If you don’t have a whole house generator, owning a portable generator here in Michigan has practically become a necessity. Our state’s storms and aging power grids mean that many of us have unfortunately experienced several power outages lately; sometimes for days at a time.
Safely Using Portable Generators
Important Safety Reminder: NEVER run a portable generator inside your home. Place it outdoors and as far away as possible from your home. Portable generators emit a lot of potentially deadly carbon monoxide.
A gasoline powered portable generator must be connected to your home safely. There are a few different ways to do just that:
Extension cords: If you are powering only a few appliances such as a refrigerator and freezer, simply plug them into the generator’s power outlets with outdoor extension cords.
Transfer switches: A transfer switch is a more comprehensive approach. A separate breaker panel is installed next to your main panel. When a power outage occurs, the generator is plugged into a dedicated outlet and electricity is sent into the transfer switch to branch circuit breakers in the breaker panel. The separate panel prevents backfeeding of the power main from your generator.
Generator interlock kit: A generator interlock kit offers the same safety of a transfer switch, but is less expensive and has an easier installation process. Read on to learn more.
What is a Generator Interlock Kit?
A generator interlock kit is used to safely power a home through a portable generator during a power outage. This is done by connecting the generator to the home electrical system.
The interlock mechanism is installed on the home's electrical panel and allows a generator to power multiple circuits in your house. Basically, it’s a set of hard plastic or metal guards that allow power to enter the circuit accepting power from the generator while keeping the main switch off. Remember, the number of circuits powered must not exceed the capacity of the generator.
An interlock kit prevents your home’s main breaker from being turned on at the same time as your generator breaker. Not only that, but it stops power from backfeeding into the power lines. This is of vital importance because backfeed can injure or kill anyone working on the powerlines.
An interlock kit is a safe and inexpensive way to ensure you're using a portable generator safely. Generator interlock kits must be installed by a licensed electrician. Contact one of our highly trained electricians for an estimate.