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Do I have to hook up a portable generator to the circuit box

Do I have to hook up a portable generator to the circuit box


Old 02-08-13, 09:10 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: usa
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Do I have to hook up a portable generator to the circuit box

I just purchased a Briggs & Stratton portable generator. I thought I would bring it home, take it out of the box, fill it with gas and oil and when the electricity goes out, start it up and plug into it what I want to run and thats it. Now I have people telling me I need to hire an electrician to install a transfer switch and hook it up to the circuit box. Is this true? I should note that I bought a 5500 wattage and am interested only in hooking up my refrigerator, my tv, a light and my computer, nothing else. (my heat any hot water are gas) Can't I just run four extension cords (the generator has a place for four plugs) from the generator into each of the appliances I listed and thats it? Thanks
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Old 02-08-13, 09:19 PM
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You are correct, just plug in what you want to run. No need to spend all that money and make it power entire circuits in the home that you don't need/want powered.
Old 02-08-13, 11:37 PM
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Does your gas heat have a blower?
Old 02-09-13, 05:58 AM
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: USA
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You could certainly do it that way with extension cords. To keep the generator a safe distance from the house to avoid fumes may require 4 or more 50 ft cords, preferably the heavier 12 gauge ones.

Check this out 30216A Pro/Tran | Product Details | Reliance Controls Corporation

Depending on the location of your breaker panel and where the ideal spot would be to locate your generator, the 20ft cord supplied may or may not suffice. Either way, you will spend the same for all those cords or if you need to, a single 50 ft 10-4 cable to connect the generator to the switch box.

The Reliance panel is very easy to install and comes with a straightforward dvd instruction disc. I installed mine in an hour plus another hour to run a 10-3 hardwire connection from the panel to a point where it was convenient to plug in the 50' cable from the generator.

I've done the extension cord thing, and it's a pain in the arse. For a few extra hundred bucks over the extension cord method you get a much simpler solution with more flexibility as to what you can power. You could have heat too as long as it doesn't have some kind of electric emergency backup ( too much of a load).

Your current plan would utilize about 20% of the generator capacity. Being able to cook with a microwave and keep the heat on and make use of the rated capacity of the generator and not to mention all the gas you'll be feeding it seems worth the extra expense to me, but that's just me. Everybody's situation is different in some way.
Old 02-09-13, 06:59 AM
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Electronics may or may not like the quality of the power from the gennie. You might want to use a UPS to condition the power to them.

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