Tips For Installing A Manual Electric Transfer Switch To Use With A Portable Generator

Posted on: 1 August 2017

Owning a portable generator gives homeowners options when their is an electrical outage. While it is possible to connect electrical appliances directly to a portable generator using an extension cord, this is a temporary solution that does not allow you to power as many appliances and electrical appliances as you may need or want. Using a manual electric transfer switch with portable generator is a safe and permanent way to ensure that you can easily access back-up power when needed. Continue reading to learn more about installing a manual electric transfer switch to use with a portable generator:

Service Panel

When you choose to use a manual electrical transfer switch with a portable generator for back-up power, changes will need to be made to your main electrical service panel. A circuit breaker that connects the electrical utility to the manual electrical transfer switch will be needed, as well as an additional circuit breaker that connects the transfer switch to the generator. All of these are mechanically connected to ensure that when one is on, the other is off, so your generator can't accidentally be turned on when main electrical power is available.

Making changes to the main electrical service panel in order to accommodate a manual electrical transfer switch can be complicated. It is in your best interest to hire an experienced electrician to assist you so you have the peace of mind of knowing that all of the wiring and electrical work is done properly.

Choose Location of Generator

Portable generators need to be stored outdoors where the fumes from their gas fuel will not bother anyone. It is important to select an area with level ground where no carbon monoxide fumes can be drawn into the house by fans, ventilation equipment, or through open windows. Make sure there is an power inlet box in the vicinity that can be reached with a long extension cord. The manual electrical transfer switch should be installed near the power inlet box that the generator is plugged into to make wiring easier.

Select the Circuits to be Powered by the Generator

While some portable generators can technically power an entire small house, doing so would require a lot of fuel. In most cases, it is in your best interest to connect critical circuits to the manual electrical transfer switch, such as those for refrigerators, freezers, essential medical equipment, an electrical outlet, and a lighting source.

If you live in a very cold climate, you may want to connect your furnace so you can have heat if there is a power outage in the winter months. Likewise, those in very hot climates may want to connect a swamp cooler or air conditioning unit to protect from overheating in the event of an extended power outage during the summer. For more information, talk to a company like Enercon  Engineering Inc.