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Reliance PB30 Generator Inlet

Square D generator sub-panel completed and labeled

Generator Sub-Panel Installation

Dear Mr. Electrician: What is required for a generator sub-panel installation?  I want to have a generator sub-panel for circuits in my house such as the furnace, the sump pump, and the refrigerator. Answer: Requirements for a generator sub-panel installation vary and there are a several types of generator sub-panels available.  NOTE: Some text links below go to applicable products on Amazon.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Some types of generator sub-panels 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 and has limited circuits. 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.  Also include information about an interlock kit if one will be used and where the sub-panel will be located. If you plan to use an interlock kit made by a third party be sure that it has a testing laboratory approval such as Underwriter's Laboratories (UL).  Interlock kits made by the electrical panel manufacturer will have this approval. If the installation is a little out of the ordinary or if you have questions about code compliance, you can also include photos of the new generator sub-panel location with your permit application, as well as the existing electrical service and main electrical panel. I usually include a one page typed "Scope of Work" that gives a brief description of the work to be done and some of the materials used. It is best to provide as much clear and concise information as possible with your permit application so that the inspector has a full understanding of the work being done before hand.  Better to find out ahead of time if the installation will be code compliant rather than after the work is done and your work fails inspection. 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. 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...
Installed Interlock kit on a Cutler Hammer Circuit Breaker Panel

How To Install a Generator Interlock Kit and Inlet

Dear Mr. Electrician:  How do I install a generator interlock kit on my main electrical panel with a power inlet for connecting the generator? Answer:  A generator interlock kit is great if you want to supply temporary power to your entire circuit breaker panel and can be an economical choice compared to installing a separate external transfer switch. NOTE: Some text links below go to applicable products sold on Amazon.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Below are step-by-step photos depicting a main breaker interlock kit installation on an older Cutler Hammer main circuit breaker panel.  There are also photos and details of the power inlet installation, which is how the temporary generator power is supplied to the existing main electrical panel. Table of Contents: Getting the Permit for the Interlock Kit Installation Planning the Interlock Kit Installation Installing the Power Inlet Installing the Generator Circuit Breaker Mounting the Interlock Kit Top Of Page GETTING A PERMIT FOR YOUR GENERATOR INTERLOCK KIT INSTALLATION Before 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 clearly understands the work being done beforehand.  The scope of work is no longer than one page and includes details of the work to be done and the materials used.  I also include the location of the main electrical panel and the generator inlet. For the installation depicted below, I submitted documentation about the interlock kit, the PB30 generator inlet, and 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. Furnishing this information is helpful for the electrical inspector and lets them know if it looks like it will be code compliant.  It is better to find out beforehand if the job will pass inspection rather than fail inspection after completion. For example, on one of my permit applications in one town, I submitted the name of the interlock kit I planned to use.  The inspector contacted me and said that particular interlock kit was not approved for installation in my state.  That saved me from having to do the installation over. When the work is completed, you will arrange for an electrical inspector to review the job to ensure it complies 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. Top Of Page PLANNING A MAIN BREAKER GENERATOR INTERLOCK KIT INSTALLATION You should first plan your safety while installing a generator interlock kit.  Use proper tools.  Use the correct size ladder instead of standing on a chair, crate, or bucket.  Gloves protect your hands, but you should also protect your eyes.  Remove all jewelry and your watch.  Wear steel-toe work boots.  Tie back long...