Can I backfeed generator to house through dryer outlet plug?
Thursday, May 21, 2020
Backfeeding a house electrical panel from a portable generator through a dryer receptacle is both dangerous and illegal. Here’s three reasons why:
•• Potential fireworks. If the main breaker in the service panel is not turned off, or inadvertently turned back on while generator is still connected, when the local utility power comes back on there will be an explosion in the panel. Also, possible electrocution of utility workers trying to restore power.
•• It’s a "dead-man’s plug.” Anyone who does not know that the cord is a power source will be shocked by touching the bare prongs if they touch them when they pull it out.
•• It’s against code. The National Electrical Code [NEC 406.6(B)], states that “no receptacle shall be installed so as to require the insertion of an energized attachment as its source of supply."
The correct way to power your home through a portable generator is to connect it thru a generator-rated power inlet, dedicated for just that purpose, to a breaker in the panel with an overlay plate between the generator breaker and main breaker that makes it impossible to have both on at the same time. A power inlet box has male prongs instead of female slots.
Another, more expensive option is an electronic automatic transfer switch and a separate subpanel. See our blog post Why did my generator hookup get tagged as defective by the home inspector? for more on this.
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