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Old 06-12-2014, 12:38 PM   #1
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most affordable way to tap a generator into whole home?


After a random power outage of 12 hours last night, I was thinking of getting a portable generator to power the fridge, a few lights, furnace fan, garage door opener, and possibly 800w worth of electronics.

I have been reading about transfer switches and interlocks. What's the best way to plug in a genny to power all/some circuits of the house off of the generator about once or twice a year?

Is it OK for me to install, or would it be best to have a electrician do it properly? I was thinking this guy:

Generac 60-Amp Single-Load Manual Transfer Switch
Item #: 545630 | Model #: 6333.0

runs $100 at lowes

I do not mind 100% manual process, as i'll have to grab the genny, run the cable, plug it in, etc.

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Old 06-12-2014, 12:46 PM   #2
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Portable generators can only supply a very limited load. You are wanting to keep it cheap then extension cords to the critical loads is bottom dollar.

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Old 06-12-2014, 12:49 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by PoleCat View Post
Portable generators can only supply a very limited load. You are wanting to keep it cheap then extension cords to the critical loads is bottom dollar.
I agree, but I would not mind spending $200-$300 on transfer box so I can just hook up to the whole house via one cable.
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Old 06-13-2014, 12:00 AM   #4
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vivi, a generator transfer switch won't allow you to hook up the whole house, just a few circuits (usually 6-10). An interlock will allow you to do that. There are plusses and minuses to each. See one of several discussions here and at other electrical web sites. I prefer transfer switches, but that's just me.
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Old 06-13-2014, 12:19 AM   #5
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An interlock kit would be the most cost effective.

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Old 06-13-2014, 04:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgip2000 View Post
An interlock kit would be the most cost effective.
Agree. Done right it is the most cost effective way. You are looking at $200 minimum including a cord for the genset.
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Old 06-13-2014, 08:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
Agree. Done right it is the most cost effective way. You are looking at $200 minimum including a cord for the genset.
Yep. I spent about $100 just on the interlock bracket and the inlet. Still costs less than a transfer switch. Little less convenient though.
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Old 06-13-2014, 08:47 PM   #8
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OP the 100 bucks you quoted is about right for a 8 circuit panel
2- 2 pole breakers
manual lock mechanism
you can add a sub panel (larger than the one from lowes) so you have more circuits to feed than just four.

additional, size of main lug panel.
feeder and feeder breaker.
crucial circuit breakers and labor.
Wire to and outlet for generator.

If you have the room in your panel and could bring your 2 pole generator breaker there. You can check here to see if they have a mechanism that will fit your panel.
They're about 150 bucks. But no need for a subpanel and all involved.
You can also refeed "everything" in your house and shed loads as needed.

http://www.interlockkit.com/index.htm
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Old 06-13-2014, 08:53 PM   #9
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Interlockkit.com is outrageously expensive, BUT...they have them for most panels, even older ones.
If you have a relatively recent panel the factory pieces are like $50-$75.
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Old 06-13-2014, 09:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
Interlockkit.com is outrageously expensive, BUT...they have them for most panels, even older ones.
If you have a relatively recent panel the factory pieces are like $50-$75.
150 bucks for a interlock kit isn't a bad price, far from outrageous... they have overhead, just like electricians... IMO, I sell them to make money, so I could care less what they charge..... Speedy, you wouldn't want Interlockkit.com telling you, you charge too much to install their product, so it really isn't fair to say they are too expensive either...
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Old 06-13-2014, 09:46 PM   #11
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I totally get that they have R&D, tooling and such, but 3x the price of the competition IMO is overpriced. Especially for what you get.
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Old 06-14-2014, 08:23 AM   #12
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Master Electrical Services aka interlockkit.com is here in my area.

I was told by one of the guys there that, the reason for the added cost, is for the UL listing.

Being listed is very expensive and because most manufacturers have multiple products, that cost can be spread out.
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Old 06-14-2014, 09:38 AM   #13
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The last I looked they still were not UL listed. Do you know if that changed?
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Old 06-14-2014, 09:51 AM   #14
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Every time I read the post title (most affordable way to tap a generator into a whole home?), it reminds me of an install I just finished up.


When I walked in, there was a whip from permanently installed generator to a outdoor pool panel.

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Old 06-14-2014, 11:06 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
The last I looked they still were not UL listed. Do you know if that changed?
As far as I know, they are still not listed.

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