Wiring an Electrical Box to Support a Backup Generator

Project: Storm-Ready Design, Episode 5, Part 3

Bob is back at the storm-ready house in Punta Gorda, Florida, where the interior work on the electrical system, plumbing, and walls is underway. The outswinging, oversized front door completes the seal on the building envelope. It is installed on a 1¾ inch sill against a pre-cast concrete lip designed to keep the door from blowing in or water from blowing under. As a wind-protection measure, the door swings out so winds won’t force it open, causing wind penetration and pressurization during a storm. Bob checks out the wiring installation and the plumbing work, then reviews his visit to the PGT window factory and the installation of impact-resistant windows and patio sliders. Bob walks through the stepped arch that leads to the open kitchen / family area and the bedrooms beyond. There Thad Goodman of Georgia-Pacific is installing the DensArmor Plus fiberglass wallboard. With no paper or sugars and starches used for binders, this fiberglass-faced gypsum is impervious to mold, mildew, and insects. Keeping a house dry in humid climates prevents damaging mold growth. The Kohler generator and Square D / Schneider Electric panel box will keep the house functioning, cool, and dry in case of a storm or power outage.
Part 1: Installing an Impact-Resistant Front Door, Electric Wiring with Metal Studs, Plumbing with Metal Studs and a Concrete Slab
Part 2: Fiberglass-Faced Wallboard Combats Mold and Moisture
Part 3: Wiring an Electrical Box to Support a Backup Generator
Electrician Harry Cunningham and Kim Hansen of Square D/ Schneider Electric join Bob to explain the electrical box that supports the household power and backup generator. Two power sources feed into the service box—the utility and the generator. There is a safety check in place to prevent the generator from automatically taking over the power load or feeding out into the street to power the neighborhood. The switch in the box must be flipped to protect power from surging through the outlets when work is being performed or the environment is unsafe. The generator allows for flexible power and the opportunity to switch between circuits. The homeowners can decide to power up an air conditioner during a storm, switch circuits to do laundry, or power up the TV and family computer. In an emergency, the system allows homeowners to tailor their energy use to suit the needs of their home and family.