Outside Generator to Interior Outlet

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Old 01-12-08, 09:51 AM
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Outside Generator to Interior Outlet

With all the ice storms, I know that my time is coming whereas my power will go out for days versus a second.
I bought a LP gas powered generator, and will be building a small, low, permanent protected enclosure outside, with doors that can be opened while the generator is running.
I understand that the generator needs to be grounded, and will have to drive some kind of rod into the ground.
Because extension cords must be placed directly into the generator, the problem was: "How to access the house without using the house wiring?"
I do not want to leave a door open in any way because this would create other problems.
I came up with the idea of making a small hole in the outer wall. I added an PVC access port siliconed to the outside, with an attachment of two small PVC 1" pipe to channel the wires to a wall.
The wire is cut from a 25' extension cord, cutting 3/4 length with the plug end. This end will be plugged into the generator while it is operating.
The cut end is pulled through the access PVC pipe, going to an electrical box which I would like to use a ground fault outlet.
This setup is ONLY for the generator and will not be used for other electrical applications. This will be clearly labeled on the wall with wattage apps, to various appliances.
My first question is: "What gauge wire, extension cord should I have running to the generator?.
It is a small 3000, with one dual outlet.
I was only going to use this outlet at 120 v, to make it easy.
My second question is: I was going to run two extension cords in to the CFGI outlet in the box. Both would be 16 gauge. I was going to label them A with the corresponding A in the top outlet both on the generator and inside. These I was going to use for specific continuous operating devices, lights, etc.
The second one I was going to label B. Use this in the lower outlet labeled B. Use this for alternate devices, and could be unpluged if current was necessary outside for the water pump or sump pump.
( Will need advice on how to temp wire water pump and sump pump by using the generator to run this.)
I was going to wire the CFCI with the A ext cord cut end to the inside upper outlet and the B ext cord cut end to the bottom outlet of the GFCI.
What do you think?
 
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  #2  
Old 01-12-08, 09:58 AM
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Sounds like you watched Green Acres one too many times. What you really need is a transfer panel and an inlet at the house or maybe generator. Do a search of this forum and you will find lots of info.
 
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Old 01-12-08, 10:35 AM
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Green Acres = Do It Yourself

Whew, I thought I was on the wrong forum, but no this is the place where one can come up with questions and have someone who is more professional provide an intelligent answer.

Anyway, we are all asking questions cause we need to save money. Otherwise we would hire someone.
Even that is not A-OK without exception.

I had hired a master electrician son of a Master Electrician, about 7 years ago to run an overhead wire from my house to a shed. Failure #1, he installed the wrong wire, was not outdoor wire. When I had problems with shorting, I had a friend (not a Master electrician) replace it. When he opened the port to hook on the new/remove the old wire at the house, the Master Electrician had not even used wire nuts or anything to join the wires, leaving the live wires inside the metal casing. This was failure #2. I figured even I knew better.

I had check through lots of posts prior to my 1st posting as a new member.

The closest answer to my question was from Indiana627.
I will continue to look for other info.

Thanks for your repy.
 
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Old 01-12-08, 12:03 PM
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I gave the answer I did because adding a transfer switch can be a DIY pro ject and when you add up the cost of parts and cords your way may be about same cost. You can also use an interlock if available for your panel and reduce the cost maybe even more.
 
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Old 01-12-08, 12:52 PM
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Regardless of what you do, cutting up extension cords and using them as wire is highly illegal.

An auto transfer panel would be the correct , safe and acceptable way.

If you insist on using extension cords then you will have to feed them through a cracked window or door.
 
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Old 01-12-08, 01:14 PM
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....Or maybe Sanford and Son...

What you proposed, is un wise , illegal, unsafe and in the event something goes wrong, your local power company will provide you with permanent housing in the form of a 4x8 concrete box with bars where the windows belong.

C'mon now , saving money is a good thing, but not when you risk your, your family and utility workers safety.

These guys gave you the logical safe alternatives to a situation.. as they always do....Everyone has been low on funds at some point , but dont criticize someones "FREE" advice.
Try READING the instruction manual that came with your generator. It may provide More insight than these "HILLBILLYS" here can offer. Unless of course the generator is spare parts from the spare TRACTOR.
 
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Old 01-12-08, 01:43 PM
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If I understand the original poster he wants to install a receptacle inside his house that will be directly connected to his generator.

This inside receptacle will be used with extension cords inside the house to provide power to a very few lights or maybe the refrigerator or microwave oven.

This could be an inexpensive alternative to the more desirable (yet more expensive) transfer panel if power outages are few and far between in his area.

I disagree with his suggested use of cut-up extension cords and silicone-sealed PVC pipes. There are MUCH better ways of doing this.

Some more information, especially on the generator, is needed to allow me to make any suggestions.
 
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Old 01-12-08, 05:57 PM
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Thanks FURD

You understand the question of what I was trying to explain. I have one heavy duty outside extension cord going to box with a regular outlet. I have another heavy duty outside extension cord going to another box containing another regular outlet. These outlets will never be hooked up to the grid. They are only for supply coming from the generator. I decided against a ground fault outlet or outlets because of that which Indiana627 wrote. I also did what he did by taking each heavy duty cord to each outlet.
Similarly, I numbered the top inside outlets & box "A", gets plugged into the top outlet on the generator which I marked "A". For "B" is the lower outlets & box inside and lower outlet on the generator outside.
I marked the cords also, so the family can clearly see which plug goes to which corresponding outlet box inside.
The pass through conduit allows the heavy duty outside cords to exist on the outside of the building, only to be used with the generator.
This can exist here as a permanent fixture. It is only occasionaly, years apart, that the electricity could go out. Therefore, I wanted to keep the whole operation simple and off the grid. This is where one can get into trouble of electrocuting the repair people, trying to fix downed lines. Don't even want to touch that.
The patio is the perfect place for the generator, which will be put there when it is needed.
Also, when I mentioned of keeping the cost down, projects add up.
I do apoligize if someone misunderstood my question.

As I said earlier, I feel do it yourselfers ARE smart people. Most of them are very intelligent, and I said that because that is what I believe. I didn't mean that as a verbal pun meaning a specific person was stupid. Not at all. Never even had that thought. Sorry, some of you took that wrong. Wan't meant that way.
 

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Old 01-12-08, 07:08 PM
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You are talking about connecting 15 or 20 amp circuits (loads) with a 16 guage cord. Not good.

For starters, there is an excellent intro. book which I think is called "wirings simplified". It is a little green book and usually available at hardware and home stores. This is a good introduction if you are going to do elecrical work.


Now, the reason there were several responses mentionioning a transfer switch are twofold ( legal, and moral). Each year, after a major hurrincan or other natural disaster which causes power outages, there are incidents of unsuspecting linemen, and also innocent women and children, injured or killed by downed or susposedly dead lines, backfed from someone's generator. You may only be planning to plug your refrigerator and your widescreen tv into a generator, but the folks were trying to alert you that any attempt to cross generator power into your house wiring becomes a very serious technical project.
 
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Old 01-12-08, 07:32 PM
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Thanks tough

I am fully aware of what hooking up to the house wiring can do.
I am not even intersted in hooking it up to the house wiring.
Everything is marked for generator only.
It is very minimal in emergency to keep a refrig running occasionaly, so we're not talking about a hospital emergency room.
My Father was a Master Electrician, he died of old age.
He was a genius, and could do and solve just about any problem.
I learned a lot from him.
I have a 13" TV, a lot of of florecent lights (low voltage), and my house is small.
I installed backup natural gas direct vent heater that will work even when the electricity goes out.
If I can't run the well, I will drain the pipes.
I am a survivor, lived on working cattle ranches and know how to keep things running.
I know you don't mess with the house wiring and the grid.
But thanks, I value your input.
 
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Old 01-12-08, 08:00 PM
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From the original post.

My first question is: "What gauge wire, extension cord should I have running to the generator?.
It is a small 3000, with one dual outlet.
I was only going to use this outlet at 120 v, to make it easy.
My second question is: I was going to run two extension cords in to the CFGI outlet in the box. Both would be 16 gauge. I was going to label them A with the corresponding A in the top outlet both on the generator and inside. These I was going to use for specific continuous operating devices, lights, etc.
The second one I was going to label B. Use this in the lower outlet labeled B. Use this for alternate devices, and could be unpluged if current was necessary outside for the water pump or sump pump.
( Will need advice on how to temp wire water pump and sump pump by using the generator to run this.)
I was going to wire the CFCI with the A ext cord cut end to the inside upper outlet and the B ext cord cut end to the bottom outlet of the GFCI.
What do you think?
Is this 3,000 watt generator 120 volts only?

3,000 watts at 120 volts is 25 amperes. Since you have no way to equally divide the current on the two proposed extension cords to the generator you MUST use no less than a #10 cable from the generator. Using two smaller gauge cables is NOT safe or acceptable.

Does the generator have a three-prong, twist-lock receptacle? Most 120 volt only generators do and this would be the preferred receptacle to use for a cable that enters the house.

Are you planning on leaving the proposed extension cords hanging out of the side of your house at all times? This is very bad practice as the weather will cause them to deteriorate and fail when you need them the most.

There is nothing wrong in your idea of installing a receptacle (or two) inside your home that is wired only for generator operation but PLEASE use proper wiring techniques. Flexible cables (modified extension cords) are NOT the proper way.


BTW, it is extremely unlikely that a 3,000 watt 120 volt gennie will be able to start your water pump and doubtful that it will start your sump pump unless you have a really small sump pump.
 
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Old 01-12-08, 09:09 PM
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Each year, after a major hurrincan or other natural disaster which causes power outages, there are incidents of unsuspecting linemen, and also innocent women and children, injured or killed by downed or susposedly dead lines, backfed from someone's generator.
The last Storm/outage in my area , the linesman were accompanied thru the area by the state police, the Local building and electrical AHJ's , and the township sheriffs dept. If your genny was running you were told to lock it out, Tran equipment or not.
 
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Old 01-12-08, 11:26 PM
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Since you plan to have the generator in a permanent location I would suggest you run PVC conduit between that location and where you want the receptacles in the house. Use 1-1/4" or 1-1/2" conduit and you can upgrade for a larger generator should you later want to. Use #10 THWN in the conduit. At the house terminate in a two gang box with two duplex receptacles. At the generator terminate with an inlet. Make a short cable to go between generator outlet and the inlet.

No a regular 2 gang box may not work with 1.25" or 1.5" conduit so you will have to use a work around such as running the conduit to a larger box and attaching a smaller 2 gang box to it.

Or skip the conduit and use direct burial (UF) cable.

You can then run extension cords to what you need to power in the house.

If you are going to use both receptacles on the generator use two inlets and two separate sets of wires. Depending on distance you can probably use #12. Each set of wires would terminate at a separate receptacle.
 
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Old 01-12-08, 11:52 PM
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The other thing it came up senice no one else mention this sencie the OP say have LPG fueled generator.

keep in your mind if you used the 20Lbs propane tank aka BBQ tank in cold weather it may not have engough fuel pressure to keep it running in very cold weather.

and please do follow the manufacter instruction dealing with the LPG hook up the fuel line can hold alot of pressure and do not use cheap automove fuel line it is not rated to handle the pressure of LPG.

and from my past experince i work as electrician and also i deal with alot of diffrent type of generators and what most guys been explaining to you they do understand the sisuation what is going on and some of them are electrician by trade [ including myself ]

if you want to run the portable generator outside keep the unit away from any open window even the window is close the exhaust fumes can work thru window or wall if not sealed tight and make sure driect the exhaust away from the house [ dont run it in the open garage at all ]

for the cord i rather used #12 or larger extension cord to run the light and furance if need to.

3,000 watt size is not very big unit at all you really have to use the common sense what you can run on the generator and keep in your mind with motor load it can screw up the generator if not carefull.

[ a wise idea as what most guys will say the same thing keep the computer or expensive tv off from the generator itself unless it is a inverter type generator { kinda pricey but very clean power } ]

and let you know that many state[s] are crackling down the generator owner about backfeeding the system so you have to becarefull do not run the generator back feed to the house system.

if you want go hardwire route please follow what other guys been explaining to you with this.

for hardwired set up.,, there is few options that can meet the code,

Ray2047 have one good example there.,,

really it only need 1 inch PVC or Rigid pipe and go down to the 2 gang repectale box but make sure you have it set up with GFCI anway [ i do not know what brand the generator the OP have and some of them dont have any GFCI protection ]

when you change the mind later you always can add generator transfer panel or interlock kit. there is quite few diffrent verison and i just cant list it all in here but i suggest you goggle " interlock kit " and " generator transfer switch kit " it will come up pretty good listing

some of the kits reqired a electrician to do this some can be done with serious diy with good skill as long they understand the NEC code and state code as well [ they are pretty picky on that ]

Merci, Marc
 
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