hook up generator to oil furnace

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Old 11-13-11, 05:31 PM
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hook up generator to oil furnace

Hi everyone,

I just received a generator. The two items I would absolutely need it for is our fridge and our oil based furnace (for the winter).

The furnace is wired into the circuit breaker.

I know the most optimal solution is using a transfer switch. It would be nice to hook up most of our house to a generator (minus our 220v needs) but it would cost about $700 for parts and labor; that's a bit much for us at the moment.

Might there be another way that a DIY type person can handle? I was thinking along the lines of something similar to a transfer switch but just for the furnace. That however might be against local code.
 
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Old 11-13-11, 06:54 PM
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They make single circuit transfer switches for furnaces.
 
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Old 11-14-11, 09:31 AM
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I'm working through the same issue.

I have two separate threads going that ended up dealing with the same topic. Feel free to review all of the great information people have shared with me:

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...ml#post1907365

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...er-switch.html
 
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Old 11-14-11, 10:35 AM
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Several companies make single circuit transfer switches specifically for furnaces. They run about $100, plus about $10 in misc supplies (wirenuts, screws, etc.) You use a standard 5-15 extension cord to connect the genny to the switch so no special cord is required. You can mount it at the main panel location or at the furnace.

example:
http://www.amazon.com/Reliance-TF151.../dp/B000HRWG8U
 
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Old 11-14-11, 12:53 PM
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Thanks Ibpooks. That's the transfer switch I installed. The confusion/problem with that one and the similar one that Gen-Tran sells is that it only switches the hot wires and it leaves the neutrals in place. That's fine if your generator doesn't have the neutral bonded to ground (as I'm finding out). Most newer generators (I think) or at least the ones sold at home improvement stores have the neutral bonded to ground which can cause a dangerous situation if there is a short in the wiring. The frame of the generator can become electrified and shock someone who touches it.

Some generators can be modified so the neutral isn't bonded to ground but then they can't be used standalone - without being connected to your transfer switch.
 
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Old 11-14-11, 01:17 PM
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Gen Tran has a "Switched Neutral Kit" that you can add to manual transfer switches. It states it can be used on most makes and models. You might want to check into it. Here is the link: https://www.gentran.net/eshop/10Expa...roductCode=SNK
 
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Old 11-14-11, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by jfinn View Post
have the neutral bonded to ground which can cause a dangerous situation if there is a short in the wiring. The frame of the generator can become electrified and shock someone who touches it.
This is more of an issue with OSHA regs for generators used on jobsites. Generators used at home with transfer switches are much less susceptible to this type of problem due to the fact that the home electrical system to which you are connected is well-earthed and bonded. It is also an "emerging" area due to various recent versions of the National Electric Code and OSHA regulations not being consistent with each other yet. So depending on the state (or even city) you are in my be subject to different regulations on this issue.

The bottom line is that there is not a strictly "correct" answer on this issue (except in the case of jobsite generators). It is not like one option is incredibly unsafe and the other is safe. Both have pros and cons and both are quite safe under virtually all circumstances using an approved transfer switch.
 
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Old 11-14-11, 02:03 PM
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belgarid: I've been looking at that Switched Neutral Kit. It kind of scared me away a little though because it has at least twice as many wires as my transfer switch does.

ibpooks: Thanks for that. That's making me feel better about just leaving well enough alone and not making any more changes to what I've got. It works, hasn't shocked me, doesn't move, and is only used (hopefully) less than a couple of times a year.
 
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