Untitled Article
Airfare Daily Deals eCigarettes Eyeglasses Hotels Jewelry Online Backup Online Dating Online Printing Online Tickets Skin Care Textbook Rentals Vitamins Web Hosting Weddings
Find thousands of shopping-related forums
SEARCH

Untitled Article

The days of sweeping power outages are rapidly approaching. It is not uncommon for us to live without grid power for days at a time in the Hill Towns. Last year we had one power outage that lasted for four days. Up here on Walch's Mountain, we all have auto-starting, whole house generators with properly installed automatic transfer switches. Some of my neighbors have diesel powered generators, but most of us have converted to LP power because we can store enough fuel to run the generators 24/7 for a couple of months without having to refuel. The people in the villages around me depend on portable, stand-by generators to power critical loads. The talk at the coffee counter at the convenience store has already turned to backfeeding those generators using a dryer outlet. It seems like almost everyone does it instead of installing a manual transfer switch and wiring the generator into the transfer switch. They ask my advice. I tell them not to backfeed through a dryer receptacle. I urge them to do it right, to have a transfer switch installed, but most of them do not follow my advice. Backfeeding is dangerous. Here, is several compelling reasons not to backfeed through a dryer receptacle or any other receptacle.

Backfeeding presents danger to utility workers and other homeowners.

Backfeeding presents a danger to utility workers and other homeowners. Backfeeding your service panel through a dryer receptacle will feed power into the grid unless the main service breaker is opened first. Electricians working on the grid may be electrocuted when they encounter lines that they had assumed were safe. You will also be supplying power to their homes on the same secondary distribution transformer that your home is on, this is known as “Islanding”.

The utilities and portable, stand-by generators produce powers that is out of phase.

What that means, in clear layman's language is that if the utility power is restored while your tiny generator is still backfeeding the power grid, your generator will be destroyed in a catastrophic manner. Your small generator will burst into flames, and if that happens during the night or when no one is in attendance, your home could be destroyed.

Beware of the energized prongs on the generator cord.

If the plug should be removed from the dryer receptacle while the generator is running, there will be 240-volts on the dryer plug's prongs. This is especially dangerous for pets and little children who like to play with cords.

Unprotected house wiring.

If there are any other receptacles on the dryer circuit—there should not be, but who knows what some corner-cutting, not so handy person did—their circuit conductors will be unprotected.

OK, now if you still insist on backfeeding, create a safety check list and make sure everyone follows it.

Print out at least three copies of your check list and laminate them. Post one by the generator, one by the service panel and one by the dryer receptacle.

Here is a sample check list.

BEFORE STARTING THE GENERATOR

  1. TURN OFF THE MAIN SERVICE BREAKER
  2. TURN OFF ALL THE BRANCH CIRCUIT
  3. PLUG THE GENERATOR CORD INTO THE DRYER RECEPTACLE
  4. START THE GENERATOR
  5. CLOSE THE BRANCH CIRCUIT BREAKERS SUPPLYING POWER TO ESSENTIAL LOADS—REFRIGERATOR, TELEPHONES, NON-ELECTRIC HEAT. BE CAREFUL TO NOT OVERLOAD YOUR GENERATOR.

BEFORE SWITCHING BACK TO UTILITY POWER

  1. TURN OFF BRANCH CIRCUIT BREAKERS
  2. SHUT DOWN GENERATOR
  3. REMOVE GENERATOR CORD FROM DRYER RECEPTACLE
  4. TURN ON MAIN SERVICE BREAKER
  5. RESTORE THE BRANCH CIRCUIT BREAKERS TO THE ON POSITION ONE BREAKER AT A TIME.

My advice is to do it right, do it the safe way, have a manual transfer switch installed and have the generator wired in to that.

Need an answer?
Get insightful answers from community-recommended
experts
in Home Safety on Knoji.
Would you recommend this author as an expert in Home Safety?
You have 0 recommendations remaining to grant today.
Comments (0)
ARTICLE DETAILS
RELATED ARTICLES