Home Standby Generators

What is a transfer switch on a home generator?

A transfer switch on a home generator senses when power available from the electrical grid is cut off and switches the load to the home generator which will start automatically in the event of a power outage.

Remember that there are two basic kinds of home generators: (1) larger fixed-place standby generators and (2) smaller portable home generators on wheels. The larger standby generators sit on a slab near the home and in the event of a power outage, are capable of delivering power to your home or significant parts of it. Large standby generators are connected directly to the fuse box of your home. Smaller portable generators can be moved around outside of your home are are intended to deliver power to one or two appliances which are plugged into the portable unit with extension cords.

When we discuss transfer switches on home generators, it is usually in the context of large, fixed place standby generators.

Large home generator systems really have two functioning parts: a standby power generator unit and an automatic or smart transfer switch. When power is lost from the electrical grid, the generator system senses the loss of power and the transfer switch automatically turns on the backup generator within seconds so that the homeowner is not without electricity. Eventually, when power is restored from the electrical grid, your home is switched back to normal power and off of generator-based power. One of the advantages of larger standby generators is that that will operate automatically in the middle of the night or if you are out of town.

Large generator systems need to be installed by a licensed electrician or a professional generator contractor. The professional that you hire will know your local code and will be able to assist you with the proper size generator thru an in-home generator assessment. He will also be able to professionally make electrical and gas connections necessary for connecting the home generator to your home. Larger standby generators can run on natural gas or propane, where refueling is not an issue. There are several large manufacturers of large home generators and each has a network of distributors that represent them in your area. With the increasing number of power outages due to the aging electrical grid and the never-ending series of weather events, it’s a good idea to think about back up power for your home.

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