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“Back feeding” generator to breaker box #4697762
03/17/18 04:59 PM
03/17/18 04:59 PM
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 707
Northeast
Finz Online content OP
Finz  Online Content OP
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 707
Northeast
I know this isn’t to code and can be dangerous but I believe my approach will work safely until I’m ready for a more permanent system

I have 150 amp service into a Cutler Hammer box with 2 hot busbars running parallel from top to bottom

I’ve added a 20 amp breaker to the each of the busbars using 10 gauge

Each of these are being fed into a 2 pole 30 amp service interrupt

From the service interrupt, I’ll run 10 gauge out thru the wall to a 4 prong outlet

I have a powermate 7,500/6,000 watt generator and will use a 30’ power cord

I’ve been doing this with loose wire since Sandy but I simply fastened the wires direct to the busbars. The above will backfeed in the same way but save me the trouble of attaching the wires

I always shut main service off and all breakers. Attach the wires, start the generator and then, very selectively, turn on breakers as needed: Kitchen lights, WiFi, .... we draw very little at any one time.

Gas heat, oven and hot water so, if I need heat, run only the pump on boiler

So my question:

I have 2 runs of 10/2 coming out of the service interrupt. I want to run these to the exterior outlet which will accept a 4 prong

I have 2 commons, 2 grounds and 2 hot.

How do I wire the outlet? Just pigtail as needed?

Thank you for any input


God Bless America
Re: “Back feeding” generator to breaker box [Re: Finz] #4697770
03/17/18 05:12 PM
03/17/18 05:12 PM
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 489
Pennsylvania
Astro_Guy Offline
Astro_Guy  Offline
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 489
Pennsylvania
This seems a little foolish to me, although I will admit that I don't know what you mean by "2 pole 30 amp service interrupt". What you need is a transfer switch wired to specific circuits. There is simply no way that should ever wire your generator directly to the bus bars; to do that you MUST go thru a full service transfer switch rated to at least your your service level.


'01 Volvo V70XC, 228k, 0W-40 M1
'16 Accord, 17k, 0W-20 M1 EP
Re: “Back feeding” generator to breaker box [Re: Finz] #4697773
03/17/18 05:19 PM
03/17/18 05:19 PM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 2,503
SE British Columbia, Canada
Snagglefoot Offline
Snagglefoot  Offline
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 2,503
SE British Columbia, Canada
“ I know this isn’t code and could be dangerous” = no house insurance. Astro guy is right. The Transfer switch is not that much.


If you want the job done right......do it yourself.
Re: “Back feeding” generator to breaker box [Re: Astro_Guy] #4697794
03/17/18 05:39 PM
03/17/18 05:39 PM
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 707
Northeast
Finz Online content OP
Finz  Online Content OP
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 707
Northeast
Originally Posted By: Astro_Guy
This seems a little foolish to me, although I will admit that I don't know what you mean by "2 pole 30 amp service interrupt". What you need is a transfer switch wired to specific circuits. There is simply no way that should ever wire your generator directly to the bus bars; to do that you MUST go thru a full service transfer switch rated to at least your your service level.


I hear you but here’s my thought process:

The 2 pole service interrupt is nothing more than a cut-off with a 30 amp fuse

At no time will I be drawing more than 15 amps (my fridge)

The lights, WiFi and tv are negligible

The largest circuit in the box is 20 amp.... granted a 30 amp 2 pole for AC but I’d never use it

With the generator isolated, my service level is 30 amps. My interrupt is 30 amps. My max usage if 15 amps

Let me try it another way:

A transfer switch is used to provide juice to 4, 6,.... circuits you want juiced. They are run from the same breaker to the switch and, once the switch is turned on, the main is, at the same time, cut off via that plate

What I’m doing is, in lieu of the transfer switch, I have 2 breakers connected to the box, which feed to my interrupt/cutoff

Instead of having 4, 6, ... dedicated breakers, I pick and choose

The only difference, as I see it, is I simply don’t have the safety protocol whereby the the main for transfer automatically cuts off main from service. I have to do it manually

What am I missing

...understood about the homeowners insurance


Last edited by Finz; 03/17/18 05:40 PM.

God Bless America
Re: “Back feeding” generator to breaker box [Re: Finz] #4697796
03/17/18 05:52 PM
03/17/18 05:52 PM
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 1,552
USA
mk378 Offline
mk378  Offline
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 1,552
USA
Nobody reputable is going to tell you how to do this. It is extremely dangerous on several fronts if you forget to open the main breaker. A transfer switch is designed to be absolutely fail safe against both operator error and equipment failure.

As someone else noted, you can put a large transfer switch between the electric meter and the main breaker. This gives you the flexibility to energize any circuit, subject of course to not overloading the generator. Overloading the generator is actually the least of your concerns here.

Last edited by mk378; 03/17/18 05:55 PM.
Re: “Back feeding” generator to breaker box [Re: Finz] #4697808
03/17/18 06:04 PM
03/17/18 06:04 PM
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 1,720
Virginia
mattwithcats Offline
mattwithcats  Offline
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 1,720
Virginia
PBS did an episode of “This Old House” on how to hook up a emergency generator using a transfer switch...

https://youtu.be/GLgtFCJlVFQ

Smaller 6 circuit transfer switch, they used a 10 circuit version in the video...

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Reliance-Controls-30-Amp-6-Circuit-Manual-Transfer-Switch-306A/206499418

Last edited by mattwithcats; 03/17/18 06:08 PM.

2009 Smart Pure
Pennzoil Platinum Euro 0W-40, Purolator Synthetic PSL 14610, 45 mpg...
185/55R15 General HP tires, "H" speed rated, 44 psi (300 kpa)
Re: “Back feeding” generator to breaker box [Re: Finz] #4697825
03/17/18 06:17 PM
03/17/18 06:17 PM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 8,396
Illinois
mrsilv04 Offline
mrsilv04  Offline
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 8,396
Illinois
Burn your house down if you must... .but please don't kill the lineman with the power company, who is working on the pole out by the road.


2004 Silverado - on its 3rd Jasper engine in less than one year.
Re: “Back feeding” generator to breaker box [Re: Finz] #4697867
03/17/18 06:51 PM
03/17/18 06:51 PM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 5,873
South Florida
bubbatime Offline
bubbatime  Offline
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 5,873
South Florida
Buy the $50 kit and do it right? The correct answer is so easy a cave man could come up with it.

And most folks back-feed through the dryer 220 outlet.


17 Chrysler Pacifica Mobil 1 5W30
13 Yamaha XT250 Valv MC 10W40
12 Suzuki S40 Rotella 15W40
10 Acura TSX 2.4 PZL Plat 5W30
06 GMC Sierra Nextgen 10W30


Re: “Back feeding” generator to breaker box [Re: mrsilv04] #4697870
03/17/18 06:53 PM
03/17/18 06:53 PM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 5
Virginia
dschultz Offline
dschultz  Offline
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 5
Virginia
The right way (depending on local code approval) is this:
https://www.interlockkit.com
A breaker interlock kit that installs in your panel so the main will always be off before the breaker from the generator is closed.

This is the only safe way without an external circuit based or service based transfer switch.

I just run extension cords to run what I need. I only have a 120V generator so I can't power 240v Loads anyway.

When I replace my panel I will get one with an interlock kit for transfer.

Be safe!

Last edited by dschultz; 03/17/18 06:55 PM. Reason: can't type the first time!
Re: “Back feeding” generator to breaker box [Re: Finz] #4697927
03/17/18 07:28 PM
03/17/18 07:28 PM
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 3,907
Pittsburgh,PA U.S.A.
JimPghPA Offline
JimPghPA  Offline
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 3,907
Pittsburgh,PA U.S.A.
To the OP, I found an incoming main/generator transfer switch rated at 200 amps for the main and 50 amps for the generator for $114 on e-bay a couple of years ago. I have not looked at the availability lately but you might check e-bay.


Boy will I be happy when ALL vehicles on public roads are autonomous.


JimPghPa

Re: “Back feeding” generator to breaker box [Re: Finz] #4697944
03/17/18 07:47 PM
03/17/18 07:47 PM
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 6,436
Waco, TX
Linctex Offline
Linctex  Offline
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 6,436
Waco, TX
Get one of these (Generator Interlock Kit) and be done with it



"The evidence demands a verdict".
(Re:VOA)"it's nearly impossible to actually know the particular additives that are in there at what concentrations."
Re: “Back feeding” generator to breaker box [Re: Finz] #4697962
03/17/18 08:02 PM
03/17/18 08:02 PM
Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,753
Ottumwa, Iowa
jhellwig Offline
jhellwig  Offline
Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,753
Ottumwa, Iowa
No no no no no no no no just no. Do it right or don't do it at all. Don't play around with electricity.


Sparks fly from my fingers.

1995 Chevy K2500 Suburban lt 5.7
2014 Toyota Sienna
1983 Chevy K5 350
Re: “Back feeding” generator to breaker box [Re: Finz] #4698020
03/17/18 08:57 PM
03/17/18 08:57 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 298
Maryland
walterjay Offline
walterjay  Offline
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 298
Maryland
Absolutely do not backfeed your generator into your electrical system. Much at stake here including the safety of lineman. Get an interlock or transfer switch please. My next door neighbor almost caught his house on fire doing something like you. Generator interlock kits are inexpensive and makes all safe.

Re: “Back feeding” generator to breaker box [Re: Finz] #4698072
03/17/18 09:38 PM
03/17/18 09:38 PM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3,220
Where the wind comes sweepin'
Reddy45 Offline
Reddy45  Offline
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3,220
Where the wind comes sweepin'
If you're going to do this, notify your power company because you could kill one of their workers.

Re: “Back feeding” generator to breaker box [Re: Reddy45] #4698117
03/17/18 10:19 PM
03/17/18 10:19 PM
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 3,315
NJ
Leo99 Offline
Leo99  Offline
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 3,315
NJ
Originally Posted By: Reddy45
If you're going to do this, notify your power company because you could kill one of their workers.


That's what I was thinking. You'll power lines from your generator that have the main power shut off to them and endanger the workers.


Without data you're just another person with an opinion. W. E. Deming

2003 Corolla 250,000 miles
2004 Rav4 359,000 miles
2015 Camry 59,000 miles
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