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  1. #1

    running a gas furnace with a portable generator

    I have a new Luxaire 95% efficient gas furnace. Only in the case of a lengthy power out in the winter, I'd like to be able to run the furnace from a portable generator.

    I've read in this forum that this is not recommended because those generators don't supply clean enough power to run the boards in those furnaces. Is there something I could use between the generator and the furnace that would alleviate the problem and protect the furnace?

    thanks,
    Joe

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Atlanta GA area
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    21,720
    Best thing to do is spend the extra $$$ to get a generator that provides clean power. The 'box in the middle' you reference is not cheap.

    Do a search at H-talk, there are lots of threads about this.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Dayton Ohio
    Posts
    22
    Just remember most high efficient gas units need 100% ground. If you use a portable generator . You will increase higher chance of burning up a control board. If anything have a electrician come in and have you hook up for a generator hook up.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    158

    generator

    most of the smaller generators... honda 2000i or something similar , are inverter powered. They claim theyre very clean power , even clean enough for computers ect. i dont think i'd have a problem powering my furnace, as always check spec's before purchase.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Andover Kansas
    Posts
    2,115
    In 2005 we had a bad ice storm and lost power at my house for 3 days. I used a 6500 generator. I ran the furnace, fridge, a lamp and the TV for 3 days with no problems. I left the ground wire from the panel hooked up at my furnace to ensure it would work.

    .


    The statement below is my signature and just my overall feeling towards our industry and does not necessarily pertain to you nor this thread.


    There really isn't a legitimate excuse for not doing the job correctly!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Posts
    4,855
    The key is ground. All too often, the generator is plopped down and fired up, 99% of the time, an earth ground is never made, 50% of the time polarized plugs either are not utilized or they are wire incorrectly. Consult an electrician who understands generators and have the proper wiring done in advance along with the proper safety protection devises installed. If you do everything properly, no problems.
    A good HVAC tech knows how, an educated HVAC tech knows why!

    DEM


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    SE Michigan
    Posts
    18,209
    Many portable generators do not produce a clean signature, meaning that the output voltage can fluctuate. This is bad Juju for electronics and motor windings.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    18

    Thumbs up

    I use a Honda 2000i to help charge and power my electric propulsion system on my sailboat. It can handle about 1600 watts continous. Very clean power use it also on board to power my laptop too with no problems. I'd trust the Honda but, be careful of other units they may not be so clean. BTW I also killed three birds with one stone using it at home recently in the off season.

    1) Powered a heater in the house
    2) Used exhaust heat to help melt ice on the walkway
    3) Drained the fuel tank for the season

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Empire, Louisiana
    Posts
    70
    I would run the furnace on the board. If you end up having problems, you could always junk the board and go back to individual components, like the old days.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
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    4,855
    Quote Originally Posted by ID10T View Post
    I would run the furnace on the board. If you end up having problems, you could always junk the board and go back to individual components, like the old days.
    Huh?
    A good HVAC tech knows how, an educated HVAC tech knows why!

    DEM


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Red Deer, Alberta
    Posts
    655
    As others have pointed out in other threads, the most important thing is to be electrically correct with any emergency power unit. Meaning that you will never allow any emergency generator power to go back toward your utility company line, unless you enjoy being sued...

    Personally have never come across a generator that couldn't power up a furnace in an emergency, but have come across several "village idiots" who didn't wire things correctly...

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    18
    Very Very Good point about having the proper swich hookup to use a generator for you heating system. Best to have an electrican do the switch setup. Otherwise you might injure or kill a lineman. Or the very least kill your furnace and/or generator. Plus your insurance company will not be amused.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Empire, Louisiana
    Posts
    70
    Quote Originally Posted by joef1 View Post
    I have a new Luxaire 95% efficient gas furnace. Only in the case of a lengthy power out in the winter, I'd like to be able to run the furnace from a portable generator.

    I've read in this forum that this is not recommended because those generators don't supply clean enough power to run the boards in those furnaces. Is there something I could use between the generator and the furnace that would alleviate the problem and protect the furnace?

    thanks,
    Joe
    applied to him, my bad!

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