Power Outage Questions

Jlinz911 Posted By Jlinz911, Nov 26, 2018 at 4:00 PM

  1. Jlinz911

    Jlinz911
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    Feb 13, 2017
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    Just got done with 3 days with no power...Crazy....But our Hearthstone Clydesdale kept us going downstairs...thankfully it wasn't too cold out or wed have been in some trouble and been scrambling...

    I am in the process of getting a generator setup together for my house in case a similar situation happens again...I just need to run furnace, lights, and freezers mostly, but would also like to make sure to get a circuit setup to the fireplace insert since I can keep it going and it doesn't pull the juice the furnace does...until then i have a couple questions....

    Can I put a heat powered fan on top of the unit? While it does have the blower fan, with no power most of the heat just radiated up the front wall of my mantle. It was able to keep the room warm, but there was no circulation and i was worried about the stove getting too hot with no air moving away or around how it is designed to.

    If I can do that which fan is suitable to provide some circulation? The unit does stick out and there are plenty of places where these surface reaches 300-500 degrees. I know ideally a stand alone stove is better for radiant heat, but we really didnt have much of an option and I really like the Clydesdale...
     
  2. Bad LP

    Bad LP
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    Why are you not planning on powering the insert fan?

    My insert is on the generator panel but if I didn't have a whole house generator the insert would be on the transfer switch.
     
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  3. kennyp2339

    kennyp2339
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    The UL listing is achieved with no fan running.
     
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  4. Bushels20

    Bushels20
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    The eco fans and other brands are designed to pull air from behind the stove and push it outward/forward.

    I have an eco fan on my insert running 24/7 and it’s cool, but almost pointless. Reason being, the decorative surround around the insert keeps the fan from drawing any meaningful air from behind.

    I knew this was likely going to be the case when i put the Eco Fan on the insert, but it was given to me and it is cool that it is heat powered. So there it sits.

    Save your money would be my advice. Put the extra $115 towards a better generator.
     
  5. begreen

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    A couple of the TEG fans will provide some circulation, but nothing near like the built-in blower which is convecting air around the firebox. The fireplace fan draw is trivial. Just have that circuit wired to be powered by the generator. While you are at it, add kitchen lights and maybe the tv. That can go a long way toward making the family happier during a long outage.
     
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  6. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot
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    We had a short power outage the other night. I'm usually too lazy to connect even the little honda eu2000i, but I did. I must say, it made life more pleasant. Still wouldn't power the well pump, of course, but we had lights, refrigerator, stove fan, tv, dvr, etc.

    I think I could've run the oil boiler too, but would've had to watch that oil burner motor and reefer motors didn't start at same time, for motor current draw. The oil boiler runs a long time to charge the 200 gal tank, but it's not start/stopping creating intermittent high load draws, and the ECM motors on the circulators take like 10 watts each. All my lighting is LED, so at leastyou get some bang for your buck in a power outage-you can light your house up like a Christmas tree, lol. I think the resistance ignitor for the pellet boiler consumes too much power...maybe if nothing else was on.

    I plugged a kill-a-watt meter into the output of the generator so I could check (steady state) power draw. As I noted, when the reefer started up, the generator sagged (noise) but held.

    I just plug the little genny with an adapter I made up into the big input plug on the house for the bigger genny. It's 125 v. powers both legs...haven't had a problem.

    The generator output line is tied in to the breaker box with a SquareD (make of panel) interlock. It works well. I just turn off the 240 and other large consumer breakers and be careful what I turn on.

    I also have a whole house power monitor, a TED 1000 I believe, that has two sets of current transformers: one on the mains and the other on the genny input lines. Thing is, it doesn't read power right with 125volts. It's around a half, but that didn't calculate out right. There's probably a formula that I should know. So, for a good reading, I have to go outside an look at the kill-a-watt. Perhaps a subject for another thread.

    I did see where some portable generator came with bluetooth. Now that could be handy, as long as you keep your cell phone charged up, lol.

    With having two short (4 hour) outages in the last two weeks, my wife mentioned in passing a standby generator. I like gadgets, not getting younger, so it's tempting. I'd need a propane tank too. Have one estimator coming out next week. Slippery, expensive slope. Plus, it has to be maintained. Not sure it's worth it, but it'd make thing easier on my wife if I wasn't here (out of town...not that other thing), lol. Like other home improvements in our experience, why wait to do it...you'll just have less time to enjoy them, and you can't take it with you. See, I'm talking myself into it already.
     
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  7. Jlinz911

    Jlinz911
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    Do you have any issue of backfeeding with that type of system?...

    I have been considering doing like a stand alone panel that is used just for AUX power from the Generator in case the power goes down again...They sell a 6 circuit kit for like $250 and you run the line outside and have a 30amp plug that you plug your generator into...

    Most of the Gen sets I'm considering are 6000-9000 startup KW with 4000-7500 running KW....most of these have the 30amp 120volt outlets for plugging in...anything would have been better than nothing...

    Looking to power 2 freezers and 1 fridge mainly...lights in my house are all LED so that's little issue there...Blower motor on my furnace i have not yet looked at for KW starting, and the Clydesdale is around 50KW from what I have researched...anything beyond that with TV/Internet would be a bonus during an outage...
     
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  8. begreen

    begreen
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    The first step before tying in a generator is an absolute break from the grid. Either plugin devices via extension cords or if wired into the panel be sure a generator interlock breaker is installed.

    Note, the power ratings you are mentioning are in watts, W, not Kilowatts KW. A 50KW Clydesdale would warm the entire neighborhood. ;)
     
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  9. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot
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    No backfeeding issues. It is an interlock designed by the panel mfr for this. Big plus is that you're not relegated to 6 circuits.

    I think if you're thinking of that size generator you might as well get one that also has a 240 volt output as well. That would tie into your house better.

    You're not talking KW, lol, more like Watts.

    Electronic things and motors run better with well regulated power like the inverter gens. I had a 1000 watt harbor freight genny that I still have a soft spot in my heart, but it would make the stove motor make funny noises. Same with the oil burner. I'm not sure about my high power genny, because it's been so long, lol, but I don't think there was a problem with that. That might be something you'll run into if you're powering something that might be sensitive, with electronics, like your furnace.

    6 circuits don't go that far. I've got several breakers just for lights, and then there are the outlets.
     
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  10. firefighterjake

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  11. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot
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    Well pump? Lucky you. I need more, but it's down 400'. My big gen is 7550 steady and 13500 startup.
     
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  12. jetsam

    jetsam
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    An interlock is far cheaper and simpler than a transfer panel, and feeds the whole house.

    When I moved houses I took the portable generator with me, sold the transfer panel, and bought a double 30 breaker and an interlock kit for about $40.

    You need to be careful not to overload your generator, but you can manage that with the house's circuit breakers if you have people who are likely to go around turning random stuff on.

    It is so simple to set up compared to wiring the transfer panel. You backfeed the panel via a double breaker sized to your generator. That breaker goes in the panel right next to the main breaker. A sliding metal plate blocks both from being on at once so you can't backfeed the transmission lines.

    I miss the ammeters on the transfer panel, but I like having the whole house hot. I just shut down the breaker for the electric dryer and tell my wife that she can operate normally, as my generator is way bigger than we need.

    It is suggested to balance your breakers a bit while you are making room for the feed breaker (put the refrigerator on the opposite leg from the dishwasher, etc).

    SmartSelect_20181128-121353_Chrome Beta.jpg
     
  13. Chas0218

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  14. maple1

    maple1
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    What kind of furnace are you talking about?

    From what you are posting, and depending on how much the power goes out, I would be tempted to just get a 2000 or 3000 watt inverter generator & run a couple extension cords.

    Gas consumption is my main consideration in an extended power outage. If you don't need to start a well pump, that should be all the watts you need. I used to have a 7000 watt Craftsman genny. It was a nice genny but it would suck down a 5 gallon jug of gas in what seemed like no time, while I was using only 1/4 of its potential. I now have a 3000w inverter. And I can run our well pump (a 120v, not a deep well) off it if needed.

    IMO most people look right past gas consumption and into big shiney watts. Like I did once. Which can be a mistake.
     
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  15. kennyp2339

    kennyp2339
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    Before installing any products on your meter pan or line side of the meter, check with your local utility to see if its approved, you don't want one of there workers getting hurt when servicing the meter or be accused of tampering / unsafe condition.
     
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  16. maple1

    maple1
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    A licensed electrician is needed for that here, and he needs to pull the power company for a disconnect then a reconnect. So a hassle, and with fees needing to be paid to the power company.
     
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  17. jatoxico

    jatoxico
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    Like @maple1 I abandoned my large gen-set in favor of an inverter generator. But for those currently or thinking of back feeding using such a setup realize that (please bear w/ me not an electrician) both poles will be in phase. This will be unsafe if your home is wired w/ any multi wired branched circuits. This type of wiring uses 2 hots out that are out of phase (when using power from the pole) w/ a common neutral. If the hot wires are powered up in phase with the generator then you can overload your neutral. This is why you will not see an adaptor plug made for your Honda eu2000i and similar units to back feed a home transfer switch.
     
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  18. jetsam

    jetsam
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    I converted my old gas guzzler to propane and tied it into the house's big tank via a ball valve and a quick connect. It downrates the unit somewhat, but you never have to worry about putting gas in, taking gas out, wondering how old the gas is, etc etc. Propane burns nice and clean and does not gunk up the carb!

    That generator used to be cranky about starting every 6 months with gas. Now I start it once a year and it fires right up.

    If you are running hvac equipment, consult the manufacturer before making a generator buying/upgrading decision. Some newer stuff is going to require an inverter generator.

    You can run the whole house off of 2 inverter generators and an interlock, but you need 2 inverter generators from the same company that are designed to work with each other in parallel mode. Honda calls it "companion mode" I think.
     
  19. Highbeam

    Highbeam
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    Only one Honda inverter genset makes 240 as far as I know and it is very expensive. You pretty much need to choose inverter or 240.

    I use a smaller 3000 watt inverter genset to backfeed my home main panel through the interlock. Works great for all 120 volt loads. Every stupid light in the bathroom, Xmas lights, refrigerators, etc. and power even goes on through the sub panel to my detached shop.

    I do not recommend the transfer panels. Just get an interlock and a small inverter genset unless you require 240.
     
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  20. maple1

    maple1
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    Can you dummy down how you do that exactly? For, well, electrical dummies like me.
     
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  21. jatoxico

    jatoxico
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    I'm 99.9 that although you get more power, the units will be in phase jet. Otherwise you could pair them and run 240. If your doing it (like me) give your panel a check for these circuits. I had a couple and the solution is to avoid them if possible or only use one of the breakers on the MWBC at a time.

    For clarity with an MWBC on pole power you could safely pull 10 amps on each hot at the same time and the neutral only has the possibility of seeing 10 amps because the hots are not in phase however…back feeding a 120 V through a transfer switch or block plate the neutral could see all 20 amps and possibly overload and neither breaker would pop so bad situation.
     
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  22. Highbeam

    Highbeam
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    I know that I do not have any multi wire branch circuits and I know that my 120 volt inverter genset can not overload the single returning neutral wire on my "generator" circuit. I do not want to provide too much information on the forum for fear that an electrical "dummy" might not be able to make these checks. You have to make a very simple adapter or a simple modification to a current cord. Many people online have detailed feeding both sides of their panel with a 120 volt generator to include showing how to make the adapter. I know you're smart Maple1, it's the endless others that could read this.

    There's even another risk with applying 120 to both sides of your panel. Your generator circuit is fed by a four wire cable. Two hots, a neutral (same size as the hots), and a safety ground. The generator inlet breaker is sized assuming that each of the hots is fully loaded. When you put both of those hots in "phase" then the sum of the current is passing back to the genset on the neutral wire. In other words, the neutral can see double what each of the hots is protected at and might be overloaded. In my case, the 10 gauge neutral can handle all 3000 watts that my genset can put out so I'm safe.
     
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  23. jatoxico

    jatoxico
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    Good point. I also made up a 10 g cord and my unit only puts out about 20 amp max. If the cord fries maybe I take out the cord, unit or both. If a wire hidden in the walls becomes damaged that's a whole 'nother problem which is why I bring it up.
     
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  24. jetsam

    jetsam
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    I assumed the parallel kit was so the inverters could get 180° from each other, but a little research shows that most of them seem to use it to get in phase.

    Seems backwards to me!

    Guess I'm sticking with my big old generac.
     
  25. maple1

    maple1
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    Ya, I think I have some MWBCs.
     
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