What You Need to Know About Generator Transfer Switches

Generator transfer switch

Whatever power source you need for your home to function correctly, we at BlueSky can help you succeed. Contact us today to learn more about how to install a transfer switch on your home standby generator and why generator transfer switches are so important. Here’s what you need to know. 

What Is a Backup Generator Transfer Switch?

A generator transfer switch enables you to switch your power to your generator manually or automatically if you experience a power outage. Access to backup power is beneficial in most homes—and especially in rural homes that lack consistent access to the power grid or have outdated connections. 

You also need to know what type of transfer switch you need for your generator. 

If you have a standby generator, it likely has a generator transfer switch built into the unit. However, if you choose a portable generator or a non-conforming model, you may need to install a separate manual transfer switch. As the name indicates, a manual transfer switch requires human input to operate, unlike its automatic counterparts. 

Though you can run your backup generator without using a generator transfer switch, it’s generally unsafe, as running cords to your generator can short devices and overload your system. If you don’t use a transfer switch, you have to individually connect your appliances and systems to the generator using an extension cord. 

Automatic Transfer Switches

Electrical paneling

Home standby generators typically come with a pre-installed transfer switch that works automatically. An automatic transfer switch provides an added degree of peace and convenience as you don’t have to operate your generator in a power outage manually. In addition, standby backup generators can connect directly to your home and provide a more consistent energy supply. 

Automatic transfer switches work by sensing the electrical load from the grid. If anything interrupts that electrical flow, such as a blackout or localized power outage, the switch monitors this and turns on the generator. Automatic transfer switches take the guesswork out of power maintenance. 

The automatic transfer switch will continue to monitor the electrical flow. Once the flow resumes, the generator will start to dial back power generation during a cooldown period. This way, no matter what, your home or building will never be without power, regardless of what’s happening outside. 

Most homeowners prefer automatic transfer switches, but they aren’t the only option. If you want a portable generator that you can take with you on the go, you’ll likely have to install a manual transfer switch on your generator. Manual transfer switches work a bit differently. 

Manual Transfer Switches

If the name didn’t tip you off, manual generator transfer switches require the homeowner to operate them manually. Part of this is because portable generators typically don’t connect to the home’s circuits. So instead, during a power outage, you’ll use a power inlet and manual transfer switch to have your generator power your home. 

Your backup generator can help you maintain power without taking up too much time. If you’re familiar with your system, it should only take a couple of minutes to power on your system. After a power outage, simply turn off the manual transfer switch, unplug your backup power generator from your inlet box, and power down the system. 

You can also get garage and basement power switch installation options for portable generators. Depending on your electrical panel’s location within the home, you may be able to run a cable through your garage, an open basement window, or an installed power inlet box. Since there are plenty of manual switch configuration options, some homeowners opt for the portable generator’s flexibility. 

However, be sure to be aware of the caveat to portable generators and manual transfer systems: They can’t always handle high-capacity backup power needs. Depending on your generator’s rating, it may not be able to power every device within your house. 

If you’re running a portable backup power generator, it’s helpful to limit your electricity use to the necessary appliances in your house. For instance, you could restrict your TV use and devote power consumption to your HVAC system or water boiler. When relying strictly on a portable generator, you must plan for power outages and consume wisely. 

Should I Get a Backup Generator in Oklahoma City, OK?

Natural gas generator at a home

Before you invest in a generator transfer switch, you need to start by considering whether or not you need a generator itself. When it comes to generator ownership, there are more pros than cons. Backup generators:

  • Provide more peace of mind
  • Are more convenient for homeowners
  • Offer multiple configurations
  • May come bundled with a generator transfer switch 

With a generator, you don’t have to worry about powering your home during a blackout, power outage, or storm. Oklahoma sees plenty of high winds and inclement weather that can disrupt the power grid and leave you without energy. Though you should consider upfront costs and maintenance issues, generators are often a wise investment. 

Work With a Trusted Generator Installer in Oklahoma City

Nobody should go without power. Homeownership can be complicated enough without navigating blackouts or grid outages. Instead of worrying during your next power outage or wondering how you’re going to turn on your appliances, get the peace of mind and comfort that a high-quality home standby generator provides.  

Whether you’ve already purchased a portable generator and are ready to install a transfer switch or are preparing to invest in a standby generator for your home, it pays to work with a professional. 

Contact us at BlueSky by filling out our contact form to discuss your power generation and generation transfer switch needs. We provide quality service, quick replies, and competitive pricing to Oklahoma City and the surrounding areas.