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exocet_cm
Free at last, free at last
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join:2003-03-23
New Orleans, LA
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Need info on transfer switch and interlock for generator

How do I go about determining what type of generator transfer switch and interlock is approved for my electrical code?


Jack_in_VA
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North, VA
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said by exocet_cm:

How do I go about determining what type of generator transfer switch and interlock is approved for my electrical code?

Hire a Licensed Electrician or Electrical Company to install one for you. They will know what you need and what the code calls for and install it correctly.


IowaCowboy
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Springfield, MA
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reply to exocet_cm
Most transfer switches sold at Lowe's/Depot are code compliant. You have to follow the installation instructions down to the letter. The transfer switch sold at Lowe's includes a DVD on how to install them. I think the only state that is picky about transfer switches is the state of Washington.

The thing is to have the generator and transfer switch before you need them. I bought my generator during the october snowstorm that left most of new england in the dark last fall. I am contemplating installing a transfer switch myself.

If I am correct, you are in the New Orleans area. I feel your pain as we were without power for three days last October and the lights came back on several hours after I waited an hour and a half in line to buy the generator. Now I have it for the next outage. We did make it through Irene without losing power but Connecticut got battered.

As for the fridge, all of the food ended up in the trash.
--
I wish I still lived in Iowa; Everything there from rent and groceries to Cable TV is much cheaper in Iowa (especially with an overbuilder in town).


IowaCowboy
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reply to Jack_in_VA
said by Jack_in_VA:

Hire a Licensed Electrician or Electrical Company to install one for you. They will know what you need and what the code calls for and install it correctly.

Depends on how comfortable you are with wiring. I am confident in my ability to do residential wiring. I have even corrected the mistakes made by professional electricians (such as 2 wires to a screw terminal, which has been banned by the NEC for decades).

In his situation, electricians (along with generators and their accessories) are probably in short supply. Many people need to hire electricians to repair electrical hardware (such as meter sockets, conduits, and service heads) damaged by the storms. The poco only repairs the lines themselves, the cables, and the meter themselves. Everything else is the homeowner's responsibility. Installing transfer switches is not a priority for electricians in the area who are now booked weeks in advance because of storm damage.

I will say, if you have any doubts about your ability to finish the job properly, safely, alive and all body parts intact; call a professional. The few hundred dollars you save by doing it yourself is not worth losing your life over.
--
I wish I still lived in Iowa; Everything there from rent and groceries to Cable TV is much cheaper in Iowa (especially with an overbuilder in town).


cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT
reply to exocet_cm
said by exocet_cm:

How do I go about determining what type of generator transfer switch and interlock is approved for my electrical code?

You only need one of them. Either use an interlock OR a transfer switch panel. An electrician might want to steer you onto the transfer switch route, there is more work involved plus more expensive materials.


exocet_cm
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New Orleans, LA
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reply to exocet_cm
The problem with New Orleans is that everybody and their brother is, legitimately, licensed and insured. That doesn't mean a damn thing down here. The licensed and insured electrical company that the contractor used to do the electrical work for my house sucked arse to the point that I had to redo the work that they did (boy was it hot in the attic).

I can do the work on my own and am confident in my ability but transfer switches, interlocks, etc... are a new area for me. I'd like to do it correctly though and appreciate the information provided so far. Note that "correctly", at least down here, does not necessarily mean hiring a licensed and insured company.

quote:
The thing is to have the generator and transfer switch before you need them. I bought my generator during the October snowstorm that left most of New England in the dark last fall. I am contemplating installing a transfer switch myself.
My electricity was restored last night around 8:00 PM. I was out of grid electricity Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and most of Saturday. I ran my refrigerator, some oscillating fans, and ran/recharged the UPS on my alarm system, the UPS on my entertainment system, the UPS on my surveillance system, and the UPS on my living room lamps from my generator (old Pow'r Gard using a Honda GX240 engine, about to overhaul the thing). I let it run 8 hours overnight and cool down during the day. I'd like to not have to run extension cords through my window next time and rather just plug it in and turn it on to power a select number of circuits.

--
"I have measured out my life with coffee spoons..." - T.S Eliot
"I have often regretted my speech, never my silence." - Publilius Syrus
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Daarken
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Southwest LA
kudos:3
we also had severe weather from Isaac. I fortunately was prepared, and I had already installed a window unit AC in preparation for the storm.
I suggest you decide what you want and get it online. You can save some serious cash. However
This kit, »www.amazon.com/Reliance-Generato···00K2CV00 is a single circuit switch, your just switching from land to generator, and you manually select which circuit breakers to use.

The transfer switch kit they sell at lowes is around $285 or so.
»www.lowes.com/pd_182534-48019-30···cetInfo= It basically comes with everything you need, except for the electrician.
Remember to shut off all breakers before switching to generator.
Good Luck
--
Getting it Done.


exocet_cm
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New Orleans, LA
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said by Daarken:

we also had severe weather from Isaac. I fortunately was prepared, and I had already installed a window unit AC in preparation for the storm.
I suggest you decide what you want and get it online. You can save some serious cash. However
This kit, »www.amazon.com/Reliance-Generato···00K2CV00 is a single circuit switch, your just switching from land to generator, and you manually select which circuit breakers to use.

The transfer switch kit they sell at lowes is around $285 or so.
»www.lowes.com/pd_182534-48019-30···cetInfo= It basically comes with everything you need, except for the electrician.
Remember to shut off all breakers before switching to generator.
Good Luck

I think this is it:

»www.reliancecontrols.com/Product···x?CSR302
»www.backupgenerators.com/CSR302-···=Froogle

Manual is my style. I don't like relying on automatic systems. I enjoy flipping the switch (and ensuring things are done correctly).
--
"I have measured out my life with coffee spoons..." - T.S Eliot
"I have often regretted my speech, never my silence." - Publilius Syrus
Ma blog: »www.johndball.com


nunya
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O Fallon, MO
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reply to IowaCowboy

Depends on how comfortable you are with wiring. I am confident in my ability to do residential wiring. I have even corrected the mistakes made by professional electricians (such as 2 wires to a screw terminal, which has been banned by the NEC for decades).

It's not "banned" by code. Code says the terminal must bee used as designed. Some terminals (many terminals) are designed to have more than one wire. It's not common professional practice to utilize this "feature" unless absolutely necessary. Some local municipalities may have an outright "ban" on double lugging, but it's not an NEC issue, it's a UL issue.

OP, what king of panel do you have? Can you post pictures? What size and type is your generator set?
Transfer switches are serious business. Someone (including you) can be killed or seriously injured if it's not done correctly. I see botched transfer switch installs all the time. The worst are those silly "add on" panels from Lowe's Depot. I've never been impressed by the "cheesiness" factor of those things. I would consider those a "last resort" item. Amateurish, at best.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.


exocet_cm
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New Orleans, LA
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1 edit
said by nunya:


Depends on how comfortable you are with wiring. I am confident in my ability to do residential wiring. I have even corrected the mistakes made by professional electricians (such as 2 wires to a screw terminal, which has been banned by the NEC for decades).

It's not "banned" by code. Code says the terminal must bee used as designed. Some terminals (many terminals) are designed to have more than one wire. It's not common professional practice to utilize this "feature" unless absolutely necessary. Some local municipalities may have an outright "ban" on double lugging, but it's not an NEC issue, it's a UL issue.

OP, what king of panel do you have? Can you post pictures? What size and type is your generator set?
Transfer switches are serious business. Someone (including you) can be killed or seriously injured if it's not done correctly. I see botched transfer switch installs all the time. The worst are those silly "add on" panels from Lowe's Depot. I've never been impressed by the "cheesiness" factor of those things. I would consider those a "last resort" item. Amateurish, at best.

I'll get some pictures this week. Panel is a GE. Generator is a portable Pow'r Gard (now Baldor) OHV40 (3500 continuous watt) 120/240 with the following receptacles:
(4) Straight(520R GFCI)120V, 20A, Duplex
(1) Twist Lock(L530R)120V, 30A
(1) Twist Lock(L1430R)120/240V, 30A.

I'm not looking to have something to run the whole house. When a hurricane comes, I send my wife and son to her parent's house across the lake. If it is really bad, I send them to my parent's house (where they have a whole house generator) in Baton Rouge.

Due to my job, I'm required to stay in New Orleans. As I've seen first hand with this hurricane, this generator does great. It kept my refrigerator cold and recharged the rest of my equipment over night so it would run during the day (see above). It also gave the wife and son electricity when they came back on Friday night.

nunya See Profile, I wouldn't mind having an electrician do the work but bro, the garbage that came to New Orleans post-Katrina is terrible! I'm surprised the whole damn city hasn't burned to the ground. I don't trust any of the clowns running around town. I'm comfortable with working with electrical systems but, like I mentioned above, this area is somewhat new to me. If you honestly don't think I could learn without having my life insurance policy kick in, then I'll seek guidance from somebody I trust (might be hard, I don't know of anybody. I guess I could find a firefighter ).
--
"I have measured out my life with coffee spoons..." - T.S Eliot
"I have often regretted my speech, never my silence." - Publilius Syrus
Ma blog: »www.johndball.com


nunya
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Square D makes interlock kits for their QO and Homeline panels. They are both available online. I think I paid about $100 for the last Square D kit I ordered (I don't know why they are so overpriced). They are fairly straightforward, installation-wise.

It forces you to shut off the main (utility) before you can turn on the generator power. It won't let you have both on at the same time. You just have to select which loads you want to keep on. Obviously your generator isn't going to power any major appliances. What I suggest to people is to go to office depot and get some red and green dot stickers to label which breakers should be turned on (Fridge, lights, TV, Microwave, pumps, etc...).

No stupid sub-panel required. A 30A inlet is about $50 online, and a 30A Square D breaker is probably around $10 at Lowe's Depot.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.


exocet_cm
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New Orleans, LA
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said by nunya:

Square D makes interlock kits for their QO and Homeline panels. They are both available online. I think I paid about $100 for the last Square D kit I ordered (I don't know why they are so overpriced). They are fairly straightforward, installation-wise.

It forces you to shut off the main (utility) before you can turn on the generator power. It won't let you have both on at the same time. You just have to select which loads you want to keep on. Obviously your generator isn't going to power any major appliances. What I suggest to people is to go to office depot and get some red and green dot stickers to label which breakers should be turned on (Fridge, lights, TV, Microwave, pumps, etc...).

No stupid sub-panel required. A 30A inlet is about $50 online, and a 30A Square D breaker is probably around $10 at Lowe's Depot.

Nix the transfer switch kit above, install a 30A inlet on the panel and add a Square D interlock kit to the panel? This is the interlock kit that is positioned in a way so that the generator breaker can't turn on unless the main is turned off? I think it stretches from the main down to the top most breaker in the panel (which would be the generator breaker).
--
"I have measured out my life with coffee spoons..." - T.S Eliot
"I have often regretted my speech, never my silence." - Publilius Syrus
Ma blog: »www.johndball.com


SwedishRider
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not Sweden
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Click for full size
Click for full size
Click for full size
said by exocet_cm:

said by nunya:

Square D makes interlock kits for their QO and Homeline panels. They are both available online. I think I paid about $100 for the last Square D kit I ordered (I don't know why they are so overpriced). They are fairly straightforward, installation-wise.

It forces you to shut off the main (utility) before you can turn on the generator power. It won't let you have both on at the same time. You just have to select which loads you want to keep on. Obviously your generator isn't going to power any major appliances. What I suggest to people is to go to office depot and get some red and green dot stickers to label which breakers should be turned on (Fridge, lights, TV, Microwave, pumps, etc...).

No stupid sub-panel required. A 30A inlet is about $50 online, and a 30A Square D breaker is probably around $10 at Lowe's Depot.

Nix the transfer switch kit above, install a 30A inlet on the panel and add a Square D interlock kit to the panel? This is the interlock kit that is positioned in a way so that the generator breaker can't turn on unless the main is turned off? I think it stretches from the main down to the top most breaker in the panel (which would be the generator breaker).

Here are a few pics of my setup. This is what nunya is talking about. My panel is a GE, so your setup will look a little different, but the concept is the same. My inlet is a 30A that is wired back to a 30A breaker in panel positions 2 and 4. This setup can take a max of 7500 continuous watt generator (my house is primarily propane based, so low electrical draw needed).

If you want to go bigger, you can go 50A inlet wired to a 50A breaker (wiring must be larger gauge to meet code) and you can use up to a 12,500 watt generator (I think... nunya can confirm that). Determine your needs and gather your supplies. I would recommend logging a call or an in-person visit to your local building department to confirm interlock kits are code-compliant for your municipality. They are legal in most places, but there are a few that do not allow them for whatever reason. My building office has no problem with them. Good luck!


pende_tim
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Andover, NJ
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reply to nunya
I don't know if this is what you purchased, but seems to fit a QO 200A main. Only in the $50.00 range at Menards and some other places »www.menards.com/main/electrical/···6377.htm
--
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IowaCowboy
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Springfield, MA
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reply to nunya
Where I have seen the double lugging is on outlets and switches (which are designed for one wire). I have a seperate thread on my generator question. »Portable Generator question
--
I wish I still lived in Iowa; Everything there from rent and groceries to Cable TV is much cheaper in Iowa (especially with an overbuilder in town).


IowaCowboy
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Springfield, MA
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reply to SwedishRider
said by SwedishRider:

said by exocet_cm:

said by nunya:

Square D makes interlock kits for their QO and Homeline panels. They are both available online. I think I paid about $100 for the last Square D kit I ordered (I don't know why they are so overpriced). They are fairly straightforward, installation-wise.

It forces you to shut off the main (utility) before you can turn on the generator power. It won't let you have both on at the same time. You just have to select which loads you want to keep on. Obviously your generator isn't going to power any major appliances. What I suggest to people is to go to office depot and get some red and green dot stickers to label which breakers should be turned on (Fridge, lights, TV, Microwave, pumps, etc...).

No stupid sub-panel required. A 30A inlet is about $50 online, and a 30A Square D breaker is probably around $10 at Lowe's Depot.

Nix the transfer switch kit above, install a 30A inlet on the panel and add a Square D interlock kit to the panel? This is the interlock kit that is positioned in a way so that the generator breaker can't turn on unless the main is turned off? I think it stretches from the main down to the top most breaker in the panel (which would be the generator breaker).

Here are a few pics of my setup. This is what nunya is talking about. My panel is a GE, so your setup will look a little different, but the concept is the same. My inlet is a 30A that is wired back to a 30A breaker in panel positions 2 and 4. This setup can take a max of 7500 continuous watt generator (my house is primarily propane based, so low electrical draw needed).

If you want to go bigger, you can go 50A inlet wired to a 50A breaker (wiring must be larger gauge to meet code) and you can use up to a 12,500 watt generator (I think... nunya can confirm that). Determine your needs and gather your supplies. I would recommend logging a call or an in-person visit to your local building department to confirm interlock kits are code-compliant for your municipality. They are legal in most places, but there are a few that do not allow them for whatever reason. My building office has no problem with them. Good luck!

I would consider using an interlock kit on my setup but I have two problems with one being that Massachusetts building code does not allow interlocks (must use a transfer switch) and the other being that all of my breaker slots are occupied (although I could disconnect the dedicated circuit for the thru the wall A/C that does not work and I use my own 120 volt A/C units instead of the one that comes with the unit). Also, my circuit breaker panel is a challenger brand panel (which I think is discontinued and cannot get parts for).
--
I wish I still lived in Iowa; Everything there from rent and groceries to Cable TV is much cheaper in Iowa (especially with an overbuilder in town).


PoloDude
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Northport, NY
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reply to exocet_cm
I have done whole house transfer switches on this house and my last one. I used a 200amp DPDT switch. The reason i did it was I felt it was a better install. I also did not have to lose 2 slots in my panel. The added bonus is now if i want to kill the power to the whole house I can just throw the trans switch which is more accessible than the Main.
--
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-Plenty Coups, Chief of the Crow”


exocet_cm
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New Orleans, LA
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reply to exocet_cm
Sorry, my meter box is a Square D. My panel is a General Electric (GE). Looks similar to SwedishRider See Profile.


IowaCowboy
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Springfield, MA
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reply to nunya
Oops: realized what I just posted on this post I already posted what I said in an above post.


exocet_cm
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New Orleans, LA
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reply to nunya
Click for full size
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Pics as requested.


cowboyro
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Shelton, CT
Looks exactly like my panel.
»www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R···Id=10051
Add a $50 inlet, whatever it takes in cable from inlet to panel, problem solved.
You'll need to free the 2 top right breakers and install the dual-pole breaker for generator there.


exocet_cm
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New Orleans, LA
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1 edit
said by cowboyro:

Looks exactly like my panel.
»www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R···Id=10051
Add a $50 inlet, whatever it takes in cable from inlet to panel, problem solved.
You'll need to free the 2 top right breakers and install the dual-pole breaker for generator there.

Can you take a picture of your setup so I know what my should look like in the end?

Looking at these then:
Inlet: »www.amazon.com/GenTran-250-Volt-···sbs_lg_2
Lockout: »www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R···OdJaBxUP
--
"I have measured out my life with coffee spoons..." - T.S Eliot
"I have often regretted my speech, never my silence." - Publilius Syrus
Ma blog: »www.johndball.com


cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT
It's just like SwedishRider's, except for a different inlet mounted inside the garage near the door (concrete walls, no way to put it outside).


exocet_cm
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New Orleans, LA
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Cool, thanks.


exocet_cm
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reply to exocet_cm
Done. Equipment purchased. Will install it in two weeks when I get back from Indianapolis.

Thanks guys.


IowaCowboy
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reply to exocet_cm
The breaker panels are actually installed on the outside there.

Every place I have come across (my house, friend's houses, relative's houses, grandma's house, etc) all have their breaker panels indoors (either in the basement or kitchen). My current house has the breakers in the basement. My old house had a fuse box and that was in the kitchen. Even Grandma's old house in Florida (which she was forced to sell last year) had the breakers indoors.
--
I wish I still lived in Iowa; Everything there from rent and groceries to Cable TV is much cheaper in Iowa (especially with an overbuilder in town).


exocet_cm
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New Orleans, LA
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said by IowaCowboy:

The breaker panels are actually installed on the outside there.

Every place I have come across (my house, friend's houses, relative's houses, grandma's house, etc) all have their breaker panels indoors (either in the basement or kitchen). My current house has the breakers in the basement. My old house had a fuse box and that was in the kitchen. Even Grandma's old house in Florida (which she was forced to sell last year) had the breakers indoors.

Outdoors here in NOLA. When I lived north or New Orleans (in Slidell), we had panels indoors in the garage or utility closet.
--
"I have measured out my life with coffee spoons..." - T.S Eliot
"I have often regretted my speech, never my silence." - Publilius Syrus
Ma blog: »www.johndball.com