Transfer Switches For Home Generators

Home generator transfer switches

Whether you're installing a portable or permanent standby generator, a transfer switch is an important safety device that allows for the safe transfer of power between the electrical grid and your generator. A transfer switch prevents a dangerous condition called backfeeding - which can damage a home's electrical system, cause a fire, and pose a serious danger to utility workers performing service on electrical lines.

How a generator transfer switch worksTransfer switches are installed at a home's electrical service panel and can connect to a single circuit or multiple circuits, depending on the design and capacity of the generator. A transfer switch is required by the National Electric Code for any connection of power to a home and must be installed by a licensed electrician.

How an Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) works

  1. The utility company's power shuts off because of a lightning strike, downed power line or other equipment malfunction.
  2. The transfer switch detects the loss of voltage from the utility and immediately shifts the load to the emergency power source when power from the generator is stable and within prescribed voltage and frequency tolerances.
  3. When power from the utility company is restored, the transfer switch retransfers the load from the generator to the normal power source.
Portable generators typically use manual transfer switches, while permanent standby generators will require an automatic transfer switch. A manual transfer switch will not work with a standby generator.

Depending on your power needs, a transfer switches can provide between 50-400 amps. Before installation you will need to know whether you want to power your entire electrical panel, or only your home's essential appliances, such as the refrigerator and HVAC system.

Have questions about transfer switches for your home's portable or standby generator? Call Superior Plumbing and Heating.
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