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Back-Up Generators


dtontarski
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Originally posted by dtontarski

I'm scheduled in inspect a home with a back-up generator. Any words of wisdom regarding the inspection of a home with one of these systems?

If you do nothing else, confirm that there's a transfer switch installed to prevent parallel operation and to prevent the generator juice from travelling back over the service wires and frying a lineman.

Otherwise, I agree with Charlie's advice.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I've seen about a half dozen, & I've still not been able to even verify the presence of a transfer switch, or anything else on any of the systems, re: Charlie's #1 comment.

My customer's have not been upset w/me at all when I've told them I'm clueless about them; they're actually real happy turning the whole thing over to an electrician.

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Hi,

I see about a dozen a year. They usually have two setups here. The first is a setup with a manual transfer switch that, when switched, kicks off the main breaker and prevents accidentally having parallel operation as Jim describes.

The other involves nothing more than a series of toggles and screw-in fuses in a separate panel that's wired into critical circuits in the home. With this setup, you have to first turn off power to the house at the main disconnect and then, after you're sure the main breaker is off, start the generator and individually turn on each circuit and rely on the fuses for overload protection.

These bother me, because if the danged thing is running and an uninformed person hears on the radio that the power is being worked on, I can see that person walking over to the panel and throwing that main breaker to see whether it's been fixed yet, without shutting down the generator first. About 3 weeks ago, I saw on the news that there was a lineman electrocuted here but I don't remember the circumstances. My first thought was that someone got hit by one of these generators.

OT - OF!!!

M.

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Thanks for the advice. I have seen a few of these in the past (prior to discovering this forum) and deferred these to an electrician, with mention of service requirements and hazards associated with improper use. It's great having this resource to tap into the collective wisdom of its members.

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