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What-Is-a-Transfer-Switch-&-Why-Do-I-Need-One

What To Know: Transfer Switches

If you’ve purchased a portable or standby generator to provide backup energy during a power cut, you need to know that it will perform as expected. Adding a transfer switch during the generator installation is one of the smartest decisions you’ll ever make.

Completing preventative maintenance is great, but a transfer switch will take your generator installation to the next level.

What is a generator transfer switch?

A transfer switch is a device that is used to connect your generator to the power box. Its main purpose is to ensure that the energy source is switched to your generator when power is lost from the primary source before switching back to the grid once power has been restored.

An automatic transfer switch (ATS), which can operate without human intervention, will be used for a home standby generator while a manual switch is required when using a portable generator. In this instance, you will need to flick the lever to get power from the backup source.

While portable generators do not necessarily require a switch, standby generators need them. They should be added as a part of the generator installation process so that the unit is ready to take over whenever the main source of power is temporarily lost.

The cost of a generator switch can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand, depending on which generator model is required. For residential usage, you can expect to pay around $500-$750.

Why is the transfer switch needed?

Transfer switches play a significant role in the standby generator set up, and their benefits can be considered three-fold. By adding one to your generator installation, you will;

  • Avoid the threat of being left temporarily without power. Heading outside in a thunderstorm without any light to turn your whole home generator on is the last thing you need during a power outage.
  • Ensure that only one power source (generator or mains) will be used at any given time. Without a switch, a return of main power could mean your home is powered by two sources, thus leading to a surge that puts your property and safety at risk.
  • Enjoy the most cost-efficient solution as the power will automatically switch back to the mains power once it has been restored. Aside from reduced energy costs, it means that your generator’s fuel will be replaced far less frequently.

In short, the transfer switch will ensure optimal performance levels and maximum convenience while also protecting your family and finances. For those reasons, it is an essential feature. 

How can the generator transfer switch be installed?

Given that it is an essential accessory for your standby generator, the ATS must be added to your electrical panel in an effective manner. You will require a permit to complete this task as you are working with products that, if used incorrectly, could cause electrical fires. 

Generator Supercenters’ professionally installed generators will be fitted with transfer switches to ensure optimal safety and performance. To learn more about how a standby generator and ATS can support your home and family in style, get in touch today.

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