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How To Connect Generator To Water Heater?

Generator has a 240 outlet and produces 4000 watts continous power. It has a circular 4 prong 20 amp outlet. Standard water heater with electrical connecton hard wired at top of unit.

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  1. Comment by gilchris
    October 4, 2009 @ 12:24 am

    Bill and Jesse are WRONG and their way will kill someone. This is also a NEC violation and, depending on how the law is written in your state, could be illegal. The NEC has been adopted into legislation here in Montana as it has been in several other states. This type of installation would be illegal here and any other state that adopted the NEC into legislation.
    You need to install some type of transfer switch so power can’t backfeed into the utility lines and kill the utility personal trying to repair your electricity.
    I would install either an automatic or a manual transfer switch with a flanged inlet locking receptacle under or in the transfer switch. Some transfer switches come with this built-in. The manual transfer switch is approximately $200.00 verses an automatic transfer switch at approximately $400.00.
    Now you need to make a cord to connect between your generator and transfer switch. You need to look at the receptacle on your generator to determine what it is. This is probably either a 20 or 30 amp twist-loc receptacle. The receptacle should have a NEMA configuration number on it. If it is a 5,000 watt generator it is probably a 20 amp receptacle and the number will be L14-20R. For this application you need a L14-20P locking plug (Leviton catalog #2411) with #12 AWG SJ cord and L14-20R locking connector (Leviton catalog #2413). The flanged inlet locking receptacle is a Leviton catalog #2415.
    If it is a 7,500 watt generator it is probably a 30 amp receptacle and the number will be L14-30R. For this application you need a L14-30P locking plug (Leviton catalog #2711) with #10 AWG SJ cord and L14-30R locking connector (Leviton catalog #2713). The flanged inlet locking receptacle is a Leviton catalog #2715.
    Now you need to connect the transfer switch to your electrical panel. I recommend getting a transfer switch with a loadcenter or breaker panel built-in. If you get one of these, just transfer the circuits that you want to work off of your generator during an outage to the transfer switch from your existing electrical panel.
    Don’t forget to ground your generator’s frame. The first system I set up for myself like this, I installed an 8′ x 5/8″ galvanized ground rod in the ground where my generator was going to sit during an outage. I left the coil of #6 bare copper wire connected to the lug on the generator’s frame and the acorn clamp on the ground rod. When we had an outage, I would roll up the generator, connect the ground wire and start the generator. Then I would connect my cord from the generator to the transfer switch and change the transfer switch from utility power to generator power and I was up and running again.
    After doing this a few times, I elected to get one of Generac’s generators with the automatic transfer switch. I really like this because when the power goes out, within 1 minute my generator is running and power has been automatically transfered.
    Hooking up a generator is not really a DIY project. If you are unsure of any of the steps involved, I HIGHLY recommend hiring a licensed electrician to do this. I also recommend getting a copy of the 2005 edition of the NEC and read Article 445.
    If you need further assistance, please visit -http://electricalblog.gilchrist-electric…
    Edit: I just re-read your question and your generator is too small. I’m not sure what you consider a standard water heater, but most water heaters require a minimum of 4,500 watts of power. Check to see what size breaker protects your water heater. If it is a 2-pole, 30 amp, you need a minimum 7,500 watt generator.

  2. Comment by ?
    October 4, 2009 @ 12:56 am

    Put a male fitting on the water heater Wire and plug it into the Generator.

  3. Comment by Anonymous
    October 4, 2009 @ 2:47 am

    You do that and you could fry… how may amps does it put out?
    You will need to step down that amount of power. Wire the generator to the houses main panel, and just plug in the water heater to its normal outlet.
    If you dont know what you are doing, you will kill yourself.
    Have fun

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