The full story can be read on Bob Vila’s Blog at BobVila.com
Written By JENNIFER NOONAN
When we moved to the beach in Southern Delaware, we had lots of “future improvements” in our new-construction building plan. Living close to the coast, a generator made the top of the list. In the wake of Sandy, we’re so grateful we had the forethought. No one wants to show up at the home improvement center just as a hurricane is approaching, having to scramble for one of the 60 generators delivered that afternoon. There’s a balance to strike between electrical load and generator wattage, and it’s best not figured out on the fly. If you think you might want to run your house (or a portion of it) on a generator, take some time to do some planning first.
1. Figure Out Your Load
We worked with an electrician to figure out what we wanted our generator to run. We decided on the sump pump, furnace, hot water heater, kitchen refrigerator and outlets, garage freezer, and the living room lights. A 5,000-watt generator will run all of that for us on about 13 gallons of fuel per 24 hours.
2. Install a Transfer Switch
You can’t just plug a generator into a wall outlet. That’s called back-feeding, and it is extremely dangerous. Your house needs to be disconnected from the grid before starting a generator. Otherwise, the electricity produced could travel beyond your house, entering the grid and potentially killing utility personnel at work.
The safest way to run a generator is by installing a transfer switch. The switch includes an electrical sub-panel with a switch for each circuit you want to run with your generator. The transfer switch is wired directly to the house’s electrical service, and the generator gets plugged into that sub-panel. (Our electrician wired an outlet for the generator on our garage exterior.) Throwing that transfer switch completely cuts your house off from the grid; meanwhile, power from the generator is only allowed to go to circuits you’ve designated.
Read the full article, and all 4 important points at BobVila.com