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Connecting Portable Generator to Electric Hot Water Heater

My XP4400E works great. I would like to use it to power my Electric
water heater in an emergency. The heater as connected to the Power
Panel has three wire L1,L2, N.
Each L1 and L2 is 240 volts as measured to the N. The wiring diagram for
the Generator indicates that the L14-30 outlet is wired for 120V each
leg (or two 120V circuits). Is there a way to modify this outlet to
produce 240V on one leg to accommodate one heating element in the Water
heater. (It is wired for non-simultaneous operation).
If this is not possible, would purchasing a 10,000 Watt Generator fill
my need? Could I get a copy of the wiring diagram of the 10,000 watt
Generator?

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9 Answers from these members:
Jerry C
Hello Frank,



There must be some misunderstanding in our prior posts. There is no way that the neutral should be used as one of the legs and the L1 and L2 tied together at the distribution box, if that is indeed the case. Your water heater uses 240VAC elements, but they are not utilized at the same time. There is never need for connecting L1 and L2 together as has been described in prior posts on this thread. The voltage supply that goes to the heater cannot create higher voltages. Even if the elements were on at the same time, it would just be roughly double the wattage requirement and not double the voltage.



It is correct that 240VAC goes into the unit at all times, the thermostats simply switch the power between the two elements one at a time, as needed. Without the off-peak meter installed, the heater should be wired exactly as shown in the top half of the diagram that you attached prior. When the off-peak meter was removed, the wiring to the heater was obviously not corrected, by all indications that I see from the information that has been provided here. If you want to hook up your generator to operate this heater for emergency use, you will need to contact a reputable local electrician who understands your requirements and they will be able to assist you.



Jerry C
by Jerry C Earned 317 community points in Appliances
December 27th, 2012
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Jerry
The power co. says wired properly. Heating element is rated at 240V each.
So no can hook up Portable gen.
Frank
by Manage My Life
December 27th, 2012
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Jerry
I have installed isolation circuit breakers. I will call Public Service to rewire to Off Peak meter (that's no longer there). I do not use the 5500 watt elements.
Thanks for you help.
Frank
by Manage My Life
December 25th, 2012
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Jerry C
Hello Frank,



It would appear that your heater is still wired up for an off peak meter and that the L1 and L2 are definitely tied together. At this point, you will want to have an electrician come in and fix this issue and you will need this done to add the correct service cut off for the generator connection too. Your electrician will also be able to inform you of the local code requirements for isolation from the grid for personal generator use. If you are using your generator and are not disconnected from the grid and a linesman comes to repair the grid, he could be badly injured or killed, not to mention the potential hazard for anyone else if the lines are down and you start your system up without being disconnected. If you have your elements set to the 3800 watt setting, or are using lower wattage rated elements, your current generator will work. If you are using 5500 watt elements, you will want to step up to a larger generator. The bottom line is to have your wiring corrected prior to hooking up any generator, they are designed to be utilized with the correctly wired standardized loads and it is very risky attempting to figure out incorrect wiring in order to hook up a generator.



Jerry C
by Jerry C Earned 317 community points in Appliances
December 24th, 2012
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Jerry
There is no reading between L1 and L2 . At the heater L1 to Blue L2 to Black and Yellow to N. See attached Wiring Diagram.
Thanks for you time.
Frank
by Manage My Life
December 22nd, 2012
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Jerry C
Hello Frank,



Thank you for the reply. If you only have two phase service to your residence and the readings are as stated, this is definitely incorrectly wired. I think that it would be a good idea to contact a reputable electrician and have them sort this issue out. For this to happen with the above stated and known conditions, it would appear that the two legs at the heater are actually tied to one leg and the neutral is hooked to the other leg. One way to verify this is to check L1 to L2, which hasn't been stated in this thread yet. If it is connected properly you should get 240VAC and if it is what I am suspicious of, 0VAC will be read. Irregardless, I think that it is time to call a qualified electrician.

Be very careful, this circuit is not up to standard and may be extremely dangerous at this point! Stop servicing it immediately if you are not comfortable or knowledgeable with high line voltage.





Jerry C
by Jerry C Earned 317 community points in Appliances
December 21st, 2012
Answered in 22 hours
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Jerry
I agree each leg should be 120V. However, each leg is 240V. The Water Heater is a Kenmore 153.320893 rated at 240V. Years ago, this was wired to a "Off Peak" Meter.
The Electric Co. removed the meter. Is it possible that the bypass is installed incorrectly?
If so then how come the elements in the heater have not burned out? Questions, Questions? I look forward to your answer.
Frank
by Manage My Life
December 21st, 2012
Answered in 21 hours
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Jerry C
Hello Frank,

I would like to assist you with your water heater operated by generator question. Before we proceed, I want to clarify that the reading from L1 to neutral and L2 to neutral in the distribution panel should not have been 240VAC. They should be 120VAC each and only 240VAC when you read L1 to L2 if this is in a common household installation. The output on the generator is not meant to be modified and it shouldn't have to be for this application.

I look forward to assisting you further.

Jerry C
by Jerry C Earned 317 community points in Appliances
December 21st, 2012
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Joseph Perez
I did some research on the generator and I was unable to locate information that would be helpful with regards to your question at this time. Your expert will answer within two business days with detailed information. Thank you for using Manage My Life.
by Joseph Perez Earned 1,551 community points in Appliances
December 20th, 2012
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