Will this work?

Will this work?

PostBy: I'm On Fire On: Sat Nov 03, 2012 3:29 pm

So, fuel shortages aside I'm in pretty good spirits even though I still have no power. I feel I was definitely more prepared for Sandy than I was for Lee, Irene and the real snow storm in October of last year. I stockpiled food, propane for the grill, gas for the generator (though admittedly I didn't have enough gas for an extended period because I wasn't expecting the apocalypse; but a propane conversion is in my future).

I am however sick of taking frigid cold showers. In the first few days of not having power it was fine and kind of like an entertaining game. Seeing how much cold water I could take.

So, I'm thinking of coming off of the 30a breaker that the generator is tied to, run it to a disconnect switch, then run from the switch to a junction box and tie into the hot water heater. There is already a disconnect switch on the side coming from the service so I would shut that one off so I wasn't back feeding into the house. Now, the plan is to turn everything that the generator is tied to off when I want to make hot water before I turn the hot water heater on. I figure I'd need to turn the hot water heater on every two days of having no power.

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Here is a little diagram I drew up to help me figure it out. Does anyone see any issues with this? I have nearly everything I need to do this on hand right now other than the second disconnect switch and a box. I've got plenty of 10/3 wire.
I'm On Fire
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machines DS-1600 Hot Air Circulator

Re: Will this work?

PostBy: rberq On: Sat Nov 03, 2012 3:45 pm

I don't understand why you have to run any new wires. Unless you have a separate transfer switch for your generator, tying the generator into a 30-amp breaker should effectively energize every circuit in your house. You would turn off the main breaker to avoid also energizing the outside power lines and your neighbors' houses as well. So to make hot water, can't you just turn off every other breaker in the panel(s), and turn on the breaker for the hot water heater?

I'm not an electrician, so if I have completely misinterpreted your diagram, my apologies.
rberq
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine 1300
Coal Size/Type: Nut -- Kimmel/Blaschak/Reading
Other Heating: Oil hot water radiators, propane

Re: Will this work?

PostBy: I'm On Fire On: Sat Nov 03, 2012 3:52 pm

Because my generator is tied to a separate panel that only has things for the generator tied to it. I'm not back feeding my main service. That's why I'd need to run new wires because I'd have to run it back to the generator panel.

Probably should of put that in the drawing that they are two separate panels.
I'm On Fire
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machines DS-1600 Hot Air Circulator


Re: Will this work?

PostBy: Yanche On: Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:56 pm

I'm On Fire wrote:Because my generator is tied to a separate panel that only has things for the generator tied to it. I'm not back feeding my main service. That's why I'd need to run new wires because I'd have to run it back to the generator panel. snip ...

That's why I prefer back feeding a panel, all the circuits in the house are available to you. Of course you have to use an approved mechanical interlock between the main and back feed breakers.
Yanche
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea

Re: Will this work?

PostBy: KLook On: Sat Nov 03, 2012 11:16 pm

I have a sub feed panel because on an addition. Ice Storm 98 I ran a 10/3 wire to the sub panel, shut off all breakers in that panel, went to main panel, shut off main breaker and all circuits I didnt want. Turned on electric water heater and pump and was fine with 4500 watt cheap *censored* Coleman/Techumsah engine. Showered the whole extended family. I don't see the problem.
I was told after that I needed a disconnect switch because I could have energized the Neutral. With the neutral tied into the ground system, 2 rods driven down, copper wire to them and the copper water lines, I would have to push power back through over 200 ft. of aluminum wire to something making a better ground. My linesman friends told me they would not touch a line they didnt have grounded or have tested before hand. This was mentioned in another thread about "stepping up" the power to higher voltage. It was not determined if this was deadly as Amps kill not voltage. It was also mentioned that the generator would be stopped dead if the was fed to to much load. I would like to hear the theory's on this and a good explanation as to the danger.

Kevin
KLook
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF 3000
Coal Size/Type: rice, bagged, Blaschak
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman (Back In Maine)
Stove/Furnace Model: VF 3000

Re: Will this work?

PostBy: titleist1 On: Sat Nov 03, 2012 11:30 pm

I've only examined one disconnect switch so my experience is rather limited. It is installed on my neighbors house (licensed electrician and was inspected) and it does not disconnect the neutral. It only "disconnects" the two hot wires.
titleist1
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Mag Stoker (old style) one in basement, one in workshop
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III on standby for long power outages
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite; Nut/Anthracite

Re: Will this work?

PostBy: SMITTY On: Sat Nov 03, 2012 11:43 pm

Yeah my transfer switch only switches hots - no need to switch neutral or ground.

Glad I read this post. Been tossing the idea around of wiring in a couple 220 pigtails using L14-30 plugs. Already ordered them & got them in the mail today. I think my best course of action is to just disconnect my transfer switch and go direct to the panel - all the add-ons are defeating the purpose of the switch anyway. I've got some leftover 6awg leads from my Polaris winch that will be perfect for this. Just need a breaker to the outside gen socket and I'm in business.

I'll wire up a piezo screamer to the main (somehow .. without getting lit up ...), so I'll have a way to know when the power is back on.

Now I'll be able to run the compressor in the barn without running all these damn wires everywhere ... while still not being able to run it until I drain all the air out, because the leads are too long/small .... :roll:
SMITTY
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Patriot Coal - custom built by Jim Dorsey
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III (not currently in use)
Coal Size/Type: Rice / Blaschak anthracite
Other Heating: Oil fired Burnham boiler

Re: Will this work?

PostBy: Short Bus On: Sun Nov 04, 2012 12:04 am

I would use this system to power my well/hotwater heater, or whatever I had power to run.
http://www.interlockkit.com/
Place a breaker in panel so the interloc controls the new breaker and the main disconect, and run some wire to the generator and you are done. You then limit what is on the generator by turning breakers off.

Safe, if wired correctly.
UL approved, under warrenty/inspector info on web page.
Clean, most people in your house could switch over to the generator.
Linemen Are protected by your main breaker just like you are protected when it is off and you wire in your house.
Relativly low cost.
Allows you to energize any circut in the house, not just 6 or 10 circuts that you think are important today, and later learn you want some power in the garage.
Short Bus
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Kewanee boiler with Anchor stoker
Coal Size/Type: Chestnut / Sub-bituminous C
Other Heating: Propane wall furnace back up only

Re: Will this work?

PostBy: SMITTY On: Sun Nov 04, 2012 12:10 am

Great idea ... except you can't buy it online - they want you to use one of their "suppliers". :roll: :x Hope it was worth the lost sale (talking to manufacturer) ....
SMITTY
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Patriot Coal - custom built by Jim Dorsey
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III (not currently in use)
Coal Size/Type: Rice / Blaschak anthracite
Other Heating: Oil fired Burnham boiler

Re: Will this work?

PostBy: Yanche On: Sun Nov 04, 2012 12:13 am

The topic of switching the neutral with a generator transfer switch has been brought up in several threads. I've stumbled across why some think it's needed. Reliance controls sells a line of neutral switching panels.

See: http://www.reliancecontrols.com/Product ... ries&c=&f=

The need to switch the neutral, in a sequenced way is to prevent the GFI protection circuit in a portable generator from tripping. Portable generators that meet current code standards will have the frame of the generator connected to the neutral. Attempting to connect it to another panel will likely cause a GFI current and trip the generator's breaker. The Reliance panel overcomes this by "sequentially" switching the neutral. I've not seen a Reliance panel but what it likely does is disconnect the "bonded" connection (neutral to panel frame) connection during switch over to generator power and then re-connect it. This is done in sequenced way so that there is no GFI current path possibility during the time the switch is moved from regular to emergency power.

This has noting to do with protecting the power company's side of the panel. It's just a way to get around having the GFI circuit from tripping on a portable generator, a portable generator that meets current code standards.

If I owned such a generator I would remove the connection at the generator that ties the frame to the neutral and use a four wire connection to the house service panel, 2 hots, one neutral, and one safety ground. By removing the "bonding" at the generator and using four wires you have it bonded only at one location, the house service panel.

The neutral should never be disconnected. Period.
Yanche
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea

Re: Will this work?

PostBy: SMITTY On: Sun Nov 04, 2012 12:25 am

So that explains why I could never backfeed my barn! Always tripped the GFCI every single time. All the more reason for me to do away with my transfer switch. Thanks once again for the great info. :cheers:
SMITTY
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Patriot Coal - custom built by Jim Dorsey
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III (not currently in use)
Coal Size/Type: Rice / Blaschak anthracite
Other Heating: Oil fired Burnham boiler

Re: Will this work?

PostBy: I'm On Fire On: Sun Nov 04, 2012 8:50 am

Wow, this thread has degraded and my original question on my wiring diagram has been ignored.

I've already got a generator panel with an interlock. I don't need to touch my main panel. I wasn't looking to switch neutrals. All I was looking for was whether my hot water heater will work wired that way with two disconnect switches. Guess I'll just buy the second switch today and try it. I'd like to take a hot shower.
I'm On Fire
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machines DS-1600 Hot Air Circulator

Re: Will this work?

PostBy: rberq On: Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:13 am

I'm On Fire wrote:Wow, this thread has degraded and my original question on my wiring diagram has been ignored.
Guess I'll just buy the second switch today and try it.

Yes, do that. The more you install, the quicker the utility will restore street power. :P

Back to your diagram. Your generator feeds a separate panel, which must also be fed from the main panel but with a disconnect switch between main panel and gen panel. So would it be simpler just to wire the water heater directly to the generator panel, and avoid an extra wire run and the extra (new) disconnect switch?

Since you already have a separate disconnect switch for the water heater, you would leave that in place, and just move its connection from the main panel to the generator-fed panel. No worries then about throwing the right combination of switches to avoid back-feeding from the water heater to the rest of the house.
rberq
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine 1300
Coal Size/Type: Nut -- Kimmel/Blaschak/Reading
Other Heating: Oil hot water radiators, propane

Re: Will this work?

PostBy: KLook On: Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:35 am

Sorry IOF, I thought I was explaining what worked well for me. We had hot showers. Yes, I asked a question at the end, thought the answer would be helpful for all, including you. It sure was for me, thanks Yanche.
It seems to me that no matter how you wire it, you can shut off main breaker, shut off other breakers, and go for it. I have seen people make a double ended plug(male) and energize one side only. I had a 220 plug and energized both.
damn, big storm heading your way, hope it doesn't get more nasty then it is.

Kevin
KLook
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF 3000
Coal Size/Type: rice, bagged, Blaschak
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman (Back In Maine)
Stove/Furnace Model: VF 3000

Re: Will this work?

PostBy: Lightning On: Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:23 am

IOF, I'm thinking your re routing of wiring is getting a little complicated... Back feeding the breaker box keeps things simple, but its not the "politically correct" way of doing things. You might consider this since it would give you the option to turn any breaker on that you want. If its not your cup of tea, perhaps another reader would benefit..

I have a portable generator that can maintain 5600 watts and can take 8300 watt bursts. Since it has a 220 volt out, I have mine wired directly to the breaker box by back feeding it thru a 220 breaker. This is the hill billy way of doing it verses having a seperate sub panel installed by an electrician. Back feeding the generator thru a breaker in the breaker box can be done safely as long as you KNOW what your doing. There is a specefic sequence of turning breakers on and off that must be followed so that there isn't a problem. Here is how I do it.

1. Turn OFF the MAIN breaker to the house (most important)
2. Turn OFF all breakers in the box
3. Start the generator
4. Turn on the breaker the generator is back feeding thru
5. Turn on the breakers in the house you want power to (be selective not to over burden the generator)

Its most imperative the Main breaker to the house is OFF while the Generator breaker is ON.

When you first install this type of set up, you will need to check voltages with a volt meter in the breaker box (before turning on any breakers) to be sure its working properly.

There is mixed opinions on powering sensitive electronic stuff with a generator for example computers and LCD tvs and whatever. I've never had any issues.
I recently ran this set up during an outage for about 8 hours, worked fantastic! Even thru on the hot water tank for a while! And I was able to run my 220 volt well pump to have water :) Its important to rotate power hogging appliances though...
Lightning
 
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Clayton 1537G
Coal Size/Type: Nut Size / White Ash