How Does a Generator Transfer Switch Work?

Having a generator in your home is an easy way to ensure you have the necessary backup power during a storm or other power outage. Not only can you be sure that you will have power in an emergency situation, but you can also increase the value of your home and save on insurance prices. However, there will be times – more often than not – when you will not need the generator to be turned on.

One of the most important accessories for your in-home generator is the generator transfer switch. This small piece of additional equipment will make your generator easy to use and ensure safety no matter what you use the generator for. Learn more about the generator transfer switch and how it works below.

What is a generator transfer switch?

The generator transfer switch is a permanent switch that transfers power from the main circuit breaker on your service panel to your generator power.

How does a generator transfer switch work?

There are two types of generator transfer switches. The first is an automatic transfer switch, which transfers power from the home service panel to the back feed breaker or the generator panel automatically when the service panel loses power. The second is a manual transfer switch, which a homeowner must manually flip when power is lost in the home to transfer the power source from the service panel to the generator power.

When do I need a generator transfer switch?

This extra piece of equipment is important to have to avoid going without power for any period of time. This is especially true for homes that may require power at all times, such as those with medical equipment or refrigerators that the homeowners require power to at all times. An automatic generator transfer switch will ensure that power is flowing without any downtime. While portable generators do not strictly need a transfer switch, it is usually a good idea. Having a power transfer switch means that you gain the ability to power items in your home through your circuit breaker panel, instead of having to use an extension cord.

If your generator is more than 5,000 watts, you need a transfer switch for safety, as well as ease of use.

What are the risks of not having a transfer switch?

In addition to convenience, there are several health and safety reasons to have a generator transfer switch. The main issue is back feeding the grid; if the power comes back on while you are using a generator without a transfer switch, there are two currents feeding your home. This surge can cause problems in the line, which could result in unsafe scenarios for power utility workers, as well as fires in the residence.

How do I install a generator transfer switch?

The best course of action is to have your generator transfer switch installed by a professional electrician. As the switch must be installed on your electrical panel box, incorrectly installing the switch could lead to powerful currents or risk of fire. To learn more about installing a generator transfer switch, or to book an appointment, contact the team at Central Heating.

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