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Thread: Need advice on wiring sump pump outlet for emergency generator / 220v split to(2)120v

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  1. #1
    DIY Member TSPORT's Avatar
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    Question Need advice on wiring sump pump outlet for emergency generator / 220v split to(2)120v

    Hi all. I have a portable generator to power my sump pump in the event of a power outage. Rather than snaking an extension cord that will reach from my driveway to the sump pump in the basement, I am installing a 120v outlet/receptacle next to the existing sump pump outlet and hard wiring it to an "inlet" in the garage that I can hook the generator up to when the need arises. Here's what I need help with. My generator has an L1420R receptacle on it for 120/240V. I have a cord set that fits it. I have a matching flanged L1420 inlet receptacle that I want to put in a box in the garage. My plan is to run the 240 volts using 12/3 wire w/ ground from the garage box down to the basement by the pump. The pump is 120v. Can I use a regular 20amp 120v duplex receptacle down there, seperate the hot side (break out the little tab that connects the 2 outlets together) and then wire the 2 hots seperate ( a red and a black) and run my white neutral to both giving me (2) 120v outlets? Is this sound thinking/safe or am I nuts? What I am trying to accomplish is having 1 outlet available for the sump pump and 1 for a light in the basement when using the generator. Figured I would have more amps available if I used the 240 outlet on the generator rather than a single 120 on it. I also like the twist lock feature so the cord doesn't pop out. The 120v outlets on it do not have that feature. I appreciate any and all input! Thanks.
    Last edited by TSPORT; 11-05-2010 at 01:57 PM. Reason: typo

  2. #2
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    That scheme will work, although I doubt that the pump AND light together would tax either side of the 240 feed. And certainly NOT need all the amps the generator could provide.

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    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    The available wattage of the generator will be the same at 120 or 240.

    If the 240 volt receptacle on the generator is GFCI protected then the GFCI will Trip.

    If the generator is not GFCI protected the receptacles in the basement will require GFCI protection so no the tab cannot be broken.

    Does this generator not have 120 volt receptacles? If not then we have a problem using it for 120 volt circuits without the benefit of a transfer switch.

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    DIY Member TSPORT's Avatar
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    "Does this generator not have 120 volt receptacles? " - Yes, it does.
    "If the 240 volt receptacle on the generator is GFCI protected then the GFCI will Trip." - No GFCI in generator.
    "And certainly NOT need all the amps the generator could provide. " - The generator is rated 3750 watts. I will only be powering the sump pump and a lamp or two. It's not tapped into the house circuits, I am just creating a "hard-wired" extension cord with a split duplex outlet if you will. As I mentioned before, I mainly wanted to retain the locking feature of the L14-20 receptacle on the generator and make things as easy as possible to keep things running (pump & light) in the event of a power outage to avoid a ruined finished basement. I don't trust the battery back-up pump to do the job in heavy rains.
    Thank you both for your replies.

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    For all practical purposes the generator is creating about 15 amps per leg, and your sump pump and light will be LESS than that, so you could use the other leg for something useful, like your freezer or refrigerator.

  6. #6
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    The one thing to think about when trying to make such an installation as you propose is that this little generator is not producing very clean current and anything that is looking for clean current such as electronic equipment will not fair too well with this generator.

    The next question you should be asking yourself is just how safe you want this installation to be. The best answer would be to install the proper size cord from the generator to the appliance being served instead of splitting the 240 volt circuit on this small generator.

    No matter how you choose to make the installation remember that your and your family’s safety lies in the way you make the installation.

    The law mandates that there can not be utility power and generator power on the same circuit at the same time. This means that the circuits you install must be separate and apart from any circuits that the power company supplies. This can be achieved through the required transfer switch.

    Should you make an unsafe installation the power company can turn off your power and refuse to reconnect which would leave you with a generator that supplies a pump and a couple of lights and nothing more.
    The inspections department can also condemn you home forcing you to move out until which time the home is inspected and deemed safe for human occupancy.
    Will these things happen? I don’t know but I do know that it is possible for them to happen and it is a big chance to take just to have something unsafe.

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