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Any ideas on the cost?

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  • Any ideas on the cost?

    Looking to have a switch install so I can power my house with my generator if utility power goes down. How much do you think it would cost to have that done?

  • #2
    way to many variables to even give a materials list,

    there a many ways to legally set up a "transfer switch".

    and the amperage of your service depending on the method will great effect the cost of the system you choose to use,

    alos the type of the system you choose to use,

    the lowest cost system most likely would be a panel interlock system,
    a manual system, that uses a breaker slot, in the breaker panel that either will let the main breaker or a input breaker from the generator to power the panel,

    there are transfer switches, that will switch the incoming power before the panel, they can be manual or automatic,

    there are units that go under the meter and will transfer the power Manually,

    and then there are small transfer switch that is basically a sub panel that allows a selected use of a small number ic circuits,


    most likely if you have job site generator, the cost of the parts, installation will be close to the cost of the generator if it was a quality american made generator,


    an inter lock (depending on the brand and type of panel) will run uslay a bit under $100, then it needs a wire ran to the location of the generator,
    a external input box, for 30 amps guessing about $90, a cord to go from the generator to the box, (just bought a new one of Ebay for $60),

    a manual whole house transfer switch for 100 amps in the $150 to $300 dollar range, for the box, (price from memory)

    larger sized, (need one to match the amps of the service), prices go up fast,

    an automatic transfer switch my guess is $3000 on up, depending on size and features,

    no labor suggested on any of the "parts" stated, and for the most part there guestments,


    I have been working on repurposing an older building on the farm here, and my generator is not set up to power it if we lose power,

    I choose to use the interlock system on that building, it has a Square D panel home line,
    Off of Ebay I found the correct interlock switch (via a pawn shop seller) brand new never opened for about $35, will need to run a 10 gauge wire, to a position o the exterior of the building that will be near where I will run a generator, if ever needed, (30 amp breaker on the incoming from the generator,) and will mount the special box, (it has a mounted male plug that will accept a twist lock plug female end)

    and mount it so the "extension cord 10 gauge, twist lock ends), will reach the generator and the box, the plan is to use the truck mounted welder/generator if needed,

    on the other side of the road is the main farm, on the distribution pole, I have a manual transfer switch rated for 200 amps, my guess wold cost over $1000 to day, if new, I bought it many years ago from Ebay that come out of a fire department, somewhere, I think i may have payed about $200 for it then, and then shiping on it,

    it switches the whole farm from comercial power to generator power, by the flip of a lever on the side of it,

    in the generator shed, I have a guessing it is a 100 amp, that can switch between the two generators in the shed, bought it off of Ebay as well (it was new but discounted in price),


    I personally don't like the "sub panel type", the reason is they have many be 6 circurts on them, (depending on how the house is wired),
    6 or 8 circuits may or may not be the critical locations one needs power,

    the discussion against the whole house transfer system is it very easy to overload the generator, which is or can be true if you're not smarter than an extension cord,

    one will need to (either click off breakers not needed) or unplug or no use unnecessary items, (when using a smaller generator), so the generator is not overloaded, one will have to know the watts of the appliance and it draw and start up needs to select the items needed,

    if you have a load that is near the output of the generator everything else will have to be shut down to operate that one item, (say a well) pump the water and then shut off the well, and then operator other items,

    a person can do a lot with a small unit with proper management of the power,

    running, electric heat, electric hot water heaters, washing machines and dryers, and cooking a large dinner on an electric range is most likely a no go with a small generator,

    but keeping the refrigerator and freezer going and the gas furnace and fan operational is doable, and few lights,

    the main transfer switch on my distribution pole allows power to go to all building on this side of the road,

    so my freezer in the wood shop is powered, the freezer and refrigerator in the barn (and my liking machine) is powered,

    and the freezer in the house and refrigerator is powered, and the well house is powered,

    now if I was stupid and running the small generator, I could easily overload the generator, by running to much stuff, but keeping lights off and water heaters off, and only running what is needed, it can and will work,

    I would recommend a transfer system that allows access to all circuits for the just in case I need power over here,

    Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
    "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
    attributed to Samuel Johnson
    PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.


    • #3
      The best and safest way is to get a Generlink. Search this forum and you will find posts from me a few years ago the Generlink. You can search the web and find their site.

      Why do I think the Generlink is so good? Because it enables you to power your whole house, up to the capacity of your generator with a max of 30 Amps WITHOUT using suicide cords, backfeeding, or any any other connections.

      You get the Generlink installed by your utility, it plugs in behind your electric meter. For me there was no permit or inspection required because this is utility territory, it's not part of your house. Anyway, with the Generlink you get a cord that is made to fit you generator. You tell them what model generator you have when you buy the Generlink.

      When you have a need for generator power, this is all you do.
      1. Set up your generator in a safe place per manufacturers instructions.
      2. Get the cord supplied with the Generlink and plug it into your generator and into the Generlink.
      3. Make sure you don't have any big electrical loads turned on in the house like a well pump, heat pump, AC unit, etc.
      4. Start your generator and after it warms up for a minute close the breaker on the generator to feed power to the house.

      Here's whats happening:

      When you plug the cord into the Generlink it automatically disconnects your whole house from the electrical grid, so you can't backfeed the grid and kill a lineman repairing the line a block away. It also connects your generator to your whole house electrical system, so you don't have to choose which 6 or 8 circuits you want to power in an emergency, you can power any circuit in your house up to the capacity of your generator or 30A which is the Generlink limit (at least it was for mine when I bought it 8 years ago).

      Then you control what you operate in the house by turning switches for lights and such on or off as normal. For big loads like a well pump I keep the breaker open and only power the pump when I need it. My 10K running watts/12.5K surge generator is big enough to run my 1HP well pump and my 3.5 Ton Heat Pump and the freezer and fridge plus a few lights but that would be about the limit, so I make sure the pump doesn't kick on when I don't want it to. I wouldn't want both the heat pump and the well pump to start at the same time so I keep the well pump turned off, but everything else in the house can be powered as normal.

      No electrician required, no rewiring or transfer switch required, no inspection required. And the best part is when you move you can take it with you, you own it, it's yours. Just call the utility and have them remove it. If you had a transfer switch installed you'd have to leave it behind or pay an electrician to come remove it.

      The Generlink cost me about $600 when I bought it. I got the biggest one they had at the time and also the optional surge protection which works all the time, not just when running off the generator. The cord they supplied is a quality heavy duty cord, not junk, and 30 feet long.

      If you already have a generator this is the easiest way to go I think.

      I have no connection to Generlink. I get nothing if you buy or don't buy, I don't care. I've just been a satisfied user for about 8 years now. When I bought mine my utility had never heard of them and wanted me to send the unit to them so they could test it before they would allow it to be installed. The Generlink is UL tested and approved. SO I was the first one in my utilities territory to get one, the second person to get one was the engineer that worked for the utility and tested my Generlink. He told me he ordered one the day they came to install mine.

      If you can get a transfer switch that can power your whole house installed for $600 then you are doing something. I believe the equipment would cost that much, and the labor will probably be that much too.

      I believe they have a 40A model now for about $750, still a good deal I think. I found this YT video which will show you more about it.
      Last edited by Bob D.; 09-12-2018, 12:32 AM.
      "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006



    • #4
      I've got a 400A service- dual 200A panels side by side. That makes it a bit more complicated, but I installed interlocks for both- wiring merged together and run to a permanent 50A exterior connection point. I did the work myself. All of that plus the permit and and the stuff to make a 20 or so foot interconnect cable to connect the outlet to the generator cost me around $500.


      • #5
        Originally posted by mapdude55 View Post
        Looking to have a switch install so I can power my house with my generator if utility power goes down. How much do you think it would cost to have that done?
        $122,666.37 or a good buddy and a case of beer.


        • #6
          Originally posted by fixitright View Post

          $122,666.37 or a good buddy and a case of beer.
          what difference it make ?
          I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .


          • #7
            i GET ASKED THESE 2 QUESTIONS ALL THE TIME " HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE ? , HOW MUCH WILL IT COST ? " I OFTEN ANSWER ' i"ll let you know at the end of the job "
            I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .


            • Mightyservant
              Mightyservant commented
              Editing a comment
              I don't mind working on T&M jobs, the customer still gets the same level of performance, if anything we might pick up a step and the customer pays only for material used. We also do T&M jobs that are "not to exceed" and since these jobs are more or less guaranteed profit we will do them at slightly lower rates. Most of them however are done for long time repeat customers that we have done both fixed price and T&M jobs for.