Got generator, now what? hook up ?'s

wanna_be_farmer(z7 Va)September 15, 2003

Being outside of Williamsburg VA and having Isabel looking at us.. Forked out the money and bought a Homelite 5500 generator today. Not much to choose from right now.

Got some questions on how to hook this up. Can I turn off the main power, turn off the circuits I don't need. Plug it in to an outlet and back feed the house? I have heard the term back feed and not sure what it consists of. Have heard to be sure there is a switch to keep it off the power grid.

I may be at the wrong forum but if anyone the correct forum I'll try it!

Thanks for any help!

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wanna_be_farmer(z7 Va)

Ok did some more research. Any opions on running a seperate new 220 breaker. 10 gauge wire to an outlet for the generator to plug into. then ONLY with the main off, I can run selected cirtuits at a time.?

    Bookmark   September 15, 2003 at 9:44PM
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Don't mean to be mean, sound like an accident waiting to kill a lineman...
Until you get a qualified electrician to do the wiring properly (and in many areas, it must be inspected by the utiltiy company), I'd suggest you only use the generator for things you can plug into it a refrigerator, lamps, etc. Anything that must go through your electric box, and is not adequately wired, could kill a line worker...
I'm sure if you are without electricity, even for days, you could work with heavy duty extension cords and plug directly into the generator, so nothing goes into the house electrical system, and into some guy's body up a pole somewhere.
You are talking electrocution here!
Good luck in the storm.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2003 at 5:44PM
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wanna_be_farmer(z7 Va)

Thanks, that is where I have been steered towards. With the clock ticking I'll call an electriian in a few months when this blows over and we need it for winter ice storms again. last thing I want to do is zap a lineman just doing there job.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2003 at 7:58PM
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I don't know anything about them except the warning to NOT try and connect it to your house circuits whatever that means

    Bookmark   September 16, 2003 at 9:49PM
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amnomad(z5 MO)

I found a really good article on this subject at You can hook up an auxiliary panel with a manual switch to change from 'on the grid' to generator. They say the extra panel is about $100, and I guess you could either have an electrician set it up or do it yourself and have an electrician inspect it. A little late for Isabel, but might be handy for next time ;)

ps: it's kind of a long url, you can also go to and just search for 'installing a backup generator'

Here is a link that might be useful: Installing a backup generator

    Bookmark   October 3, 2003 at 12:32AM
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I am in the process of hooking mine up.
Here are photos of the meter base and the optional generator breaker that I had installed when we built the house. I will make a cable to go from the generator to the outside breaker box. The cable will hook up to the 30 amp double breaker on the right side.

Here is a link that might be useful: Generator transfer breaker at meter base

    Bookmark   September 26, 2010 at 1:38AM
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oregonwoodsmoke(5 OR Sunset 1A)

Right now, you find a place to set the generator up OUTSIDE where it will be protected from the weather and you figure out how to get an extension cord from the outdoors to inside the house and still be able to close the house up.

Also, buy a heavy chain and lock and find something immovable to chain that generator to, so it doesn't walk off to power the fridge of someone who didn't plan ahead like you did.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 3:36PM
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