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Home Generators and Back Feeding Electrical Power


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How to Connect a Generator to a Home – There are illegal methods of connecting a generator to a home to provide temporary power that can be very dangerous, the proper way to connect generator power to the home electrical system is by providing a separation between the utility company power supply and the generator.


NEVER Back Feed A Home with Generator Power!

Electrical Question: I have a Briggs & Stratton portable generator model pro8000 01934.
I want to back feed the house and the GFCI trips.
It has the neutral bonded to the frame,and I want to float it and I can’t get any good wire schematics from Briggs,just 2 hours wasted on the phone with people who are clueless.
Where would I find the Neutral to disconnect?
Once I do, I will terminate with a connector for stand alone when needed.

This electrical wiring question came from: Dennis, a Electrician from Phillips, WI.
See more about Electrical Wiring for Wisconsin
Additional Comments: nice!

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Dennis.

Why Back Feeding Generator Power to a Home is Very Dangerous
Dennis, I’m sorry but I do not recommend back feeding a home with power from a generator due to the electrical dangers involved not only in the home electrical system but also the danger of back feeding the electrical utility system and creating lethal voltage for linemen who may be working on the power lines.
Additionally, I do not recommend disconnecting the built in GFCI protection that is installed in the generator unit by the manufacturer.

How to Connect a Generator to a Home
There are illegal methods of connecting a generator to a home to provide temporary power that can be very dangerous and these methods should never be used.
The proper way to connect generator power to the home electrical system is by providing a separation between the utility company power supply and the generator power so that the two sources of power can never be supplying power at the same time.

In Cases Where You Need Emergency Power from a Generator

  • Make sure the generator is out of areas where there may be flooding.
  • Make sure the generator is on a level area where it is stable and secure.
  • Store back up fuel in a safe outdoor location located away from the generator.
  • Do not operate a portable generator indoors or near windows that may opened – exhaust fumes are hazardous and can be deadly.
  • Temporary power connections must be made using heavy gauge extension cords that are rated for the circuit size as stated on the generator or the receptacle outlet of the generator.
  • Do NOT back-feed the home electrical system or use cheater cords – THIS IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS!
  • Keep the cord receptacle connection at the end of the cord out of water.
  • Do not connect an appliance to any power source that is exposed to water, unless the submerged portion of the equipment is rated for use in wet areas such as sump pumps.
  • Do not cover an operating generator in such a way as to trap exhaust heat and cause a fire. Generators need space to dissipate heat and expel exhaust.

 

More about Generators for the Home:

Generator Section

The Importance of a Generator Transfer Switch

Generator Articles

Generator Questions and Answers

GFCI Outlet Wiring

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