Why Interlock Kits are Better than Transfer Switches

by Gail Brumfield

Anyone who has ever been stuck in a power outage knows how inconvenient and downright scary they can be, especially when the outage lasts for an extended period of time. Knowing that you have a high-quality generator standing by to restore power to your home during an outage can help you rest easy knowing that you and your family will be able to stay safe and secure even when the power goes out.

One of the most important things you should ask yourself when updating or replacing your generators is whether you should go with a transfer switch or an interlock kit. If you’re buying your first generator, you might not even know what these are or how to make an informed decision.

Interlock Kits Are Safer

An interlock kit is a device that’s installed on the front cover of a home’s breaker panel and allows for safe backfeeding through a portable generator during a power outage. Backfeeding refers to when the flow of energy is going in the reverse direction of its normal flow.

Interlock kits are an easier way to connect your generator to your electrical panel while generator breakers eliminate illegal or unsafe generator backfeeding that could lead to your generator failing or even electrocutions of anyone working to restore power to the electrical grid. The last thing any of us would want in a power outage is to be responsible for harming someone trying to fix the problem.

A transfer switch is an electrical switch that exchanges the load between two sources. Some transfer switches are manual, and others are automatic. Manual transfer switches are turned on when the operator throws the switch by hand, and automatic transfer switches are triggered when they sense that one of the electrical sources has either gained or lost power.

They Operate More Circuits than Transfer Switches

When you use an interlock kit, all of your panel’s circuits can be energized up to the load capacity of the generator. With a transfer switch, only a few circuits can be operated at once. Transfer switches also need an entirely separate panel in order to operate, while interlock kits can be installed directly on your home’s breaker panel, so you don’t have to have another piece of bulky equipment in your home.

Interlock kits eliminate the need for extension cords to power your appliances, which eliminates the risk of extension cord failures or even fires. Interlock kits are safer, more effective, more reliable, easier to use, and easier to install. When it comes time to replace or update your generator, going with an interlock kit rather than a transfer switch is a no-brainer.