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Reliance PB30 Generator Inlet

Square D generator sub-panel completed and labeled

Generator Sub-Panel Installation

Dear Mr. Electrician: How do I install a generator sub-panel?  I want to have a generator sub-panel for circuits in my house such as the furnace, the sump pump, and the refrigerator. Answer: There are a few types of generator sub-panels available.  Some of them come pre-wired from the factory and it is just a matter of connecting the flexible conduit to the main electrical panel and then making all of the electrical connections as per the instructions.  That type of sub-panel can only be used directly adjacent to the main electrical panel.  NOTE: Text links go to applicable products on Amazon.com Another type of installation utilizes a standard electrical load center as a generator sub-panel for some previously selected circuits to be powered when the generator is on.  Below are photos of a generator sub-panel installation using a Square D generator sub-panel which included two main breakers, an interlock kit, and a circuit breaker hold down kit. As with any new electrical installation an electrical permit must be obtained from the town building department.  Submit a copy of the sub-panel instructions and specifications with your permit application.  Call for inspection upon completion. Some of the applicable articles from the National Electrical Code concerning the installation of generator sub-panels are: 210, 230, 250, 300, 310, 314, 334, 445, and 702.  NOTE: Text links below go to applicable products on Amazon.com Portable Generator Sub-Panel Installation I have found that some finished basements have made the main electrical panel inaccessible for future renovations and sometimes even for repairs.  The Cutler Hammer load center depicted here was boxed in by the wall that was erected in the basement.  Fortunately it was not totally enclosed. I was able to remove the cables of the circuits to be relocated into the generator sub-panel from the top of the main electrical panel and fish them into the ceiling above.  There was enough slack on the Romex cables for me to bring them into two 4 11/16" square junction boxes. Two large junction boxes were installed close to the main electrical panel in the accessible ceiling so that the circuit wires that are removed from the main panel could be spliced and extended to the new generator sub-panel.  From the ceiling mounted junction boxes I installed new cables to the generator sub-panel. Amazon Sells Generator Sub-Panels The view above inside of the wall shows the right side of the main electrical panel.  The camera angle is from inside of a basement utility closet where the new generator sub-panel will be located.  The right side of the Cutler Hammer load center was open all of the way to this closet.  Through that space I was able to install a 10/3 Romex cable to feed power to the new Square D generator sub-panel. The joists are prefabricated I-Joists with pre-punched holes every 12" for wires and pipes. Because the junction boxes are metal, they are required to be grounded by using a 10/32 ground screw with one of the grounding conductors under it.  All grounding conductors are then joined together by...
Installed Interlock kit on a Cutler Hammer Circuit Breaker Panel

Install A Generator Interlock Kit

Dear Mr. Electrician: How do I install a generator interlock kit on my main breaker? 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.  On the last page is a short YouTube video of this installation.  NOTE: Links in the text below are to applicable products sold on Amazon.com 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. I had submitted documentation about the interlock kit and the PB30 generator inlet along with my application for an electrical permit for this job.  I also made a simple drawing depicting the location of the generator inlet in relation to the basement electrical panel.  The work was inspected by the town electrical inspector. 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. How To Install A Generator Interlock Kit Above is what the Cutler Hammer circuit breaker panel looked like prior to the installation of the interlock kit.  Fortunately there were five available spaces in this 30 circuit panel.  The interlock kit for this particular CH panel requires three spaces on the top right. 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 homeowner had typed up a panel directory for most of the circuits years before this installation.  It came in handy when identifying critical circuits to run off of the portable generator.  A circuit tracer is handy for tracking down circuits throughout the house. Prior to the start of the job of installing the interlock kit you...