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Generator Transfer Switches vs. Interlocks: Which Is Best?

A portable generator is a lifesaver when your power unexpectedly goes out. From winter blizzards to peak hurricane season, having one of these on hand is an absolute must. Once the power goes out, the electrical grid must switch over to the backup generator and then be able to safely switch back to your main electrical currents once the lights go back on. But what is the most efficient way to accomplish this?


There are two main options for switching your power over to your generator during an outage; transfer switches and generator interlock kits. While both are designed to accomplish the same general purpose, there are slight differences as to how they connect you to your backup power source.


Generator Interlock

The primary function of an interlock is to ensure that your generator breaker and your property’s main breaker are not activated simultaneously. This option focuses on safety and affordability and can work for multiple circuits at once — so long as it does not exceed your generator’s power limitations. These are best suited for home circuit breakers but can operate for small businesses as well. You can typically have this switch installed by your local electrician.


While some interlocks automatically switch over the power to the generator, you may have to operate this switch manually in many cases. Someone with knowledge of your property’s breaker panel should be in charge of managing the interlock once the power goes out. Still, once this happens, it should be able to keep your electrical system running during an outage.


Generator Transfer Switches

There are two main types of transfer switches: automatic transfer switches and manual transfer switches. Transfer switches are a much more user-friendly way to activate your generator. In the case of an automatic transfer switch, they can supply your home with backup power even if you are not present during the time of the outage. The flexibility of this option makes it very popular among property owners in Richmond and the surrounding areas.


Since transfer switches can operate multiple circuits simultaneously, you can reliably power multiple appliances throughout your property and, in some cases, even your entire property. They also come with a load management failsafe, which helps control specific appliances and makes sure they don’t pull too much power. Having this in place can prevent any hazards from abnormal power surges.


Which One Should I Choose?

Both options are dependable in the event of an outage, but the choice may ultimately depend on what benefits are most important to you. While smaller residential properties and small shops may opt for interlock kits, transfer switches may benefit commercial business owners more. If you’re looking for less supervision and continuous power, then you should opt for a transfer switch; meanwhile, if price is a major point of emphasis and you have someone who can manually operate your breaker panel, then we recommend having an interlock installed. Either way, we can help you select the option that’s best for you and your generator.


Call Connect Electric for Your Home Generator Services!

No matter which option you choose, having a transfer system installed is critical for portable generators. Connect Electric can assist with the installation of both options, so you don’t get left in the dark during an unexpected power outage or a blackout from a heavy storm. If you are looking for fast and reliable portable generator services for your home or business, reach out to our trusted electricians today for a free quote!


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