Home generators are units that you can purchase to supply electricity to your home when the power goes out unexpectedly. When you purchase a generator there are a number of accessories that you may also need to purchase with it. One particular accessory that needs to be purchased in order to get the power from the generator to the electrical system in your home is a transfer switch.
Transfer switches are used to "switch" the power supply from the main’s power supply to that provided by the generator. The type of transfer switch that you purchase will depend on the size of your new generator unit.
One thing to keep in mind is that it is extremely important that you purchase a transfer switch that is capable of handling the maximum amount of power that your generator will be supplying. This will ensure that the proper amount of power is safely transferred to your home when emergency power is required. An inadequately sized transfer switch will not provide the optimal amount of power when it is needed most.
There are two types of transfer switches that you can purchase for home generators – automatic and manual. An automatic transfer switch can be used with standby generators or manual generators. Automatic transfer switches can sense when there is no power coming in on the main power line of your home. When this happens, it automatically switches to the alternate power source. The automatic transfer switch can also be run manually. The other type of transfer switch is a manual one. This type of switch requires manual intervention any time you need to switch between power sources and is not as convenient as the automatic version. The other benefit of the automatic transfer switch is that it will automatically revert back to the main power source once it senses that power has been restored.
Transfer switches can range in size to handle small amperage amounts as well as large amperage amounts which are produced by larger generator models. Installation of transfer switches should be taken care of by a professional electrician, but can be completed by the experienced home do-it-yourselfer.
In many cases there will be a transfer switch included with the generator when you purchase it. If this is not the case, however, check the manual of your home generator to determine which switch is right for your unit.