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  • emergency wiring furnace

    I live in western N.Y., where there has been an extended loss of power. I have a generator which I use extension cords with to power a sump pump, refrigerator and some lights. I would like to use the generator to run my forced air furnace, but of course its hard wired to my breaker box.
    Is it possible to have it wired with a 12 gauge extension cord at the furnace turnoff switch connected with wire nuts, and have the romex(which is 12 gauge) from the breaker box end in a receptical box where the male end of extension cord could stay plugged when things are normal?
    Then when the power goes out the male end of the furnace gets plugged into the extension cord of the generator. There is no interaction with the grid, but is it legal?
    Any suggestions are appreciated.

  • #2
    Seems strange to me to have a furnace hard-wired. Probably a Union thing. Around here, we put a pigtail (cord) on the furnace and plug it into a dedicated single receptacle adjacent to the furnace. Wiring it that way would allow you to unplug the furnace from the wall and plug it into an extension cord.

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    • #3
      emergency wiring furnace RE:

      Thank you for the reply BigThom. I hoped it was code, but I have never seen one pigtailed before. This will take a load off my mind if and when another outage occurs.

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      • #4
        emergency wiring furnace RE:

        Thanks for your reply AllanToolGuy. Besides the lower cost of the power cord and dedicated receptacle, I want to stay away from the grid. If I can do it with extension cords I'll feel a little more safe. Thanks for the offer of the links.

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        • #5
          Tool Guy, I think you don't know what you're talking about.

          If the furnace is in a wet location (garage, basement) then a single receptacle is required, otherwise a duplex receptacle will do just fine. The only reason for the single receptacle in wet locations is because the receptacle is not a gfi receptacle and the open outlet would encourage an illeagle use.

          Forget about the amps and sizes and all that stuff. If it's a residential furnace those things are not an issue and will just be confusing.

          As for connecting the cord to the furnace, just use a pigtail, available at HD or Lowes etc. It needs to be grounded and #14 min. a romex connector will do just fine, forget about the tape.

          Don't make this more complicated than it needs to be.

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          • #6
            Re: emergency wiring furnace

            OK in connecting a generator to your furnace, is it OK to splice into the line that feeds the furnace and make one end an outlet and the other end a plug. Then when the power goes out, pull the plug ( that would disconnect you from the power grid, right? ) and connect the plug to the extension cord of your generator?

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            • #7
              Re: emergency wiring furnace

              According to the NEC Gas Fired Furnaces are suspose to be hard wired and on their own dedicated circuits

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              • #8
                Re: emergency wiring furnace

                Thanks for the reply Handybull. I guess that means the NEC says no.
                But what does that mean? Does it mean it's not legal? Will it nullify your Home Owners Insurance? Is it practical? Is it safe? I mean I don't see why the NEC would forbid it, what are the ramifications of that type of connection?

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                • #9
                  Re: emergency wiring furnace

                  Originally posted by handybull View Post
                  According to the NEC Gas Fired Furnaces are suspose to be hard wired ......
                  Can you tell me where in the NEC you find this?

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                  • #10
                    Re: emergency wiring furnace

                    Some time ago this subject was brought up. The solution was to rig up a short power cord for the furnace and to install a single (not duplex) receptacle wired up to line power. Normally you would leave the furnace plugged in, but to power it from a portable generator you would unplug it from the receptacle and plug it into an extension cord which was then plugged into your generator.

                    Question: What about other items such as your refrigerator, sump pump (if you have one), a few lights and the like?

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                    • #11
                      Re: emergency wiring furnace

                      i ain't saying it ain't code, chapter and verse please. breid..............

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                      • #12
                        Re: emergency wiring furnace

                        you could cut the bx or what ever is going to your furnace and put cord ends on them (male end at the furnace) . if power goes out unplug the furnace and plug into a extension cord . it will not void your house insurance as the generator has breakers .i spoke to my insurance person .

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