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 Post subject: What happens if you overload a generator?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2006 9:10 pm 
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Location: Lake Worth, Florida
I am not too worried about overloading my generator myself, but I am not so sure of my wife and kids. If a generator is overloaded does it just shut down? How about if I try powering something I am not sure about? I am not talking about doing this over and over, but does an overload or two kill a generator?

Has anybody ever overloaded there generator and have it just die?
Thanks


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 7:27 am 
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Location: SW Mississippi....Alaska transplant via a Southern Belle.
Your generator will survive being "overloaded".....it is the equipment that you plug into the generator that will die. It can become complicated when you consider the size and length of extension cords being used (resistance).

Each piece of equipment (fridge, compressors, tools) should have the amps required stamped on it somewhere. Know how many amps your generator produces. Never expect your generator to produce more than the manufacturers specifications.

Your generator should have come with a handbook detailing use. It's a really good idea to study it contents. You could also call the manufacturer for technical assistance.

Good luck.....and don't let your kids touch the generator.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 7:45 am 
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I have read the manual.
It is not the generator that my kids will touch, it will be the light switches. I won't be running extension cords, my house will be wired into the generator. Even with the breakers mostly being shut off, it will be possible to overload the generator by turning on some if fridge is running at the same time.

I wasn't thinking about the equipment getting damaged. Now that is obvious. (I always hated my electrical engineering courses.)


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 10:17 am 
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buy some small screw in type flourescent lights and put up in your house, those take a lot less juice than a regular light bulb. May not be as bright, but at least they're light.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 2:09 am 
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Wouldn't it just blow the fuses, or trip the breakers on the generator?? My generator has breakers to prevent overloading.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 6:28 am 
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I could be wrong.....but it is my understanding that the breakers are installed to prevent a ground fault (electrocution) and not as an overload prevention.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 3:03 pm 
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Portable Electric Generator Safety Tips

Portable electric generators offer great benefits when outages affect your home. Below are guidelines for safely connecting and operating portable generators. Additional information is available about selecting and purchasing generators.

Don't connect your generator directly to your home's wiring.
Connecting a portable electric generator directly to your household wiring can be deadly to you and others. A generator that is directly connected to your home's wiring can 'backfeed' onto the power lines connected to your home.

Utility transformers can then "step-up" or increase this backfeed to thousands of volts—enough to kill a utility lineman making outage repairs a long way from your house. You could also cause expensive damage to utility equipment and your generator.

The only safe way to connect a portable electric generator to your existing wiring is to have a licensed electrical contractor install a transfer switch. The transfer switch transfers power from the utility power lines to the power coming from your generator.

Never plug a portable electric generator into a regular household outlet.
Plugging a generator into a regular household outlet can energize "dead" power lines and injure neighbors or utility workers. Connect individual appliances that have their outdoor-rated power cords directly to the receptacle outlet of the generator, or connect these cord-connected appliances to the generator with the appropriate outdoor-rated power cord having a sufficient wire gauge to handle the electrical load.

Don't overload the generator.
Do not operate more appliances and equipment than the output rating of the generator. Overloading your generator can seriously damage your valuable appliances and electronics. Prioritize your needs. A portable electric generator should be used only when necessary, and only to power essential equipment.

Never use a generator indoors or in an attached garage.
Just like your automobile, a portable generator uses an internal combustion engine that emits deadly carbon monoxide. Be sure to place the generator where exhaust fumes will not enter the house. Only operate it outdoors in a well-ventilated, dry area, away from air intakes to the home, and protected from direct exposure to rain and snow, preferably under a canopy, open shed or carport.

Use the proper power cords.
Plug individual appliances into the generator using heavy-duty, outdoor-rated cords with a wire gauge adequate for the appliance load. Overloaded cords can cause fires or equipment damage. Don't use extension cords with exposed wires or worn shielding. Make sure the cords from the generator don't present a tripping hazard. Don't run cords under rugs where heat might build up or cord damage may go unnoticed.

Read and adhere to the manufacturer's instructions for safe operation.
Don't cut corners when it comes to safety. Carefully read and observe all instructions in your portable electric generator's owner manual.

To prevent electrical shock, make sure your generator is properly grounded.
Consult your manufacturer's manual for correct grounding procedures.

Do not store fuel indoors or try to refuel a generator while it's running.
Gasoline (and other flammable liquids) should be stored outside of living areas in properly labeled, non-glass safety containers. They should not be stored in a garage if a fuel-burning appliance is in the garage. The vapor from gasoline can travel invisibly along the ground and be ignited by pilot lights or electric arcs caused by turning on the lights. Avoid spilling fuel on hot components. Put out all flames or cigarettes when handling gasoline. Always have a fully charged, approved fire extinguisher located near the generator. Never attempt to refuel a portable generator while it's running.

Turn off all equipment powered by the generator before shutting down your generator.

Avoid getting burned.
Many generator parts are hot enough to burn you during operation.

Keep children away from portable electric generators at all times.


http://www.dom.com/about/safety/generator.jsp


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 3:06 pm 
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they strongly discourage wiring a portable generator into your house unless it's done by a licensed electrician.

you dont say if this is a portable generator or not.....


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 3:08 pm 
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Many rely on backup electric generators for emergency power when the electricity goes out. If you have one, or are considering purchasing a backup generator, Safe Electricity wants you to know and take proper safety steps before operating an electric generator in your home or business.

"If installed and operated correctly, use of standby or portable electric generators poses little danger," says Molly Hall, Executive Director of Safe Electricity, "But improper installation or use could be dangerous to you and threaten the lives of your family, friends, neighbors and electric utility crews trying to restore service."

Of the 10 million portable electric generators sold, only an estimated 10 percent are hooked up correctly. Safe Electricity has launched a public awareness campaign aimed at helping consumers to understand the proper safety steps that must be taken.

"Consult and discuss your purchase options with a reliable vendor, your electric supplier and contractors," advises Jay Solomon, University of Illinois Extension educator. "A qualified vendor or electric professional will know existing safety codes and the utility's safety requirements, and can help you select the best equipment for your needs and situation."

Properly connecting the generator into the system is the next critical step for safe and effective use. A licensed professional should install a permanent, standby electric generator and can help with proper equipment for safely using a portable generator.

Become familiar with the operating instructions, so you'll know about the need for a transfer safety switch. The transfer safety switch prevents electricity from traveling back through the power lines, or what's known as "back feed."

"Before you operate any standby or backup generator, make sure it has a transfer safety switch or that your power is cut off at the breaker box to prevent back feed," warns Hall. "Back feed creates danger for anyone near lines, particularly crews working to restore power."

"Safety for the operators and users of a generating system in the home and utility crews cannot be over-emphasized," says Solomon. "A qualified electrician should be consulted to ensure proper installation and that electrical grounding requirements, circuit overload protections and local codes are met."

Some homeowners choose smaller, portable generators to power essential electrical equipment during outages. Safe Electricity offers these tips for the safe operation and use of portable generators:

* Read and follow all manufacturer operating instructions

* Make sure the generator is properly grounded

* Never plug a portable electric generator into a wall outlet or connect directly to a home's wiring. This can energize utility power lines and injure you or others working nearby. Electrical back feed also can damage the generator and home electrical equipment.

* Don't overload the generator and plug in more appliances than the generator is rated to handle.

* Use only safety-tested, shop-type electrical cords designed and rated for heavier, outdoor use to connect appliances. Many generators are equipped with twist-lock connects to reduce the chance of accidental disconnections due to vibrations.

* Always keep the generator outside in a dry, protected area, away from windows or air intakes where deadly exhaust fumes can enter living spaces. Equip homes with Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms with battery backup.

* Turn off generator and allow to cool before refueling

* Before shutting down a generator, turn off and unplug all appliances and equipment being powered by the generator.

Safe Electricity suggests that these safety guidelines and basic instructions to operate a generator be posted in the home.

For additional electrical generator and safety information, visit the program Web (http://www.SafeElectricity.org). Safe Electricity is an electrical safety public awareness program created and supported by a coalition of several dozen organizations, including electric utilities, educators and other entities committed to promoting electrical safety.
http://www.aces.uiuc.edu/news/stories/news3550.html


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