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What is Transfer Switch? - PartsXP

what is transfer switch

Don't feel like running numerous extension cords from your appliances to the portable generator outside during a sudden power failure. Usually, to run the cables, you need to keep your windows or garage door open, which may be a safety issue. By connecting a generator to your electrical circuits directly, a transfer switch simplifies backup power. This transfer switch makes the backup power process seamless and helps ensure overall safety. Here is brief information on this transfer switch.

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What is Transfer Switch?

A transfer switch is an electrical switch used to switch a load between two sources. Some of these are manual. For manual transfer switches, you have to transfer by throwing a switch. Automatic switches are automatic and trigger when they sense one of the sources has lost or gained power.

Usually, you need to install an automatic transfer switch where a backup generator is located. So, the generator will provide temporary electrical power when the utility power source fails. 

An Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) transfers a power supply from its primary source to a backup generator automatically when an outage occurring in the primary source until utility power is restored. ATS connected to both primary as well as backup power sources. Also, it serves as an intermediate component between your building appliances and power sources. Simply, it acts as a relay.

This transfer switch allows you to safely connect a generator to your household equipment. You can install it permanently near the service panel in your house using a generator as safe as operating a light switch.

How Does a Transfer Switch Work?

The automatic transfer switch monitors the incoming voltage from the utility source line, i.e., around the clock. When the utility power is failed, the transfer switch immediately senses the condition and signals the generator to start. After starting the running of the generator at a proper speed, this switch safely shut off the utility line and simultaneously opens the generator power line from the portable generator.

Once the generator is started, it begins supplying power quickly to the critical and emergency circuits of your home or business. The ATS always monitors the conditions of the utility line.

If the transfer switch detects the power line voltage has returned to a steady-state, then it re-transfers the electrical load back to the primary utility line. And, continues monitoring for subsequent utility failure. The generator continues to operate for an engine cool-down cycle of several minutes as the entire system stands ready for the next power outage.

The main breaker in the switch switches the power to a standby generator from your utility power source. Your building can't connect to both utility power and generator at the same time. The main breaker prevents the power of the generator from back-feeding through the utility lines and power into the generator. As the transfer switch contains several circuits, you are eligible to assign different loads to various circuits to power different units or rooms.

Depending on your generator size, it might not be huge enough to power anything that you have at the same time on every circuit. Using a transfer switch in these circumstances can make it easy to switch between various loads.

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Why Do You Need a Transfer Switch?

A transfer switch for any power connection to a home is required by the NEC. The only secure way to connect the generator to your house/ business building is to use an automatic transfer switch. Your house is separated from the power line by this switch.

Moreover, it avoids back-feed which will happen when the power goes back down the utility lines. You know, back-feed not only damage the generator but also it can trigger fires. Sometimes causing injury or even death of workers.

ATS is not only the safest way to connect a generator to a home, but also it is the easiest method.  Particularly during an outage, running extension cords to and from appliances can be an inconvenient and time-consuming problem. A transfer switch allows you to use the wiring system of your house to quickly and easily power any appliance in your home with your generator.

Also, some products such as furnaces or well pumps may not connect to an extension cord generator. So during a utility power outage, a transfer switch is required to power these types of things.

Size a Transfer Switch

The best way for sizing a transfer switch is to match it to the largest outlet rating on your generator. For example, if your generator is rated at 30 amps, then you have to buy a 30 amp transfer switch to get the full power load.

To install Reliance Controls transfer switch, we highly recommend the owner's manual for getting detailed and safety instructions before starting. You can also, get the guidelines on how to install transfer switch at PartsXP/blog.

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Final Words:-

We hope you understood the advantages of a transfer switch. Now, if you thought to buy a transfer switch, no need to search anywhere. PartsXP is here to sell you Reliance Controls products. So, buy the best brand transfer switches from us and make your home more comfortable.

About the Author

partsxp logo authorHaritha

Haritha is a Content Writer at PartsXP. She has a great understanding of today's marketing strategies that yield strong results and always happy to create valuable content & share her thoughts.

She was good at writing content for E-Commerce websites related to Electrical Parts, Appliance Parts, Food Service Parts, HVAC Parts, etc.

You can see some her contributions at PartsFPS.com, PartsAPS.com, PartsIPS.com

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