http://youtu.be/SSs5D-Qr0rg then you know that I theoretically might have wired it so that I could backfeed my panel (if legal) via the clothes dryer line. Basically I (again, theoretically) made a connection from the dryer outlet (internally, not a plug) to a second breaker box in my workshop that I use to distribute power therein. That is a reletively common practice, by the way: extending the dryer wiring to power some piece of workshop equipment, typically a welder. Although a standard 200-250 amp welder needs more current at full load than the typical 30 or 40 amp dryer circuit can supply, home workshop welding jobs almost never require the full output of the welder. A dryer circuit can supply all the power the average welding installation ever needs. You just have to make sure the welder never gets used while the dryer is running. I took that basic circuit a step further. I had a load center, complete with a full compliment of breakers, that had been discarded during a home rewire job. I added that to my workshop to distribute power to the various tools. When I installed the generator, I (theoretically) connected it to an unused 30 amp double-pole breaker in that box. This meant that during a power outage I had to grab my checklist to make sure I did everything correctly and in order, and follow the steps to bring the generator online. It went something like this:
- Turn off the main breaker.
- Turn off the water heater breaker and any other breakers I deem necessary. The dryer breaker stays on. If the dryer was running, it won't restart on its own so it is not a problem.
- Go out to the shop and make sure the generator breaker is off. Turn off all other workshop circuits too, except the house connection. Start the generator and let it warm up.
- Go back in the house and double-check that everything is ready.
- Return to the shop and bring the generator online.
Now the generator changeover procedure goes like this:
- Switch off the main breaker.
- Switch off the circuit(s) I do not wish to power right now, such as the water heater.
- Go out to the generator shed and start the genny.
- Return to the breaker box and bring the generator circuit online.
By the way, if you have never had a diesel generator and have been thinking about buying one for either backup or offgrid prime power, allow me to offer a bit of advice: you do not need or want a big enough generator to power everything in your home at the same time. Not only will a generator that big cost far more money than you need to spend, it will also use more fuel than necessary and furthermore, will give you more problems than a properly-sized generator. The reason this is true is because diesels like to work. They are happy running in the range of 50 to 90 percent of their rated capacity. If they are running at 20 percent of capacity for extended periods, not only will they use more fuel than a smaller generator powering the same load, but that excess fuel will produce more soot and other deposits, which will build up in the engine (especially around the exhaust valves and in the exhaust system) and gradually reduce its performance, making it use even more fuel and become harder and harder to start. The cure for that condition is to hook it up to a near-maximum load and let it run that way for an extended time, but it is better to prevent the condition by sizing the generator such that you can run it in the upper 50 percent of its capacity most of the time. There is an old adage among (mostly retired now) truckers who are familiar with the old 2-cycle Detroit Diesel engine that the way to ensure good service from a truck powered by one of those is to slam your hand in the door first thing in the morning so you will be mad at it, and drive it like you are trying to kill it! That is somewhat of an exaggeration of course, but it does contain a kernel of truth. The same thing applies to the more common 4-cycle diesels, too.