|Transfer Switch Guide
If you experience frequent power outages or your area is susceptible severe weather, a transfer switch can help you safely power your home or business using a portable generator. Portable generators can provide comfort, safety and security during power outages and emergencies, and can be installed temporarily during these situations. A portable generator must be connected properly to protect electrical utility workers, family members and property. Improper connection of your portable generator and transfer switch system could void your homeowner's insurance in case of accident or injury.
A manual transfer switch is the key to safe and convenient operation of portable generators for standby power. By isolating those circuits using generator power, a transfer switch eliminates the risk of backfeeding the electrical utility, which can cause injury to workers and property damage.
By installing a transfer switch at your breaker box and connecting a portable generator to the transfer switch, you can run selected circuits for appliances such as a furnace, well pump sump pump, refrigerator, television, computer, printer or lighting circuit during a power outage, depending on the capacity of your generator. Since many portable generators cannot handle all of these loads at the same time, the transfer switch allows you to manually transfer each of these loads separately whenever you need them.
Determining which circuits you will require during a power outage is the first step in selecting the proper wattage generator and transfer switch. Since most home appliances operate intermittently, a 3000 watt generator can provide adequate power to circuits for the most common appliances, such as furnace, lights, refrigerator, freezer, microwave oven, and TV.
If your home has a deep well pump with up to 1 HP motor, a 5000 watt generator will be required to provide the starting capacity for the pump. Larger wattage units can be selected for simultaneous starting and operation of multiple appliances.
TRANSFER SWITCH OPERATION
The Transfer switch isolates selected circuits from the home with "Break" then "Make" switches. Each switch has 3-positions; LINE, OFF and GEN (generator). In the LINE position, utility power feeds the selected circuits. In the GEN position, generator power feeds the selected circuits. To switch from LINE to GEN, the switch is passed through the OFF position. This allows a positive break to occur, which prevents sparking, arcing or short circuits that might be created if the positive break was not part of the system.
Individual circuit protectors protect each selected circuit from overload. This allows a larger generator to be connected to the transfer switch without the transfer switch being overloaded.