An electrical generator is a wise addition to any home as it will keep electrical power flowing to important appliances during temporary outages. If you own a generator, then you are one step ahead of homeowners who will be left unprepared during periods of power loss.
However, to really maximize the utility of a generator, you should consider installing an electrical transfer switch. This device increases the flexibility and safety of your generator and is a worthwhile addition to any home. Below is more information about electrical transfer switches, including benefits and operation and installation considerations.
What Is an Electrical Transfer Switch?
An electrical transfer switch is a device that changes the source of an electrical power feed. Electrical transfer switches are often installed in homes and businesses equipped with generators. During an outage, electrical transfer switches switch incoming current from the utility provider to the generator.
In most circumstances, electrical transfer switches are placed next to circuit breaker panels and are wired directly into the systems at those locations. Though all electrical transfer switches serve the same purpose, they are divided into two broad categories: manual and automatic.
Manual electrical transfer switches require homeowners to perform the switching operation by hand; this means that whenever a power outage occurs, homeowners will need to execute several steps to ensure the generator feed will enter the home's wiring.
Automatic electrical transfer switches eliminate the need for homeowners to manually intervene in the power switching process. Instead, once the generator is started, the electrical transfer switch will automatically redirect the power source from the utility to the generator. After power from the utility is restored, the automatic electrical transfer switch will instantly shut down power from the generator and reopen the connection to the utility.
What Are the Benefits of Using an Electrical Transfer Switch?
An electrical transfer switch offers advantages to homeowners who have electrical generators, including the following:
Instead of using electrical transfer switches to connect their generators, some homeowners directly connect their generators to their homes' wiring via an extension cord. While this may seem practical at first glance, the consequences of backfeeding generator power into the home's wiring can be tragic.
For example, backfeeding power can do damage to a home's wiring and may even result in an electrical fire. Worse, backfeeding can direct power into the utility grid where it could lethally shock unaware utility workers.
An electrical transfer switch is the only legal and safe way to tie a generator into a home's wiring. Don't risk causing damage or seriously injuring another person by backfeeding your generator.
An electrical transfer switch also makes using a generator much more convenient for homeowners. The use of an electrical transfer switch prevents the need to run extension cords from the generator into your home; extension cords are unsightly and can pose a trip hazard.
Further, it can be difficult to locate and route extension cords when the power is out, especially at night. The process of preparing cords takes time and can delay the transition from utility power to generator.
In addition, many appliances can't be powered via an extension cord. For example, furnaces and air conditioners are hardwired into the home's electrical wiring. Other devices, such as well pumps, may also be impractical to power by extension cords.
How Are Electrical Transfer Switches Installed?
Electrical transfer switches are best installed by qualified, licensed electricians. Though some homeowners may have the skills and tools to perform the installation, there is too much potential for making a mistake during the process. A failure to properly connect the electrical transfer switch could result in damage to a home or injure persons. Contact a company like Enercon Engineering Inc to learn more.