– Ben Martens

Generator Interlock

generatorinletAs you may remember, we’ve lost power at our house three times in the last 12 months and we’ve lost it quite a bit in the past two. We have used our new generator for the two latest incidents, and it worked great, but I’m a lazy human. Running an extension cord through the house and feeding it around the house to run various things is annoying. It was time for an upgrade.

We had an electrician come by and he installed an interlock kit in our electrical panel. Now we have a 240v male plug on the outside of our house. When the power goes out, I shut off the power from the street, flip over to power from this plug and then plug the generator into the house. We can then choose which circuits to power from the generator. We’ll be able to easily keep the fridges running, power up the furnace, and have hot water from our tankless water heater. And if we have to pick and choose because the generator can’t provide enough power, it’s just a flick of a circuit breaker to choose a different combination of circuits. It will be really nice to have light switches and everything like that working as normal.

After we bought the generator, we joked that it meant the power would never go out again. That wasn’t true. We’ll see how long it takes before we get to really use this new capability. The first big wind storm of the fall is the one that usually knocks us out so we might not have to wait too long…

2 thoughts on “Generator Interlock

  1. Ken C.

    I’ve always wondered with a setup like this, if the main is off, how do you know when the power is back and you can disconnect the generator? Do you just watch for lights at the neighbors?

    1. Ben

      You’re right that there’s no signal inside the house. Theoretically I suppose you could wire up some sort of alarm that would trigger when it gets power from the main line. But given where I live, I’ll just look out the window and see lights on at the neighbor houses.