Generlink – Important Update for New Brunswick Customers
In my first article on Generlink (https://wattsource.ca/generlink-worth-the-price) I discussed that you must use a “floating neutral” generator when you install the Generlink switch on your house. If the generator had a “bonded neutral” you had to follow a procedure to un-bond the neutral which on most generators is a fairly simple procedure. Up until recently this procedure was allowed by the provincial electrical inspection office when installing a Generlink switch. As of December 1, 2017 this is no longer allowed unless it can be shown that the CSA certification of your generator is not invalidated by performing this procedure. So, what are your options if you are set on installing a Generlink switch?
Just because your generator is listed in the Generlink compatibility list does not mean it can be used considering the new ruling by the NB Chief Electrical Inspector. If your generator comes with a floating neutral from the factory you will be able to install Generlink without any issues. Most generators that I know of come with a bonded neutral from the factory and unless there is a specific procedure listed in the owner’s manual to un-bond the neutral most likely doing so will void its CSA certification. I have not seen any manuals that have this procedure listed. I know that Champion has a Service Tech Bulletin that describes the process to un-bond the neutral in their generators however, I am not sure if this preserves the CSA certification. You would need to contact Champion to verify.
Another option is to have your generator CSA certified after you make the modification. Easier said than done. To CSA certify your own generator is cost prohibitive and time consuming for the consumer. If you have not purchased your generator already you could purchase one from a supplier that will provide the CSA certification after the modification is made. Sommers Generator in Moncton sell Briggs & Stratton portable generators and will provide the updated CSA sticker for a fee of $100.00. It will take up to a month to get your generator once it is ordered because the CSA inspection is done in their Ontario plant. I am not aware of any other suppliers who will do this but there may be some.
Finally, you could buy a generator that already comes with a floating neutral. Unfortunately, it seems that most of the standard portable generators come with a bonded neutral. I am researching more suppliers and will provide a list of options once I have found them.
If you have already installed a Generlink switch make sure that your generator has a floating neutral. If it does not then you should follow the procedure to un-bond the neutral to make it compliant with the electrical code and to prevent any future issues. Your electrician most likely can easily do this as the procedure is quite simple on most generators.
In light of the recent changes made by the inspection office make sure you have the right generator before going ahead with a Generlink switch. I will do some more investigation and hopefully will be able to provide some more options in addition to what I have already presented. Stay tuned.
Owner, Red Seal Electrician