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Yupper. It's also empowering to do it yourself. I remember as a young man in my early 20s going to Just Brakes for a brake job. They filled me with fear and charged me $800 to change my brakes and rotors. Later in life when I learned to repair things myself, I was filled with anger and regret at how simple a brake job is.
I think, from a different perspective, many people just don’t give electricity the necessary respect. 110 probably won’t kill you, but it can. If I remember, they consider 48 volts the threshold for lethal energy. At work I had to keep rosters, persons A, B and D can do job #2, but person C cannot. A and B can do job #7, but they have to wear X, Y and Z, and the north building will have a 2 hour outage. “We need 3 of these breakers, and they’re $700 each.”

I can put some outlets in the garage, or replace a ceiling fixture, but that’s about it. Probably my career left me profoundly disturbed emotionally, and those are the biggest electrical things I’ll ever do.
 

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I think, from a different perspective, many people just don’t give electricity the necessary respect. 110 probably won’t kill you, but it can. If I remember, they consider 48 volts the threshold for lethal energy. At work I had to keep rosters, persons A, B and D can do job #2, but person C cannot. A and B can do job #7, but they have to wear X, Y and Z, and the north building will have a 2 hour outage. “We need 3 of these breakers, and they’re $700 each.”

I can put some outlets in the garage, or replace a ceiling fixture, but that’s about it. Probably my career left me profoundly disturbed emotionally, and those are the biggest electrical things I’ll ever do.
Very true. Like Clint Eastwood said," A man needs to know his limitations."
 

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Respect electricity for sure.... but if you are remotely mechanical and can read, you can do electrical work. For instance, I was quoted 34k to do a solar installation at our place which has to be inspected by the utility and the local code inspector.

We ended up doing it ourselves... I spent a few weeks reading the NEC (2012 at the time for our area) and went for it. Passed inspection with flying colors on both sides.

There are plenty of sources for solid information when it comes to doing electrical work. Mike Holt has some GREAT info on youtube and his forum.

When working in a main panel, just keep in mind that the main lugs are still energized with the breaker off. The bus bars are not but if you touch the main lugs (which in many cases are not covered), you'll have a bad day. Beyond that, electrical isn't rocket science. Do some research and you can definitely do it yourself...

BUT...

If you are not comfortable doing it yourself, hire it out for sure.
 

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For some reason folks have a hard time accepting that working with electricity is a learnable skill. It's no more dangerous or difficult to learn than handling a firearm, doing your own brake job, cutting your own firewood, driving a vehicle in traffic, operating carpentry tools, ect. It's not some mythical, secret science; actually, very strait forward. We should never be resistive to learning and becoming more self-reliant because of our fears. Just like operating a gun, driving in traffic, ect, you have to be clear headed and knowledgeable about what you're doing, but back-feeding an electrical panel is very doable by the average person. are there morons out there that will text while driving and kill others, mishandle firearms and kill others, chop their own corroded artery while cutting wood or operating saws? Yup. Does that mean no one should do it? Only rich people can have electricity when the power goes off? Nope.
MacGyvering something that isn't an emergency situation is a bad habit.

Playing with 115v wiring is one thing, 240v is another. Back-feeding a panel with a "suicide cord" is simply the wrong way of doing it. Yes it will solve the problem, so will some extension cords. Its not difficult to learn how to handle firearms, I still take extra caution with other when at a range. When doing brakes, it's easy to use compression fittings to fix a rusty brake line, not the right way of doing it. Yes, I did that at 16 before I knew better.
 

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Just shut off main feed to your house (main breaker switch)….. Then What I did was put an inline outlet in the basement to the circuits that are important….. Then I just plug a few double ended plugs in said outlet and the other end to the generator. It worked well for over a week, and kept all my frozen Preps safe (2 large freezers) this summer when a contractor accidentally cut my main out by the street
 

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electrical isn't rocket science. Do some research and you can definitely do it yourself...

BUT...

If you are not comfortable doing it yourself, hire it out for sure.
Sound advice. I am happy to work on mains at home, lights, gpo's, but I wouldn't go into the meter box, too much packed into it. Also I never install extras without considering the overall load on the circuit. So many wires running all around the place and who knows how much is on one individual circuit? It bears investigation, or mapping out.
 

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MacGyvering something that isn't an emergency situation is a bad habit.

Playing with 115v wiring is one thing, 240v is another. Back-feeding a panel with a "suicide cord" is simply the wrong way of doing it. Yes it will solve the problem, so will some extension cords. Its not difficult to learn how to handle firearms, I still take extra caution with other when at a range. When doing brakes, it's easy to use compression fittings to fix a rusty brake line, not the right way of doing it. Yes, I did that at 16 before I knew better.
Using a derogatory term for something that's totally mechanically sound if done correctly, but you just disagree with isn't helpful. Explain to me which part of what I'm doing is dangerous if done correctly? Hint, it's not dangerous because if electricity can safely flow in one direction it can go in the other direction just as safely.
 

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Using a derogatory term for something that's totally mechanically sound if done correctly, but you just disagree with isn't helpful. Explain to me which part of what I'm doing is dangerous if done correctly?
Will,
It's the "If done correctly" part.
An interlock or transfer switch eliminates that part of the risk.

If it is "not done correctly" a lineman could die.
 

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"suicide cord" just what they are called, seems like most electricians immediately knows exactly what you are talking about and are against people doing it. Like I said in an emergency yes it would work, and most likely you and your house would be fine. A lineman working to restore power not so much. It's still an accident waiting to happen if anyone who doesn't know how it works changes something. There are plenty of safer solution mentioned already that can be in place.

Just out of curiosity what would happen to a running generator if the power come back on and say the house isn't isolated from the grid (it's back feeding to the pole)?
 

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You know, on the DIY section of a survivalist forum, a person should get better advice than "Call A Professional." What a cop-out.
Really? The OP said, “is a bit wonky to me, don’t really get it - but, kind of.” You consider advising him to find an electrician somehow unworthy? I never really looked at survival as a matter of Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!
 

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I've read posts on here for years about folks wiring their fuse boxed with a dryer outlet to back feed the panel, followed by hordes of other posters telling them they need a transfer switch and it's uber dangerous to do it without one. I've been doing it without a transfer device for decades without issue. It's brick simple and only dangerous if you're an idiot. Maybe I'm super smart or there's alot of morons in the world, I don't know. For me it's the same with firearms. They are very safe as long as you don't point them at another person and then pull the trigger. Never had a problem. Yet folks inadvertently shoot themselves and others every year so what do I know. Anyhow, back feeding the panel may be legal in your area, and it's safe & effective if you have two brain cells to rub together. Land of the free and home of the brave....
Which is why I specified that you should turn off all the breakers including the main breaker that feeds the panel. If you do that the house is disconnected from the mains supply, and each branch circuit in the house is disconnected from the other branch circuits. There's no chance that you're going to back feed the grid, or overload a branch circuit because everything is isolated and protected by the generator's CB.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, don't do it. Residential electrical installations are as simple as dirt, but you have to learn enough to be safe. People who rant about how you're going to burn the house down or get someone killed are the same people who pay an electrician to install a transfer switch or interlock kit even if their generator only runs for a couple hours once or twice a year and they only need to power a fridge and a desk lamp.
 

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You can look for an adapter with two male ends but you'll be looking a long time! Might as well make your own.
I have that same generator plug and I wired it to a NEMA 14-50 4-hole plug for my Tesla receptacle. I haven't had a chance to test out but my plan is to disconnect all power, all breakers, plug in the generator and turn on selected breakers.
What I'm missing is a way to find out when the power has come back on.
Simple to install utility power detector for your breaker panel. Reliance Controls PowerBACK Utility Power Return Alert | Reliance Controls THP108 (powerequipmentdirect.com)
 

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You can look for an adapter with two male ends but you'll be looking a long time! Might as well make your own.
I have that same generator plug and I wired it to a NEMA 14-50 4-hole plug for my Tesla receptacle. I haven't had a chance to test out but my plan is to disconnect all power, all breakers, plug in the generator and turn on selected breakers.
What I'm missing is a way to find out when the power has come back on.
Doesn't this forum have some rule against posts that promote breaking the law and needlessly killing people?
 

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You know, on the DIY section of a survivalist forum, a person should get better advice than "Call A Professional." What a cop-out.
I've read posts on here for years about folks wiring their fuse boxed with a dryer outlet to back feed the panel, followed by hordes of other posters telling them they need a transfer switch and it's uber dangerous to do it without one. I've been doing it without a transfer device for decades without issue. It's brick simple and only dangerous if you're an idiot. Maybe I'm super smart or there's alot of morons in the world, I don't know. For me it's the same with firearms. They are very safe as long as you don't point them at another person and then pull the trigger. Never had a problem. Yet folks inadvertently shoot themselves and others every year so what do I know. Anyhow, back feeding the panel may be legal in your area, and it's safe & effective if you have two brain cells to rub together. Land of the free and home of the brave....
You know, If I posted on this forum that the proper load for a black powder rifle was "just pour powder in until the barrel is full", people would jump all over that post and probably want to ban me for posting dangerous, incorrect advice.

It would also be a very big clue that I don't know anything about firearms.
Just like the posts which claim backfeed plugs (AKA suicide plugs) are safe and effective prove the poster doesn't know anything about electricity.
 

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I think if you're going to run a generator into your house, and have installed or install a disconnect - you should still understand how that electrical works. It is back feeding your home, and even with the disconnect and proper plug, if you don't understand it - it isn't risk free to your health or appliances. The only thing the disconnect really protects is a lineman, but I don't think it does anything for your safety or the safety of your property. You can still screw up and electrocute yourself, damage equipment, or burn your house down, or fry the generator.
 

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You know, If I posted on this forum that the proper load for a black powder rifle was "just pour powder in until the barrel is full", people would jump all over that post and probably want to ban me for posting dangerous, incorrect advice.

It would also be a very big clue that I don't know anything about firearms.
Just like the posts which claim backfeed plugs (AKA suicide plugs) are safe and effective prove the poster doesn't know anything about electricity.
Really, I've wired two houses from the ground up as the self-contractor when I built. Obviously there's an extremely safe way to do it since I've been doing it for over 20 years and never had a problem. Maybe the correct reply would be to acknowledge that, but as I have admitted it's not for everyone because there is an inherent danger in working with electricity. There's some people that simply don't have the aptitude to perform such operations safely. These are the same people that shouldn't be driving cars or owning guns. As a member of this form I would think that you would be a proponent of individual liberty and freedom rather than being a safety nanny. Anyhow, the correct order of operations is to turn off the individual appliance breakers in the fuse box followed by the main power breaker that runs power into the entire house. Plug in the generator and start it up. Select the appropriate house appliance breakers and turn them on. Whatever you do, don't turn on the main house breaker while the generator is running. It's the reverse order of operations when you're ready to flip back to city power. Really, really simple and safe. Do me a favor and don't strawman my point trying to make me look incompetent and you the master of all things safe and smart. There's a whole bunch of people out there that maybe have a small generator but not enough money to hire an electrician and buy a transfer switch. All I'm saying is with a little self-education they can safely power their homes in a life endangering outage. God bless America, the land of the free and the home of the brave.

For the record I think we're both saying there's a dangerous and stupid way to do it. Depending on your location this also may be illegal. However it might be totally illegal where you live, it's up to the individual to check their building code and laws.
 

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Ohhhh. We’re getting solar power, and the fine print says if grid power stops, the solar power stops. I bet that’s why.

We have a battery bank and a generator, but neither is hard wired to our house. Extension cords to the fridge and the freezers, break out a propane stove and a heater, and then we can just wait it out.
This is not well-known, I don't believe, but most (all?) grid-tied solar systems do not have any battery backup. It treats the grid as if it's the battery, feeding power to it when there's a surplus produced by the solar panels, and drawing from the grid when it's cloudy or at night.

Thus, it's not in any way like an off-grid system. If the grid fails, the system isn't going to produce power when the panels don't.

You can try to get it to feed battery backup, but as far as I know, most (all?) utilities will not allow that. I don't really know why--maybe it's a requirement of incentives to install, maybe it interferes with the "renewable portfolio" of a utility, maybe they're just being snarky, maybe they can't guarantee a robust system when they don't know what people are doing to it.

Regardless, it won't back up and be usable in a grid-down situation. This was demonstrated quite convincingly in California during the wildfires when the grid went down and all these people with solar electric systems discovered that with the grid down, they aren't so effective. :)

If I had such a system, I'd have a battery backup bank and I'd keep it charged with a trickle charger. If the grid went down, I'd switch to that system and figure a way to allow the panels to feed the battery bank instead of the grid.

I don't know how easy or hard that would be to do, and it's possible in some situations the system is "locked" as meters are locked, by a tab which, when broken, signifies the homeowner or someone has tried to hack the system.

But I wouldn't do a solar-based system that I couldn't use independently of the grid.
 
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This is not well-known, I don't believe, but most (all?) grid-tied solar systems do not have any battery backup. It treats the grid as if it's the battery, feeding power to it when there's a surplus produced by the solar panels, and drawing from the grid when it's cloudy or at night.

Thus, it's not in any way like an off-grid system. If the grid fails, the system isn't going to produce power when the panels don't.

You can try to get it to feed battery backup, but as far as I know, most (all?) utilities will not allow that. I don't really know why--maybe it's a requirement of incentives to install, maybe it interferes with the "renewable portfolio" of a utility, maybe they're just being snarky, maybe they can't guarantee a robust system when they don't know what people are doing to it.

Regardless, it won't back up and be usable in a grid-down situation. This was demonstrated quite convincingly in California during the wildfires when the grid went down and all these people with solar electric systems discovered that with the grid down, they aren't so effective. :)

If I had such a system, I'd have a battery backup bank and I'd keep it charged with a trickle charger. If the grid went down, I'd switch to that system and figure a way to allow the panels to feed the battery bank instead of the grid.

I don't know how easy or hard that would be to do, and it's possible in some situations the system is "locked" as meters are locked, by a tab which, when broken, signifies the homeowner or someone has tried to hack the system.

But I wouldn't do a solar-based system that I couldn't use independently of the grid.
Yep, built-in battery back up is extra. A lot extra. We have 270 amp hours of lithium batteries and a 8500 watt generator here, and a small generator I leave at the cabin for power tools. Lots of propane gear both places.

We got solar (160% of our average use) mainly because natural gas cost is supposed to go way up. And after it does, it’s not gonna go back down. So I’ll put in some electric heat here and there in the house. Well, my brother will put in some electric heat here and there. Maybe this spring he’ll come over and wire us an electric tankless water heater, too, if I do the plumbing.
 
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