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Rico Soma
Rico Soma, Electrical Technician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 19057
Experience:  Service Tech
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If the power goes out tomorrow (I live on the coast in south

Customer Question

If the power goes out tomorrow (I live on the coast in south Florida) I want to be able to pull my Porter & Cable 5250 generator (keeping it outside the house) over to the utility door into the garage which next to my 80 gallon Whirlpool electric water heater ... and for (say) 2 or 3 hours every morning heat the water and then disconnect the generator, move it back to the back outside patio, and reconnect it to the other stuff it will power (fans, lights, fridge, etc). I have plenty of 10 gauge & 12 gauge wire and a 240 volt male plug. Do I have all the pieces and what's the best way to do it? The water heater is hard wired through conduit into a cheap timer on the wall and the timer is hard wired (inside the wall) to the panel box, so I can't simply "unplug" the water heater. But, I can certainly disconnect the wiring either at the timer or water heater side and splice white, black, & green wires with wire nuts, Advice would be greatly appreciated.
JA: How old is the system in question? And have you consulted an electrician yet?
Customer: Water heater is only 4 - 5 years old, no electrician consulted. I'm not a certified contractor (certifiable, maybe!) but a pretty capable DIY guy.
JA: Do you plan on doing the work yourself?
Customer: Sure. Cat 4 hurricane offshore as we speak, power will probably go out tomorrow night and might be out several days (based on previous storms)
JA: Anything else we should know to help you best?
Customer: No, I was just curious if my 5250 would heat the water in a couple hours if I made a little 10' or 12' cord that went from the generator to the heater. It has a 240 female outlet and 2 - 110 outlets so I assumed it was physically possible to connect, just wasn't sure best way to do it.
Submitted: 16 days ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Rico Soma replied 16 days ago.

Welcome to Just Answer, my name is ***** ***** I will do my best to help you with your issue. If my initial response doesn’t answer your question then let me know and we can continue our conversation.

Recovery rate of a typical residential 80 gallon electric water heater is 31 gph at a 60 degree temp rise. So if incoming water is 60 that will get it up to 120 in about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. I don't have specs on your generator but your water heater uses 4500 watts. If the generator output is less than that it will take longer and could over tax the generator. You'd want to use 10 gauge wire but the other problem is you'd have no circuit breaker protection.

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Ok, so i might be taking cold showers for a few days
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
The generator is new and the water heater is fairly new, and I only have a couple hours here to make last minute adjustments to my domicile before Armageddon starts, so I was just hoping I could figure this out. Thanks, anyway.
Expert:  Rico Soma replied 16 days ago.

I'm afraid so. You really need a transfer switch and I guess there's probably not enough time to wire 1 up now.

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
OK, wish me luck.
Expert:  Rico Soma replied 16 days ago.

Best of luck to you and everybody down there. Let's hope it goes out to sea.

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