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Portable Generators are Excellent Tools—When Used Properly

Portable generators are popular in emergencies, and for good reason. They usually output between 3,000 and 7,000 watts, enough to power a refrigerator, small appliances, and communication devices. Users can plug into a handful of 120-volt (sometimes single 240-volt) outlets and weather a power-outage in relative comfort.

It should go without saying that only a professional electrician should connect portable generators to main electrical panels. Nonetheless, backfeeding these panels from portable generators is a popular trick among homeowners. 

There are inherent risks to this, however. Today we’ll discuss some of those so you can keep yourself and your home safe.

What is Backfeeding, and Why is It Dangerous?

Electricity comes into your home from utility lines. Before entering your house, a transformer throttles power to 240 volts. In your home, electricity routes through a circuit breaker and travels to appliances, lighting, and outlets.

Simply put, backfeeding involves connecting your generator to an appliance outlet (like a dryer outlet) and allowing electrical power to flow in reverse. As a result, the energy moves backward to the electrical panel and throughout the house. 

Even if you think this is a harmless shortcut, you might be asking yourself, “is backfeeding a generator illegal?” Unfortunately, the answer is yes; it is illegal in most jurisdictions. It’s also dangerous because it unbalances electrical loads and strains generators. 

If you don’t shut the main breaker off, power feeds back to the utility lines outside your home, potentially shocking a maintenance worker. You are responsible for injury or death in these situations and could be criminally prosecuted.

Call Cooper For a Better Solution

When used as intended, portable generators are an excellent way to power essential appliances. However, people resort to backfeeding in hopes of a more thorough backup power solution.

If you want to power your whole home, a permanent residential generator from Cooper Electrical Services is your best option. These machines tie directly to liquid propane or natural gas lines, so they don’t require manual refueling. Instead, they safely (and legally) power your main electrical panel, restoring power to all circuits.

A residential generator restores power automatically and immediately, too. The system senses power disturbances and switches on within seconds. 

Call Cooper Electrical Services today to learn more about your residential power generation solutions!