DIY Q&A – Furnace & Generator Questions & Answers
Thought I would post some of the questions and answers I’ve been asked about recently regarding High Efficiency Furnaces and using a standard or inverter type generator . If you would like to ask a question email me at rick@ ricksdiy.com
Q: Will a high efficiency furnace with it’s electronic control board work with a generator? Was the furnace you worked on one with a control board? I’m thinking about the electricity put out by a generator compared to that of the power company. Thanks for your help.
A: Yes The furnace on the video did have a control board. Just a little background; The control board is powered by low voltage as most electronics are, it gets it’s power via a transformer that converts the 120 Volts A/C to most likely 5-12 Volts D/C. Because of the transformer it helps condition the power. This makes it safe to use most any generator on the furnace.
The main concern is that you don’t want to shut off the generator or run out of gas while the furnace is running this may cause a severe drop in voltage and cause the fuse or breaker to open on the furnace. But other than that it won’t damage anything, you would just have to replace the fuse or reset the breaker. I will have to do a video to show this as many people have concerns about that.
Q: I always thought you needed an expensive generator with inverter to run furnaces with control boards. Does generator need to be physically grounded, as with rod and wire? I have a Briggs and Stratton generator and a Coleman Powermate with a Subaru ohc engine, and neither one mentions using a ground rod. Since they are portable generators is it OK to use them as is to power my furnace without a ground rod?
A: It is recommended to ground your generator but I doubt many do, even on construction sites I’ve seen them ungrounded with the electrical inspector walking around. If you have a location where you always run your generator I recommend to get a grounding rod, I use 1/2″ rebar myself as they sell these nice plastic caps you can place over the top so you don’t impale yourself. Plus much cheaper than a copper or brass rod.
Drive the rod (At least 36″) into the ground with 2-4″ sticking up, place the orange cap on top to easily locate and protect. You can use an old set of jumper cables to connect the generator to the ground or install a copper ground line with screw tight connectors to easily remove. I set mine up with one end of a jumper cable permanently mounted to the generator…makes it quick and easy for anyone to use.
I have more questions and answers but I would like to hear from you, let me know what kind of questions you have and what kind of DIY videos you want to see in the future..