Indeed, generators are the best option to deal with sudden and elongated power outages. I have analyzed that many of you must be thinking of back feeding your home with a generator without considering safety. Backfeeding certainly provides you with a direct power supply instead of using a transfer switch.
According to various opinions, including experts backfeeding your house with a portable generator is not safe at all. I want to add that back feeding can also lead to severe injuries. It is suggested to hire/consult a professional. Nevertheless, if you still want to utilize back feeding, you must learn a few crucial aspects of backfeeding your house.
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Is Backfeeding A Generator Illegal?
I guess you must be still thinking about the “illegal” factor of back-feeding. Yes, it’s true that backfeeding a generator is illegal in various states of America. I have read that back-feeding your home with a generator breaks the NEC (national electric code). The NEC states that you must utilize the transfer switch to connect your generator.
You’ll be astounded to know that your insurance company can void your insurance if your back feeding will hurt any person.
You’ll be responsible for the injury or death of any worker as a result of your backfeeding. In a few countries, you might be charged to pay a huge fine for breaking electric code rules.
If you want to be safe and away from problems, you must get a manual transfer switch and connect it with your portable generator.
Many of you might be just heard about backfeeding but still don’t know what is it. Don’t worry. I’m here for your redemption.
In simple words, backfeeding is connecting a power source, usually a generator, directly to the electrical panel without a transfer switch.
Usually, the electrical energy passes from a circuit breaker towards various appliances of your house. Meanwhile, the backfeeding results in the reverse flow of power into the grid through the power panel.
I know it seems exciting but you must understand that backfeeding your house with a portable generator is dangerous. You can utilize a transfer switch to connect your generator with your breaker.
You should take care of all the safety guidelines while thinking about backfeeding your household.
If I’ll consider backfeeding my house with a generator, the first thing that will come to my mind is why would I need that. Many of you must have different reasons to pick backfeeding instead of a transfer switch.
I have concluded the following reasons to connect my generator directly to the panel. Here you come.
Convenience is the initial thing that popped up in my mind. In backfeeding, I don’t need separate wiring for each circuit. Backfeeding allows me to connect my generator directly to the power circuit.
It means that backfeeding will light up your whole house, including refrigerators even in elongated power outages.
The second thing that came to my mind is the budget. Indeed, electricity bills are reaching the sky nowadays. Furthermore, connecting the generator with the transfer switch will add additional charges to your pocket.
Therefore, backfeeding my home with a generator will save me from high electricity bills and extra charges for transfer switches.
Lack Of Knowledge
Another factor that can lead me to the backfeeding is lack of knowledge. Undoubtedly, backfeeding can be hazardous if not done properly. You must know that an inappropriate backfeeding will result in electrocution.
It may also damage your equipment or electrical grid. Hence, I’ll think about backfeeding without enough knowledge, it can be fatal.
Pros & Cons Of Backfeeding Your Home
According to my research, advantages and disadvantages of backfeeding your home will help you to understand the process more easily. So, let’s dive in and explore the benefits and drawbacks of backfeeding your home with a generator.
Pros Of Backfeeding
Here are a few pros of back-feeding.
If you are tired of electricity bills and want to run your house on a low budget, back-feeding will suit you. I have seen that back-feeding your house with generator will decrease the electricity bills.
Moreover, you will not need to pay extra charges for wiring or transfer switches. So, I consider it as an advantage of back-feeding.
Portability is another benefit that will blow up your mind. In back-feeding, a portable generator can be easily moved from one place to another without any hassle.
So, if you’ll choose back-feeding, you will not worry about wiring transfer switches in a permanent location.
Power outages are always disturbing for me as they cease important work at the wrong time. Backfeeding will save you from facing such situation.
If you will back feed your house with a generator, the power will be automatically restored during a power outage. Therefore, back feeding also provides you with emergency electricity.
Another windfall of back-feeding is its convenient setup. I have analyzed that back-feeding is an easy task because you do not require any particular wiring or transfer switches for it.
Many of you certainly have chosen the back-feeding due to its hassle-free job.
Cons Of Backfeeding
The drawbacks of back-feeding are given below.
Lack Of Safety features
The first drawback that I have found in my research is safety features. A transfer switch is the one that ensure the safety by isolating a generator from grid. It makes sure that power will move in one direction.
In contrast, back feeding lacks transfer switch which makes it less reliable and safe.
According to my collected data, back-feeding is a risky thing to rely on. As you know, back-feeding will reverse the flow of electricity. Therefore, the backward movement of electricity can result in electrocution which can be fatal for your workers.
You’ll be shocked to know that back-feeding your home with a generator is illegal in various countries. I have seen while my research that NEC has a law that you must have a transfer switch that can assure the flow of power in one direction.
The potential damage is the disadvantage of back-feeding that always scares me. You must know that the inappropriate connection of generator with the grid can cause damage to your electronic appliances.
You will have to spend a lot of money on repairing or replacing your equipment.
Another danger of a backfeeding generator is that it is life-threatening. You might be aware that generators emit carbon monoxide gas which can be fatal if accumulated in enclosed space.
You can deal with this drawback by keeping your generator outside your residence in a well-ventilated area.
Is There Any Alternative To Backfeeding?
Many of you must be wondering if there’s any alternative to backfeeding or not. Various alternatives to backfeeding can help you to cope with power outages.
Let’s delve into and explore them.
Standby Generator is the best and most reliable alternative. A standby generator is a permanently installed generator that turns on automatically during a power outage. It is a bit more expensive than other alternatives although it is the best power backup. This generator can light up all your equipment in a power outage.
I will recommend you to install your standby generator with the help of a professional.
I personally prefer a portable generator as an alternative to backfeeding. A portable generator can be moved to your desired location easily. You can run your electric appliances on a portable generator during a power outage.
You should make sure that your portable generator is setup according to safety guidelines.
Battery backup is also known as a reliable source of electricity. You can charge the battery from the grid or a solar power system and utilize it when needed.
I would like to add that a battery backup will provide you a limited power that can run only a few appliances.
So, if you’re looking for an alternative to run your whole house, you must go for other options.
4- Solar Power
Solar power is the natural source of power. All you have to do is to install the solar panels at the roof of your house and connect it with your power system. Installation of solar panels must be a bit pricey but it’s reliable to overcome a power outage.
Related: Are Generator Interlock Kits Legal?
What Sort Of Power Cord Do I Need For My Generator To Backfeed?
A gen-cord or stinger cable is all you need to backfeed. This commercial-grade cord comes with two male ends. The plug ends must be either 30-amp or 50 amp depending on the amperage that your generator produces. It plugs into the outdoor power receptacle on your home, which is connected to the transfer switch at your electrical panel.
Can I install a Transfer Switch On My Own?
It is always instructed to hire a professional electrician for the installation of a transfer switch. It involves the wiring between a transfer switch, electric panel, and outdoor power receptacle. In addition, due to varying electrical codes across the country, your skilled electrician will be able to assure that your home’s power system fulfills or exceeds the guidelines.
Can I Backfeed Through My Range Outlet?
It’s a No. You can’t backfeed through your range outlet. It is a precarious manner to reverse the power flow in your house. By doing this, you can harm yourself or damage the electrical appliances at your home.
In conclusion, I would like to say that backfeeding your home with a generator is hazardous for your workers and equipment. You have been through the advantages and disadvantages of backfeeding.
Still, if you’re interested in backfeeding your home, you can do it by the safe method that is explained above. You can also pick an alternative to deal with the power outage.