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  •  You FIRST turn off the main breaker! (19+ / 0-)

    Shutting off the breaker isolates the house from the mains.  So you can run a generator and it won't go out.

    However, that's not the right way to do it, and certainly doesn't conform to code.  The correct way is to put in a switch that lets the house be connected to either the generator or the mains, and those two never touch each other.

    Making this more complex is that most generators can't power everything, so the proper answer is to split the main breaker panel into two, one of which is on the generator and one of which is not.  So when the switch is thrown, one of the two panels stays on.

    Hence the cost of putting in a generator safely is a lot more than the cost of the generator itself.  This type of work needs to be done by a electrician.  Do it yourself and you void your insurance.

    One of the municipal electric companies here in Massachusetts is distributing a clever device, the Generlink, which goes into your outdoor power meter between the meter and its socket.  It has a cord that goes to your generator, and switches the whole house over from one to the other.  It is much cheaper than having an electrician install a switch, and of course it doesn't split your breaker box, so you have to be careful how you use power when on generator.  Many utilities do not however allow this device.

    •  Exactly right (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DvCM, FarWestGirl

      on all points

      If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

      by CwV on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 10:08:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  i had heard of backfeeding (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      but that it was potentially dangerous...

    •  I don't know what happens... (0+ / 0-)

      ...when your generator is running when mains voltage comes up, but I suspect not good things. (I'd imagine that modern generators can sense reverse current and shut itself off, but I wouldn't want to try it out!)

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 07:02:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  How we use generators in OR (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      We have a gernerator and occasionally we get a power outage due to weather. Its a small 4KW honda but I start it up evry 6  months or so and change the gas just ti kee it ready
      totally drop the idea of running a large one full time, I bet no one here can afford it. Run an extension cord to your refigerator. Run the generator about 4 hrs, twice a day enough to keep the frozen stuff frozen and the cod stuff cold. Hint: keep bags of ice in the freezer, it helps.
      I have got the whole 18V dewalt battery operated tool sets, two of these are lights with rechargeable batteries. Thats what we use, charging the batteries when the generator is running. This gives us all the light we need
      we have a woodstove which takes care of heat (we're allelectric other wise) You can grill outside or cook on a propane stove outside
      We have a Verizon Mobile hot spot which is rechargeable so we're still online, with our laptops, also rechareable. Charge all these while the gen is running

      Believe me, you don't need a big generator, you could use a smaller one than we have (it was given to us)

      Good luck to all you guys back east.

      Happy just to be alive

      by exlrrp on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 04:35:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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