Electrical outlet pass thru for Generator

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Old 10-24-19, 09:00 PM
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Electrical outlet pass thru for Generator

Living in N. CA we are now faced with the utility turning off our power for safety reasons. We have a small Honda generator that will be enough to run the refrigerator and some smaller appliances / lamps. Our stove is gas and we can BBQ, water heater is propane.

My question is with the generator on the back deck will need to run extension cords to run refrigerator etc... so without leaving the back door open can I install a weatherproof receptacle on the outside with 4 outlets and direct wire the same on the inside and plug in the appliances?

Most of the time the wife will be home as where she works power would most likely be off also. This would be primarily at night when sleeping and when it would be raining.

Was looking for some type of weatherproof pass thru box to run electrical cords through the wall but internet searches didn't return many options for the application I'm looking for.

Any suggestions / ideas would be appreciated.
Kurt

 
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Old 10-25-19, 05:43 AM
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You are supposed to use a inlet box for generator input, not a receptacle.
Search for generator inlet.

On the other side of the wall, you can run wire with NM cable and attach receptacle inside.


Why is the safety reason your power company is concerned?
 
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Old 10-25-19, 05:52 AM
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I am not current with the electrical code but I believe if you are not back feeding power to your house's electrical system you can do what you mentioned. Put a generator inlet box on the outside of your home. Then on the inside you can use an old work electrical box to hold a outlet or two (giving you four sockets). The inside outlets would only be hot when the generator is running and connected.

This "generator inlet" has a 120 volt 15 amp style plug. They are also available in higher capacity twist lock generator inlets if you wish though you are still limited by the 20 amp maximum capacity of an outlets circuit. If you want more capacity you'd have to install a small panel with a couple circuit breakers to take say a 30 or 50 amp inlet and break it out into multiple 15 or 20 amp outlet circuits. Again, all of this would ONLY be powered by your generator and NOT connected to your houses electrical system.

 
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Old 10-25-19, 06:07 AM
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The safety reason: High winds can cause an electrical fire. The fire near Paradise, CA during a wind storm was blamed on high tension electrical equipment.
1. HIgh tension wires may swing back and forth between poles/towers in a fashion that they touch causing a short circuit (an arc can occur before the wires actually touch). Molten metal can fall and start a fire.
2. Debris blowing in the wind may short out substations and some high tension wires and be ignited by the resulting arcs .
I would expect that it would not be too difficult for the power company to install components that prevent at least #1, namely bars that keep the wires between the same poles swinging in the same direction if they must swing. The bars would have to be shaped in a fashion that an arc could not form on them.

I suspect that if electric companies were not held liable for fires cause by their equipment and any damages awarded so far forgiven, then these power outages would not be scheduled.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 10-25-19 at 06:24 AM.
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Old 10-25-19, 06:35 AM
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PG&E is turning off power when the winds blows so they are not responsible for downed power lines starting fires that they have to pay out billions for burned homes. So far 2 outages in less than 2 weeks and a third scheduled for this weekend. We have yet to be effected but are located close enough that it might happen.
 
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Old 10-25-19, 06:40 AM
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You need to use an inlet not a normal receptacle. You can create a circuit in your house that only functions when the generator is connected with no issue.
 
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Old 10-25-19, 06:43 AM
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The generator inlet is what I was looking for just didn't come up in searches. Not back feeding the panel, this is just to have a few outlets to run a couple items during the outage.
 
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Old 10-25-19, 10:00 AM
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PG&E is turning off power when the winds blows so they are not responsible for downed power lines starting fires that they have to pay out billions for burned homes.

I have read all about these issues and the fires that have been blamed on PG&E's equipment in the past and certainly understand PG&E's reasoning. What I don't understand is why is this just a problem in California? High winds occur in many areas of the country without utility equipment causing fires so why is it this is only an issue in California?
 
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Old 10-25-19, 10:06 AM
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It's a problem for PG&E because they lost a lawsuit in the past and are now being super cautious.
 
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Old 10-25-19, 11:01 AM
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why is it this is only an issue in California
One of the biggest issues is that for the past 30 or 40 years the wacko enviromentalists have prevented any fuel reduction anywhere in CA. If it keeps up there won't be any fire issues after everything in the state has burnt. To the OP make sure you have enough generator to run just what you need and rotate to different areas as necessary, you will find that you won't have much to work with using a small generator and you sure don't want to run a refer without proper amount of wattage by using too many things at once because you can damage the compressor. I have been in both of the outages and it's very inconvient but can be delt with. I find myself on both sides of the fence on the power shutoffs, on one hand it could be managed better but on the other I would rather deal with it than have to deal with the possibility of losing everything to a fire.
 
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Old 10-25-19, 11:37 AM
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I haven't watched news in a while and wasn't aware power company was shutting power down due to high wind.

If they are shutting power down that often, I would really consider whole house standby generator. Or at least larger generator with manual transfer switch.
Electricity is too important for me.
 
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Old 10-25-19, 11:39 AM
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One of the biggest issues is that for the past 30 or 40 years the wacko enviromentalists have prevented any fuel reduction anywhere in CA. If it keeps up there won't be any fire issues after everything in the state has burnt.
That was actually my opinion too, but I keep quiet on many issues.


on one hand it could be managed better but on the other I would rather deal with it than have to deal with the possibility of losing everything to a fire.

I am reading about some pretty big fires anyway. Any idea how these started?
 
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Old 10-25-19, 01:01 PM
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Without giving Ron53 an UPVOTE on his post. I have to agree with is thoughts.
 
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Old 10-25-19, 03:33 PM
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S' Ok Norm. I gave him one.
 
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Old 10-25-19, 04:34 PM
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Any idea how these started?
Joe, the fire in Northern CA was started by a PGE tower that failed, and they didn't get the power turned off fast enough. What I heard about the one in SOCAL was from someone putting hot coals out in the garbage and the truck that picked up the garbage started burning so the bright truck driver pulled off the roadway and dumped the load to save his truck. Don't know how true the second one is though but that's what the wife read about it. I will be looking into a standby generator next spring if this is to become the norm.
 
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Old 10-25-19, 08:31 PM
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Will have to see how this weekend goes and what the generator will power. Looking into a standby generator, not really wanting to spend the money but it might out way the inconvenience if our power will be going out on a regular basis.
 
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Old 10-26-19, 08:43 AM
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If you're considering a standby generator, you better act fast. There are likely not enough generators in the pipe line or available qualified installers to keep up with the demand.
 
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Old 10-27-19, 02:15 PM
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In a pinch I would cut a hole in a suitable place in the exterior wall to install the male receptacle (inlet) unit but not actually install it. Then directly in line cut a hole for an outlet box in the interior wall but not install the box. I would run extension cords through the hole to reach the generator.

This will keep dogs out but in order to keep raccoons and mice out it would be necessary to fabricate a wood plate with one or more slots to pass the cords and slip that over the hole, holding it in place with a few drywall screws.

Although you would have to find a generator in stock at some store, you would not need to hire an installer let alone an electrician.
 
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