Generator help

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  #1  
Old 10-25-11, 08:35 AM
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Generator help

Hi:

Kinda of a newbie with this stuff so please be kind Purchased a second home that is already wired for a generator (no backfeed I guess you call it). There is a switch on the panel to switch to the generator so it's not the automatic type. There is a four prong male outlet right outside the basement to plug in the generator when needed. Trouble is the generator we have (4000w) has just a three prong plug since it's older. We aren't sure yet if we want to invest in an automatic generator that would be powered by propane until we get a sense of our winter use (about $3k). We also don't want to run out and buy a new generator that would have the four prong twist and lock that would be gasoline (about $1k) and wasted if we eventually go the other route. Is there something we could do (legally of course) that will make allow us to use of the generator this season? Thanks for any comments!
 
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Old 10-25-11, 08:45 AM
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Hi,

What 3 prong outlet are you talking about on the gen? This will help determine what you can do, but may require some rewiring.

Which one of these does the gen have???



Mike NJ
 
  #3  
Old 10-25-11, 08:51 AM
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Thanks for the quick reply! Unfortunately the unit is up at the house but it's your typical 120v 20 amp plug and that's all it has. My FIL believes we can put an additional switch on the heating system (this is really all we want to power up) that will also need to be flipped before we use the generator -- so it would be a two-step process. Of course, we would need to be present to do this so we have purchase a freeze alarm that will call us when the temp falls below a certain threshold.
 
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Old 10-25-11, 09:03 AM
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If just for the heat, you could get a single device switch like this.

http://www.amazon.com/Reliance-TF151.../dp/B000HRWG8U

Just run a extension cord from the gen to the switch.

Mike NJ
 
  #5  
Old 10-25-11, 09:12 AM
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Thanks, I guess that would do it and bide us some time to decide if a permanent automatic backup is worth the investment. So in this scenario, I would still flip the switch on the panel to avoid the backfeed issue correct?
 
  #6  
Old 10-25-11, 09:15 AM
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On second look it appears that the switch only handles generators up to 1875w. I think I had seen this last night on amazon and could not locate one for 4000w generators...

It seems like all the transfer switches for larger (about 5000w) generators have the twist and lock plug. There appears to be one that has an interchangeable plug option but it seem like you can only use it for furnaces that are gas and this one is oil.

http://www.amazon.com/GenTran-2026-6...9559555&sr=1-3

Is there such a beast that convert the amperage from the twist and lock (30?) down to a regular 20 amp? Maybe an inverter of some sort?

Maybe I'm going to have to just suck it up and buy an interim one??

Thanks!!! Jo-Ann
 
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Old 10-25-11, 09:31 AM
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If your heat only needs a 15 amp connection you could use a regular extension cord. Most small generators have a regular receptacle on them.
 
  #8  
Old 10-25-11, 09:39 AM
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But the heating system does not have a "plug" on it?
 
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Old 10-25-11, 10:05 AM
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The rating on the switch is only max that the circuit can draw without overloading. Even though your gen is bigger your heater will only draw so many watts from the gen.

You get it?

No if you wire this switch for your heat you dont touch the switch in the panel.

I am not an electrician so others will chime in and may explain better then I can. My answers are based on my experience with my own gen, and research.

For the money you are going to spend, your best option IMO is to buy a gen with a 4 prong outlet. This way you can just power any circuits you need from the main panel.

You should take pics of your panel with that interlock devive. Also the inlet plug you speak of. Possibly it was rigged and may not even be to code.



Mike NJ
 
  #10  
Old 10-25-11, 10:39 AM
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I do have pictures but they are at home. I will attach later. The P&H person that installed the system confirmed that they generator system is set up properly so I'm not worried about it being rigged.

I might decide to just invest in a newer generator that can be powered by both gas and propane so should we decide to go the permanent route we won't have wasted $$.
 
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