General: Generator Safety

This weeks’ General question is from sub-element zero (Electrical Safety) section B (Safety in the Shack) [G0B13]

What must you do when powering your house from an emergency generator?

A. Disconnect the incoming utility power feed
B. Insure that the generator is not grounded
C. Insure that all lightning grounds are disconnected
D. All of these choices are correct

If you are going to attempt to power your entire house from an emergency generator, I hope you either have a very small house, or have this installation done by a licensed electrician.  In any case, your home should be grounded already, and it would probably be nigh impossible to disconnect it from ground.  So C) “Insure that all lightning grounds are disconnected” is likely incorrect.  That automatically makes D) incorrect as well.  B) “Insure that the generator is not grounded” would also be false, since once you connect it to your house it would also become grounded, but it should be, anyway, in a whole-house installation.

A. Disconnect the incoming utility power feed is the correct answer.  Not simply because the others are incorrect, but because you’re simply asking for big trouble if you don’t disconnect your power company’s feed, because:

What’s going to happen when the line power is restored?

It probably wouldn’t be pretty, lets just leave it at that.  As I said, though, if you’re going to do this, make sure a licensed electrician installs a transfer switch of some kind, either manual or automatic.  But it needs to be switched.

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