Excellent article about generator usage. I might mention that when using a portable generator there is a better option than running an extension cord to an outlet and then cutting off the main breaker. You can buy a manual transfer switch that will allow you to wire selected circuits in your breaker panel through the transfer switch. After plugging up and starting the generator, you flip breakers on the transfer switch. This transfers the selected circuits to the generator output and isolates them from the main incoming power. These switches are readily available at almost any home improvement store or electrical supply store. These switches are easily installed with basic electrical knowledge. This is a much safer option and will protect both the homeowner and the lineman working on the outage. Thanks, – S.R.
HJL Replies: That is an excellent idea and one that the blog has covered many times in the past. All it takes is one careless moment to put a utilities lineman at risk for electrocution. These transfer switches should be standard in any home that is using any form of backup AC through the regular wiring.