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Whats your back up when you lose power

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Fish On, Nov 15, 2009.

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  1. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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  2. JoeS

    JoeS Feeling the Heat

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    During a quick outage, when the power goes out for only a few seconds (and that seems to happen a lot lately), I have the battery back-up for the stove. This keeps the stove running and the smoke out of the house that we would normally get if the stove lost power.
    For longer outages I have just installed a 17kw Generac generator.
    I actually hope I never need it but we have experienced multiple power outages the last few years that normally last 4-8 hours and I am always concerned about an ice storm that could cut power for a few days.
    It wasn't cheap but I think it will help with the resale value when I am ready to move.
  3. ducker

    ducker Feeling the Heat

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    have a 2kw gas generator that I'll plug the stove in. Lost power last winter for about a week, was able to run the stove, tv, dvr, and PC. worked for me :)
  4. Oilhater

    Oilhater Member

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    I have a 5500 watt generator. Back fed through the dryer outlet. Turns out i can run the whole house on it. Just not everything at the same time. Enough to run the stove, well pump, refrigerator, boiler, TV and lights at the same time though. Things like microwaves, toasters, hairdryers and electric ranges have HUGE wattage draws so you have to be careful using those on generator power.
  5. imacman

    imacman Guest

    Aren't you afraid of backfeeding through the incoming feed lines, and possibly electrocuting a power company lineman trying to fix the power outage?

    Not saying that you aren't being careful, but mistakes do happen. Why not just do it the right way and install a manual transfer switch?
  6. apporter

    apporter Member

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    Living in the land of ice storms (NE Okla.) I have a 17KW standby generator(briggs) for my two XXV's and the rest of the home.
    Lost power three years ago for 10 days in an ice storm, but at that time I had the old Vermont Casting wood stove to keep us warm.
  7. mnkywrnch

    mnkywrnch Minister of Fire

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    Agreed 100%
  8. Oilhater

    Oilhater Member

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    That's why you shut the main off before you start the generator. I'd rather do it this way than using extension cords hacked into boiler switch's or outlets. I agree, the transfer switch is the safest way to go...but i'll bet of all the people w/ generators out there, only a small % are done that way.
  9. imacman

    imacman Guest

    When your talking about electricity and people's lives, that should be the ONLY way to go......and just because a lot of people do it your way, doesn't make it right.
  10. tkrock

    tkrock New Member

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    I do it exactly this way at my house too. BTW, the guy on the pole isn't going to get shocked. If that were the case you'd be powering the whole block and the generator would turn off anyway because it couldn't handle the load because you'd be powering everyones pellet stove. The bigger reason to turn off the main is so when the main comes back on the rest of the house doesn't get double the voltage and more likely the generator itself gets cooked.
  11. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Well, let's not forget here that it is against the law in all 50 states to do what you are doing.
  12. JoeS

    JoeS Feeling the Heat

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    I could have cut corners and did the same thing but I wanted a fully automatic system that responds wheter I am home or not.

    Besides, I need to be able to sleep at night knowing that everything is wired correctly.
  13. mnkywrnch

    mnkywrnch Minister of Fire

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  14. maineheat

    maineheat New Member

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    I currently don't have a generator, but I'll probably get a cheap portable and do the following:

    1. Add a Main Panel generator interlock which prevents the generator inlet to be powered if the main breaker is on
    http://www.interlockkit.com/

    2. Add an outside power inlet

    3. Let it rip!

    This seems a lot cheaper than a transfer switch, seems like easy to install, gives you the flexibility to turn on the breakers you want in your panel, and covers you behind as far as UL and not back feeding to the grid. You could probably get away with cutting a piece of metal stock to avoid paying $150, but then again it's not UL.
  15. goatman-68

    goatman-68 Member

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    Heres what I use. Cost $86.00 and took a couple hours to mount and wire. I use a 6500 watt generator. Just pick your 6 most important circuits. Actually if you run your 220V (double breaker)water pump then you only will have a choice of 4 other circuits.

    Attached Files:

  16. treehackers

    treehackers Member

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    Way too expensive...

    $150.00 Brand new 30 amp transfer switch
    http://cgi.ebay.com/6-CIRCUIT-EMERG...iewItemQQptZBI_Generators?hash=item3ca7765a9f

    I bought mine from this guy. My licensed electrical friend saw the unit and bought 2 from this seller also. Goes for $275 + tax at HD
  17. Gumby1

    Gumby1 Member

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    I've got a Thelin Parlor Pellet with battery back up. Switches auto when power goes out. I know it will run a couple days but dont know how much longer than that. :)
  18. Sheepdog

    Sheepdog Member

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    I run a northern tool 5500 watt generator with a Honda 9 hp motor. It has a 6 gal. tank and will run about 14 hours on a full tank at the loads that I run. It plugs into a 20 amp twist lock outlet in the garage with a male-male cordset, this runs to a 6 circuit transfer switch at the panel. It will run my well, or the fridge, stove, microwave, boiler (for hot water) and some lights. the setup works fine and was a Godsend during last years ice storm, no power for 6 days. It is however a PIA after a while, having to get up in the morning, start the generator and heat up the boiler to heat the water for showers, then run down to the panel and switch it over to run the well, then back to the panel after the showers to shut off the well and turn on the fridge, stove micro etc..... when I have the cash, I will upgrade to an auto-standby whole house generator, and run it off propane.
    Also, I have oil lamps mounted on walls in various spots around the house for lighting, they are decorative and aren't obtrusive. I also have 4 railroad style lanterns for additional porable light. The woodstove takes care of the heat, just like every other day.

    I love the woodstove and oil lamps, the generator, well it's a necessary evil.

    -Sheepdog
  19. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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  20. imacman

    imacman Guest

    That's what I have. One of the best investments I've made. No worries during power outages, and it increased the value of my home.
  21. kbjelka

    kbjelka New Member

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    Great post!
  22. Kenny1

    Kenny1 Feeling the Heat

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    It is a good idea to plan for a loss of power before it happens. I agree with connecting the generator properly to the load (extension cords for direct connections to small loads or a proper transfer switch).

    From earlier threads on this topic:

    Before buying a generator. perhaps you should do some thinking about what you are going to use it for and how you are going to connect it.

    If you just wish to power a pellet stove, a small generator will suffice. If you wish to ride out a 2 or 3 day power outage, and run the stove, fridge, well pump, freezer, etc., you may need a larger unit (and a large amount of stored fuel!).

    Gas is handy for most of us, but does not store well. Diesel keeps longer. but the generators cost more. NG may also be an option for you, or propane.

    How often does the power go out for long periods where you live? Are you planning for the “storm of the century” or just looking to ride out “typical” conditions? To handle a week requires a much larger budget than to cover a 1 - 2 day outage.

    What is the load size? Do you want to run everything (including the big screen TV), or would a fridge and a couple of CF light bulbs be enough? Keep in mind the start up current draw of motors (e.g. well pump).

    How will you connect the generator to the load? This is very critical for your safety (and the safety of others). A proper transfer switch is required for powering hard wired appliances, and is very safe and convient. Extensions cords are fine for smaller loads, but more work to hook up.

    Will you have fuel for your generator? How much? How long can you store it for? Where will you store it?

    Where will you run the generator? It has to be outside (do not run in an attached garage!). Do you have a bit of shelter for it (keep it out of the rain/snow)? Some generators do not like to be run in cold weather (mine states under 40F, carb icing can occur unless you provide a cold weather shelter). Also, they can be very noisy.

    Whatever you do get, be sure to order some extra filters for it (you may need to change them during a power outage).

    If you do go gas, then the smallest generator will require the least amount of fuel (a good thing if gas is scarce!).


    Cheers
  23. seige101

    seige101 Minister of Fire

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    Yes the guy on the pole will get cooked. Happens numerous times year with power outages.

    Also if the power does come back on while the generator is running it won't just get cooked. It will be like a stick of dynamite going off. Your generator will become a molten blob of metal, along with your entire electrical service. That is what happens when you cross different voltages and phases together.

    A manual transfer kit is $300 bucks at depot. A simpler panel mount interlock can be had for as low as $45 bucks.
  24. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    [​IMG]
  25. maineheat

    maineheat New Member

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    Thanks GroundHog! A lazy electrician at work turned me onto the interlock idea instead of the transfer switch(maybe smarter than I think!). It gives you "grid disconnect" protection, but doesn't protect against overloading the generator. I've been thinking about a load meter on the leg going to the generator inlet. It's on my ever growing list of wants/needs.... :)
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