Weather-related power outages are becoming a new normal, and a lot of it can be attributed to the U.S.’s old infrastructure. If you are a service provider or a contractor, then you are no stranger to the frantic customer calls to know how to prepare their home for generators.
Generators are a failsafe solution for the customers who never want to lose access to power supply. However, you need to have not only the requisite generator but also require technical skills for its installation, especially when it comes to connecting the right generator set to an electrical panel.
The most common options available include a split bus panel and generator interlock kits. Let us discuss each in detail to help you make an informed choice.
Generator interlock kits
A generator interlock kit works the same way as a manual transfer switch that connects a generator to the electrical panel combined with a two-pole breaker. The kit helps ensure that the main breaker is off before the dedicated two-pole breaker can be powered on. Therefore, it helps isolate the generator’s energy and prevents it from back-feeding into the main electrical grid when the power comes back on.
These kits are cost-effective and comparatively easy to connect to a generator. The installation, too, takes no longer than 30 minutes!
A transfer switch, on the other hand, is limited to a certain number of circuits. However, a generator interlock kit makes it possible to tun power from a generator to any circuit in an existing electrical panel. But for the kit to work efficiently, it is necessary to size the generator as per the load to avoid the risk of overloading.
This is the reason you must know how to size the generator correctly as per the requirements of your house. Concurrently, it is also crucial to learn about switching the loads on and off manually. Experts recommend that you label each circuit as essential and non-essential to know which circuit breakers turn off or on during a power outage.
Split bus panels
Even though a generator interlock kit may appear to be a smart solution for a homeowner, some individuals might not like the idea of manually switching the circuit breaker on and off. This is where the split bus panel comes into the picture.
Unlike generator interlock kits, a split bus panel removes the guesswork from this entire process. These panels are replaced with your home’s electrical panels and work like a regular breaker panel. The distinction is that a split bus panel helps in separating critical from the non-critical load.
As such, when the power is turned off, you do not have to manually choose which circuit breakers to power on like you would with a generator interlock kit. In its place, all you need to do is flip a switch to transfer power to a generator manually. This will only feed power from the generator to the circuit breakers that are situated on the vital part of the panel.
However, split bus panels are costlier than the standard breaker panel from your distributor. It is more expensive because of the additional 60 amp two-pole breakers that are required for the transmission of power from non-critical load to the panel’s critical load section.
Additionally, it is also more time-consuming as well as costly to install. However, it does provide you with a faster experience, especially if you live in a power-outage prone regions of the country.
As more and more users are now dependent on power, it has put immense pressure on the power grids, and these options provide customers with reliable energy options. Needless to say, generator interlock kits and split bus panels are both essential products when it comes to generating energy.
The Way Forward
Suppose you are still confused about Generator Interlock Kit and Split Bus Panels. In that case, you must approach a qualified electrical professional to understand and find guidance for selecting the best failsafe options for your systems!