As I was setting up my generator this morning, one thing became apparent: I had no easy way to power my alarm, cameras, phone, and computers, short of putting the entire house on the generator.
So, I wonder .... is it a good idea to have a separate circuit, hopping from room to room, providing power to receptacles dedicated to these uses? One could even make this a circuit separate from the usual house wiring, powered only when the generator is in use. Power failure? Just move the plugs.
I almost think I have seen this arrangement in medical facilities- an "emergency" receptacle right next to the 'ordinary' receptacle.
I rather like this arrangement, as it makes the generator network completely separate from the utility-powered network ... no need for transfer switches, no chance of backfeed issues. While the NEC seems to assume transfer switching, I don't think a parallel network is forbidden.
For "down the road" applications, perhaps a dedicated small panel feeding all of the generator powered circuits could be installed. If you decide to install a transfer switch later, some of the wiring is already installed. You would just have to move other dedicated circuits later. It would allow you to run the 240 V output of the generator and give you more power available for the larger loads during an extended outage.
I have a back feed inlet and an interlock kit here. I am really not that prepared tho. I do have a good panel directory but I have not really gone through and mapped the breakers I would want to have on and the normal load on them. Best case would actually be a load rating on each "emergency" breaker and a list of which will work with the others.
Potseal, as I see it, the joker in the sizing decision is the starting current required for motors. When your overall load is as small as mine - or when, in my case, all I'm powering right now is one motor - that starting current matters.
Now, my generator, even when bought at a bargain price, cost me more than many similar capacity generators that I see in some retail outlets? Why pay more? Well, the biggest differences are in the noise made and the reliability of the voltage regulation.
There's my concern about voltage spikes: the voltage regulation of the generator as loads change. I would hate for a high-voltage spike when the furnace motor stops to cause harm to any electronics that might be on line.
Yes, a UPS would help; I had forgotten about that. That might be a solution.
Greg, I'd love to see what actual measurements show.