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 > Using RV generator as backup for house?

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coolmom42

Middle Tennessee

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Posted: 02/16/21 08:18pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My electricity is still on in Middle TN, no worries. But that may not always be the case in the future!

If I have a transfer switch properly installed, is there any reason I can't use the RV generator to power my house?

Water heater and range are gas. City water supply, no well pump. Gas furnace with (and this is the critical thing) an electric blower. 1 refrigerator, 1 small chest freezer. Lighting is mostly LED.


Google tells me that the furnace blower uses around 400 Watts. I'm going to check with the HVAC dude.


The only downside is having the generator running fairly close to the house, but I have multiple CO detectors, and probably would be able to leave it off most of the night.

Any input?


Single empty-nester in Middle TN, sometimes with a friend or grandchild on board

enblethen

Moses Lake, WA

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Posted: 02/16/21 08:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

How many watts is your genset set?
You could run some of the items using a simple extension cord.
Furnace is the problem child. If motor is 120 volt, you could install a double pole/ double throw motor switch. Center contacts would be to motor, one input from house panel and one set from short extension cord with 15/20 amp cord body. If motor is 240 then odds are your genset will not handle it.
As often as many areas have power issues it would not be cost effective to rewire house system to add transfer panel for a few circuits.


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midnightsadie

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Posted: 02/16/21 08:40pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

use mine every time powers drops for a long time. I just use ext cords.

DrewE

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Posted: 02/16/21 08:43pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You certainly can use an RV generator as a generator backup for a house, of course within the limits of the generator's capacity and so forth. Of course, that does require having appropriate connections and interlocks (which could be as simple as running a couple extension cords to specific things you want to run).

A great many, though not quite all, RV generators are not wired for 240V power. It doesn't sound as though you have any 240V loads you're looking to supply with it, so that probably would not be a big difficulty.





time2roll

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Posted: 02/16/21 08:55pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

3000 watts should run that house fine. Electrician will probably put the critical items on a 120v sub panel in addition to installing a switch and a power inlet to connect power.


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Dutch_12078

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Posted: 02/16/21 09:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Be aware many RV generators do not provide 240 volts, so you won't be able to run any appliances that call for it, such as most deep well water pumps, etc.


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Vintage465

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Posted: 02/16/21 09:12pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you run extension cords to the necessary appliances and use them as required you're good to go. If you want to wire it into a few necessary circuits in your house you need to install a legal transfer switch to prevent back feed into the utilities grid. If you do back feed into the utilities grid you will be going back thru the transformer that feeds your house and re-energizing the primary voltage and endangering the utility companies employees as well as the general public.


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Rover_Bill

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Posted: 02/16/21 10:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

time2roll wrote:

3000 watts should run that house fine. Electrician will probably put the critical items on a 120v sub panel in addition to installing a switch and a power inlet to connect power.


This is the switch that I had installed in my house for use with my 3K inverter generator. Works great and allows you to watch the wattage being drawn on each leg.

ktmrfs

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Posted: 02/16/21 10:26pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Rover_Bill wrote:

time2roll wrote:

3000 watts should run that house fine. Electrician will probably put the critical items on a 120v sub panel in addition to installing a switch and a power inlet to connect power.


This is the switch that I had installed in my house for use with my 3K inverter generator. Works great and allows you to watch the wattage being drawn on each leg.


I think the link you provided is for a 240V input, there is also a 6 circuit 120V 30A available from the same mfg. That's what I have.

If all you want to do is power one or two circuits this is another option.

https://ezgeneratorswitch.com/

If you go the transfer switch route make sure it is compatible with your generator. unbonded neutral generators (ground neutral not bonded) transfer switch wiring is different than a bonded neutral generator.

EZgenerator switch can be configured for both, IIRC the other 6 circuit transfer switch is only configured for use with an unbonded neutral generator. Many if not most portable generators are unbonded neutral.


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pfidahospud

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Posted: 02/16/21 10:40pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Rover_Bill wrote:

time2roll wrote:

3000 watts should run that house fine. Electrician will probably put the critical items on a 120v sub panel in addition to installing a switch and a power inlet to connect power.


This is the switch that I had installed in my house for use with my 3K inverter generator. Works great and allows you to watch the wattage being drawn on each leg.


Wow. $300 would buy a lot of heavy duty extension cords.

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