Portable Generator for Home

Old 04-12-18, 05:39 AM
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Portable Generator for Home

I have been considering purchasing a portable generator for the house to have in case of a power outage that would last a few days. Well this weekend it looks like a 2 day ice storm is going to blanket our area and now may be the time to pick one up. My main item to run as it is short time use is a Power Direct Vent Gas Water Heater that plugs into 120 ac but is a natural gas tank. I have checked online and apparently natural gas does not shutdown during an electrical power outage (not sure if this is true) so in theory if my tank itself has electricity i should have heat. It is a infloor radiant system with 2 zones. Looking for opinions on having something around to at last run an extension cord from the tank to outside to plug directly into the generator. Thanks for any advice or tips with. I just thought about it and have realized it won't work as the components for the infloor system are wired into the house system IE: circulation pump , etc duhhh on my part. I couldn't find a tab to delete this post.
Old 04-12-18, 06:13 AM
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Many of the rules to hook up a generator to a home electrical system are the same for any kind or size of generator.

The most common connection methods have the generator connected to a male receptacle on the side of the house and that receptacle is wired to some kind of transfer mechanism at or near the breaker panel.

It is then your discipline to flip on only thse breakers for items you neeed to provide power for and to rotate among the breakers to timeshare the limited power of the generator.

Your main problem is time to construct the necessary wiring.

You can unhook a branch circuit from the panel and wire it to an extension cord that in turn is plugged into a generator but this too needs time to do it.

Some rules worth repeating:

You may not construct, possess, or use a cord with more than one male plug attached.

Circuit wiring is not bidirectional. If you select an existing branch circuit, say, going to your garage, to connect the generator male receptacle to and feed your main panel with, then the transfer mechanism, once completed and required to be permanent, will prevent other lights and receptacles on that particular circuit from getting power other than from the generator.

Dumb gas water heaters (no power vent, no AC powered control box) will work through power failures. Gas normally does not shut off during a power failure. If it did shut off then the gas company has to go from street to street, from house to house, to be sure the gas flow without air pockets is re-established for each appliance.

Last edited by AllanJ; 04-12-18 at 06:34 AM.
Old 04-12-18, 07:52 AM
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Is your circulation pump hard wired to the house's electrical system or does is also have a 120 volt plug like most household items?

I have one friend in a similar situation and he changed the wiring slightly. He changed his circulation pump from being hard wired to having a SJ cord (flexible) with a standard plug on the end. For the house wiring he installed a outlet right next to the pump with the wiring that used to connect to the pump. When the power is on the pump is plugged into the dedicated outlet. When the power goes out he simply unplugs the pump and plugs it into an extension cord that he runs outside to the generator.

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