Absolutely no! It’s a death trap and a very bad idea to think of plugging the generator into a wall socket. Back-feeding your generator affects wiring in the house, and it will no longer be protected by a circuit breaker or a fuse in your electric panel. The wiring will become overheat, overload and it can start a fire in your home.
Truly, generators can never be connected to your house’s electrical outlet or directly to the circuit breaker panel. It should only be connected to your home through what is known as “double pole, double throw switch,” also known as a two-way transfer switch. You will need a professional electrician to do the work properly. BARC’s responsibility for electric service normally ends at the meter; that is why they cannot know when or if one has installed a generator. They can’t also tell if the installation was done following the National Electric Code.
Is It Illegal To Back Feed A Generator?
It’s against the law to connect a generator to a wall socket in most places. There is extreme danger inherent while using a generator in this manner; thus, most authorities do not allow it. To install either a backup or portable generator, one needs a permit. Plus, the specialists will check the method you use to connect a generator to your house. Occasional exceptions are limited and can only be given to few people.
Back-feeding occurs when a strong and unfiltered electrical current overpowers your house’s electrical system, causing a feedback loop, making the electrical current run the wrong path. As well, back feeding is plugging your generator straight into your house power supply, using two male-ended cords. The two male-ended cables are often known as ‘suicide cords. If this happens, it will permanently damage the electric system, or better, worse, electrocution risk is elevated.
How Do You Hook Up A Portable Generator To Your House?
The safe way to connect a portable generator to your house is by ensuring the house electric system is not connected to the main utility power grid with the generator at the same time. There are many ways you can hook up a generator to your houses, such as the use of a transfer switch or interlock switches.
A Transfer Switch
This is the simplest way to connect a portable generator safely to your house. Nevertheless, you will still need a licensed electrician to install the transfer switch. Yes, there will be an extra cost, but it will be worth it in the long run.
How A Transfer Switch Work
Here the transfer switch connects the portable generator to a power channel box outside with a notable four-prolonged extension cord. Afterward, this box is connected to the transfer switch, which is normally installed next to the house’s main panel. You need to go to the transfer switch box and flip the switch from utility power to generator power.
With a transfer switch, the most significant things required to be powered will be picked by the house owner before the generator is needed. The generator will provide energy to those breakers that power the preselected items.
Interlock switches are wired just like transfer switches. The power is run from the generator across the four-pronged cord into the power channel.
Nonetheless, rather than running the generator power into the different switch, the power goes to an interlock switch placed in the main breaker panel. Usually, the interlock switch is operated using two buttons, one for the main power and the other on the generator.
What Is The Difference Between A Transfer Switch And The Interlock Switch?
The major difference between the two is that the transfer switch automatically provides power to the homeowner’s preselected things. The interlock switches power to the entire breaker panel and gives the homeowner the ability to choose the item the generator will power manually.
Should You Turn Off The Main Breaker When Running The Generator?
It’s recommendable to turn off your generator time to enable it to cool down during the day. Many portable machines are not designed to run all day long, so turning off the generator several times a day allow it to cool down. Other generator safety tips you should take seriously include;
1. Go through the manufacturer’s instructions and learn how to operate and put off your generator.
2. Make sure your generator is on an isolated circuit to avoid back-feeding.
3. Ensure the extension cord being used is in acceptable condition. It should be rated bigger than the total wattage of all appliances connected plus other devices.
4. Avoid operating your generator in an enclosed, partially enclosed garage or indoor. Generators usually produce a high carbon monoxide gas level, which is very deadly in an enclosed environment.
5. Keep off children and pets when the generator is on.
6. Always practice power management.
7. Make sure you switch off the engine and give it time to cool before adding fuel in a ventilated environment. Watch out not to contaminate the fuel tank with other substances like water or dirt.
8. Put off the generator circuit breaker before starting again, thus ensuring the load doesn’t draw current until the generator operates smoothly. Before you stop the generator, ensure you turn the breakers off.
9. Ensure you test the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) on the generator daily when starting off the engine.2
How Many Watts Can A Wall Socket Handle, Or Can You Draw From One?
A plug socket can load up to a maximum of 3000 watts (13amps). It’s important to note that different appliances need different electric sockets requirements. Small electrical items like kettles and toasters need a great demand on an extension lead, and these appliances should have their plug socket individually. Thus, you need to know the electric items that can be reliably used on an electrical adapter.
But before using an extension lead, it’s paramount to know it’s the maximum rating. Several extensions lead are rated 13 Amp as most people use to connect few tools in their houses. Normally, Amps are marked on the extension lead, be keen not to exceed the stated limit. If you exceed its limit, it can cause a fire in your wall socket.
It’s not necessarily that the biggest electric appliances use the most power. For example, a kettle would use 3000 watts (13 Amps), and it’s a small appliance; it means nothing else could be used on your extension lead. The power needed here is more than what a washing machine uses, i.e., 2250 watts (10 Amps). So, be aware of your extension lead limitations.
Plug fuse is designed to cut the power in case of an overload or when it becomes very hot. However, it is not always reliable, and you need to follow the signs when something is not right, like the smell of burning plastic near appliances or a socket. Use your wall socket accordingly and avoid a possible disaster.
What Is The Size Of A Generator Needed To Power A House?
As much as this one is dependable on many factors, a 5,000 to 7,500 watts generator can run the most critical household equipment. This equipment includes; lights, TVs, refrigerators, air conditioners, and freezers. A 7,500 watts generator can run all these appliances at once.
Note that houses are different, and you need to know the generator’s size suitable for you. Calculate a rough average of how many watts are required in your home using a generator wattage calculator. When you get your estimate, it’s advisable to buy a generator offering extra wattage. It would be good if you had a slightly bigger generator than the one which is too small. If you don’t want your generator to shut down because of overload, consider one with some few hundred extra watts available. Secondly, operating a generator at full load shortens its lifespan.
Factors in your household appliances, cost, location, i.e., do you live in a disaster-prone area where they experience power outages regularly or not, purpose, plus many more when buying a generator. All these will help you determine which size will be best for your home.
Can You Run A Generator Overnight?
Yes, it’s possible to run your generator overnight. But there will be few challenges you might face while doing so. Typically, most generators can run continuously for about eight to twelve hours, depending on your model. There is no problem so long as you have enough gas for overnight usage.
But can you be able to sleep soundly overnight with all the noise from the generator? Don’t forget that you have neighbors, and you might be a bother unless you have a quiet generator. Also, do you have a CO detector installed or not? Lastly, is your neighborhood safe to leave your generator outside since you can’t keep it in an enclosed environment? If you have a positive answer to those questions, then you can run your generator safely at night.
Make sure you read and understand your generator manual for its measures and precautions. Avoid any unnecessary mistakes that will put your life and that of others at risk. Get a professional electrician to do the wiring and bear the charges instead of risking by doing it yourself.
Having a generator backup is t a necessity and an intelligent way to ensure your living quality continues smoothly even with a power outage. Minimize your losses with an affordable portable generator in your refrigerator and other appliance. At the same time, you are maximizing your time doing your chores as usual without being cut off due to a power outage.