Back Up Generator ?

MiMod

New Member
Oct 22, 2019
28
272727@1Billy
Hi, I'm using a Vogelzang Pellet Stove as the primary Heat source for the first time this winter & I have a Electricity Question about using the generator during power outages. I have a 6500 watt surge /5500 watt gas generator. I have read where some generators do not produce the " clean quality " electricity that you find coming in from your local utility. The problem as I'm told could result in a fried motherboard on your Stove. I do have a surge protector on mine but how does one determine if your generator is producing a Clean quality of electricity so this doesn't happen ? Has anybody had an issue due to this ?
 

Microduck17

Burning Hunk
Dec 21, 2017
229
New Concord Ohio
It really depends on the quality of the generator. My experience is that smaller inexpensive portable generators have poor quality power output. A larger unit like yours is likely to be ok. However I would recommend a line conditioner

if you have sensitive electronics you plan to use with the generator, i use a similar unit to make my UPS play nicely with my generator.

I don't know what the deal is here butI cannot post a link to the product on amazon. look for a Tripp Lite LC1200 Line Conditioner 1200W

Sent from my SM-G900P using Tapatalk
 
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MiMod

New Member
Oct 22, 2019
28
272727@1Billy
Hey Thanks I found what you recommended. So will that just plug into the wall socket by my stove, & then all I do is plug my stove into it ?
 

maple1

Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
10,382
Nova Scotia
I think if I had a pellet stove I would also put a good UPS between it & the outlet. From what I understand, some take a sudden loss of power worse than others. But a decent one would give you some time to get the gennie up & going with no interruption in stove operation. Plus maybe also serve as a surge protector. And maybe a conditioner - but not sure about that part. I would also likely use an inverter generator.
 
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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
17,043
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Unless you want to spend another 750-1000 bucks for a nice generator, the ups is the cheapest way to get safe power outage operation of your stove. Plus, the ups will protect your stove from junk on the power lines even when they are working.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
5,153
Northern NH
FYI, Many UPS units use standard batteries that are not hard to replace. Many companies just get rid of them when the batteries go bad but the electronics are fine. I have gotten a few for free or bought used units with new batteries for a good savings. In normal standby use the batteries have about 5 years of life. If the batteries are drained due to long power outages the life goes down.
 

MiMod

New Member
Oct 22, 2019
28
272727@1Billy
Thanks, I found this one on Amazon...APC UPS, 1500VA UPS Battery Backup & Surge Protector with AVR. Its about $150. Says its 900 watts. According to my owners manual on my VogelZang, Mine will operate on 300 watts but needs 1200 watts to do a startup for the first 12 minutes. So I guess it would keep it going while I hooked up my generator but if It happened in the middle of the night or when I was gone I dunno how long it would keep things from going haywire.
 

johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
2,653
Eastern Ontario
It would not matter how long the UPS works anyway if you are not home
I have a whole house automatic start unit. Power out 20-sec genny starts
and power the whole house only way to fly with the number of outages around here
 

Sodbuster

Minister of Fire
Sep 22, 2012
1,340
Michigan
This will not be popular and is not for everyone, but I back feed my system by first throwing the main, then hooking up my generator to a welding plug, then throw the welding plug breaker to power the house. I've been doing this for 20 years, and it works fine. I had my neighbor who is a Master Electrician look at how I do things, and he told me that while it is not recommended, as long as I follow these steps, I am not posing a danger to anyone. While he was there I went through my routine, and he verified that 0% power was coming out of the panel to electrify any downed wires. During our last power outage from a branch that fell on a wire near our home, I stopped and asked a lineman if he knew how long we'd be out as my generator was a little low on fuel. He looked at my house and saw that lights were on. He looked puzzled and said,"do you have power", because we shouldn't have. I told him no, and that I was backfeeding my panel. All he said, is "did you turn off the main?" I answered yes, and all he said was OK. They treat every wire as hot whether it is or not. Again do NOT do this unless you are comfortable inside a circuit box.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
17,043
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
This will not be popular and is not for everyone, but I back feed my system by first throwing the main, then hooking up my generator to a welding plug, then throw the welding plug breaker to power the house. I've been doing this for 20 years, and it works fine. I had my neighbor who is a Master Electrician look at how I do things, and he told me that while it is not recommended, as long as I follow these steps, I am not posing a danger to anyone. While he was there I went through my routine, and he verified that 0% power was coming out of the panel to electrify any downed wires. During our last power outage from a branch that fell on a wire near our home, I stopped and asked a lineman if he knew how long we'd be out as my generator was a little low on fuel. He looked at my house and saw that lights were on. He looked puzzled and said,"do you have power", because we shouldn't have. I told him no, and that I was backfeeding my panel. All he said, is "did you turn off the main?" I answered yes, and all he said was OK. They treat every wire as hot whether it is or not. Again do NOT do this unless you are comfortable inside a circuit box.
You can legally and safely do this, without worry, by installing a cheap and effective interlock on your panel. All it does is force you to turn the main off before backfeeding. It’s a simple little metal tab.
 

semipro

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2009
3,754
SW Virginia
FYI, Many UPS units use standard batteries that are not hard to replace. Many companies just get rid of them when the batteries go bad but the electronics are fine. I have gotten a few for free or bought used units with new batteries for a good savings. In normal standby use the batteries have about 5 years of life. If the batteries are drained due to long power outages the life goes down.
My experience also but 5 years goes fast and then some incessant beeping from the UPS notifies you of a bad one (after you spend a while figuring out why the damned thing is beeping). They're fairly inexpensive though - typically lead-acid gel cells.
 

AlbergSteve

Minister of Fire
Dec 11, 2017
829
Vancouver Island
Interlock and backfeeding totally illegal in BC, if not most of Canada. BC and Quebec don't allow the meter collar either. Here the only way is a transfer switch.
 

jatoxico

Minister of Fire
Aug 8, 2011
4,218
Long Island NY
Transfer switch here and small inverter generator. Running a 5000-6000 w gen flat out no matter the demand is a waste. The smaller unit runs all needs though not at the same time, and gets 8-10hrs per gallon. Done the big gas generator in a long outage and its loud, expensive and difficult to keep them fed.

If I had natural gas I'd go whole house.
 
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johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
2,653
Eastern Ontario
If I had natural gas I'd go whole house.
My whole house unit is propane fired
no NG here
Backfeed and interlock is not legal in Ontario
If you are caught with one or the other they cut you off
Then you have to have an inspection done and a reconnect
and that costs
 
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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
17,043
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Interlock and backfeeding totally illegal in BC, if not most of Canada. BC and Quebec don't allow the meter collar either. Here the only way is a transfer switch.
Went back and checked, the op didn’t say he was from canadia and the poster suggesting the illegal backfeeding is from us where the interlock is very legal.

Crazy you Canadians can’t use this safe device to backfeeding your panel legally. Yet you can have stoves in your garage!
 

ABMax24

Feeling the Heat
Went back and checked, the op didn’t say he was from canadia and the poster suggesting the illegal backfeeding is from us where the interlock is very legal.

Crazy you Canadians can’t use this safe device to backfeeding your panel legally. Yet you can have stoves in your garage!

That's debatable as to whether a solid fueled heater can be installed in a garage. Here is how it reads:
An appliance shall not be installed in a location where a corrosive atmosphere, flammable gas or vapour, combustible dust, or combustible fibres may be present. An appliance may be installed in a (a) storage or residential garage, provided that the appliance is mounted at least 450 mm (18 in) above floor level and protected against physical damage

To me since flammable vapours could be present its illegal.

But yes the CSA electrical code is more stringent in many ways then the NEC. Even things such as a smart energy meter are illegal in an electrical panel, as the panel wasn't certified for such a use.

But this is off topic.

My thought should I ever need is to have the parts on hand to backfeed from my dryer plug with the main switch off in the event of power outage. But i haven't yet had the need, we have only had a single power outage lasting 3hrs in the last 3 years.
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
5,153
Northern NH
My thought should I ever need is to have the parts on hand to backfeed from my dryer plug with the main switch off in the event of power outage. But i haven't yet had the need, we have only had a single power outage lasting 3hrs in the last 3 years.
I have the same approach. I have a contingency plan in place and the parts in stock and made up. The logical place to tie in my generator is in a subpanel in a detached garage. In order to install a transfer switch and feed it from the garage I would need to install a lot of big conduit and copper. In the case of a major electrical event where the whole grid is down i might be tempted to do a backfeed if I am going to be down for days. There was one of these events in 1998 in the region but unlike many homes around in my town I only lost power for about 10 hours when the entire transmission grid was down. Due to a combination of the majority of the neighborhood having underground services, aggressive proactive utility clearing of lines and automatic reclosers and remote switching on the local utility circuits, I have reliable power, if I didnt I would put in the wiring and do it right with a transfer switch. Since I bought the generator in early 2000 after the Y2K hysteria was over, I have not lost power long enough to even think about running the generator. I have a woodstove in the basement that will heat the entire house, a shallow well with a bucket for water and camping gear, that covers my required "survival" gear.
 

Gearhead660

Member
Dec 20, 2018
231
WI
You can legally and safely do this, without worry, by installing a cheap and effective interlock on your panel. All it does is force you to turn the main off before backfeeding. It’s a simple little metal tab.
They sell everything needed to do this at local home improvement store. Turn off all circuits, including main, plug gen into plug outside, start it up, and turn on circuits you need at main panel.
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,006
Sand Lake, NY
The pellet stove should not fill your house with smoke if there is a power outage. If there isn't enough draft to do this reliably, I'd think you'd want a UPS to at least power the draft fan for a while.

I'm jazzed about the new Harbor Freight Predator 3500 inverter generator I got recently. It has a NEMA L5-30 outlet. I'll plug an adapter, like this, into the genny, and plug a 10/4 cord with NEMA L14-30 ends, like this, which is plugged into the input receptacle on the side of the house, which feeds a 2 pole breaker in the panel via a Square D (panel brand) interlock .

I can feed most all the load in the house, minus the 240v. loads, which I deactivate at the panel, with the 125v. genny. I break out the larger genny for those, like the well pump. Just have to take the adapter off and plug in.
 
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jatoxico

Minister of Fire
Aug 8, 2011
4,218
Long Island NY
The pellet stove should not fill your house with smoke if there is a power outage. If there isn't enough draft to do this reliably, I'd think you'd want a UPS to at least power the draft fan for a while.

I'm jazzed about the new Harbor Freight Predator 3500 inverter generator I got recently. It has a NEMA L5-30 outlet. I'll plug an adapter, like this, into the genny, and plug a 10/4 cord with NEMA L14-30 ends, like this, which is plugged into the input receptacle on the side of the house, which feeds a 2 pole breaker in the panel via a Square D (panel brand) interlock .

I can feed most all the load in the house, minus the 240v. loads, which I deactivate at the panel, with the 125v. genny. I break out the larger genny for those, like the well pump. Just have to take the adapter off and plug in.
I am already doing this and am very happy. Nothing like being able to let the refrig run for hours on end or sleep with ceiling fans on etc without the waste, noise and expense of a traditional gen-set.

I am not an electrician but if I understand what you're doing you will be feeding both sides of your panel which means that unlike pole power, when running the inverter they will be in phase. That can be fine but you should carefully check for Multi Wire Branched Circuits. This common type of home wiring has two hots that share a neutral. Because normally the two hots are on opposite sides of the panel (out of phase) there is no chance of overloading the neutral. On the inverter they will be in phase and you can fry the neutral. That's why you can't just buy the extension you're making up.
 

jatoxico

Minister of Fire
Aug 8, 2011
4,218
Long Island NY
? I bought the adapter in link above.

It works fine for my Honda EU2000i.
The house is fairly new, and I'm pretty sure it's not wired like that.
What you linked says it "bridges", or ties the two hots together on the 3 prong. On the 4 prong they're separated. That's so that on pole power or on trad gen-set they're out of phase. Notice you can't purchase one of these cords pre-made down at the Depot. Don't think it matters about the age of the house.

You can do this safely but if you're feeding both sides of your panel with a 120 v inverter you should check.
 

Sodbuster

Minister of Fire
Sep 22, 2012
1,340
Michigan
Interlock and backfeeding totally illegal in BC, if not most of Canada. BC and Quebec don't allow the meter collar either. Here the only way is a transfer switch.
What is legal in Canada? I realize backfeeding is not for everyone, and if you do it, don't do it on my recommendation. Like I said, I've been doing this for 20 years and have talked to (2) professionals one who actually checked my setup and the other who works on the lines that feed my system. If it's illegal, it's illegal. But I've yet to see the penal code refereced for this illegal activity. It's no more illegal than an improper lane change or running a red light, and causing an accident.