Can I backfeed my home with two suicide cords, 110 each? I do not have a 220 gen, only 110. I do not have any 220 outlets in the house. Have natural gas for furnace and dryer and water heater. House was built 3 years ago, so wiring new. This would only be for an emergency if power goes out. For furnace(nat gas, so small usage), fridge, lights ect. All LED, so also min usage. 4000W gen. I would only run essentials when needed. I understand about the main breaker needing to be off and the suicide cords, yes dangerous and all that, I will be careful. Note already taped to gen to shut all breakers off and turn on as needed. NOT THE MAIN, I know.

-my plan is to run two suicide cords to an outlet in the garage under garage door, and one outlet in the kitchen through a window. A 10 ft cord and and a 40 ft. These would be breakers 1 and 4 in box. So they should each feed a leg of the box giving power to the entire house. 12 ga cord. As of now I only have 15a outlets in house. Should I get two 20a outlets with the corresponding male ends?? The generator does not say the 110 outlets are 20A, but they have the vert/horiz prong so I assume they are 20A.

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    Why in the world are you even wanting to do something this janky, instead of getting a regular breaker, an interlock kit for your panel, some NM of the right size, and an appropriate inlet? Also, how big is your generator, and does it have a 4-prong (NEMA 14) receptacle on it? – ThreePhaseEel Jan 20 at 17:49
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    @clavin - Get a grip on sanity and stop proposing suicide ideas. This question borders on the edge of being outright deleted due to the insane ideas. – Michael Karas Jan 21 at 2:02

Don't be ridiculous. You can't fix such outrageous safety hazards with stickynotes and a promise to be careful.

Given your small generator, this is a 5 minute job. The supplies you'll need are 3 wire nuts, an appropriate length regular 20A extension cord, and a 3 foot 20A cord with male plug on one end, and bare wires on the other.

When the power fails, grab a flashlight. You shut off the main breaker and pull the cover off the panel. For each of the circuits you want to power, pull the hot wire off its breaker, and the same cable's neutral wire off the neutral bar. Then you nut all the hot wires together with short-cord hot, and all the neutrals together with short-cord neutral. Short-cord ground goes onto the ground bar (an extension wire may help).

It might help to go into the panel early and tag each wire by their location.

If you want to be fancy, bring the short cord in through a knockout with a clamp, and put the cover back on the panel. You can do this in advance too, just cap off hot and neutral. Ground can go on the ground bar permanently.

If you want to be very fancy, replace the short cord with an inlet you mount on the wall.

The short cord won't reach, so use a common 20A extension cord to get to the generator.

Crisis over, put the wires back the way you found them.

Now, this method just cost half what you were planning to spend. And that long extension cord you wanted to ruin, is still good.

Now, the vulnerability of this setup is that it has no circuit overload protection, except what the generator provides, but if you plug into a generator socket breakered at 20A, you will be mostly fine. 15A/14AWG wires could be overloaded, but only slightly, and that's improbable in a temporary situatuon where you are necessarily being careful with load.

The other vulnerability is that the panel guts are just splayed everywhere, and vulnerable to someone falling on it or tearing the wires apart, but you can fix that as described above.

You certainly would never, ever feed the buses. For one thing, it will not work, and there in the dark, you would discover this and do random stupid things trying to make it work, because that's what humans do. Seriously, read the NTSB report on Alaska Air 261.

For another, well, if you read up on how to make a suicide cord, you have also read up on what happens when an idiot makes an error with one. They kill linemen or their kid.

Yes, a cord with a plug on one end and bare wires on the other is also dangerous. That's why it's 3 feet long, to make it obvious. When you unfurl an extension cord, do you really check both ends to make sure the other one is a socket? I don't. So long extension cords should be normal.


If you're looking to power a furnace, your best bet is a double-pole double-throw switch coupled with an inlet (male outlet) (this one is 15A but you can find 20A). What you do is feed the hot and the neutral to the switch for that circuit. Then you can attach the plug to one set of terminals, the feed from your panel to the other set and now you're all set to plug a generator up using a normal extension cord.

The advantage here is (as Harper noted) not fumbling around with wiring in the dark. This leaves you with a ready connection that literally only involves plugging up an extension cord and flipping a switch.

Be sure to use an inverter generator if there's electronics involved.

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    The "male outlet" you are talking about is really called an inlet :) – ThreePhaseEel Jan 20 at 19:33
  • @ThreePhaseEel Good to know. Corrected – Machavity Jan 21 at 14:20

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