A generator interlock kit is a specially designed device that allows safe back-feeding of a residence via a portable generator during power outages. An interlock kit is advantageous because it can be purchased and installed at a lower cost.
Knowing the correct way of how to install a generator interlock kit will prevent the generator circuit breaker and the main circuit breaker from operating simultaneously. It does this by controlling the most significant danger you may face when connecting a generator to your home’s circuitry.
Why Do You Need a generator interlock kit?
1. To Input Power
A generator interlock kit enables one to input power into the electric service panel without returning it to the utility line.
Back feeding is a terrible idea since it involves delivering electricity from your generator into the electric grid, which is made up of the utility cables that connect your home to the local power provider.
2. To Control Circuits
A generator interlock kit can control more circuits. The panel’s circuits can be electrified up to the load capacity of your generator when using an interlock kit.
Using the generator interlock kits, you may also avoid bulky extension cords to power your appliances. As a result, you can prevent fires and other extension cord problems.
3. Easy to Install
In less than two hours, you can set up an interlock system. Installing a transfer switch or a generator sub-panel, on the other hand, can take an electrical contractor up to eight hours due to the rewiring that is required.
4. It Eliminates the Maze of Extension Cords.
If you connect your generator directly to appliances, an interlock kit removes the maze of extension cords you would require. It can also be challenging to move heavy machines around to combine them into an extension cord, such as a refrigerator.
5. Allows Your Generator to Use Total Load Capacity
When you connect your portable generator to appliances, it only uses the power that those appliances require. This is frequently insufficient. With interlock kits and transfer switches installed, the generator can use its total load capacity and control more of your home.
Disadvantages of a Generator Interlock kit
1. It Controls Your Home Power Supply Thus Maybe Unpredictable.
A standby generator turns down automatically when power from the electrical grid is restored. The traditional grid assumes control of your home’s power supply.
When appliances are directly plugged into your portable generator, the rest of your home’s appliances will turn on once the public utility is restored. You must, however, turn off your main breaker if you use an interlock kit. As a result, determining when the service will be restored is challenging.
2. It is Risky for Utility Workers.
On the cover of your electrical panel, the generator kit is installed. The interlock kit prevents both the primary and generator breakers from being turned on at the same time when the cover is on. Both breakers may be activated if the lid is removed. For utility workers, this mistake is quite risky.
We have explored why you need an interlock and its disadvantages; thus, let us sink deeper and see its installation process.
Every kit comes with systematic installation instructions. The set includes back and front slider plates, screws, dual-stick pads, a drill bit, thread lock, and labels.
Steps On How to Install a Generator Interlock Kit
- Turn off the panel’s power.
- Divide the plates into two categories. Double-stick tape’s backing should be removed. Align the rear plate on the front panel cover with the tops of the first and second breaker slots and the central breaker opening.
- Remove the cover from the panel
- Use piggyback breakers to move breakers from slots 2 and 4 to generate the required spaces.
- Install the breaker of the generator inside slots 2 4.
- Slide the breaker retainer between breakers 3, 4, and 5, 6, with the tab pointing toward the main breaker, to breakers 3, 4. On the back of the panel, mark where the holes will be.
- Remove the breaker retainer temporarily and drill holes through the back of the panel using the drill bit provided. Reinstall the breaker retainer and use the two self-tapping bonding screws provided to secure it to the panel.
- On a suitable surface, drill holes in the panel’s cover via the already drilled holes behind the plate with an 11/64 drill bit.
- Remove the burrs on the rear of the panel cover with a file and smooth the surface around the holes. File the paint on the back of the panel cover so that the entire screw head is in metal-to-metal contact. The panel cover’s back must be flush with the binder screws.
- Screw the panel cover, rear plate, and front plate together with binder screws. Attach the front of the binder screws with the binder post.
- Using a screwdriver, tighten the binder screws while holding the binder post in your hand. The head plate will be easy to slide, and the behind plate will be secure. Make sure you’re not overtightening the screws.
- Reattach the panel cover after turning off the generator and main breakers.
- Test the Interlock with the cover of the panel securely fixed to ensure that it moves in positions smoothly. At no point should both breakers be in the “on” position. You should not be able to engage both breakers simultaneously, even under modest pressure.
- Follow the thread lock instructions to apply thread lock to all three-binder posts.
- Put labels on everything.
- Replace the panel cover on the breaker box and replace the removed hardware. Turn the main breaker back on and reconnect the power to the panel after the lid is secure.
A generator interlock kit may be appropriate for you if your backup power plan incorporates a portable generator. A generator interlock kit is a cost-effective and risk-free approach to ensure that you can safely utilize a generator.
Installing one on your breaker panel is a chore that even the most inexperienced do-it-yourself can handle with some planning and cautious work. If you are unsure about installing an interlock kit, a licensed professional should do it.
Faqs About How Install a Generator Interlock Kit
Are generator interlock kits safe?
An interlock kit is safe because it prevents the most dangerous danger that can occur when connecting a generator to your home’s circuitry: back-feeding electricity into the main supply from generator power.
Which is better, transfer switch or interlock?
Several factors are considered, but Interlock switches are typically less sophisticated and thus less expensive than automated transfer switches regarding simplicity and cost.
Are generator interlock switches legal?
The interlock is legal in many parts of the world, including the United States, as long as it has a UL code. The UL listing determines the legality of generator interlock kits. If the interlock does not have a UL listing, it is prohibited; this is the law that governs their purchasing.
Do generator interlock kits meet code?
After hundreds of dollars in costs, extensive tests, and a year of revisions and alterations, the Interlock Kit was ultimately certified for manufacturing under UL Standard 67, bringing it into compliance with UL requirements.
How much does it cost to install an interlock kit?
This varies by location, but the average total cost is at least $700-$800 because you need to spend $200-$400 on the appropriate hardware. Aside from that, you will have to pay a $150-$300 installation fee to an electrician.
Do you have to turn off your main breaker when using a generator?
Yes, it is recommended that you turn off the circuit breaker before turning on the fuel valve to allow the generator to warm up before turning on the circuit breaker.
Is it safe to back-feed your house through a dryer outlet?
Back feeding is illegal as it is a violation of the law. “No receptacle shall be installed to require the insertion of an energized attachment,” according to the National Electrical Code [NEC 406.6(B)].
It is also dangerous due to the possibility of fireworks. When the local utility power is turned back on, the main breaker in the service panel is not turned off or is inadvertently turned around. At the same time, the generator is still connected, the panel will explode. In addition, utility workers attempting to restore power could be electrocuted.
How much does it cost to install an electrician to install a transfer switch?
This depends on the complexity and task as installing the switch requires hiring an electrical expert; thus, this can roughly cost anywhere from $200 to $400.
How does an interlock kit work?
The Interlock Kit makes mechanical interferences that connect the main breaker and a generator back feed breaker. This enables the protection of the public power system by ensuring that your generator does not unintentionally connect to the utility grid while it is operating.
How do you hook up a generator without a transfer switch to a house?
There are various methods, but we shall deal with hooking up a generator to a house without a transfer switch using an interlock kit.
Step 1: Disconnect all main and branch circuit breakers.
Step 2: Position the interlock plate. These metal panels can easily conceal the controls on your breaker.
Step 3: Use the generator’s power cable and kit wire to connect your generator to your input connection.
Step 4: Start your generator and turn off all vital appliances’ circuit breakers. Using more than the rated continuous power can overload your generator.
How many appliances can a 5500 watt generator run?
A 5500-watt generator can power various appliances in your house, office even construction site. So long as the devices do not surpass 5500wattage.examples of appliances this generator can run entails a refrigerator with a freezer (700 watts), washing machines (1,000 watts), coffee makers (1,000 watts), microwave ovens (1,000 watts), dishwashers (1,000 watts among others.
Does a Generac generator need to be grounded?
When using extension cables alone, a ground rod is not required. Your generator must be connected to a ground rod when connecting to an electrical panel. Ground rods must be driven into the ground and then connected to the generator’s ground connector using a ground wire.
How much does it cost to install an interlock generator?
It is worth mentioning that the interlock costs only $50 to $150 when purchased separately. As a result, expenses like paying the electrician and installing a generator interlock, which ranges from $650 to 750 dollars, are included in the installation.
How do you wire an interlock switch on a generator?
- Open the switch and identify and separate the parts before starting.
- Documentation should provide a list of the tools you’ll require. Check to see if you have everything you’ll need.
- Detach the main breaker from the circuit breaker panel.
- Phillips or bolt-head screws are commonly used to secure the front of the breaker panel cover; avoid touching any naked wires.
- Place the panel cover face-down on your workbench. Mark the position of the screw holes and align the interlock switch. Use the drill size recommended in the instructions to drill the holes.
- Use the screws included in the package to mount the interlock switch to the panel.
- Replace the panel cover on the breaker box and secure it with the hardware you removed earlier. You can reactivate the main breaker after the cover is in place.
Can you run a generator without a transfer switch?
Yes, but if your generator is more than 5,000 watts, a transfer switch is required for safety and convenience. This is crucial to note since the amount of power produced necessitates the usage of a regulator to prevent surges and grid back feeding.
Are interlock kits UL listed?
Of course, yes, it is listed under UL Standard 67
How do you hook a generator to a breaker box?
This is a sophisticated procedure and mostly requires a licensed electrician; however, here is are the steps that you can go about but always be careful
- The main breaker should be turned off, and the generator should be switched off.
- Connect one end of the cutover switch to the generator output and the other end to an existing high-current breaker in the original breaker box. Maintain a common area.
- Install breakers for each circuit that you wish to be able to power with the generator in the new package. The output of the cutover switch will power these breakers.
- Move the circuit wires from the original box’s breakers to the new ones.
- This enables you to switch between mains and generator power for some circuits while leaving others on mains only.
- Consider utilizing the type of plug and socket that an RV uses to plug into force at a campground instead of cabling directly from the generator to the box.
You can check how to hook a generator to a breaker box in this article
How does a transfer switch prevent back to feed?
A transfer switch isolates some circuits from your home’s power lines, preventing back feed. Back feed is avoided when your utility supplier re-energizes the service entrance conductors that supply electricity to your home’s main service panel.