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post #1 of 117 Old 03-12-2018, 12:02 AM Thread Starter
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Transfer Switches and Interlocks

I'm getting no snow in the dc area. I lost power last week for three days from the winds. Trees falling down. I had to use a portable generator. A company here quoted me a price for a whole house generator to be installed. 22 KW generac that's fueled by natural gas. I have gas heat so they would tap the gas service. I'm debating on having it done. You can buy a new car for the price they are asking.

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post #2 of 117 Old 03-12-2018, 06:31 AM
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Re: Snow 2017-18

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I had to use a portable generator. A company here quoted me a price for a whole house generator to be installed. 22 KW generac that's fueled by natural gas. I have gas heat so they would tap the gas service. I'm debating on having it done. You can buy a new car for the price they are asking.
Oof, that's expensive (I'm assuming we're talking something in the $10-15k range). A "middle-ground" solution might be a nice portable generator, with a transfer switch. Or preferably, an interlock, which could allow providing power to every circuit in your house, since it would power your entire panel from the generator.

As compared with typical generator (sometimes called contractor generators), the inverter generators are quieter, better on gas, and put out electrically-clean power (a nice sine wave, like utility power). This is good for sensitive electronics. A Honda EU7000iS is not cheap, but it's still a lot less than the price range you're talking about.
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post #3 of 117 Old 03-12-2018, 09:42 AM
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Re: Snow 2017-18

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Oof, that's expensive (I'm assuming we're talking something in the $10-15k range). A "middle-ground" solution might be a nice portable generator, with a transfer switch. Or preferably, an interlock, which could allow providing power to every circuit in your house, since it would power your entire panel from the generator.

As compared with typical generator (sometimes called contractor generators), the inverter generators are quieter, better on gas, and put out electrically-clean power (a nice sine wave, like utility power). This is good for sensitive electronics. A Honda EU7000iS is not cheap, but it's still a lot less than the price range you're talking about.
Where do you buy these transfer switches or interlock thing you are talking about to power your entire electric panel?

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post #4 of 117 Old 03-12-2018, 12:12 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Snow 2017-18

The whole neighborhood has whole house generators. For a long time, we would have power outages that would last for seven days.With a portable I can run the furnace but not the air conditioner. I can run some lights and the fridge. Other appliances I can't run. The dryer I can run. The stove or oven can't work And buying gallons of gasoline everyday and having to fill up the portable is a killer. I don't want to put this burden on my wife in the future if I'm not around. These generators aren't loud. You can barely hear them. Plus, some have sound walls around them if they bother people. I'm getting a maintenance contract where as they maintain it .Come out every 6 months, change the oil, filter, spark plug.It comes on once a week and does a self test.

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post #5 of 117 Old 03-12-2018, 12:31 PM
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Re: Snow 2017-18

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Originally Posted by Jimbochap View Post
Where do you buy these transfer switches or interlock thing you are talking about to power your entire electric panel?
Jim, not sure of where to buy. I have seen folks have an outlet outside by their electric meter where you plug in the outside generator. It then feeds into your inside panel. I can't tell you how to wire it. My local electric cooperative has a meter base that the outside generator plugs into. It is called Generlink and the co-op charges $615 for it. The generator must be less than 7200 watts. Doug

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post #6 of 117 Old 03-12-2018, 12:43 PM
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Re: Snow 2017-18

I used portable generators for a lot of years to cover needs during outages but, with us getting older, the wife wanted a system that would work without me needing to be there/able to do the various things necessary to maintain & run a portable safely.

So, a couple of years back, we went through Costco to get a whole house system installed that uses LP to run a 22kw unit w/ load management module attached to the 5 ton heat pump. We already had a self owned 500 gallon LP tank that supplied the LP furnace auxiliary heat source. After various rebates/cash back, points on the card, etc. the net cost was < $9k (including a 75' separation from meter/switch box to generator pad), ditching for the gas line run & new regulators).

Everything runs as intended & everything in the house is supported (BTW the hot water heater is a heat pump model with the resistance elements turned off). Last year I added a second 500 gallon tank as a safety reserve in the event of an extended outage during a winter ice event. A plus is being able to only buy LP when the price is lowest. When the heat pump isn't running, we probably only put a 1/8 load on the unit unless cooking & running the dryer at the same time.

Really convenient, in an outage our house is back on-line in 20 - 30 seconds. When line power returns, the switch back is fast enough it doesn't even make the appliance clocks reset. It self exercises once a week & if we haven't had a recent outage I will let the system carry the house for a half hour every couple of months to get it warmed up enough to drive out any accumulated moisture. Our power was out for about 4 hours last week during the wind events and it performed as intended.


Regarding weather - it's coming down here as I write. Started with sleet around 9 - 10 AM & has now shifted over to just snow. They are talking 3 inches or so, but the last time they said that this year it ended up being about 12"...

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post #7 of 117 Old 03-12-2018, 07:08 PM
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Re: Snow 2017-18

If you lose power often or for long periods of time,and live in a rural area where it might be days until power gets restored--then a whole house generator is a worthwhile investment..especially when you consider the cost of frozen pipes,spoiled food,and no heat ,etc..

I have the misfortune of having a recently installed sewer pumping station right across the street from my house,the town decided to build several of these instead of a larger underground facility--it has a big Kohler generator and they installed a huge underground propane tank to run it off of,I'd guess 500 gallons--that thing starts up every tuesday at 1 pm to run for at least 30 minutes,to "test" it and charge its battery maybe (and roast any mice that may have moved in!)--last Friday when a tree hit a pole right next to that building and the power cables melted,we lost power,and that generator fired up --and ran non-stop until the following Thursday..

No one can tell me they are "quiet"--though its not obnoxiously loud,after a day or so of the constant droning,it gets to you--especially at night when your trying to sleep..
its only 100 feet from my house..more aggravating than the noise it made,was the fact it was making 10,000 watts,and I had no heat,no well water,no lights..

Here's picture,you can see it off to the left of the building..
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post #8 of 117 Old 03-12-2018, 07:17 PM
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Re: Snow 2017-18

Quote:
Originally Posted by My craftsman 917.27308 View Post
I'm getting no snow in the dc area. I lost power last week for three days from the winds. Trees falling down. I had to use a portable generator. A company here quoted me a price for a whole house generator to be installed. 22 KW generac that's fueled by natural gas. I have gas heat so they would tap the gas service. I'm debating on having it done. You can buy a new car for the price they are asking.
Years ago I installed a Generac 17KW at our home and it's the best move we ever made. As documented elsewhere in a variety of posts on MTF. We purchased from a company in Michigan and it was the least expensive we found and it was free shipping to our door. Ziller Electric https://www.zillerelectric.com/ I don't work for them but their prices and service were the best I found. Now that was years ago, but a recent ck on their prices for a 22KW Generac w/ 200 amp transfer switch and all the cables, is just under $4800. I post that just so you know the costs and can evaluate how much an electrician would charge to install and make an educated decision.

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Where do you buy these transfer switches or interlock thing you are talking about to power your entire electric panel?
You can purchase a Transfer switch at any company that sells generators or they are readily available with a google search. The above named company sells them. Make sure they know that you have solar panels involved in your electric supply. That needs to be disconnected from a backfeed just like the generator.

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post #9 of 117 Old 03-12-2018, 07:56 PM
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Re: Snow 2017-18

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Originally Posted by royalton10 View Post
Jim, not sure of where to buy. I have seen folks have an outlet outside by their electric meter where you plug in the outside generator. It then feeds into your inside panel. I can't tell you how to wire it. My local electric cooperative has a meter base that the outside generator plugs into. It is called Generlink and the co-op charges $615 for it. The generator must be less than 7200 watts. Doug
Thanks for the info, the generator I have works with there transfer switches too. They have a PDF file on their site stating which generators the switches will work with.
Now just to find out what the cost is.

They would have to attach something to the outside meter for me to plug the generator into.

Since we just got solar panels installed last year we actually have more then one meter on the outside of out house now..........one showing power we are using and one showing power we are sending back to the grid.

I assume this transfer switch would go onto the one with the power coming in we are using.

Very interesting! Thanks for the information.
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post #10 of 117 Old 03-12-2018, 08:32 PM
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Re: Snow 2017-18

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You can purchase a Transfer switch at any company that sells generators or they are readily available with a google search. The above named company sells them. Make sure they know that you have solar panels involved in your electric supply. That needs to be disconnected from a backfeed just like the generator. Please explain more to me about this?

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Found some listed here on ebay, but much higher then Doug(royalton10) quoted above

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_fro...rlink&_sacat=0

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post #11 of 117 Old 03-12-2018, 08:43 PM
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Re: Snow 2017-18

Maybe this is what you are talking about and would work with my solar. Solar Link!

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post #12 of 117 Old 03-12-2018, 10:10 PM
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Re: Snow 2017-18

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Originally Posted by Jimbochap View Post

They would have to attach something to the outside meter for me to plug the generator into.

Since we just got solar panels installed last year we actually have more then one meter on the outside of out house now..........one showing power we are using and one showing power we are sending back to the grid.

I assume this transfer switch would go onto the one with the power coming in we are using.

Very interesting! Thanks for the information.
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First of all you have to understand the purpose of a Transfer Switch. The primary purpose is to isolate the "Grid" from the power you are generating, while supplying specific circuits with power. The reason I mentioned the solar is, depending on how the setup is wired, it COULD be possible that while disconnecting on the incoming power, any power being provide by the solar would be free to go out on the grid. This could make for a dangerous situation (electrocution) of anyone, bystander or lineman, coming into contact with a line that is thought to be dead. Both lines have to be isolated.

In reference to the link this seems to be not much more that a way to connect the generator to the house, possibly having the ability to power a couple of circuits. If they are saying that you just disconnect the mains, and everything in the house will be energized, then I think you are mistaken that everything will work. I take it that you are using a portable generator and doubt that it is large enough to handle the entire load. (See Below)


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Found some listed here on ebay, but much higher then Doug(royalton10) quoted above

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_fro...rlink&_sacat=0
I'm not really sure you have the right thought about what transfer switches do or how they operate. The one that I have is on an automatic start 17 KW generator, hard wired into the power circuit, where each breaker in my panel box is tied into an individual breaker in the transfer switch. It senses when the power goes out, starts the generator, and shuts it down when power is restored. Before I had this system, I had a portable generator that sat outside in it's own enclosure. It too was wired into a small eight circuit transfer switch. When the power went out, I had to manually throw the switches and provide power for 6 120 volt circuits for stove, refrig., freezer, furnace and a few lights. The other two were set up as 240 volt for the well pump so we would have water. The power only went to these circuits. When the power came back on, then I had to go shut them down. These are a case of cost. They are a case of safety, yours in the house and others outside. I suggest you talk to folks that sell, distribute or install them, to get a real understanding of what you are dealing with and how you can benefit for the right choice of the proper product. Just as a side note, I would never purchase something that is this important off of Ebay. The safety of this entire operation is not something to take lightly. A mistake could kill you.
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post #13 of 117 Old 03-13-2018, 07:46 AM
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Re: Snow 2017-18

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First of all you have to understand the purpose of a Transfer Switch. The primary purpose is to isolate the "Grid" from the power you are generating, while supplying specific circuits with power. The reason I mentioned the solar is, depending on how the setup is wired, it COULD be possible that while disconnecting on the incoming power, any power being provide by the solar would be free to go out on the grid. This could make for a dangerous situation (electrocution) of anyone, bystander or lineman, coming into contact with a line that is thought to be dead. Both lines have to be isolated.

In reference to the link this seems to be not much more that a way to connect the generator to the house, possibly having the ability to power a couple of circuits. If they are saying that you just disconnect the mains, and everything in the house will be energized, then I think you are mistaken that everything will work. I take it that you are using a portable generator and doubt that it is large enough to handle the entire load. (See Below)




I'm not really sure you have the right thought about what transfer switches do or how they operate. The one that I have is on an automatic start 17 KW generator, hard wired into the power circuit, where each breaker in my panel box is tied into an individual breaker in the transfer switch. It senses when the power goes out, starts the generator, and shuts it down when power is restored. Before I had this system, I had a portable generator that sat outside in it's own enclosure. It too was wired into a small eight circuit transfer switch. When the power went out, I had to manually throw the switches and provide power for 6 120 volt circuits for stove, refrig., freezer, furnace and a few lights. The other two were set up as 240 volt for the well pump so we would have water. The power only went to these circuits. When the power came back on, then I had to go shut them down. These are a case of cost. They are a case of safety, yours in the house and others outside. I suggest you talk to folks that sell, distribute or install them, to get a real understanding of what you are dealing with and how you can benefit for the right choice of the proper product. Just as a side note, I would never purchase something that is this important off of Ebay. The safety of this entire operation is not something to take lightly. A mistake could kill you.
MikeC
Thanks you for your thoughts and information on the matter.

Yes, My generator will not generate enough electricity to do the whole house.

From what I read what I would do when the power goes out is go to my electric panel box and turn everything off. Then start up the generator, plug the cord from the generator into the transfer switch and then go back into the house and just turn on a few of the breakers as to what I want power to go too. Yes it will not operate the whole house.

Also this should be done by an electrician that has a license.

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post #14 of 117 Old 03-13-2018, 08:00 AM
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Re: Snow 2017-18

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Jim, not sure of where to buy. I have seen folks have an outlet outside by their electric meter where you plug in the outside generator. It then feeds into your inside panel. I can't tell you how to wire it. My local electric cooperative has a meter base that the outside generator plugs into. It is called Generlink and the co-op charges $615 for it. The generator must be less than 7200 watts. Doug
I had a old customer of mine who was Well guy/ electrician install a plug and adaptor to power the whole house. It has a interlock in panel to isolate it from service and then powers house with flick of the breaker. I could make a video to show you Jim! He got it from electrical supply, he needed the panel make/model.

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post #15 of 117 Old 03-13-2018, 10:06 AM
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Re: Snow 2017-18

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Originally Posted by Jimbochap View Post
From what I read what I would do when the power goes out is go to my electric panel box and turn everything off. Then start up the generator, plug the cord from the generator into the transfer switch and then go back into the house and just turn on a few of the breakers as to what I want power to go too. Yes it will not operate the whole house.

Also this should be done by an electrician that has a license.
If you have a transfer switch, you do not have to turn off any breakers in your main panel. The transfer switch will have several breakers that will cut the grid power and prevent back feeding, while at the same time providing gen power with just a throw of each switch. The number of switches depends on the output power of the gen. You don't want to overload the gen. The electrician can install the switch, wiring and outside plug in a couple of hours.

The other type of interlock is like a main breaker that will switch the incoming power from grid to gen and prevent back feeding. The only drawback there is that you now have to decide what the gen power will feed. You could inadvertently overload the gen unless you know what you're doing.

As far as the solar system goes, there may be an automatic interlock that prevents back feeding when the grid is down. I don't see them as not having a safety device built in. You can check with your installer on that or take a look at the manual.

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