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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok I know I will have to hire this out. But how much can I expect to spend to have a generator transfer switch installed at my house. I am tired of running extension cords through the house when the power goes out.

I have a 5000 watt generator so I can pretty much run my whole house on that. Minus, the window AC units, washer, and deep freezer.

I have very high quality battery back up Surge Protectors on all my electronics. So they will be protected from power spikes from the generator.

Just looking for an idea on cost.
 

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Was about 450 bucks when I had mine done for the portable generator 4 years ago.I've sice installed a 14k stand by generator...
 

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Ok I know I will have to hire this out. But how much can I expect to spend to have a generator transfer switch installed at my house. I am tired of running extension cords through the house when the power goes out.

I have a 5000 watt generator so I can pretty much run my whole house on that. Minus, the window AC units, washer, and deep freezer.


Just looking for an idea on cost.
You can do the transfer switch or, you can get by a whole lot cheaper by having an electrician install a sub panel and back feeding from there like I do.


I have my generator in an outbuilding so, when the power goes out--I go down the basement, and flip off the main.

Then, I go out to the building, flip a couple of switches in the panel, plug in the generator to that box and am good to go. Running it from inside another building has all sorts of advantages.

Sure, I have to control what all is running from the service panel in the basement but, it works just fine for the money.

Secondly, if you are running a gas generator, do NOT rely on Stabil. I only keep a small amount of fuel in the tank, and starve the carb by shutting off the fuel line first. A periodic start up is barely necessary. Just keep fresh gas handy in a can which is a heck of alot easier to use or drain than tipping over a generator to get bad gas out.
 

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You can buy a 30A 5KW transfer switch kit for about $300. They're not hard to install and I'm sure that you could probably do it yourself. If you're not comfortable working with electricity, then hire it out. But I really think that you'd be able to handle the job. I've installed a couple of them and they both came with very clear and easy to follow instructions. They're pre-wired and all you have to do is mount the box on the wall near your service panel. You have one box the mounts outside that is just an outlet to plug your generator cord into.

You just run the cable from the switch into the service panel. There are six circuits and just three wires per circuit. Just decide which six circuits that you want to run. For each circuit, you just connect a neutral wire to the neutral bar in the panel. Then for each circuit you want to power with the generator, you remove the wire from the breaker and it gets connected to one wire from the transfer switch. The other wire from that circuit replaces that wire and is connected to that breaker. Once all six circuits are connected, you're all set.

It looks complicated but it's not. There are a lot of wires coming out of the pigtail coming out of the switch. But as I said, there are three wires per circuit. They are well labeled and easy to connect.

Again, if you're not comfortable working with electricity, you can have it done. But I really think that you can handle it and save yourself a few bucks. I've done a couple of them and they're no big deal. Once you have one, you'll wonder why you waited so long. :)

John
 

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You can do the transfer switch or, you can get by a whole lot cheaper by having an electrician install a sub panel and back feeding from there like I do.


I have my generator in an outbuilding so, when the power goes out--I go down the basement, and flip off the main.

Then, I go out to the building, flip a couple of switches in the panel, plug in the generator to that box and am good to go. Running it from inside another building has all sorts of advantages.

Sure, I have to control what all is running from the service panel in the basement but, it works just fine for the money.

Secondly, if you are running a gas generator, do NOT rely on Stabil. I only keep a small amount of fuel in the tank, and starve the carb by shutting off the fuel line first. A periodic start up is barely necessary. Just keep fresh gas handy in a can which is a heck of alot easier to use or drain than tipping over a generator to get bad gas out.
John's way is probably the most correct but Wow's setup is pretty much the same as what I have and it’s been working just fine for 10+ years. Before that I used to back feed thru the dryer plug. Turning the gas off then draining/running the carb out of gas is the key to successful long term storage for a quick start up when needed. For convenience sake and so if my wife or I aren’t home when the power goes out my daughter can operate it without having to mess with putting gas in it I keep my 5 gallon tank topped off and use Sea Foam in my gas and because of the reliability of the DTE's system in our area it hardly ever gets a chance to get stale. I only have a 5000W continuous/6250 surge generator and it runs the whole house just fine, except when the wife turns the coffee pot on and my daughter tries to blow dry her hair at the same time. :lol:
 

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There's a reason a transfer switch is required, its to keep homeowners with generators from killing lineman.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well my generator starts on 2nd pull.

What I do is turn the gas off and let it run til it stalls out. I put seafoam in the gas tank on the generator. As for the gas tank I refill it as needed. I just make sure I keep sea foam mixed in with the gas. Change the oil yearly and air filter, gas filter yearly, as well as the spark plug.

I also run it at least once a month, and I put it under load with my welder.
 

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When it comes to running the gas out of the generator and storing it dry, I don't bother. I've had my generator for 13 years and I've never run it dry for storage. It sits for months on end without being run and whenever I need it, she fires right up. I just fill up the tank and throw in a splash of SeaFoam and she's good to go. When I'm done with it, I shut it down and put it back to bed for the next time.

John
 

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When it comes to running the gas out of the generator and storing it dry, I don't bother. I've had my generator for 13 years and I've never run it dry for storage. It sits for months on end without being run and whenever I need it, she fires right up. I just fill up the tank and throw in a splash of SeaFoam and she's good to go. When I'm done with it, I shut it down and put it back to bed for the next time.

John

One of these days...

Really, gas today seems to shellac up a whole lot faster than it used to.

The last thing I need is a generator that won't fire after a couple of pulls because I didn't maintain it like I should.
 

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There's a reason a transfer switch is required, its to keep homeowners with generators from killing lineman.
AMEN.......I have posted the dangers on here more then once but after awhile....it gets old to "TRY" to warn people that there are short-cuts to almost everything but electricity is NOT one.(Look back when I tried to explain the neutral backfeed)
Also.....the insurance factor WHEN a fire starts has not been brought up either.
PLEASE HIRE A LICENCED, INSURED AND BONDED ELECTRICIAN
 

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When it comes to running the gas out of the generator and storing it dry, I don't bother. I've had my generator for 13 years and I've never run it dry for storage. It sits for months on end without being run and whenever I need it, she fires right up. I just fill up the tank and throw in a splash of SeaFoam and she's good to go. When I'm done with it, I shut it down and put it back to bed for the next time.

John
Thats what i do too. I leave the gas turned on so as it evaporates fresh gas flows in never ad a problem with any buildup in the carb.
 

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There's a reason a transfer switch is required, its to keep homeowners with generators from killing lineman.
AMEN.......I have posted the dangers on here more then once but after awhile....it gets old to "TRY" to warn people that there are short-cuts to almost everything but electricity is NOT one.(Look back when I tried to explain the neutral backfeed)
Also.....the insurance factor WHEN a fire starts has not been brought up either.
PLEASE HIRE A LICENCED, INSURED AND BONDED ELECTRICIAN
:bowdown: Beleive me when I say how much I appreciate you guy's taking the time to warn people and advise them its not the recommended way of doing this. And I dont wish to start any arguement over this however..... :hide:

Because of what I have read about possible feedback problems I have during power outages on 3 different occations that we had DTE linemen working on the pole next to our property asked them about this. Always nice guys and they volunteered to look at my setup and after doing so told me its fine and that I would not create any feedback issues. All three times they even had me start it back up and leave it running until they were done with the repairs, reset the fuses and knew the power would be back on.

I guess my suggestion would be to go with what you know and are comfortable with. :)

When it comes to running the gas out of the generator and storing it dry, I don't bother. I've had my generator for 13 years and I've never run it dry for storage. It sits for months on end without being run and whenever I need it, she fires right up. I just fill up the tank and throw in a splash of SeaFoam and she's good to go. When I'm done with it, I shut it down and put it back to bed for the next time.

John
Thats what i do too. I leave the gas turned on so as it evaporates fresh gas flows in never ad a problem with any buildup in the carb.
This is kinda like above, it’s certainly not the recommend way and I know people that do it frequently and next to never have any issues but every year I have to service at least 10 to 12 generators, lawn mowers and snow blowers for friends and neighbors because the carb/main jet gets plugged up with crap from the fuel. You do it your way and take your chances and I'll it mine and never have to. ;)
 

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There's one other thing to consider when it comes to shutting off the gas and letting it stall.

A couple years ago I was considering buying a conversion kit to run my generator on natural gas. That way I wouldn't have to worry about "stale gas" and wouldn't have to run to the gas station in the event of an extended outage.

I don't know if it's just a scare tactic to try to get you to buy their natural gas conversion kit, but this site has a pretty extensive selection of kits to convert gasoline engines to natural gas and a lot of other information. They state there that it's not good to run a generator out of gas! I don't see how it could do any actual damage to the engine or the generator but they state that you shouldn't allow a generator to run dry.

I do like the idea of natural gas but I don't think that you get the same BTU rating out of natural gas as you do gasoline so the generator won't have the same output running on natural gas as it does on gasoline.

John
 

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The more I think about it, I haven't completely ruled out converting mine. If I did, I would build a shelter outside on my patio in the back. I could plumb it and the generator could live there instead of in the garage. Then when I need it, I would just have to go outside, open it up, and fire it up and I'd be good to go. Right now my mobility is starting to get pretty limited and I don't know how much further it might progress. If it gets much worse, this will probably be the way I'll go. That way I won't have to drag the generator out of the garage and to the opposite end of the house and hook it up.

If any of you out there are interested in the conversion process, here's a link...

http://propane-generators.com/

As I said earlier, there are a couple of real advantages to natural gas. No filling the tank, and the biggie is no gas to go stale and clog the carb!

Just thought I'd pass along the info.

John
 

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Ok I know I will have to hire this out. But how much can I expect to spend to have a generator transfer switch installed at my house. I am tired of running extension cords through the house when the power goes out.


Just looking for an idea on cost.
I put one in last year. I could have done it myself but I had my HVAC guy do it along with some other work. It is quite costly for their time. You should get a friend or someone that charges a reasonable amount. The switch itself costs about $265. If you let the electrician buy it for you they will probably charge $350 for the unit and $350 for labor.

Here is the one I used. I bought mine off of Amazon or at bricks and mortar Home Depot (can't remember).
http://www.generatorfactoryoutlet.com/gfo/products/30216A.asp?rt=2
This unit is very do it yourself friendly.
 

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You could try one of these, probably safer than back feeding.

http://www.interlockkit.com/interlockselect2.html

Natural gas would be nice but what happens when there is a bad enough natural disaster and there is no gas flowing. At least with gas you can go siphon somewhere. Sometimes you can still run gasoline with converted but in my experience they are hard to start and run poorly. IMO a diesel generator would be the best if you could afford it. Diesel will store forever and less flammable. I have a 9k portable that I run off a 100lb LP tank. It's amazing how long it will run on it.
 

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Use an inter-lock switch. Safe, easy, and inexpensive. I purchased one made by Square D for their Homeline series panels. Cost a grand total of $65. The kit is UL listed, and the installation is code-compliant. Another huge benefit is that every circuit in the panel is available to run off of gen power (although all can't be on at the same time with my 5500W genset).
 
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