Electrical Wiring in the Home/Interlock for Generator


I just purchased a portable generator( I live in NY and we have had a lot of power failures in the past few years) and am looking into having an electrician install a transfer switch. I recently became aware of something called an Interlock Kit which allows you to use your existing panel and also you do not need to pick and choose circuits to switch to the transfer switch as all circuits on the main panel are potentially available.  I understand I would have to monitor the wattage I am using based on the capacity of the generator. This seems like a very good alternative to a transfer switch. What is the downside of this alternative?

The kit would take care of a major problem of the generator feeding back into utility system.  However, as you say, it won't help in preventing the generator from being overloaded.  Since it is not automatic, you could switch some breakers off.

I am not sure of what the codes say about this.  The electrician would know if it is legal in your area. But you, or whoever switches the generator on would have to know what to turn off.  It also depends on the capacity of your generator.  If it is a small percentage of the house's current needs, it may not be practical.

Of course, the ideal thing is to have a permanently installed generator that has an automatic transfer switch.  But the whole system is not cheap.
About Electrical Wiring in the Home
This site answers questions related to home electrical wiring, home wiring, general electrical help,and other electrical questions related to aleternating current (AC). You can find help on the National Electical Code, home electrical issues, wiring electrical outlets, installing lighting, electrical grounding, and general electrical help for do-it-yourself projects not require an electrician. If you do not see your home electrical wiring question answered in this area then please ask your electrical wiring question here

Electrical Wiring in the Home

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Bob Sponaugle


Just about any home wiring question. (not appliance repair) I have done all kinds of home wiring for myself, including adding a new breaker box, etc. Please, questions from North America only. Please be specific with details.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.