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    jduke44's Avatar
    jduke44 Posts: 407, Reputation: 44
    Full Member

    Mar 28, 2006, 03:30 PM
    Portable generators
    I know there are a few threads about this but I wanted to clarify the answers for myself. First of all, we live in an area that has a high water table. I also heard the power goes out quite frequently. If that happens and our sump pump isn't able to work... well our basement will be in about 3-4 inches of water real fast (depending on how long it is out for). If it si out for a couple days, we would be flooded. I have read about the transfer switches and understand that to use a generator you should throw the main breaker if you don't a switch. My question is, if I am going to plug my sump pump and maybe a fridge on the generator directly with cords would I still need to throw main breaker? If so, why? I tried to ask NiMo, ummm I mean National Grid this question and they kept telling me I needed t do this. Thanks.
    tkrussell's Avatar
    tkrussell Posts: 9,659, Reputation: 725
    Uber Member

    Mar 28, 2006, 03:54 PM
    If you plug cords directly into a generator, the main does not need to be opened. There is no physical connection between the genset and the electrical system. Same as if you brought the genset and sump pump out in to a field, this system is standalone.

    Using approved transfer switches installed by qualified electricians eliminate the need to manually open a main breaker.

    The people you spoke with either did not understand you, or more probably, just tell everyone the same answer.

    There is an illegal method done by many to run a cord with male plugs on both ends, one end from the output of a generator and the other plugged into a dryer outlet. This injects 240 volts into a home's electrical system. What many people do is forget to shut off the main to disconnect the building from the "grid". If the main is not shut off, the power from your generator continues out into the neighborhood.

    Utility line workers trying to repair any damaged lines and poles have been shocked and electrocuted by this voltage coming back at them. They try to always test all lines they are working on, even if they are downstream of the damage. If they detect this voltage coming back at them, they will stop what they are doing until they find the source of the power, and will proceed to cut power lines from the building the power is coming from, and then continue to repair the damage. The building that was sending out power onto the grid will be the very last one connected, but not before a utility line crew supervisor inspects the building and gives notice to the occupants that they have a generator illegally connected.

    The local inspector may be called out, who may demand a licensed electrician be hired by the owner to inspect the building electrical system to be sure there is no longer a means of power to go back out to the grid.

    And if this power did cause any injury or death to a line worker, then, the building owner needs to be hiring an attorney and suffer the consequences of their actions.
    jduke44's Avatar
    jduke44 Posts: 407, Reputation: 44
    Full Member

    Mar 28, 2006, 04:20 PM
    Thanks TK. I thought that was the case that the NiMo person didn't understand or maybe even covering their workers butts since I'm sure people don't know to do this. It didn't make sense to me. I don't think I would be doing anything directly connected until we have enough money to have it installed correctly. I just hope we never have any long term power outages. Thanks for the clarification.

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