Alternate Power

Today I took the time today to test my genset and the circuits connected to the system . I was pretty hesitant to fire the generator up  on a Saturday with most of the neighbor hood in their homes. The noise of the genset is pretty loud and I didn’t relish the fact of advertising to the world that I had backup power stored in the garage.

But I took a chance and hoped most thought the noise was just a gas power washer.

To step back in time a bit, I purchased the largest generator I could afford at the time and also a manual transfer switch from Home Depot. I wrote about it all here and here if you want to take a look at my setup.

I hooked the 30 amp twist lock up to the genset and the house, turned the main breaker off to the panel coming from the electric company and fired everything up. When I went down to the basement I noticed only the freezer and a couple outlets were hot. The refrigerator upstairs and the outlets and lights were non functioning. Checked the breakers again, checked the genset, a still only half of the panel was getting power. I walked around and checked all the outlets with a tester and everything came up cold. Hmm, well I turned the genset off and realized that the plug going into the house wasn’t pushed in all the way. And since it was a twist lock it wasn’t twisted. Another ah ha moment.

Fired the genset up again and ran back downstairs,  I had power to the house on all circuits! Freezer, Refrigerator, furnace, outlets, etc. As compressors kicked on I could hear the genset take the load and all was happy in the world. I did let things run for 10 mins and reversed the process of switching back to commercial power.

Couple take aways.

I’m glad it wasn’t below zero when I ran my test.

It wasn’t dark.

It wasn’t raining or snowing.

We weren’t in a desperate situation where food was melting and the pipes were ready to freeze and burst.


I also took the time to prep and refill all the gas cans with Sta-bil and fresh gas. Also a bonus gas has dropped below $3 a gallon in my area.

I don’t power the whole house, only a few outlets and necessary appliances. I think I calculated about 1500 watts running and gave myself the extra for peak or starting wattage.


I’m glad I checked the functionality of everything out today and was able to fix my mistakes and troubleshoot at my own pace and not under the gun. I also took the time to rethink my car bug out bag and repack it. Winters here! Check your equipment before you actually need it.


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