MH saves Home

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an RV or an interest in RVing!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

pipepro

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 2, 2012
Posts
133
Location
Northeast Ohio
Hope everyone made it safe through Hurricane Sandy. Every year on the last weekend of October I store my MH in a wharehouse. This year due to an indoor Boy Scout jamboree I couldn't. What a stroke of luck, It rained 2 days prior to the Hurricane and then it really rained. Well my power went out in my home and I thought well I'll have it back on by the next morning. WRONG!!! So the first thing I check is my sump pump, sure enough the water was just about to overflow. Then I got the bright idea to fire up my 5000 watt Onan generator in the MH and ran an extension cord to the sump pump. Woohoo saved the day. Then I ran another extension to my refrigerator and lastly another to my fan on my fireplace insert. No water in the basement, cold food, and heat. I ran out of extension cords or I would have had entertainment  8)
 

scottydl

Site Team
Joined
Jul 1, 2006
Posts
8,920
Location
Land of Lincoln
I used my MH's Onan generator for the exact same purpose (running the sump pump during a power outage) a couple years ago.  Now that I don't have the MH anymore, I was just thinking that I might want to buy a portable generator!  It was a nice backup plan to have sitting there in the driveway.
 

pipepro

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 2, 2012
Posts
133
Location
Northeast Ohio
I think with the frequency of power outages and super storms buying a portable generator might be a wise decision, if you don't have the MH in the driveway. I live in the snow belt and we also get plenty of rain if the wind blows across the lake, so for myself I am considering having a back up for the winter when the MH is in storage. Our infrastructure is falling apart at the seams. We had  Telephone and power poles snap right in half. Not to mention the trees toppling.
 

John From Detroit

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 12, 2005
Posts
24,944
Location
Davison Michigan
Suggestion.. Do what I did (in this case this is not "DO as I say" it is "Do as I did")

I obtained a proper Generator Transfer Panel and INLET from either Lowes or Home Depot.. This is a panel with several switches on it, the one I had also had watt meters to show how much power we were pulling off the generator.

Now the ONAN is a 120 volt device,  Most of your NECESSARY systems can run on a single 30 amp feed in the house..  If your motor home is 50 amp however you can likely pull two 30 amp feeds.  THough if you do that the neutral wire can hit 60 amps so bear that in mind when you modify and install.

ON the motor home I put a set of outlets in a weather protected location.. Two 30 amp female (TT-30's) and one 30 amp Twist Lock  I used the same Twist lock as on a portable generator I had (For obvious reasons, same cords fit).  Alas the generator grew legs and walked off on me, I think I know who's legs but think, and prove long distance apart.

In the house: The generator panel went next to the main service box.. The one I had hooks up like this.

You remove the branch circuit wire from teh breaker,  Connect it to one of the wires from the transfer box, (Wire nut and tape) connect the mated wire from teh transfer box to the breaker  (The wires are all numbered and coded to make sure you put the proper wire on the breaker) You also hook up a heavy neutral and ground wire.

I extended the "INLET" on the box to the back wall but you could put in a standard 30 amp round "Electrical Hatch" (Any RV store) and run teh cord to the transfer box.

I made up a special long heavy duty (8GA I think) cord

When the lights went out (Not if, but when, alas, modern power companies do not believe in reliable service) I got the cord out of the basement, One end to the house, other to the motor home, Fired up the ONAN, and back in the basement started flipping switches,, This was Dec-31

CLICK light
CLICK furnace
CLICK, Click Click, fridge, freezer, Computer, Television/radio and so on.

I left one light on the MAINS, went up stairs and turned it on (It is a hall light on a hall that is perhaps six feet long, We almost never turn it on)  When the light came back on it was down to the basement and click everythign back to MAINS, back to the moto rhome and say "Good night" to Mr. Onan.

One cord, No rat's nest and no breach in home security (You might note I'm FROM Detroit, Home security is important there)

Later,, (This was the last half of January) In Quartsite, one of those TT-30 outlets came in handy when my neighbor's generator refused to generate.
 

pipepro

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 2, 2012
Posts
133
Location
Northeast Ohio
After reading John's post my wife and were discussing this and for any prolonged outage having the heat, fridge, freezer, Computer, Television/radio and so on working is a great idea. One disadvantage is I have a well that is 180 feet down, so my pump is 220, what do I do for water? We maintain about 50 gallons of spring water we buy for cooking and most importantly coffee because our water is hard to say the least.
 

dan2

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 6, 2012
Posts
193
When I replaced the fuel oil furnace (about four years ago) to natural gas, I had the contractor add a switch and receptacle to the new 
unit. If the power goes out, I flip the switch to go off the grid and now can plug in my coach genset. I have to keep my babies warm!
 

pipepro

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 2, 2012
Posts
133
Location
Northeast Ohio
Just got back from a neighbors house and here is what he did. He turned off all his breaker switches and ran an extension cord from his generator to the electric dryer 220 socket. turned on the generator, and power went to his main box and then he turned on the breakers for whatever 110 appliances he wanted like sump, furnace, lights, etc.  ;D
 

John From Detroit

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 12, 2005
Posts
24,944
Location
Davison Michigan
pipepro said:
One disadvantage is I have a well that is 180 feet down, so my pump is 220,

That can be a problem (We had the same thing on the farm) Your choices are either a portable generator, Re-wire the generator on the motor home for 120/240 (Some you can do that some you can not) a step up transformer or.... If you know it's coming,, Fill the supply tank on the motor home... Mine  holds 80 gallons.

You will loose a few things since you have to conserve, but it's better than nothing.

Page 2: After a storm like Sandy, you do not want to use the well till it's tested anyway.  Possible contamination.
 

catblaster

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 11, 2010
Posts
2,702
Location
Kissimmee, Floriduh
pipepro said:
Just got back from a neighbors house and here is what he did. He turned off all his breaker switches and ran an extension cord from his generator to the electric dryer 220 socket. turned on the generator, and power went to his main box and then he turned on the breakers for whatever 110 appliances he wanted like sump, furnace, lights, etc.  ;D

Similar to what I'm doing except connecting to outside welder outlet...IMPORTANT to throw disconnect to public utilities, you could electrocute a linesman working to restore power. If the power company discovers you are back-feeding without a transfer switch they are very disappointed. :mad:
 

John From Detroit

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 12, 2005
Posts
24,944
Location
Davison Michigan
That is called backfeeding, It is both dangerous and illegal.  The dangers are as follows.

ONE you have a cord with TWO male plugs, what happens if it's live when you pick up a plug and make contact with the ends (AC you tend to grip it, and by the time someone else can get you loose, less they are properly trained, there is little hope)

Second, what happens if someone else hooks it up during a power fail and forgets to throw the main breaker and disconnect the house.

This is why you should NEVER!!!! use an outlet as an inlet  Always use a proper generator transfer device.. ALWAYS, never backfeed.. It invites too many dangers.
 

KarenS144

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 16, 2011
Posts
279
Location
Southern Indiana
Generators are wonderful inventions!  After spending 5 days one winter without electricity, we bought a portable gas gen which we've used to power the house a few times as well as with other projects on the farm.  When we got the moho and started traveling for days & weeks at a time, we worried about the power going out and the freezer & fridge.  If you've ever come home to a stinky nasty fridge or freezer that has rotted food in it, you know you never ever want to do that again! 

We've just installed a natural gas/propane gen which will come on if we lose power.  I hope we never have to use it but it is a comfort knowing it's there if it's needed.  We don't have the whole house on it but like the OP we'll have the basics PLUS entertainment.  :) 

DH is the one that's wrestled with 2 different transfer cases since he installed the one for the portable gen, took it out and installed the new one for the propane gen.  There was a lot of cussing and fussing going on the garage during that time.  LOL!  I tried to avoid the area but do realize how important it is to have the transfer case and to wire it properly. 
 

skyking1

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 29, 2011
Posts
833
pipepro said:
After reading John's post my wife and were discussing this and for any prolonged outage having the heat, fridge, freezer, Computer, Television/radio and so on working is a great idea. One disadvantage is I have a well that is 180 feet down, so my pump is 220, what do I do for water? We maintain about 50 gallons of spring water we buy for cooking and most importantly coffee because our water is hard to say the least.
We have a class B community well for 4 homes, I am the administrator. I rebuilt the very poorly built wellhouse when the former admin sold out.
My solution?
I wired the booster pump and the well pump to plug into outlets.
The well "owns" a 6KW 220V construction style genset.
If the power is out, I unplug those pumps from the wall and plug into the genset. No hassle, no backfeeding.
 

SeilerBird

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Posts
15,946
Location
St Cloud Florida USA
pipepro said:
Just got back from a neighbors house and here is what he did. He turned off all his breaker switches and ran an extension cord from his generator to the electric dryer 220 socket. turned on the generator, and power went to his main box and then he turned on the breakers for whatever 110 appliances he wanted like sump, furnace, lights, etc.  ;D
This is called backfeeding. It is very dangerous and very stupid. Never ever ever do this.
 

skyking1

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 29, 2011
Posts
833
John From Detroit said:
SkyKing that is a very good system too,,, As you said NO BACKFEEDING.

Thanks, John. I have nothing against transfer switches, but I had most of the required plugs and cord ends in my collection. There was no comparison in cost.
 

Ernie n Tara

Well-known member
Joined
May 16, 2009
Posts
4,100
Location
Ft Myers, FL
HI,
In January, 2001 we had a power loss for nine days. Acquired a generator, but no transfer switch. Since I have a furnace, I had to run power to the breaker panel (used a 10 gauge solid wire). To ensure against backfeeding, I removed the meter. This is NOT RECOMMENDED as a usual thing, but it did prorect the lineman. Note that I also placarded the meter in case anyone got "Helpfull".
JM2C,
Ernie
 

Lou Schneider

Site Team
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Posts
10,954
If you want to "backfeed" and be completely legal and up to code, you can get a mechanical interference interlock that allows you to connect either utility or emergency power to your house's electric panel, but not both at the same time.


Basically, it's a mechanical slider that fits on the front panel of the breaker box.  When it's slid one way it mechanically prevents one breaker from being turned on.  To turn on that breaker, you have to turn off the other one, then you can slide the interlock to the other position.  Now you can turn on the first breaker but not the second.


There's no way anyone can have both breakers on at the same time, short of physically removing the interlock.


I did this on the home we built on the Olympic Peninsula.  One interlocked breaker was the main breaker feeding utility power.  The other came from a 240 volt, 30 amp outlet I placed on the house next to the motorhome pad.


Flip the breakers, start the motorhome generator and you're in business until power comes back.


Here's one example of a panel with a factory installed mechanical interlock in a generator panel.


And another designed to fit in an existing load center.

These are cheap insurance against accidentally backfeeding the utility line and are easily installed if you have room in your house panel.  If your electrical panel is made by a different manufacturer, you'll have to get an interlock designed to work with your breakers.

Mine was similar except it was on the main house panel itself.  Of course, I was limited to the 5600 watt output of my generator, but I could route the power anywhere in the house by simply turning branch breakers on or off.
 

Jim Godward

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 6, 2005
Posts
5,906
Location
Hillsboro, Oregon
Lou Schneider said:
Mine was similar except it was on the main house panel itself.  Of course, I was limited to the 5600 watt output of my generator, but I could route the power anywhere in the house by simply turning branch breakers on or off.

Lou,

I'm interested in this  one, Maker, P/N, etc.??
 

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Threads
119,160
Posts
1,194,299
Members
123,941
Latest member
Vern2day
Top Bottom