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How to Prevent Generator Overload and a Tripped Circuit

How can I set up a small generator to keep my essential items powered up? How to Identify Home Circuits and Prioritize the Run Time.

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A Cure for Home Generator Overload
Electrical Question: How can I set up a small generator to keep my essential items powered up?

My home generator is not very large and I am trying to provide power for several of my home electrical circuits. What can I do to make this work and keep essential items powered up? The recent storm has really caused problems and we be without power for several days.
Do you have any ideas?

Thanks for Your Help,

This home electrical question came from: Robert, a Homeowner from Staten Island, New York.
Additional Comments: Thanks for this website and your help, it is very helpful!

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your home electrical question Robert.

Small Generator for Emergency Power

Application: Generator Cord and Receptacle Outlet.
Skill Level: Advanced – Not recommended for Homeowners. This electrical wiring project is best performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor or Certified Electrician.
Tools Required: Electricians pouch of hand tools.
Estimated Time: Depends on the type and size of the generator output, the specific receptacle, and the available access to the project area.
Note: Generator power should always be wired through an approved transfer switch or circuit interlock device. Any part of the home electrical system must NEVER be back-fed using a cheater cord. Back-feeding is extremely hazardous for the home, the occupants and the electric utility company repairmen.
Important: Installing a generator and transfer switch must be well thought out and performed with a permit with all work being inspected.

How to Make a Smaller Generator Work When You Need Power

Identify Home Electrical Circuits and Prioritize the Run Time

A smaller generator may still be helpful if you follow this method for your home electrical requirements.

The Process to Reduce the Load on a Smaller Generator

The goal is to prevent the generator from overloading or the voltage from dropping which can lead to a damaged device, especially power sensitive electronic devices including Computers and Televisions, basically anything with electronic circuitry.

Large devices or equipment such as an electrical water heater, all electric clothes dryer, range, cook top, or oven  Рthese devices require a great deal of electricity and if the generator is not substantially large then it would be best to turn these circuits off and not use the devices.

Some circuits that provide power to equipment that has a motor may require more power than a small generator can produce, this would include equipment such as a Well Pump, Clothes Dryer, Furnace or Heat Pump.

How to Prevent Generator Overload and a Tripped Circuit

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This series covers a wide variety of topics all about home generators including sizing, selecting, connecting and safely operating this all important addition to your home.

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This article looks at common 120 volt and 240 volt house wiring circuits and the circuit breakers that are installed identifying the types and amperage sizes used in most homes.
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Here's How to Do It:
Wire It Right with the help of my Illustrated Wiring Book

Great for any Home Wiring Project.
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Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handy Women, and Electricians
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.

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