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Old 07-02-2012, 07:37 PM   #11
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What kind of generator do you need to turn on the air conditioning?

With the double whammy of heat wave and big storm putting 3M without power, I bet few people were prepared for that!!

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Old 07-02-2012, 08:31 PM   #12
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What kind of generator do you need to turn on the air conditioning?
You would need to consult the manufacturers placcard on the unit. You are looking for "Locked Rotor Current", "Cold Start Current", "Cold Cranking amps" or something like that. It will be indicated that the motor normally runs at "X" but requires, sometimes 3 or 5 times that many to start.

So in answer to your question you would only need about half the generator to run the A/C, but an "oversized" unit in relation to power available to START it running from a dead stop.

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Old 07-02-2012, 11:57 PM   #13
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i was in that storm we lost power for 3 days and its was in the 90s AC was the last of my priorites along with tv i cared only about the meat in my freezer/fridge

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Old 07-03-2012, 12:18 AM   #14
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Dillinger, i have a question for you and would like your or anyone else's input on how to do it. the wife and i are going to buy a generator for emergency power outages. mainly to run the fridge, the freezer, a few lights and a few box fans to keep cooled off. i am thinking of about a 5000-6000 watt portable one, gasoline powered. now here is my question, how would you go about hooking it up to the house? do i need a transfer switch? if not what other ways can it be hooked into the house?

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Old 07-03-2012, 12:25 AM   #15
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Most appliances with large electric motors have starting capacitors to help "kick off" the motor from a locked rotor state. If I remember right they are rated at 15% above running load to start them off. A 7500w peak generator works for most folks unless they want to run heat or a/c. I can run a fridge, freezer, microwave and a space heater on my 7500. It loads down from time to time but has not died on me.

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Old 07-03-2012, 12:35 AM   #16
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Axxe- there are two ways to run things off a portable generator SAFELY.

First, use flexible cords. The larger wire gauge and shorter the cord, the better. Run them from the generator to the appliance you want to power.

Second, get an electrician to install a transfer switch and a connection plug on the outside of the house. The transfer switch disconnects your house from the grid, and feeds only those circuits you want to run.

A 5 kw generator will not power everything in your house. It will power fridge/ freezer, lights, fans, microwave, TV, etc. It will not drive a large central AC or heat pump, nor a water heater/ clothes dryer etc. And you may have to choose what you have running at one time.

People will talk about a cord that allows you to unplug a 220V clothes dryer, and connect your generator to feed backwards thru that. It is extremely dangerous, both for self and power company crews, and stands a good chance of frying your genset or house wiring. In a word- don't.

Be sure generator is in a location that you are not going to poison family with carbon monoxide. Typically that means OUTSIDE and away from windows/ doors.

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Old 07-03-2012, 12:42 AM   #17
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C3, thank you for the information. you pretty much confirmed what i thought. i think i will go with the transfer switch option. not looking to run heat or AC, just mainly a few lights to be not tatally in the dark, a few fans to move some air and cool off and the fridge and freezer to keep food from spoiling. i can always resort to my gas grille and smoker for cooking if needed.

i was pretty sure i would need the transfer switch to be able to do it safely. thanks for sharing that information and confirming my thought on this.

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Old 07-03-2012, 01:42 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by axxe55 View Post
Dillinger, i have a question for you and would like your or anyone else's input on how to do it. the wife and i are going to buy a generator for emergency power outages. mainly to run the fridge, the freezer, a few lights and a few box fans to keep cooled off. i am thinking of about a 5000-6000 watt portable one, gasoline powered. now here is my question, how would you go about hooking it up to the house? do i need a transfer switch? if not what other ways can it be hooked into the house?
Well, there are several ways to go about what you want to do, so I will cover them and give you my suggestion.

You don't need an ATS (Automatic Transfer Switch) because you will not have a generator that will fire up immediately. What is important for your safety and the long life of your electrical components (and your house ) is that you need to go to your main breaker panel and turn the MAIN LINE IN breaker to the OFF position.

This will isolate your house from street power, so when the power comes back on, it won't try to power up your house and compete with your generator.

Electricities' number one goal is to get to ground, that is how it is made to do all the stuff it does, by using it's innate ability to get to ground. If the line power comes on to your house, and you have power already from your generator, you are going to have two different phase arcs that could cause a very realistic problem for you resulting in blown breakers (best case) and/or an electrical fire (much worse).

Now an electrician, or you if you are handy, can wire a direct connection for the generator directly into your house main breaker panel. This would be a power outlet looking box off to the side, clearly labeled. With the small size of the generator you are talking about you would then turn off all non essential breakers, connect the power cable from the generator to the connection box you wired up, fire up the generator and voila! Up and running.

If you don't want to do that, there are two more, more primitive ways to go about what you want to do.

First one is pull your electrical meter from the meter panel outside. This isn't the best option, but it will get you up and running quickly, so it's more of an emergency DIY job. Take your extension cord from your portable generator, strip it back to bare wire and wrap the positive and neutral around the house side of the meter, there should be a ground bolt in the cabinet for the third connection. MAKE SURE IT'S THE HOUSE SIDE, which is usually the bottom. Fire up the generator and you are off and running.

The power company in most parts of the country own the meter, so pulling it is technically a no-no, but if you are cold and the power is out, no one is going to file charges.

The other way depends on your house wiring, but for current electrical code it's technically safe, if done properly. Grab your generator, grab your extension cord and plug it into a GFI (Ground Fault Interruptor) outlet in your house. Once again close off the circuits you don't need, open the MAIN LINE IN from the street, fire off the generator and you are good to go. Most houses have one, or more, of these outlets in the bathroom closest to the garage/location of your electrical panel. These are the outlets that have the little push button that says "Test" and "Reset" on them.

These provide surge protection from the panel into the house, so if anything happens, they collapse and save your components. A lot of newer houses have them in the garage right by the electrical panel because this method has become "popular" with home owners over the years.

Because electricity doesn't recognize wire direction the generator can "back feed" through the GFI and power up the house. The GFI will provide protection if you accidentally load more than you should (figure about 12 to 14 amps plus loop resistance for the wire on the average 15 amp breaker).

Of the three I would recommend wiring up a specified "plug in" for the generator above the other two, but if you are cold, wet and pissed off at having to do this on a work night, the other two can get you inside and warming up quicker.

YMMV

USUAL SAFETY WARNING: If you don't feel comfortable playing with electricity - DON'T! It's not something to mess around with and it can cause severe damage to you and your home. Always call your local power provider to report an outage and remember it's best to be prepared BEFORE the event than to try and scab something together DURING the event.

JD
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Old 07-03-2012, 02:24 AM   #19
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One single piece of advice, figure out what you want to run, and then at a minimum double the capacity. Guarantee "it would be nice if we could run x too".

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Old 07-04-2012, 06:07 PM   #20
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Dillinger,

You wrote:

"The other way depends on your house wiring, but for current electrical code it's technically safe, if done properly. Grab your generator, grab your extension cord and plug it into a GFI (Ground Fault Interruptor) outlet in your house. Once again close off the circuits you don't need, open the MAIN LINE IN from the street, fire off the generator and you are good to go. Most houses have one, or more, of these outlets in the bathroom closest to the garage/location of your electrical panel. These are the outlets that have the little push button that says "Test" and "Reset" on them. "

Did I read that right? That seems so simple it's pathetic! I have a 9 year old house with a GFI in my garage as you suggest. That is a great solution! The question I have is this: I don't have the generator yet but when I do, to what "extension cable" are you referring? Does the generator come with some special cable that you can use to plug it into an outlet? The generator supplies outlets, but how to you hook outlet to outlet? Second question is about load. What happens when the requirements by whatever breakers you keep on exceeds the load capability of the GFI? Will it trip? In that case, the maximum load you can run through your house is the max of the GFI which may not be nearly enough. I'm no electrician though, so help!

The other general question I have is a quality question. At Lowes, they have a Troy Bilt with a Briggs and Stratton. Is that a reliable partnership? Should I instead look for a different name brand or engine?

Thanks for all your info, and for the rest of the conversation. I'm ready to pull the trigger.

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Last edited by 12fretter; 07-04-2012 at 06:13 PM.
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