1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

small invertor gen and subpanel?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by briansol, May 17, 2013.

  1. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Messages:
    1,906
    Loc:
    central ct
    when I first went pellet, I was working 1.5 hours away form home, 9+ hours a day. Sheer logisitics of being gone for 12 hours a day meant i'd have to rely on the oil pig to keep the house warm after the wood stove burned out. Perhaps a retired man or someone working from home, or someone with a spouse at home, etc to feed it, this becomes a better solution. the pellet stove allows me to top it off before I leave for work and come home to it still burning and keeping the place warm. I also don't have to wake up in the middle of the night to stuff it, poke it, or wake up to a cold house either.

    Also, while great for the winter, it doesn't do a thing for keeping my meat from spoiling in the summer. I'd argue that I have more power outages in the summer from T-storms and such than I do in the winter from snow and ice.

    While I do have an insert, my fireplace is a working unit. If it REALLY came down to it in the winter, I could easily rip the stove and pipe out and burn wood directly in the fireplace. I do have about a 1/2 cord of wood in the yard stacked that I use mostly for summer firepit stuff. Should get me through a couple days at least, and there's tons of woods near by with deadfall to scavenge if necessary. My old man lives just a mile away and has a few cords split from sandy havoc hat brought down a few trees in his yard. And since his fireplace doesn't work (leaks smoke like crazy), pops can bring the heat over here! lol I have 3 propane tanks at the house now. 1 on the grill, 2 as spares. That will supply cooking for a little while at least.

    I've considered getting a 2nd stove, and it would be a wood stove, on the level2 below my pellet stove. I have a split level that is 2x2 if you will, half stories each. flight.
    ======== 4 (bedrooms)
    ............========3 (pellet level, kitchen, livingroom)
    ========2 (den/living/playroom/office/etc behind at garage level)
    ..........=========1 (basement)

    level 1 stays warm enough from the oil pig running the hot water... mid 60s without anything else. it is a finished area. tv room, man cave, whatever you want to call it. I currently rent it out to a buddy of mine and he uses it as a studio apartment type deal. The oil pig also runs to heat level 2 to 55* most the time when i'm not using it (which is basically never....) I'd like to put the wood stove at this level to a, help heat it to get me even further off oil, but also provide another heat source option.

    The problem is venting. I don't know how to clear the bedroom windows with a wood stove up out, and up over two stories + roof pitch without it looking hideous. This is also the street view side of my house too. my furnace and chimney are on the complete other side of the house.

    Anyway, ultimately, the generator was to run the fridge and freezer to keep my meat from spoiling. anything above and beyond, is pure 'nice to have'. I'd LIKE to run my pellet stove, LIKE to have some lights, laptop, etc etc, but none of it is actually required.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    Messages:
    3,721
    Loc:
    Eastern Central PA
    II actually do have a generator. Its hard to start or does not start at all even though it has only a few operating hours on it. I doubt if id bother with it unless the power was out for days. Every situation is different as to power interruptions. Depending where you live in relation to power plants ,substations,tree lined delivery routes. In 25 years in this house the most the power ever went out is 3 hours or so. The temp in my fridge and freezer did not change even 1 degree in that time span. After years of keeping a deep freeze i have determined that its not worth the cost with all the things that go unused for too long and have to be thrown away anyway we are in the process of emptying its contents so we can decommission it.
    I do like the idea of running the house off my work truck power inverter if we were to have an extended outage. Probably the route id take.
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    49,554
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    You're lucky. We can depend on the power going out from 10-120 hrs annually and sometimes even longer. Our location is an ideal candidate for underground lines due to all the trees, but it ain't gonna happen in my lifetime, if ever.
  4. Dave A.

    Dave A. Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    Messages:
    614
    Loc:
    SE PA
    That's what I had read and seems to be safer.

    The OSHA article dated 10/2005 doesn't even acknowledge the current acceptability of interlocks, I wonder if it represents their current position.

    Not an electrician but it kind of bothers me having the generator itself act as the only ground in the system. Sure your car works that way, I guess. (But I've had vehicles with static electricity problems on exit at times.) So it's kind of like having your house appliances hooked up to your car and relying on the car (gen) as the ground if you do it the way the 2005 OSHA article suggests.

    Many of the grounding rules just don't seem to be consistent.
  5. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    9,406
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    How does one, "bond ground and neutral at generator"? You plug stuff in, got it. You attach a ground rod to the ground lug, got it. No idea how to bond the g and N.
  6. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    Messages:
    3,721
    Loc:
    Eastern Central PA
    So how do you deal with it ?
  7. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,329
    Loc:
    Holliston, MA USA

    The neutral winding on the alternator is physically wired to the generator frame. So if you set a multimeter to continuity check and test it you will get a circuit between the ground and neutral sockets of the power outlets. On my gensetr, you can unscrew the end cover from the alternator and on the neutral terminal there are two wires one goes to the neutral wiring for the outlets, the other to the frame. Unscrew the wire to the frame and viola you now have a floating neutral. Now a continuity tester will show open circuit between neutral and ground at the outlets.
    Joful likes this.
  8. Dave A.

    Dave A. Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    Messages:
    614
    Loc:
    SE PA
    The article I read said to always check first for continuity at the gen between ground and neutral (as Jeremy suggests) and proceed accordingly. Floating neutral on gen works best with wiring gen to house, bonded neutral works best for extension cord wiring direct to appliances.

    For wiring to house through a transfer switch if the the gen has bonded neutral you need the transfer switch to be able to switch the neutral connection to the house panel (as well as the two hots) avoiding the neutral bonding at the main panel (the bonding at the gen would then be the single bond of ground and neutral).

    For extension cord hook up direct from gen to appliances with floating neutral (unbonded) at gen it needs to be bonded and the article recommended a dummy plug with jumper wire between neutral and ground.
    Joful likes this.
  9. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    9,406
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    Way too complicated for regular people to deal with the floating neutral issue.
    BrotherBart likes this.
  10. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,329
    Loc:
    Holliston, MA USA
    Which is why "normal people" should hire an electrician to do stuff like hardwiring a generator. Maybe most of the time you will get away with cutting corners but the one time you don't might be deadly.
  11. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    9,406
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    Perhaps, but this is not always about hardwiring a generator. This could be a regular guy wanting to plug in a refrigerator with an extension cord. If he is able to determine the bonding regime of his genset he then may be required to make some sort of jumper device or open up the high voltage end of the generator to "fix" it.

    There's a place for electricians. That place shouldn't be plugging in a refer to a duplex outlet on a portable genset. I don't have a solution though and I can guarantee that an electrician will seldom be involved with this in real life.
  12. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    29,035
    Loc:
    Northern Virginia
    Yeah I am one of them. All I know about electricity is not to stick my finger in light sockets. Though I understand that most "contractor" grade portable gennies have bonded grounds to meet OSHA work site rules I don't think my two 3,500 watt ones are bonded. Since they stay in the shed I built for them and only do the extension cord thing I am gonna ground them using the lugs on the gennies. Separate grounds for each. I will pound two pieces of rebar into the ground under the shed floor and use 10 gauge stranded for the wire.

    Unless somebody tells me that I am gonna light myself up or smoke the fridge. !!! I have powered the essentials for a week at a time three times with no drama but that doesn't mean things were done right.
  13. seige101

    seige101 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2008
    Messages:
    553
    Loc:
    Palmer, MA
    Because every time there is an extended outtage and people do stupid things while desperate i hear about a lineman getting zapped. It's a very real thing.
  14. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    49,554
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Exactly. There are a lot of not so sharp people out there that do dangerous things. If we're lucky, they just earn a Darwin award. If not, they take others down with their ignorance.
  15. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Messages:
    1,906
    Loc:
    central ct
    Back to my OP, I can't seem to get the website people to respond to my email/contact form. Which has me weary about sending $1500+ to them.

    Anyone know of any other places that sell those tri-carb yammys?

Share This Page