Why You Need a Transfer Switch
Storm season in the Houston area means increased risk of power outages. When the power goes out, your generator keeps the refrigerator cooling, the lights on, and your electronics working. If the power does go out, you want the capability of operating your generator easily and safely. A transfer switch is essential to making this happen.
What is a Transfer Switch?
A transfer switch is device that allows you to change electrical loads between two sources. In relation to your generator, a transfer switch creates a safe connection between the generator and your home’s electrical wiring. When it’s installed at your home’s electrical service panel site, the transfer switch allows the generator to run safely without “frying” any of the electrical circuits.
Do I Really Need a Transfer Switch?
A transfer switch is an important safety measure when running either a stationary or portable generator. While you can run your generator using extension cords, this often is not the safest or most convenient method. You may opt to connect your generator directly to the home’s wiring — however, this increases the risk for electrical damage and can harm utility workers attempting to restore the power service. A transfer switch is the answer.
How Does a Transfer Switch Work?
The transfer switch has a dedicated set of switches/toggles for each circuit, which is as easy to operate as any light switch located in your home. For a stationary generator, the transfer switch will connect automatically when the generator runs, and shut off when power is restored. When running a portable generator, you’ll need to connect the generator and flip the switches manually. Once the power is restored, the switches will need to be manually flipped back.
A select circuit transfer switch makes it easy to choose multiple household circuits to power during an outage. This means you can safely run power to your refrigerator, microwave, computers, television, and other appliances as needed during a power outage. It also can power a security system, well pump, and HVAC blower. A single load transfer switch helps connect generator power to a home, garage, or outbuilding that utilizes a single circuit or as backup to provide power to a sump pump or HVAC system.
The transfer switch, depending on make and model, can be mounted next to the household electrical panel in the garage, basement, or other location. To ensure the transfer switch is installed safely and properly, professional installation is recommended.