I recently purchased an 8kW generator (Briggs and Stratton). It has a 4-wire twist lock outlet that can handle 30 amps.
Suppose I were to:
- Run a 10/3 NM cable from the panel in the basement out to the garage. Not actually connecting anything, just running the wire along the basement ceiling, where there are other visible NM cables (so I assume it's within code), out to the garage. The length of the cable run is about 50ft
- Hire an electrician to terminate the cable with a 4-prong outlet in the garage, and connect it to the panel with a 30-amp breaker. The purpose of the outlet (and the entire circuit) would be to connect to the generator to power the panel during power outages.
First and foremost -- yes, I know that the main breaker MUST be turned off when backfeeding the panel from the generator. This is the most important consideration. The instructions for using the generator would be as follows (clearly outlined on a placard next to the panel, with pictures, and appropriate breakers labelled clearly):
- Switch off the main breaker
- Switch off all non-essential circuits, which will be labelled. Most important are the sump pump, well pump, HVAC blower, and refrigerator
- Switch on the generator breaker (the 30-amp circuit mentioned above)
- Power on the generator and connect it to the outlet in the garage
My questions are:
- Is that a reasonable plan? Has anyone tried anything similar?
- Should I use 6-gauge or 8-gauge cable instead of 10-gauge? 10 is rated for 30amps, but would voltage drop be a concern?
- Is it correct to assume that it's OK to run NM cable along the (unfinished) basement ceiling? I see other NM cables from the other branch circuits there so I assume it's within code
- What are the considerations for transitioning the cable from the basement ceiling out to the adjacent garage floor? There is ductwork that makes the transition from basement-to-garage through this wall currently, so I think I can "follow" the duct out through to the garage. I assume I should install some PVC conduit to run the wire through this transition?
- Is this just a bad idea and I should just get a transfer panel installed?