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Tag: Portable Generator Connection

Installed Interlock kit on a Cutler Hammer Circuit Breaker Panel

Generator Interlock Kit for a Cutler Hammer Load Center in 2019

Dear Mr. Electrician: How do I install a generator interlock kit to supply portable generator power to my Cutler Hammer main circuit breaker panel so that I can power all of my circuits in the event of a power failure from the power company? Answer: A generator interlock kit is great if you want to supply power to your entire circuit breaker panel and can be an economical choice compared to installing a separate external transfer switch.  Below are step by step photos depicting an interlock kit installation on an older Cutler Hammer main circuit breaker panel.  NOTE: Links in the text are to products sold on Amazon. Before beginning the work of installing an interlock kit on your main electrical panel, you should obtain an electrical permit from your town's building department.  Submit a copy of the interlock kit installation instructions with your permit application.  In addition I always write a short "Scope of Work" and include that with my permit applications so that the inspector has a clear understanding of the work being done before hand.  When the work is completed you will arrange to have an electrical inspector look over the job to make sure that it is compliant with the electrical code.  This is very important to ensure that your installation is safe and not hazardous to someone connecting the generator during a power outage. Main Breaker Generator Interlock Kit Installed on a Cutler Hammer Load Center To install an interlock kit you will need a few extra spaces in your main electrical panel as a two pole 30 amp or two pole 50 amp circuit breaker will need to be installed adjacent to the main breaker.  The new two pole breaker will be connected to the incoming power from the portable generator.  Usually two or three spaces are required for the generator two pole circuit breaker. Generator interlock kits are available for many new electrical panels from the original manufacturer.  However for older electrical panels it is sometimes necessary to use an interlock kit from a third party manufacturer.  The interlock kit depicted in the photos on this page is from a third party manufacturer (www.interlockkit.com).  It is approved by a certified testing laboratory for use on this particular electrical panel.  The work was inspected by the town electrical inspector. Prior to the start of the job of installing the interlock kit you should identify some of the circuits that you will definitely want to be powered by the generator.  Circuits such as the refrigerator, heating system, and well pump are most commonly used for generator power.  You should also identify the circuits nearest the main circuit breaker as they will need to be relocated to allow room for the generator circuit breaker. Pick a location outside of your house to mount the generator inlet.  It should be in an area that is convenient for you to wheel the generator over to and should also be easy enough to install the permanent electrical wiring from the generator inlet to the main electrical...
A Completed Generator Interlock Kit Installation on an Existing GE Circuit Breaker Panel

Interlock Kit on a GE Load Center in 2019

Dear Mr. Electrician: How can I install a Generator Interlock Kit on my existing GE main circuit breaker panel so that I can connect a portable generator to it safely? Answer: You first must determine if you have the needed circuit breaker spaces for a generator circuit breaker in your main electrical panel.  Usually two, but sometimes three spaces are needed.  Then you need to order the correct generator interlock kit that is approved for your circuit breaker panel.  On newer electrical panels many manufacturers make an accessory interlock kit.  If you read the labeling inside of the panel carefully you should see a part number for the interlock kit for your panel.  If your main circuit breaker panel is older you might be able to obtain a third party manufacturer interlock kit.  The interlock kit shown on this post was made and sold by InterlockKit.com.  The photos below depict the interlock kit installation onto a GE main circuit breaker panel that was originally installed in the 1980's.  NOTE: Some text links go to applicable products on Amazon. Main Breaker Interlock Kit Installation on a GE Load Center Before beginning the job of installing an interlock kit on an existing main electrical panel, you should apply for an electrical permit at your local building department.  Include a copy of the interlock kit installation instructions with your permit application.  I always include a brief one page description of the work being done with my permit applications if I cannot fit all of the information on the permit application form.  Wording such as "Electrical work consists of the installation of a third party manufactured interlock kit on an existing 150 amp, 30 circuit GE main electrical panel.  A new 50 amp sub-panel is to be installed for relocated circuits.  Generator inlet to be installed outside next to garage door."  is something that I probably used with the permit application for the installation depicted in this post. I had a permit application for an interlock kit installation rejected once.  After I submitted the paperwork, I received a call from the electrical sub-code official.  He said that the state was no longer accepting the laboratory testing results of the third party interlock kit.  Consequently I was not allowed to install that particular interlock kit as it would never pass inspection.  I contacted the manufacturer and it was confirmed that my state was the only one that was no longer accepting the laboratory testing results from this one particular testing laboratory.  The testing laboratory had stopped doing electrical testing, but their previous tests were good.  My state would no longer accept even the previously accepted testing.  The manufacturer said that they were in the process of paying to have all of their products retested by another testing laboratory that my state would accept. When I first saw this client's main electrical panel I noticed immediately that it was overloaded with circuits.  The panel was only rated for 30 circuits, but due to the use of twin circuit breakers it...