I don't know any electricians so having any switches put in or hardwiring will probably be out of the question right now. I appreciate the suggestion tho and will at least look into the switch for the furnace blower to see what that would cost. Labor is so expensive in this area though that I doubt it'll get done this year and I'll have to stick with extension cords for the time being. I can only afford the genny cause my job is giving us gift cards used with the company credit card "points" to either home depot or amazon. Money is kinda tight at the moment.
It wouldn't cost much more to put a "transfer switch" at your breaker box. That switch will isolate your power from the pole completely so that you don't "back feed" your electricity out onto the pole and waste it or possibly injure a worker or blow your system up when the power does come back on. Then you can run your house just like you normally would, except for electric stoves and water heaters, which take way more than 6000w to run.
Now no one actually answered the questions about the extension cords and surge protectors, so can anyone give me some specific answers about that? Is what I envisioned correct?
You want to go to an electrical supply outlet locally and buy SO 14 gauge 3 wire bulk and use their plugs, which are heavy duty. It's not too expensive that way, but I forget what I paid for 100' of it.
The suggestion about getting 2 gennys is something I also considered - how do you daisy chain them together? If it's affordable I prefer that so if one goes bad the other would hopefully still work. I have to look into the cost of 2 smaller vs 1 large one. I do have a husband who can move it around, although that's about as far as his handyman skills go. Which is another concern with maintenance on the genny - he won't do it and I dunno how.
Overkill IMO. Maintenance means checking the oil and changing it if necessary per the manual. Adding Stab-Bil when you store it or running it out of gas completely so that the carb doesn't get gummed up with gasoline varnish.
The dog house I mentioned is very large (built it myself for a 100 pound dog) and has a large opening in the front and I could skew the roof a bit for better exchange of air (it's an "A" roof that just lifts off). It also has a few small vents drilled into the sides of it. And it's plenty far away from the house for safety purposed.
We've lost power twice so far this year and we usually lose it from one storm or another at least once a year, and I'm just sick of tossing out all the food in my fridge and worrying about my fish tanks.
Whatever works, just DON'T die of CO!! Common sense, right?
When I lived in NC our power went out 5 times a year it seemed. Odd that Lake Norman was right there and Duke had all this power capacity in my front yard practically....alas, it did indeed. I bought a 3500 watt Coleman Contractor genny, and rigged it up as described above and used it quite often. I never worried about surge protectors or other black magic and I ran computers, synthesizers, all manner of household electronics with nary a hiccup. Realize that "surge protectors" that you buy at Walmart are pretty much useless for...well, I can't think of anything they're really useful for! False peace of mind maybe...