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 > Using RV generator as backup for house?

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coolmom42

Middle Tennessee

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Posted: 02/21/21 11:12pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ktmrfs wrote:

time2roll wrote:

So the gas burns outdoors and is pumped in with the freon or a fluid? Sounds like a heat pump to me even if it uses heated air rather than the bitter cold outside air to move the heat.

I am sure the multi-speed blower and maybe multi-speed compressor make it very efficient.


One's I heard about have a plenum from the unit to the house to move hot/cold air for heating or cooling. Unlike an outside AC unit that has the freon lines going to the inside furnace and plenum.

think of it as a typical furnace mounted outside the house. Some are roof mounted.

So, no they are NOT a heat pump for heat, just a heat pump for the AC just like any AC unit is. Likely reason they need 240v is for the AC unit, so they run the furnace section off the 240V or may have an internal transformer for the furnace section.


This is exactly what it is. It's NOT a heat pump. I've lived in this house 25 year, and this is the 3rd one I've had. (2nd one was 5 yrs old and got fried by lightning last summer.)

They are very common in my small town, because 2 of the main subdivisions were built in the 1960s. Lots of growth in this area at the time, and budget houses were a great deal (and still are.) This is a very common style of house in this area. Crawl space, no basement, less than generous closet space, low slope attic, typical ranch style houses. So there is NOWHERE to put a traditional split system furnace/AC unit.

I sacrificed a chunk of the bathroom closet to the return air ducting. The houses were originally build either with electric wall heaters, or radiant ceiling heat, and large window air conditioner units.


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

mr_andyj

Georgia

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Posted: 02/23/21 10:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I live , as the wire flies, about a mile from the electric grid sub-station, and that might be why the power rarely if ever goes out at my house, so unless a tree falls in that one mile distance then power is always up...

Easiest is to run some extension cords.
Safest is to run some extension cords.
Best is to have electrician install an cut-off switch and a small panel box to power up just the things that you need (blower, fridge, a few lights), but that gets really expensive unless your brother in law is an electrician and willing to work for free.

Beware, it is possible to "backfeed" the house by running your generator into an outlet, but the DANGER is over-loading that wiring from that outlet to the panel and causing a fire. You can turn off all the circuit breakers except that outlet and the blower motor and maybe be OK, but what else is on that outlet's breaker?
I know what I am doing and would never backfeed an outlet just because of the risk of making a mistake.

If you are able to do home electric work yourself, has anyone run a completely separate and new electrical system? An outside way to plug to the generator, and a small panel and run wire to one or two places (the furnace and fridge) so you can unplug them from the house and plug them into the generator house outlets... This is easier than dragging out electric cords in the dark in a rainstorm or snowstorm...

My furnace is new, it is 120 and wired into an outlet box. It would be nothing to make that a 3-prong plug that plugs into that outlet instead, then I could plug the furnace (blower motor) into the generator much easier.
Gas is almost always on, I never iin my life have had gas not flow, but in TX they did as crews were digging and ruptured gas lines, so all of this blower set-up would be useless if that were to happen...

DrewE

Vermont

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Posted: 02/23/21 11:08am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

mr_andyj wrote:


Beware, it is possible to "backfeed" the house by running your generator into an outlet, but the DANGER is over-loading that wiring from that outlet to the panel and causing a fire. You can turn off all the circuit breakers except that outlet and the blower motor and maybe be OK, but what else is on that outlet's breaker?
I know what I am doing and would never backfeed an outlet just because of the risk of making a mistake.


That's not the primary danger in backfeeding through an outlet (which is generally illegal and, in any case, definitely should not be done). A bigger problem is backfeeding more than you intend, such as the whole power grid, which can be deadly to the linesmen who are working to restore power. Another bigger problem is the necessity of using an aptly-named suicide cord, which has a male plug at either end; should it come unplugged for whatever reason, you have live exposed prongs.

If you're going to power your house with a generator, do it properly with an approved interlock or transfer switch, appropriate inlet connections, and so forth--or run extension cords and don't interconnect to the building's electrical system at all.





MEXICOWANDERER

las peƱas, michoacan, mexico

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Posted: 02/23/21 11:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

When I tested transformer polarity, I connected 120 vac to H1 H2 and H3 and measured voltage at X1 X2 and X3 to neutral or ground.

Let's open circuit your neighborhood distribution circuit beyond your transformer. 0 volts everywhere.

But then introduce 120 volts backwards from a generator to X1 to X2 or X3.

What do you think happens at H1 H2 or H3?

Perhaps 12,500 volts with enough wattage to instantly kill through bare hands.

Google HOT STICK.

Attachments on the end of a special fiberglass pole.

Working with gloved hands is ten or fifty times faster than doing connections and switch throwing with a hot stick.

A linesman is lifted in a bucket. His voltage detector screams.

Where is the back feed coming from?

Repair is halted.

Easter Egg hunt commences. A pain in a residential neighborhood.

Totally needless delay in service restoration.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Your utility has an independent minimum size amperage rating for isolation relays or manual thrown isolation switches.

A licensed contractor has information to follow.

A NEMA 4 weatherproof box with bottom-side-only ingress and egress for conductors is best. Conductors may be required to be housed in EMT.

A 200 ampere rated TTDT 240 relay is not cheap.

This is an elaborately explained detail of why things are the way they are. Expenses for a correct installation can be "shocking".

rlw999

Washington State

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Posted: 02/23/21 02:42pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

mr_andyj wrote:


Easiest is to run some extension cords.
Safest is to run some extension cords.
Best is to have electrician install an cut-off switch


I think safest and best is to install a transfer switch. Otherwise you end up propping open a window/door (which can let generator exhaust in) to run extension cords to your furnace, 'fridge, and whatever else you want to keep running during a power outage. My brother-in-law tripped over his stairway extension cords in the dark, fortunately just sprained his wrist, but the last time you want to injure yourself is during a weather/power emergency.

If your power regularly goes out, then it's safer and much more convenient to have a transfer switch and a generator inlet outside. Definitely more expensive, but so is going to the doctor because you tripped over a cord in the dark.

Dave H M

IL

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Posted: 02/23/21 05:00pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

999, what are your negatives on the lock out mechanism?

enblethen

Moses Lake, WA

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Posted: 02/23/21 05:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Some states do not allow a lockout that takes two operations to prevent feed back. Those that want to use that style should check with their local electrical authority having jurisdiction.


Bud
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Dave H M

IL

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Posted: 02/24/21 07:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I don't understand the "two" operations to prevent back feed. On the square D that I have the first step is to throw the main feed breaker to off.

Impossible to back feed with a properly set up lock out. [emoticon]

SpeakEasy

Western New York

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Posted: 02/24/21 07:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Coolmom - you seem like a very capable person. I think you could easily install one of those EZ Generator transfer switches that someone else gave a link to. This switch is installed on a single circuit on your service panel. It allows you to use your generator to power just that one circuit. Since your generator is 4000w, I think you could run a 1500w electric ceramic heater to at least have some emergency heat in one room. Since a whole circuit is powered, you could also have internet and TV - as long as you chose the circuit that you would power with that in mind.

I installed one of these transfer switches myself a couple years ago for basically the same purpose you are talking about. However, the big difference for me is that I heat with wood, and all I needed power for was the blower on my wood burning fireplace. I have that going, and I also have a few outlets on that same circuit so that I can get the fridge connected (with an extension cord - indoors) and some lights as well.

The EZ Generator company is EXCELLENT in terms of customer service and their very clear and understandable videos. They go into the issue of bonded and floating neutral ground so that you know what to do. The wiring is a very easy install. The total cost for me was in the neighborhood of $100 start to finish. (I wanted mine outdoors so that I wouldn't have to run a heavy-duty extension cord through a window or something. To make the transfer switch weather-proof I had to build a little "shelter" thing for it to attach to the wall of my house.)

-Speak


It's just Mrs. SpeakEasy and me now (empty-nesters). But we can choose from among 7 grandchildren to drag along with us!



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ktmrfs

Portland, Oregon

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Posted: 02/24/21 08:56am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

SpeakEasy wrote:

Coolmom - you seem like a very capable person. I think you could easily install one of those EZ Generator transfer switches that someone else gave a link to. This switch is installed on a single circuit on your service panel. It allows you to use your generator to power just that one circuit. Since your generator is 4000w, I think you could run a 1500w electric ceramic heater to at least have some emergency heat in one room. Since a whole circuit is powered, you could also have internet and TV - as long as you chose the circuit that you would power with that in mind.

I installed one of these transfer switches myself a couple years ago for basically the same purpose you are talking about. However, the big difference for me is that I heat with wood, and all I needed power for was the blower on my wood burning fireplace. I have that going, and I also have a few outlets on that same circuit so that I can get the fridge connected (with an extension cord - indoors) and some lights as well.

The EZ Generator company is EXCELLENT in terms of customer service and their very clear and understandable videos. They go into the issue of bonded and floating neutral ground so that you know what to do. The wiring is a very easy install. The total cost for me was in the neighborhood of $100 start to finish. (I wanted mine outdoors so that I wouldn't have to run a heavy-duty extension cord through a window or something. To make the transfer switch weather-proof I had to build a little "shelter" thing for it to attach to the wall of my house.)

-Speak


also installed the EZ generator transfer switch for our furnace. And while I was at it installed a box with two duplex outlets on the same circuit as the furnace. So... in the event of a power outage I can also run an extension cord to the nearby freezer and also to the fridge. That keeps the major things power up.

I did the same thing at our son's house.

The EZ generator has a make before break transfer switch, you choose, panel power, off, external generator power. And as mentioned can be wired correctly to code for either unbonded or bonded neutral generators.

* This post was edited 02/24/21 01:27pm by ktmrfs *


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2004.5 Silverado 4x4 CC/SB Duramax/Allison passed on to our Son!


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