If you want to protect your home and its contents from power outages, you’ll need a standby generator transfer switch. But which model to choose? Here’s a quick rundown of some of the options available.
Manual transfer switch
A manual standby generator transfer switch allows a homeowner to have backup power during a power outage. The system connects a generator directly to a home’s electrical circuits, transferring the load to a backup generator when the main utility source is down.
A transfer switch can be a single or multi-circuit device. A single-circuit unit provides a small amount of power for a single circuit during a power outage. A multi-circuit unit can provide an entire house’s power during a power outage.
A manual transfer switch is often cheaper and easier to install than an automatic switch. A few manual transfer switches have built-in wattage meters to help homeowners monitor the power they are receiving. However, a wrong wire transfer can cause major health concerns, so make sure to hire a licensed electrician to do the installation.
When purchasing a manual standby generator transfer switch, choose one that matches the size of the most-used outlet on your generator. If your generator is a larger size, you might want to consider installing a single-circuit unit.
Double-pole, double-throw switch
A Double Pole, Double Throw (DPDT) switch is a basic transfer switch that is used to control two separate circuits. This type of switch is commonly connected to two input supplies and used to toggle between 120V and 240V supply.
A typical household electrical service in the United States is 120/240 volt single phase. It usually contains two black “hot” wires and a white grounded neutral. The power is delivered through a flexible cord from the generator to the power inlet box.
When the utility service goes out, a backup source can provide limited heat and light. A transfer switch can be installed to prevent the backfeeding of electricity onto the power lines and potentially damage the generator.
DPDT switches are available in three different configurations: ON/OFF, center off, and a “double pole” position. The center off position is for allowing motor voltages to die before connecting an alternate power source.
When a power outage occurs, the homeowner can manually operate the switch or sit back and let it run on its own. Depending on the type of load, the manual switch can be actuated for 30A, 60A or 100A of power. The more sophisticated panels have up to 16 individual controls for each emergency circuit.
Faults inside the transfer switch cabinet
When the electrical power grid goes down, it’s important that you have a backup source. One of the ways that you can achieve this is through the use of a transfer switch. These devices help ensure that your house or business remains operational.
They are typically used in places that require continuous power. They detect a loss of power and automatically change the source. They are also capable of detecting a fault current. This is when the current exceeds the rating of the conductors.
During a power outage, your transfer switch will switch your load from utility power to a generator. It will then return your load to utility power once the generator is stable.
If you don’t use a transfer switch, you can be risking your safety. Using a switch is especially important for businesses that operate data centers, restaurants, and other places that may need power to run.
A standard transfer switch configuration includes a generator for normal and emergency power. In addition, the switch should be rated properly.
Choosing a generator for a utility power outage
When choosing a generator, it is important to make sure that you get one that will be able to provide enough power for your home or business. It is also important to consider the type of fuel that you want to use.
You can purchase fossil-fuel generators that run on diesel or gasoline. Both are readily available and burn cleanly. However, diesel fuel is less flammable, so it is a better choice.
You should have a licensed electrician install the generator. They will charge about $200 for materials and $500 for the installation. They can also recommend a portable generator.
You should also consider having a surge protection system installed. This can protect your equipment from a large surge of electricity that can injure utility workers.
When choosing a generator, you should also make sure that you are purchasing one that is listed with Factory Mutual. This will ensure your safety and that your investment is backed by a third party.