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Re: Portable Generators

To: John Miller <>
Subject: Re: Portable Generators
From: "Peter J. Thomas" <>
Date: Mon, 22 Jun 1998 12:36:31 -0400

John Miller wrote:

> Oh Boy. The Year 2000 bug looks like a boon to my shop!
> My lovely wife (a systems analyst at a rather large trucking company)
> came home last night after one of her many bouts with Y2K paperwork
> to announce that we should have a good supply of food and supplies
> on hand when zero hour hits.
> In particular, she said that we should have a portable generator, too!
> Well, well.  I've been eyeing these for some time, and a serious concern
> had been the "wife acceptance factor". Now that thats no longer an issue,
> What should I buy???


>  - Is it safe to run electronic equipment on gas generators?

Directly, no.  Through a UPS, maybe.

>  - What else do I need to be concerned with?

You have to consider how the unit will be installed.  Codes require special
isolator switches to switch from the utility line to generator.  If the
generator is attached to the utility grid, you could fry the poor sap whose
trying to restore your power.  These cost money.
I know of a few people who have bypassed the switching circuits by wiring
certain circuits to plugs.  When the power goes out, they simply unplug the
furnace from the house circuits and plug it directly into the generator.  When
it's dinner time, they unplug the stove and plug in the range.

My wife and I have been looking into a generator.  We live in rural area of
Connecticut and lose power often, some times for days.

Personally, I would opt for a larger fixed unit and pay for the switching
circuit.  If you ever decide to sell your home, the plugin method will present a
problem with the home inspector.  The generator backup system is also a selling

Just MHO,

Peter Thomas

> John "with permission to buy" Miller

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