Michigan storms and aging power grids translates to many of us having experienced several power outages lately, often for days at a time. If you don’t have a whole house generator, a portable generator is a great option.
Safely Using Portable Generators
Important Safety Reminder: NEVER run a portable generator inside your home. Place it outdoors and as far away as possible from your home. Portable generators emit a lot of potentially deadly carbon monoxide.
There are a few ways to connect a small, gasoline powered portable generator safely to your home.
Extension cords: If you only need to power a few appliances such as a refrigerator or freezer, just use extension cords to plug them into the generator’s power outlets.
Transfer switches: A transfer switch is a more comprehensive solution. A separate breaker panel is installed next to your main panel. During a power outage, the generator is plugged into a dedicated outlet and electricity is sent into the transfer switch to branch circuit breakers in the breaker panel. The separate panel prevents backfeeding of the power main from your generator.
Generator interlock kit: An interlock kit offers the same safety of a transfer switch, but costs less and has an easier installation process. Read on to learn more.
What is a Generator Interlock Kit?
A generator interlock kit is used to safely power a home via a portable generator during a power outage by connecting the generator to the home electrical system.
A generator interlock kit fits on the home's electrical panel and allows a generator to power multiple circuits in your house. Basically, it’s a set of hard plastic or metal guards that allow power to enter the circuit accepting power from the generator while keeping the main switch off. Remember, the number of circuits powered must not exceed the capacity of the generator.
An interlock kit stops your home’s main breaker from being turned on at the same time as your generator breaker. Not only that, but it prevents power from backfeeding into the power lines. This is important because backfeed can injure or kill anyone working on the powerlines.
An interlock kit is a safe and inexpensive way to use a portable generator safely. Generator interlock kits must be installed by a licensed electrician. Contact A.F. Smith today for an estimate!