connecting portable generator to furnace?

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  #1  
Old 10-31-12, 07:04 AM
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connecting portable generator to furnace?

Still don't have power due to the storm and its getting cold. How can I connect my 5kwatt portable generator to the furnace?

The furnace has two outlets and a switch installed on it. I read I can just get a male to male connector and connect it to one of the outlets on the furnace to backfeed the furnace. I am aware that I would have to switch of the main breakers off. How likely is it that this would work and not damage the furnace?

What other options do I have? I don't think I feel comfortable installing a transfer switch.

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Old 10-31-12, 07:27 AM
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I read I can just get a male to male connector and connect it to one of the outlets on the furnace to backfeed the furnace. I am aware that I would have to switch of the main breakers off. How likely is it that this would work and not damage the furnace?
No. Never do that.. It isn't a thing you are likely to damage it is a person. The suicide cord which is the fitting name for a double male cord can easily leave you with metal prongs that are energized and dangerous if one end come out. Worse the panel could be accidentally energized if someone throws the main breaker back on. That could kill a lineman. It is illegal and if the electric company finds out they may cut the line to your house or pull your meter.

While strongly not recommended except in an emergency what you can do with relative safety is disconnect the 2-conductor cable feeding power to your furnace, put a plug on it, and plug it in to an extension cord from your generator.
 
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Old 10-31-12, 07:45 AM
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Good example of why my house has a wood stove. We did not lose power (or even the satellite tv) during Sandy, but do lose it for a day or two every year.
 
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Old 10-31-12, 09:08 AM
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Where do I disconnect the cable feeding power to the furnace? On the breaker box or from the furnace somewhere?
 
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Old 10-31-12, 09:18 AM
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You should disconnect at the furnace wherever the power in wires or cable are. Maybe at the Jbox in your picture. To be safe also disconnect at the panel. If not sure and can determine both the black and white that goes to the furnace at the breaker disconnect those and the ground splice to a heavy duty cord* and put your plug on that.

*Again emergency only suggestion. Cut the female end off a #14 or at last resort #16 extension cord and splice it to the disconnected wires in the breaker box. Again not approved but reasonably safe for temporary emergency only use. If you have to use #16 monitor frequently for overheating.
 
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Old 11-01-12, 11:00 AM
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16 shouldn't overheat at all with a gas furnace your looking at a couple amps, just check and double check your wiring before you plug it into the generator.
 
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Old 11-01-12, 11:47 AM
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If I remember correctly my variable speed, two-stage furnace draws around 8 amperes while in the ignition stage and about 4 amperes when running on the first stage.
 
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Old 11-01-12, 12:12 PM
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Looking at the OP's first photo, what is plugged into that outlet?

In a pinch (pre-storm), I'd consider wiring an outlet and plug on the furnace power line. Keeping the length of unfasened cord to 6-8", you wouldn't be able to plug it in any other outlet except the designated one, or an extension cord to the genny. Could also double as a second emergency disconnect.
Feasable or dumb idea?
 
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Old 11-01-12, 12:44 PM
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It is feasible but may also be contrary to code as generally furnaces are hard-wired. There is also the possibility that the receptacle is fed from a Multi-Wire-Branch-Circuit (MWBC) and is NOT on the furnace branch circuit.
 
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Old 11-01-12, 03:18 PM
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I would say it's a condensate pump plugged in seeing its grounded, goes straight down where the PVC comes out of the furnace and the. The clear vinyl tubing going up would be pumped to a drain
 
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Old 11-01-12, 05:28 PM
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  #12  
Old 11-01-12, 06:49 PM
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That transfer switch is horribly overpriced and it won't work with a generator that has GFCI protection on its output. There is another thread concerning powering a furnace with an inverter where that switch was used and it would trip the GFCI every time. There are other ways to build a transfer switch that will work and for less money.
 
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Old 11-01-12, 07:12 PM
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I have that very same power switch, which I purchased online for MUCH MUCH less than that. It works great for me, although my generator does not have GFI protection.. I'm betting the prices have shot up, due to Sandy.
 
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