Adding a whole house backup generator,
First I ended up getting a great deal on a Coleman 8000 watt nominal, 10,000 watt peak generator. For the first year I just used extension cords to run into the house to power needed devices throughout a power outage. After that I wanted to do something a bit more permanent and manageable if i’m not around during an outage. First I made a list of the important things that I wanted to run and the circuits connected to those items.
1) Well pump, 2) Refrigerator, 3) Deep freezer, 4) Hallway lights, 5) Home networking equipment, 6) Son and Daughters rooms, 7) Front room tv radio ect. Our well pump is a 240v 2o amp circuit and the rest were an assortment of 15-20 amp circuits. I started doing research on manual transfer switches until I found something that would run the circuits that I needed. I came across a “Q510C Pro/Tran” transfer switch that would meet my needs plus a little bit more.
I purchased it and an outdoor power box that lets you plug in a l14-30r power cord, then I found a 2 breaker box that I could put a 30 amp 240v breaker in for an outside power disconnect, Bought a bunch of the proper gauge wire and conduit and male and female l14-30p (male) & l14-30r (female)
ends for a homemade extension cord. Also bought some flexible exhaust pipe and conduit fittings so I could enclose my generator inside a tool shed and pipe the exhaust outside.
I mounted the transfer switch next to my power panel and ran conduit between the units, shut off the breakers that I was moving over and took the leads from the transfer switch and wired them into my panels corresponding breakers and connected the output leads from the transfer switch to my home circuits with wire nuts
Then I ran the conduit and wires outside to the power from the generator input breakers and power plug-in
Plugged the extension cord that I built into the generator and then into the receptacle and fired the generator up, turned on the outside disconnect and then flipped the transfer switch breakers over to generator power and verified that it all works. Tested the load on the generator with the well and the hot water heater. The heater was a later addition since I had an extra 240v circuit that wasn’t being used. This is the max capacity that it would be consuming and in a real power outage we would probably just use the essential circuits and have the well running when we need it.
After having this unit in place for over a year I have been checking the oil and starting it up once a month. I noticed that after the generator ran for about 15 minutes it started to bog down and stutter so I determined that it was an exhaust leak that was filling the shed with co2 so I added an extension cord and a box fan to the generator so when the generator turns on i can put the box fan in the doorway to help blow some fresh air into the shed. I will probably work on a way of piping direct air from the outside into the intake but until then this works like a charm. I decided I needed to help it keep its battery charged since pull start on this big of a generator is a bit of a chore. I added a five watt solar panel and charge controller to the shed so it will keep a trickle charge on the battery at all times.