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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
I just moved to an area that can have power outages due to bad weather in the summertime. The Houston area of Texas.
After finding out that a "whole home standby unit" is out of my price range, I decided that I would still want some sort of emergancy backup.
After researching for a few weeks, I beleive that I have found something, that I can afford within my budget of $1500.
I will not be hooking this to my house, via transfer switch, after getting an estimate from my contractor and his ME. That, sadly. is also out of my price range.

So, going the extension cord route, I am hoping that this scenario will work, and that I am doing it correctly, and that all of these parts are compatible with eachother.
I will be placing my generator on my back lawn, 20 feet from my Master bedroom window. This bedroom is the only room in the house that I will be supplying power to, aside from my refrigerator in my kitchen, which is about 40 feet from that same master bedroom window. I will not be grounding the generator, as I have read that the generator only needs to be grounded if I am connecting it to my home, rather than using extension cables. I will be using a Big cable that goes from the 30 amp port of the generator, and has 3 regular L15 outlet style plugins for my house (L5-30P to three 5-15R). It is rated for 3750 watts.
I will then plug in my Window AC Unit to one of them (the same AC that is in that same window, 8000 BTU, 900 running / 1250 Surge Watts). The Second plugin, I will run a 50 foot 12 Gauge extension cable to my Kitchen refridgerator. I could not spec the wattage, even with help from the manufacturer, because of of its age (it is a 2006 model). It does say that it is rated for 115 volts and 4.5 amps. It does not indicate the the surge wattage. I went with a very liberal estimate on the starting watts, and think that a safe bet would be 550 Running and 2200 Surge).
The final 5-15r would plug into a power strip that would power my laptop (150 Watt) charge my cell phone (6.5 watts), Run my TV (40" flat screen Manufacture told me that it is 90 watts), My modem and router in case internet stays up, it does sometimes (210 watts) and a lamp (LED Bulb, less than 14 watts).
If all of that will work together, I would be just fine. I also can replace the Window A/C with a small space heater if the power goes out in the winter, I havent purchased one yet, but if I did, I would buy one that was less than 1500 watts.
The generator is a 3500 running / 4000 surge CHampion Gasoline Generator Invertor. I plan to use Synthetic oil in it. I also will be purchasing the "tent" to run the generator under. IF a hurricane knocks my power out, I will not be using the generator during the storm, but rather after the storm has passed, while waiting for power to be restored. The tent is just a precaution, in case it sprinkles or starts to rain heavily enough that I can get out in time to turn off the generator in a large downpour.
Here is my parts list, thanks for reading all of this, and I appreciate amy info that y'all can give me on if I am missing something.
AC https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PD ... 0DER&psc=1
Extension Cord https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000 ... 0DER&psc=1
Running Tent https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00TY ... Y5TN&psc=1
Generator https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01M3 ... 0DER&psc=1
Wheel Kit https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001Q ... 0DER&psc=1
Generator Cable https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008D ... 0DER&psc=1
Gas Canhttps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GBBG5LZ/re ... 0DER&psc=1
Synthetic Oil https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000A ... 0DER&psc=1
 

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Instead of going the transfer switch route, which can be very expensive, consider feeding generator power into your inside sub-panel and using an interlock device that will prevent the generator and power company feed being used at the same time. These are legal everywhere I am aware of but you might check with an electrician about the codes in your area. I'm just down the gulf in Mobile, AL. It does depend on the configuration of your inside panel. If you can provide a picture of the panel I can tell you if yours can be done. There are a lot of posts on various forums that give you help on getting this done. I did mine myself, including making the interlock device, which is only a small piece of sheetmetal that can cost $50-$100. My house is 2400 square feet and most major appliances are gas. I can run practically all of my 120 volt circuits (Refrigerator, freezer, lights, ceiling fans, garage door opener, satellite receiver, three televisions plus an 8,000 btu window ac that I use for these occasions) with a Champion 3400 watt inverter generator. I have not tried the washer or microwave. I may have to shut off the ac while they are in use. You didn't say if you have any electrical experience - it would be very helpful if you do. If you have to hire an electrician it will still be much cheaper than wiring a transfer switch and NO worrysome extension cords. Please let me know if I can help in any way.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I do not have any electrical experience at all. However, if you can point me in the right direction, I can find someone local who can quote me the job rather than what I had originally asked for, which was going to cost me $850 to have my contractor do via his master electrician.
 

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Definitely a candidate for an interlock kit. You'll need to move two breakers down to have any empty space up top for the generator feed breaker. I had to do the same thing. I didn't see a name.
Who makes this breaker?
 

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Definitely a candidate for an interlock kit. You'll need to move two breakers down to have any empty space up top for the generator feed breaker. I had to do the same thing. I didn't see a name.
Who makes this breaker?
Sorry, I meant who makes this panel?
 

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Definitely a candidate for an interlock kit. You'll need to move two breakers down to have any empty space up top for the generator feed breaker. I had to do the same thing. I didn't see a name.
Who makes this breaker?
square d logo on the breakers

post a pix of the panel door
that will give us the panel model number so we can look up the part number for the inter lock
 

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As Iowagold said, you'll need the panel manufacturer and part number to order the right interlock. I'm sure your electrician will know which one to get. Here's a picture of mine that I made myself and you can see how it works. My panel is a siemens but the concept is the same. As you can see it's impossible to have the generator breaker and the main breaker on at the same time. Simple, but effective and (most of all) safe.
 

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I've got to go to work but I'll try to put a parts list together tomorrow. The closer you can put your generator receptacle to your power panel the cheaper it will be. Ideal situation would be the panel is on an exterior wall and electrician can go straight out to the receptacle. Mine wasn't. If the electrician has to run the generator feed from the panel to a remote location it will cost much more. My panel is in the utility room and I put my receptacle there behind a door, requiring only a 36" run from the receptacle to the panel. Of course you've got to have a cord from the receptacle to the generator long enough to get out where you will be running the generator. This may not work for you. Picture is attached.
genhookup1 (2).jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks in advance. And mine is in my garage, I can out one right outside, on the other side of it.
 

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Sounds like you have the perfect situation. If the electrician runs it through the wall and mounts the receptacle on the outside, how far away will the generator be located?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Well, now I am stuck. Going the extension cord route, I was able to put the generator 20 feet from my house, and I know that's the recommended distance. Putting it on the side of the house where it would go to attach to the outside receptical, I would be only 14 feet from the house. So, I might need a different solution, as that isn't far enough to be safe, from the horror stories that I have read. I will post some pics tomorrow.
 

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Well, now I am stuck. Going the extension cord route, I was able to put the generator 20 feet from my house, and I know that's the recommended distance. Putting it on the side of the house where it would go to attach to the outside receptical, I would be only 14 feet from the house. So, I might need a different solution, as that isn't far enough to be safe, from the horror stories that I have read. I will post some pics tomorrow.
You can get a 25’ cord for about $50 if you need to get farther away. I locate mine about 10’ from my house with no windows or doors close by. My son has a big 20k standby permanently located about 5’ from his house with the exhaust pointed away from the house. I just don’t see why a portable needs to be 20’ away. I’d suggest that you do whatever you need to to keep your family safe. Carbon monoxide is a dangerous killer.
 

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