Is there a safe way to power my house using a portable generator? The power rating for the generator is 6kW, and I want to run my electric water heater (4.5kW) and my refrigerator (0.5kW) and possibly a few lights.
The water heater is the main priority, but it's wired directly to the house so I can't just unplug an outlet and plug it into the generator.
The method I've heard used most often is to backfeed into the dryer outlet after turning off the main breaker. I'm aware that if I don't turn off the main breaker, I could shock a worker or destroy the generator when the power comes pack on. I also know enough that I have to use a power line rated for the Amperage I'll be drawing. Are there any other dangers I need to look out for?
I had a friend suggest that I deactivate one of the heating elements and thereby reduce the amount of power that the water heater will draw. I'm guessing I'd still need 240V rather than 120, but I'm not sure. It would be awesome if I could just use a 12 or 14 gauge extension cord instead of a really expensive 10 gauge, but I don't want to do anything that will catch my house on fire.
Also, can anyone give me a detailed explanation of steps I need to take for this whole process?
(Any advice would be greatly appreciated. It's been eight days since we've been without power, and possibly 3-4 more until it's restored.)