dslreports logo
site
 
    All Forums Hot Topics Gallery
spc

spacer




how-to block ads


Search Topic:
uniqs
10
share rss forum feed


pike
Premium,MVM
join:2001-02-01
Washington, DC
kudos:3

1 recommendation

reply to alkizmo

Re: Generator doesn't work with Power Vent Hot Water Heater

said by alkizmo:

See I never knew that.

Precisely why you should refrain from dispensing electrical advice on a home improvement forum.


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
said by pike:

said by alkizmo:

See I never knew that.

Precisely why you should refrain from dispensing electrical advice on a home improvement forum.

I hope you are addressing that to a bunch of other posters and not just singling out alkizmo


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
reply to pike
said by pike:

Precisely why you should refrain from dispensing electrical advice on a home improvement forum.

And I did state in my kludge plug trick that he should wait for an electrician to give input and that it's probably wrong/unsafe. If Frink chose to use my trick, then that's his choice.

After that, it's all discussion/debate as to WHAT the risks are.

You guys keep talking about return path through ground... yes, I know that now, but I don't see how it is less safe than the typical wiring in a house.

The generator might be wet, extension cords yet, but even if his whole plumbing became live because of a short, the current would flow back to the neutral and trip the breaker.

People with a transfer switch that switch the neutral have N/G bond at the generator, a generator that can run outside. What exactly is different in this scenario that makes the transfer switch setup safe, but not a N/G bond with extension cords?

I'm trying to understand, but no one is giving me comparisons as to how a short would kill someone with a generator, but not with normal house wiring (Again, don't mention GFCIs, they aren't everywhere). The only ADDED risk I see, is AT the generator, outside, in the rain.

Can someone tell me what can happen differently between N/G bond in the generator vs. house wiring/transfer switch.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
said by alkizmo:

I'm trying to understand, but no one is giving me comparisons as to how a short would kill someone with a generator, but not with normal house wiring (Again, don't mention GFCIs, they aren't everywhere). The only ADDED risk I see, is AT the generator, outside, in the rain.

You can't limit it unless you can convince the electrons not to take the path they choose. There are multiple risks added.. Either do it right or keep it separate.

said by nunya:

said by alkizmo:

Now I'll probably get grilled for this, but...

Now if it's "safe", I don't know, I just know it's not the proper way to do it

Don't do this. It's dangerous. Emergency or not. An "emergency" situation never constitutes doing stupid things. Quite the opposite. Don't create a "life or death" emergency trying to alleviate a "loss of comfort" situation...There are multiple things that could wrong using this cheat. Anything metallic connected to the WH could become energized by the generator in such a scenario. This includes the metallic case and any metallic piping (gas or water). This could electrocute anyone touching them.

Enough said


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
No not enough said and no real explanation/example was given as to why there are added risks to N/G bond with extension cords compared to N/G bond with transfer switch.

I want to know/learn/understand. Is it too much to ask or is this forum no longer about learning?


sk1939
Premium
join:2010-10-23
Mclean, VA
kudos:10
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
·Verizon FiOS
reply to alkizmo
said by alkizmo:

You guys keep talking about return path through ground... yes, I know that now, but I don't see how it is less safe than the typical wiring in a house.

The generator might be wet, extension cords yet, but even if his whole plumbing became live because of a short, the current would flow back to the neutral and trip the breaker.

No, it wouldn't necessarily trip the breaker, and it definately wouldn't trip before someone touched something metallic and electrictued themselves.

As far as the N/G bond, it's not at the generator with a transfer switch, it's bonded at the panel.

Additionally, a N/G bond with extension cords can't handle the current load put on it (30-50A).

AC current is NOT DC, which means that it goes and comes back forming a loop. If it dosen't find a return via the neutral and/or has a shorter path to ground, it will take that, be it through a water pipe or a human. This is why you need to have a neutral and why a ground bond in two places is bad.


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
said by sk1939:

As far as the N/G bond, it's not at the generator with a transfer switch, it's bonded at the panel.

Incorrect, it can be either in the panel OR at the generator.
Transfer switches can switch the neutral. Mine for example does such thing, so the bond is at the generator, as per an electrician's recommendation.

said by sk1939:

Additionally, a N/G bond with extension cords can't handle the current load put on it (30-50A).

Yes it IS a kludge, but that isn't what's being debated.

said by sk1939:

AC current is NOT DC, which means that it goes and comes back forming a loop. If it dosen't find a return via the neutral and/or has a shorter path to ground, it will take that, be it through a water pipe or a human. This is why you need to have a neutral and why a ground bond in two places is bad.

I'm going to assume you were still talking about N/G bond not being good at the generator with a transfer switch. So yes, you're right, 2 bonds is bad. But again... the bond CAN be at the generator and be the only bond.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
reply to alkizmo
said by alkizmo:

I want to know/learn/understand. Is it too much to ask or is this forum no longer about learning?

Yes, this is too much to ask in an emergency situation. Give safe advice or don't give any. Don't give unsafe advice and expect the forum regulars to bail you out or teach you why what you are recommending is dangerous. You do realize that our most expert member is currently MIA as whizkid3 See Profile lists his location as Queens, NY. Hopefully everything is OK there and we will hear from him soon. I'm sure that his expert services will be in great demand as the city tries to get back to normal. Everything which was flooded probably now has to be inspected by an electrical engineer.


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
said by robbin:

Yes, this is too much to ask in an emergency situation. Give safe advice or don't give any. Don't give unsafe advice and expect the forum regulars to bail you out or teach you why what you are recommending is dangerous.

1 - I gave a suggestion to a direct question, with WARNINGS.

2 - So because we're in emergency mode, the forum must stop educating?

I say, if you can't explain the danger, then you don't understand it either.

It's okay to warn people of the danger, go ahead. I will stand back and I won't disagree, better safe than sorry. BUT, you should know that you are appearing like you're just repeating what Nunya said, but don't actually understand.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
said by alkizmo:

I say, if you can't explain the danger, then you don't understand it either.

It's okay to warn people of the danger, go ahead. I will stand back and I won't disagree, better safe than sorry. BUT, you should know that you are appearing like you're just repeating what Nunya said, but don't actually understand.

I've explained the danger but you have ignored it.


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
said by robbin:

I've explained the danger but you have ignored it.

Quote those pertinent sections, I may have missed them, or thought you were wrong.

garys_2k
Premium
join:2004-05-07
Farmington, MI
Reviews:
·Callcentric
reply to robbin
said by robbin:

said by alkizmo:

I say, if you can't explain the danger, then you don't understand it either.

It's okay to warn people of the danger, go ahead. I will stand back and I won't disagree, better safe than sorry. BUT, you should know that you are appearing like you're just repeating what Nunya said, but don't actually understand.

I've explained the danger but you have ignored it.

Then I've missed it, too.

Let's say the neutral-ground connection cord was used at the generator, and the generator ground was connected to the house ground. Let's assume it's being used to power the WH with metallic piping. How is this more dangerous than using utility power? How is any danger made worse (compared to utility power) if the generator so configured is also powering other loads via extension cords?

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

1 edit

1 recommendation

Simple. There is no ground fault protection. So when the old extension cord powering the electric skillet has a nick on the hot and that brushes against the wife or baby who is also touching any grounded device, it could create a life threatening situation. Everything is more dangerous when people are using extension cords and at times like this people drag out every old cord they can find. You don't plan for the best scenario, you plan for the worst. Unfortunately, as often happens in emergencies such as this one, people will lose their lives, not from the storm, but from taking chances they would not normally take.

garys_2k
Premium
join:2004-05-07
Farmington, MI
Reviews:
·Callcentric
So, the additional hazard you see is the lack of GFCIs. Granted, but for short term use this is not, IMHO, a significant issue.

GFCIs do save lives, mostly regarding use of appliances in wet areas, but the number of lives saved are significant when considered over a wide geographic area and over a long time. In essence, it's a statistical improvement.

The odds of being electrocuted with a source not protected via a GFCI are very small. Less with the protection, yes, but even without it's a very small increase in hazard. If the odds of being shocked went from 0.0001% to 0.00001% then sure, it's better, but was the danger really that high to begin with?


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
reply to robbin
said by robbin:

Simple. There is no ground fault protection. So when the old extension cord powering the electric skillet has a nick on the hot and that brushes against the wife or baby who is also touching any grounded device, it could create a life threatening situation. Everything is more dangerous when people are using extension cords

said by robbin:

Everything is more dangerous when people are using extension cords

Yes yes
And a floating neutral sort of helps on protection.
BUT someone getting in contact with a nicked extension cord connected to a N/G bonded generator will not get shocked any more than if it was connected to a house receptacle on utility power (unless it was a GFCI receptacle).

So instead, you should have said (And I am going to say it now): Frink, if you go to home depot, buy an extension cord with GFCI protection and run things through it. They will protect you, even if there is no ground.

Also, frink, copper rod = useless, if you do use one, you'd have to bond it with your house's grounding electrode (probably cold water entry).

Instead, buy copper wire #6 gauge long enough to connect your generator's chassis to the grounding conductor of your electrical panel (probably another #6 bare copper wire going to your cold water entry pipe).


sk1939
Premium
join:2010-10-23
Mclean, VA
kudos:10
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
·Verizon FiOS
reply to alkizmo
said by alkizmo:

Incorrect, it can be either in the panel OR at the generator.
Transfer switches can switch the neutral. Mine for example does such thing, so the bond is at the generator, as per an electrician's recommendation.

Some do, some don't, it depends highly on the transfer panel so you can't generalize. Interlock kits for example have a different approach.

said by alkizmo:

Yes it IS a kludge, but that isn't what's being debated.

If you know it's a kludge, why would you suggest it? It's like telling a kid that it's bad to have guns around other people, but go ahead and take it to school.

said by alkizmo:

I'm going to assume you were still talking about N/G bond not being good at the generator with a transfer switch. So yes, you're right, 2 bonds is bad. But again... the bond CAN be at the generator and be the only bond.

Yes, but the point of that is what when you need the bond to be at the panel once power is restored? That just creates more work for yourself.


GenNewbie

@rr.com
reply to robbin
So I see for about $30-35 I can buy a 2 foot extension cord that appears to have a GFCI protected triplex plug. In other words, if I plug that into the generator and then the extension cord I want to run into that, does this solve many of the safety issues that is causing the stir?

I hope so as it would be a quick, convenient and easy fix and provide a great piece of mind. Thank you.


sk1939
Premium
join:2010-10-23
Mclean, VA
kudos:10
That would work so long as you are not connecting it to your house wiring.


GenNewbie

@rr.com
By that you mean back feeding the panel? I am not doing that.

I am currently running 1 new 10 gauge outdoor type extension cord. I would plan to use this new short GFCI cord between that cord and the generator to "protect" the connection. If that works, it would seem like $30 very well spent.

garys_2k
Premium
join:2004-05-07
Farmington, MI
Reviews:
·Callcentric
said by GenNewbie :

By that you mean back feeding the panel? I am not doing that.

I am currently running 1 new 10 gauge outdoor type extension cord. I would plan to use this new short GFCI cord between that cord and the generator to "protect" the connection. If that works, it would seem like $30 very well spent.

You'll be fine. The GFCI does add some peace of mind and protection, good idea. The N-G bond "jumper cord" enables it to work with your WH, that's fine, too. Good luck on your outage!


GenNewbie

@rr.com
Thanks very much. It will be great to have hot water and know that we are (mostly) safe. As always, I will be as safe as I can, use decent materials and try to be smart about things. I just never thought about the GFCI being in line in an extension cord. Genius!

I really appreciate the help!