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 > Cant hook up a whole house generator

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way2roll

Wilmington NC

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Posted: 09/03/19 01:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We built our house 2 years ago and a had a ton of issues with our builder. Lawyers were involved etc. Shady work, thinning the paint, saving a buck anywhere to the point it was a little bait and switch to the custom house we thought we were getting.

In the past when we lived in MD I had a whole house generator, complete with sub panel and ATS. SO since we moved down here in Wilmington I've given it more thought especially with Hurricanes and power outages. So I start to investigate.

For whatever reason (I assume it was to save a buck) my house's panel is in the garage and the supply is on the other side of the house. However, the panel in the garage is not really a main panel but a sub panel. There is no main breaker on the garage panel. So I go to the other side of the house and look at the supply and there is no main there either. I have a few high load circuits (AC, Dryer, etc) but no main. This tells me I have a main (at the supply) and the garage panel is a sub panel. The only way I can see to isolate the circuit for an ATS is removing the actual meter itself. Actually I'd have to replace the whole meter box with on that has a shutoff.

I find this terribly irritating. Why would a builder do this? At most I can see he may have saved $500 since the wire to the sub panel across the house is a thinner gauge and it's a cheaper panel box. Technically it's up to code but I can't add anything to the sub panel. It's only half full, but no new circuits without pulling the meter to shut power off.

So, no generator for Dorian - or for the foreseeable future.

Rant over..

Horsedoc

Dixie --- N. Georgia

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Posted: 09/03/19 01:38pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You need to get the city/county inspector involved ASAP. If this is as you say, there may be a lawsuit in your future and a licensing issue for the electrian and the contractor

cewillis

Tucson, az, usa

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Posted: 09/03/19 01:50pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

way2roll wrote:

So I go to the other side of the house and look at the supply and there is no main there either.

Rant over..


There is something wrong. There has to be a main breaker that shuts off all power to the house -- unless NC is REALLY strange. Pulling the meter is not an acceptable substitute for a main breaker - though that's probably what a fire department would do in case of fire.
I would definitely contact your local building inspection department to be sure.


Cal


Lynnmor

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Posted: 09/03/19 03:36pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

way2roll wrote:

There is no main breaker on the garage panel. So I go to the other side of the house and look at the supply and there is no main there either. I have a few high load circuits (AC, Dryer, etc) but no main. This tells me I have a main (at the supply) and the garage panel is a sub panel. The only way I can see to isolate the circuit for an ATS is removing the actual meter itself. Actually I'd have to replace the whole meter box with on that has a shutoff.



Has the service been inspected? In our area, the electric company will not connect till a service is inspected. Is there a main switch ahead of the panel?





wa8yxm

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Posted: 09/03/19 04:31pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Well there is good news and bad news.. The method I suggest WILL require you remove the meter and replace it. This requires a visit from the power company so they can re-seal the meter. In fact they may be able to do the full install for you (It takes about 2 minutes longer than re-sealing the meter and one of those is opening the box)

Generlink switch

There are two brands this site lists two switches. You likely won't be able to run your central A/C or selected other very big items.. but then You might.

This would work with a generator up to aound 9-10 thousand watts (the 40 amp model) I did not see a 50-100 amp model but they should pass 200 from mains.


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way2roll

Wilmington NC

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Posted: 09/03/19 04:37pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the replies. I totally agree there needs to be a way to shut ALL power off to the house. I guess technically you could shut everything off on both panels but the BUS is still getting power from the street and so the main outside panel would still be hot. So there is no way to install an ATS without modifying/swapping it. It was "inspected" but inspections here are a joke. We found so much stuff from grading to electrical, to framing to plumbing that no way could have passed an inspection. Just checking boxes and when you call them on it there is no accountability. We spent about $50k on this house to make things right including lawyer fees etc, and then the builder lawyered up through their insurance company. They have deeper pockets and it would have cost me $50k to chase $50k and wind up in a mediation settlement for half that. It's a rigged game here. Lawyer told me we have a case but there are mediation clauses that allow builders to use insurance lawyers to fight it, and no timeframe given. It could go on forever. They eventually pulled out of town due to so many lawsuits and complaints to the state inspection board. Very sad story. We literally hate this house and plan on selling in 2 years when my son gets out of school. I digress.

I'll ask the County to take a look. I am sure the builder would pass the buck to the electrician, but they should bonded.

way2roll

Wilmington NC

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Posted: 09/03/19 04:40pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

wa8yxm wrote:

Well there is good news and bad news.. The method I suggest WILL require you remove the meter and replace it. This requires a visit from the power company so they can re-seal the meter. In fact they may be able to do the full install for you (It takes about 2 minutes longer than re-sealing the meter and one of those is opening the box)

Generlink switch

There are two brands this site lists two switches. You likely won't be able to run your central A/C or selected other very big items.. but then You might.

This would work with a generator up to aound 9-10 thousand watts (the 40 amp model) I did not see a 50-100 amp model but they should pass 200 from mains.


That's pretty slick, with the exception of the cost. I paid that much for my generator.

mike brez

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Posted: 09/03/19 06:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Is this a HR Horton home?


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monkey44

Cape Cod, MA and Central Fla

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Posted: 09/03/19 07:28pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

mike brez wrote:

Is this a HR Horton home?


Would not be surprised ... [emoticon]


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RedRollingRoadblock

Oregon

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Posted: 09/03/19 08:42pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hey, a D.R. Horton house is a step above sleeping under the overpass.

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