Understanding Generator Transfer Switches And How To Buy One

If you want to buy an electric generator to use when your power goes out, then you will need to purchase an electric transfer switch as well. This is an additional item that is required for your generator to work. It may seem confusing that you need to buy a separate item for your generator to work. If you do not understand this, then keep reading to figure out what the item is and also what you should look for when making your purchase.

What Is a Transfer Switch?

An electric transfer switch is a small box that is installed near your main electrical panel. The switch connects the circuits that you want to provide with electricity. For example, you may want to connect the circuits that run your refrigerator and freezer, but not the one that provides your home theater system with power. 

Once the transfer switch is connected, you need to attach the generator to the switch. You do this with a dedicated cord that attaches to the switch and the generator. Once the connection is made, the generator starts to create electricity that is used by the circuits. 

Transfer switches can be connected to a generator so that the device turns on automatically when the power goes out. This can be extremely helpful if you have blackouts but are away from home for long periods of time. The switches also have the benefit of keeping electrical workers safe if they need to access the electrical lines to make repairs.

You should understand that it is wise to have an electrician hardwire the transfer switch into your home. This is the safest option, and it will help to ensure that the wiring is correct when it comes to connecting the unit to your electrical panel.

How To Choose A Transfer Switch?

Before you learn about purchasing the right electrical transfer switch, you should know that the switches are a bit expensive. With professional installation, you are looking at a cost of several thousand dollars. You do have the option of picking up an inexpensive interlocking device. However, it will connect to the entire electrical panel. This means it will power all circuits in your home. This may mean that you also need to purchase a larger generator.

If you want to go with the transfer switch, then you should make sure that the amperage of the switch matches that of the power cord. This means that you want to buy the generator and cord first, then find a switch that matches. 

You should also look at the number of circuits that the unit can power. While some units may power as many as 10 circuits, some will power fewer. Look at your own needs before deciding on the best switch for your home and generator. 

For more information, contact an electrician or other professional with experience in electric transfer switches, such as those at Enercon  Engineering Inc.