need if the goal is to be able to run the water pump. If you just want to run your refrigerator/ freezer then you can run cords.
I split the difference on this. I had an outlet mounted outside which is tied through an interlock breaker on the breaker panel, no transfer switch. The breaker cannot be turned on unless the main breaker is turned off. This allows me to hook up a 240V generator to the panel and power whatever I want without having to run cords all over the place. One cable from the genny to the outdoor plug.

My generator is only rated for 25Amps, but the wire and breaker for 50Amps. I can upgrade the genny at any time. Can't currently power the big 240V items, like water heater or A/C, but that's ok. My big concern is the fridges and freezer and lights.
 

frequentflier

happy to be living
I split the difference on this. I had an outlet mounted outside which is tied through an interlock breaker on the breaker panel, no transfer switch. The breaker cannot be turned on unless the main breaker is turned off. This allows me to hook up a 240V generator to the panel and power whatever I want without having to run cords all over the place. One cable from the genny to the outdoor plug.

My generator is only rated for 25Amps, but the wire and breaker for 50Amps. I can upgrade the genny at any time. Can't currently power the big 240V items, like water heater or A/C, but that's ok. My big concern is the fridges and freezer and lights.
We have this as well. We are on a well so we have water, can run the fridges and freezer and some lights. Generac we bought from a forumite that was moving west is in the garage.
We do have an inlaw apartment attached to the house and run their fridge off extension cords.
 

glhs837

Power with Control
You can run cords, but running your well pump that way isnt really feasible. Need soemthing like this.....

https://www.amazon.com/Reliance-Corporation-31410CRK-10-circuit-Generators/dp/B000HS2L3O/ref=asc_df_B000HS2L3O/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=167146984279&hvpos=1o2&hvnetw=g&hvrand=8838654896696938179&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9007687&hvtargid=pla-310347780217&psc=1

$350 for this one. Still need the wiring from the outside outlet to the panel inside. Maybe $50 to $75 for 50 feet of that. If you need an electrician to just make the connections, a buddy just told me that alone cost him $800. If you also source the panel and such and have the electrician install it, you are looking at $1500, maybe. Upside is that once it's done, you just plug the generator into the outlet on the outside wall, turn it on, flip the switches on the panel, and you are good to go. What you can power that way depends on your generators capabilites.
 
Cost me about $500 for parts and labor for the outside box (same as the one shown in glhs' post), wire to the panel, and interlock breaker. Had a qualified electrician do it.
 

Chris0nllyn

Well-Known Member
You can get a manual transfer switch from a big box store. You'll need to go through your house and identify the appliances you want to be powered and get their wattage ratings.
Example:
Water Heater - 4.5kW - 2P breaker
Well Pump - 1/2HP = 1kW Running (Upwards of 4kW starting) -- 1P or 2P, depending on voltage of pump.
Fridge - 1kW - 1P
Microwave - 2kW - 1P
Outlets (for things like phone chargers, radio, and TV) - 1kW to be safe. - (4) 1P
Total: 9.5kW

Now, they all won't likely run at the same time, but you should at least get a 8.5kW gen set in this example.

You know that all your appliances require 9-10 circuit breaker poles and you'd go to your big box store and get a manual transfer switch (MTS) such as the one linked below that includes 10 breakers, the plug for gen set, and guages on it to see if it's close to overloading.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Reliance-Controls-30-Amp-10-Circuit-Manual-Transfer-Switch-310A/206499407?cm_mmc=Shopping|G|VF|D27E|27-8_CIRCUIT_PROTECT._DEVICES|NA|PLA|71700000033149223|58700003867184469|92700031085876448&gclid=CjwKCAjw8uLcBRACEiwAaL6MSQffeEHZzOU0s6dcnk8lKjTY9DqW5BuEr5o0Wh8kY3gshO5Iz8ptrBoCTn0QAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds&dclid=CMTU9sLMtd0CFQfJwAodj1gHIg

The MTS includes breakers and is pre-wired. You run the whip into your panelboard and find the breakers you want to power under generator, remove the conductor, wire nut it to the labeled "IN" whips to the MTS, then the "OUT" conductor from the MTS gets put back on the breaker. When you want to put the circuits on genset power, flip the switch to "GEN". When you notice the power is back on to the other circuits not on the MTS, flip the switch back to "LINE", turn off and unplug generator. It's simple, but time consuming.

Here's a video on it.
 

glhs837

Power with Control
You can get a manual transfer switch from a big box store. You'll need to go through your house and identify the appliances you want to be powered and get their wattage ratings.
Example:
Water Heater - 4.5kW - 2P breaker
Well Pump - 1/2HP = 1kW Running (Upwards of 4kW starting) -- 1P or 2P, depending on voltage of pump.
Fridge - 1kW - 1P
Microwave - 2kW - 1P
Outlets (for things like phone chargers, radio, and TV) - 1kW to be safe. - (4) 1P
Total: 9.5kW

Now, they all won't likely run at the same time, but you should at least get a 8.5kW gen set in this example.

You know that all your appliances require 9-10 circuit breaker poles and you'd go to your big box store and get a manual transfer switch (MTS) such as the one linked below that includes 10 breakers, the plug for gen set, and guages on it to see if it's close to overloading.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Reliance-Controls-30-Amp-10-Circuit-Manual-Transfer-Switch-310A/206499407?cm_mmc=Shopping|G|VF|D27E|27-8_CIRCUIT_PROTECT._DEVICES|NA|PLA|71700000033149223|58700003867184469|92700031085876448&gclid=CjwKCAjw8uLcBRACEiwAaL6MSQffeEHZzOU0s6dcnk8lKjTY9DqW5BuEr5o0Wh8kY3gshO5Iz8ptrBoCTn0QAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds&dclid=CMTU9sLMtd0CFQfJwAodj1gHIg

The MTS includes breakers and is pre-wired. You run the whip into your panelboard and find the breakers you want to power under generator, remove the conductor, wire nut it to the labeled "IN" whips to the MTS, then the "OUT" conductor from the MTS gets put back on the breaker. When you want to put the circuits on genset power, flip the switch to "GEN". When you notice the power is back on to the other circuits not on the MTS, flip the switch back to "LINE", turn off and unplug generator. It's simple, but time consuming.

Here's a video on it.


So I was wondering what the difference between the Amazon one I listed and the Home Depot one you listed. I see this one has breakers in addition to the switches, what is the reason for that?
 

Gilligan

#*! boat!
PREMO Member
I split the difference on this. I had an outlet mounted outside which is tied through an interlock breaker on the breaker panel, no transfer switch. The breaker cannot be turned on unless the main breaker is turned off. This allows me to hook up a 240V generator to the panel and power whatever I want without having to run cords all over the place. One cable from the genny to the outdoor plug..
That's how I have one of my genny's hooked up..except for the interlock; there is none. It's always only me that connects the genny up, so I know to throw the main breaker off before I do.
 

stgislander

Well-Known Member
That's how I have one of my genny's hooked up..except for the interlock; there is none. It's always only me that connects the genny up, so I know to throw the main breaker off before I do.
Hmmmm. How many beers will you have had before connecting the generator up? I seem to remember during Isabel.... :lol:
 

Gilligan

#*! boat!
PREMO Member
Hmmmm. How many beers will you have had before connecting the generator up? I seem to remember during Isabel.... :lol:
That was a different building and a different generator. And it sure looked like three wires I was hooking up....and three screw drivers...and three panel boxes...

And that was Ernesto..not Isabel. ;-)
 

officeguy

Well-Known Member
So I was wondering what the difference between the Amazon one I listed and the Home Depot one you listed. I see this one has breakers in addition to the switches, what is the reason for that?
The one you linked has pop-up style circuit breakers to protect the individual circuits. That's fine if the combination of CBs installed matches the wiring in your house. The one he linked to uses standard format circuit brakers which make it easier for an electrician to customize the different CBs to match the loads in the house.
 
That was a different building and a different generator. And it sure looked like three wires I was hooking up....and three screw drivers...and three panel boxes...

And that was Ernesto..not Isabel. ;-)
And three sheets to the wind.....
 
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