Using Inverter Power for Emergencies
Material General asked me to explain how I set up an inverter to power the light circuits in my house.
Basically, . . . I moved the light circuits to an auxiliary panel right next to my main panel, . . . a few circuit breakers, . . . a three prong plug, and a short piece of extension cord, . . . we are in business.
In the top picture you see the aux panel, . . . the bottom two circuit breakers are the key to this whole thing. Only one side of the two circuit breakers is live at any one time. During normal times, . . . the "Reg Power" is powered from the main panel as in the little drawing where circuit breaker A powers circuit breaker B. In turn, . . . B powers all the circuit breakers above it in the panel.
When the power goes off, . . . the circuit breakers at the bottom of the top picture are both flipped to the left. The "Reg Power" will turn off before the "Emerg Power" breaker can close (works vice versa as well).
That closes the circuit to the top circuit breakers by the breaker labeled "C" in the little drawing. It is charged by the 3 prong extension cord you see hanging down in the second picture.
That extension cord is plugged into the inverter and the inverter turned on, . . . putting power to all the circuits.
NOW: I turn the furnace off, . . . as well as the Freezer and Fridge. If I need them to run, . . . I unplug the inverter and run an extension cord outside to my generator, . . . fire it up, . . . and chill down the freezer and fridge.
The key is the Reg Power is 240 volt supplied by the main power panel, . . . but when you set up the inverter, . . . you only have 120, . . . so you hook it to both sides of the 60 amp breaker Emerg Power. It is only single phase power, but you only have on single phase loads, . . . so it works out well.
Took me a while to find that bottom double/double breaker, . . . got lucky and found it on Ebay, . . . and it works great.
Holler back if you have any other questions, . . . I'll try to help as much as I can.
May God bless,