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Questions and Answers about Home Generators
Summary: Frequently Asked Questions about Home Generators which leads to full featured pages with photos and wiring diagrams to help you with your home generators project.
Popular Questions about Home Generators
Installing a Home Generator
The following list of popular home generator questions and answers are general discussions about how a generator system works, and the methods used to install and connect a generator to a home electrical panel.
It is important to understand that any electric generator, including a portable generator or a stationary generator must be installed properly, and connected to the home by a licensed electrical contractor with a permit from the local governing building authority.
All work should be done according to all applicable local and national electrical codes, and the installation should be inspected.
The skills and level of knowledge required are advanced, therefore this is typically not recommended for homeowners.
Before a generator is installed the home electrical service panel and the circuits will need to be identified and evaluated as to which circuits are essential and need to be powered by the generator when the normal utility power is not available. This will be necessary to properly determine the size of the generator that will be required, the amount of fuel that will be consumed, and the electrical components that will be installed for a safe connection to the home.
Questions about Home Generators
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Questions and Answers about Home Generators
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Transfer Switch Size and Installation
I have a 7KW Generac generator. The generator has a 70amp built in breaker. My house is a mobile home with a 100 amp circuit panel. I want to install a whole house weather proof 100 amp auto transfer switch. My question is can I use the whole house transfer switch even though the generator circuit breaker has the 70 amp breaker?
more at: Transfer Switch Size and Installation
The Basic Generator System and How It Works
Generators smaller then 4,000 watts are in most instances not capable of powering a home during a power outage because they can not provide the needed power for electrical loads such as motors, well pumps and ventilation blowers on a central heating system.
A typical home supplied with 200-amp electric service can actually support a load of approximately 45,000 watts (45kW) of electric demand.
more at: The Basic Generator System and How It Works
Methods for Connecting a Generator to an Electric Service Panel
I wish to wire a 7kw backup generator into my exterior home breaker panel. The power goes out several times a year for several hours at a time.
Can I use a 2 pole breaker to connect the generator power to the panel?
I have a L14P box attached to the breaker box. This feeds the breaker, albeit on the output of the breaker.
The utility feeds into the 200amp up top goes dead, I turn this off. I plug in generator, turn on its 2 pole breaker and both legs are energized. I manage my load with normal breaker control.
more at: Methods for Connecting a Generator to an Electric Service Panel
Installing Home Generators
Anthony, from la grange, Illinois asks:
I have a Generac Model 5837 Core Power generator with 50 amp automatic transfer switch. My house has a 100 amp service. The generator is a natural gas model with automatic start and transfer. I am only going to support certain loads such as the sump pump, refrigerator, furnace (no air conditioner) and a few lights. The village where I live has adopted NEC 1999 as electrical code. How far from the house must generator be?
more at: Installing Home Generators
Connecting a Generator to an Electrical Panel
Don, from Dennison, Ohio asks:
Can I run a 7kw generator thru a 20 ft cord to an inlet box and then connect into a 60 amp circuit breaker inside my 200 amp panel, to be my disconnect when the generator is not in use? The 60 amp circuit breaker is being used for the electric stove and I would use it because there are no empty spaces in my panel for additional circuit breakers.
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One Generator for Multiple Electrical Services
Bob, from Lebec, California asks:
We have a 400 amp main panel with 3 meters so essentially we have 3 separate main electrical service panels that provide power to three separate sub panels- two separate structures and a water well pump. Is it possible to set this system up with a single backup generator and an automatic transfer switch (or three separate switches) that will power all three sub panels from the single generator when switched to Generator power, and then when switched back to main service power the three sub panels would be powered by the three separate Main electrical panels?
more at: One Generator for Multiple Electrical Services
The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.
The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.
Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..
The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.