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Old 12-04-2021, 11:52 AM   #1
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Portable Generator To Feed House

I know what I am asking is not to code and an electrician would/could not do it. All I want to know if the setup I propose will work in an emergency; so please don't lambast me too bad.

I am in East Texas and lost power for a week last winter.
When I lived in GA I had a 50 amp outlet outside my house that I would plug my RV into. My portable generator has a 30 amp outlet, so an electrician made a power cord to plug into the 30 amp generator outlet with a 50 amp plug on the other end of the power cord. I then could turn my electricity off at a switch outside my house near the meter, and plug my generator into the house via the RV 50 amp plug. It worked great, and I could run some things in the house; so I would turn off unnecessary breakers or breakers that used too much power.

Where I am now I have a 30 amp RV outlet outside my house. Can I use a 50 to 30 amp reducer to plug my 50 amp portable generator cord in to the house via the RV outlet? I do not have an outside switch at this house, but would turn the Main breaker off in the house breaker box (to not feed electricity out to the main line). Doing this seems like the same setup, however I know a 30 amp line/outlet is setup up different than a 50 amp.

Will this work as an emergency setup to keep fridge, furnace, lights, etc. running in the house?

Thanks for you help,
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Old 12-04-2021, 12:13 PM   #2
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powering house from gen set

i have done pritty much what you are talking about my gen set has a 50 amp outlet my drier has a 30 amp i bought 2 pigtales and put them togther 1 50a and the outher 30a just make sure you turn off main breaker before powering up with the gen set
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Old 12-04-2021, 12:26 PM   #3
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One thing to know and consider is that many generators (such as the one in my RV) have only one leg of 120v power at 30 amps. What that means is that you could feed a house from that generator but you would need to either only use one leg (half of the circuits) at a time or you could make an adapter to feed both legs IF (big IF and a warning to beware as a mistake here could be very dangerous and costly) you turned off all of the double pole circuit breakers (the 240v connections). Some generators do have two legs of 120v (240v) and you could feed the breaker panel with that without worry of shorting out the generator.

Also, for only a little bit of money you can purchase an interlock kit such as this one to prevent accidently having the generator's breaker and the main breaker on at the same time. You can find these kits for most brands of breaker panels.

BTW, what generator do you have that you are considering using for the house?
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Old 12-04-2021, 12:37 PM   #4
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I estimate 6 pages of replies before this thread closes.
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Old 12-04-2021, 12:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wog099 View Post
I know what I am asking is not to code and an electrician would/could not do it. All I want to know if the setup I propose will work in an emergency; so please don't lambast me too bad.

Thanks for you help,
BTW, I understand your concerns and others may have similar concerns. I wanted to share with you though that you certainly could power a house with a portable generator (within the limits of the generators capacity) and actually be in code. You need an interlock kit as I shared earlier (or a true generator transfer switch) and keep all of the wiring and connections code compliant. Many places do not require permits or a code inspector for this usage (check your local codes), however I would certainly have the setup code compliant regardless of any code inspections. ~CA
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Old 12-04-2021, 01:02 PM   #6
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An electrician could probably install a manual transfer switch for a couple hundred bucks. Basically: you hit the switch, then plug in the house like you would your RV. I had one at my last house (retired electrician installed it for me).
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Old 12-04-2021, 01:04 PM   #7
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The main issues I see here are 1. The suicide plug setup is very dangerous (I am assuming you will have a male plug end plugging into the house and backfeeding) and 2. probably the biggest reason not to do this and the reason it is illegal is that you put line workers at risk without a transfer switch. A safer approach would be to remove the circuit or circuits you want to power from the circuit breakers and buses and wire nut a cord onto the Romex that you can then plug into the generator. No risk of electrocution by suicide cord or inadvertently backfeeding mains.
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Old 12-04-2021, 01:11 PM   #8
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Just what I heard…not an electrician..,just for informational purposes….don’t follow stupid suggestions on the internet, I take no responsibility for this.

Go to Lowe’s/Home Depot and buy one of those generator cords that come in a box. Cut the female end off and buy another male end. Install the appropriate male end to fit your rv plug. Don’t get hung up on 30 amp or 50 amp. Just buy the plug end that fits your rv plug.

What you are doing is making up a new cord that has 2 male ends. One for the generator and one for the rv plug/outlet. Once the cord is made you can now back feed into rv plug via your generator. Make sure the main 200amp (whatever size you have ) breaker is off before doing this.

If you have a generator capable of producing 220 volts you will be able to power your entire house minus AC
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Old 12-04-2021, 03:39 PM   #9
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An electrician could probably install a manual transfer switch for a couple hundred bucks. Basically: you hit the switch, then plug in the house like you would your RV. I had one at my last house (retired electrician installed it for me).
That's what I did at my last house in Ct. The switch box kit is about $300 now. An electrician who did side work installed mine in 2 days after work and approx 5 hours. But a couple of those hours he re-did some wiring in the main breaker box that he didn't like.
I had mounted the box and outlet before he started.
When you switch on the generator circuits it is literally seamless. The house lights don't even flicker.
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Old 12-04-2021, 04:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hpozzuoli View Post
Just what I heard…not an electrician..,just for informational purposes….don’t follow stupid suggestions on the internet, I take no responsibility for this.

Go to Lowe’s/Home Depot and buy one of those generator cords that come in a box. Cut the female end off and buy another male end. Install the appropriate male end to fit your rv plug. Don’t get hung up on 30 amp or 50 amp. Just buy the plug end that fits your rv plug.

What you are doing is making up a new cord that has 2 male ends. One for the generator and one for the rv plug/outlet. Once the cord is made you can now back feed into rv plug via your generator. Make sure the main 200amp (whatever size you have ) breaker is off before doing this.

If you have a generator capable of producing 220 volts you will be able to power your entire house minus AC
And also energize the power lines in your neighborhood to several thousand volts. Really bad idea.
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Old 12-04-2021, 04:07 PM   #11
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For this reason we own lots of extension cords.
The average "handyman" shouldn't build suicide cords.
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Old 12-04-2021, 04:24 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by wog099 View Post
I know what I am asking is not to code and an electrician would/could not do it. All I want to know if the setup I propose will work in an emergency; so please don't lambast me too bad.

I am in East Texas and lost power for a week last winter.
When I lived in GA I had a 50 amp outlet outside my house that I would plug my RV into. My portable generator has a 30 amp outlet, so an electrician made a power cord to plug into the 30 amp generator outlet with a 50 amp plug on the other end of the power cord. I then could turn my electricity off at a switch outside my house near the meter, and plug my generator into the house via the RV 50 amp plug. It worked great, and I could run some things in the house; so I would turn off unnecessary breakers or breakers that used too much power.

Where I am now I have a 30 amp RV outlet outside my house. Can I use a 50 to 30 amp reducer to plug my 50 amp portable generator cord in to the house via the RV outlet? I do not have an outside switch at this house, but would turn the Main breaker off in the house breaker box (to not feed electricity out to the main line). Doing this seems like the same setup, however I know a 30 amp line/outlet is setup up different than a 50 amp.

Will this work as an emergency setup to keep fridge, furnace, lights, etc. running in the house?

Thanks for you help,
Two key statements here. First an electrical made a cord to a switch. Which I’m going to as meaning a generator transfer switch. Note an electrician did it.

Second. In your old house you had a 30 amp generator putting power into a 50 amp circuit. Now your talking about a 50 amp generator pushing into a 30 amp circuit.

I see fire and flames. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

Also make sure you have at least a $5,000,000 umbrella insurance policy to pay death benefits to the lineman you accidentally kill restoring power 2 houses away.
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Old 12-04-2021, 04:35 PM   #13
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Well, it's not up to 6 pages yet?

You say this will be "temporary", but probably, it will become a permanent fix. Because if it works, why change it?

Personally, I think I'd have installed a proper transfer switch and get it done right the first time. This way, there is never any danger of back feed to the power lines.

Just an FYI. We had some outside electrical work done just recently. The electrician told me, as the home owner, I can do my own changes to anything on the house I want ... without permits, without code, because I am not being paid to do my own work. He said I can do work for someone else too, as long as no money is exchanged for my help. But if someone is paid, it has to be by a certified person, and it has to be according to "code".

Well, .... that's what he said anyway. Not my words.

Still, when it comes to electricity, rewiring a plug in your house is one thing. The potential of backfeeding down the power lines ... well ..... that's something else.

Please install the proper transfer switch, either yourself or a certified electrician and get it done right.
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Old 12-04-2021, 04:38 PM   #14
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I know linemen that actually just cut the backfeed off the grid.
Bet your mule these were always the last homes to be restored, with a hefty service charge attached.
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