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Exceeding standby generator rating??

Posted by brn3a VA Z7 (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 24, 10 at 8:41


We are considering purchasing a home standby generator. When the house was built, we had them rough in a generator transfer switch so we could install the actual generator in the future. At the time, we did not know there were different options for transfer switches. Ours is a whole house transfer switch, meaning it is wired into the main circuit breaker box with a single switch. All circuits that are on in the main circuit breaker box will be carried by the generator.

Well now we want to buy a generator, but do not want or need one that will power the entire house. My thoughts are to get one that will power only the circuits we absolutely need and to control that by flipping off circuits on the main circuit breaker box after the generator comes on.

Here's the potential problem. Since most of the standby genrators are auto-on, when there is a power failure the generator will come on automatically. I then have to run downstairs and flip the circuits I do not want. I'm thinking it might take me 5-10 minutes to get down there to shut everything off, or longer (ie. never) if for instance no one is home.

What if there is a lot running at the time and these circuits are more than the generator can handle (for instance the central AC)? What will happen to the generator? Will it shut off to protect itself? Will it be harmed? Will it hurt the AC or other circuits in the house?


PS. We are looking at the Eaton generators. Has anyone had experience with these? Thoughts?

Here is a link that might be useful: Eaton

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Exceeding standby generator rating??

  • Posted by canguy British Columbia (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 24, 10 at 9:39

Do you leave everything on when not home? The circuits will only draw power if the load is applied. Ask the dealer about a load shedding device in the transfer panel. For instance, if the a/c (a heavy load) kicks in while everything else is on and the generator is loaded to over 85% of it's capacity, pre selected circuits will drop off until the load is reduced.

RE: Exceeding standby generator rating??

Thanks. That sounds exactly like what will help. I was specifically thinking about the heat pump running and that causing an issue.


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