We had professionals install a generator with an automatic transfer switch. I showed them our circuit-breaker box and told them which circuit numbers should be on generator power. Okay, everything's working hunky-dory.

WELL ... I wanted to cut the power to one room in the house to install a light fixture, so I went back to the original circuit-breaker box and tried flipping switches (which worked before the generator installation) -- and nothing happened. None of the switches cuts out any power in the house. I threw the main switch for the entire house's power -- and the generator promptly turned on!

How can I shut off individual circuits now? Or for that matter, is it possible to shut off everything and leave the generator off? I'd think this is a safety thing...

The transfer switch box needs a screwdriver to open, so I've left it alone. The transfer-switch manual (it's a Kohler RXT) says it has a load center and circuit breakers can be added, not included. -- Do I need to pay an electrician (more money?!) to come out and add circuit breakers to the transfer switch?

3 Answers 3


The load center with the transfer switch (or "critical load panel") should have a circuit for each circuit that was specified to be connected to the generator. The original breakers no longer function because nothing is connected to them now; there is probably one dual-pole breaker feeding the critical load panel, and there should then be a breaker for each circuit there.

If you are not comfortable investigating, call the electrician that did the install and ask them to walk you through operation and service requirements for the setup.

  • 5
    +1 for contacting the Electrician that did the work. Though, operation of the system should have been explained to the customer at time of installation.
    – Tester101
    Commented Feb 1, 2013 at 12:24
  • @Tester101 - agree!
    – TomG
    Commented Feb 2, 2013 at 2:45

As far as the generator goes, it should have a on-auto-off switch on it. Turn it to off, and then it won't kick on. On the matter of a breaker not turning off the power to that circuit, that sounds wrong to me, and I would have them back out to correct that, as that is not a correct installation.


This transfer switch has branch circuit breakers inside the outer cover. You remove that and the breakers are visible and can be used to shut off the circuit. There is still an inner cover to keep all live parts shielded. I just installed one of these today.

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