Information about Backup Generators and Automatic Transfer Switches

Homeowners who live in areas that suffer periodic power outages or who want to be safe in case of severe weather events can purchase backup generators to provide power when the community power grid is down. This protects appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, and electronic devices. There is a choice between portable and standby generators. Using a power generator with a generator transfer switch is safer and more convenient.

Purchase the correct Equipment for Your Situation

Since each home is unique, it is important to purchase the home generator and transfer switch from a reputable company with a good service record and high customer ratings. The homeowner should ask questions and get help from the supplier in choosing the correct type and size of a home backup generator. Start by checking with alltimepower for information on home generators, transfer switches, and other equipment needed to assure a reliable source of backup power.

The homeowner may need to purchase the generator from one supplier and the generator transfer switch from another supplier. In this case, the components must be compatible with each other. The transfer switch supplier might be able to work with existing generators or match the client with generator dealers that are able to meet the home’s power needs and the homeowner’s budget.

There are different choices in backup generators to consider including portable units and installed stationary backup generators. Generators need fuel to run, and those fuels can include propane, gasoline, natural gas, and diesel fuel. The most common fuel used is gasoline because of convenience. It is important to have the chosen fuel on hand in case of an emergency, since going out to purchase any of the fuels after an event can be problematic.

A generator can burn up to 12 to 20 gallons of fuel per day depending on their power output. It is important to safely store the choice of fuel between uses and to keep the generator in good working condition.

Homeowners who live in areas that suffer periodic power outages or who want to be safe in case of severe weather events can purchase backup generators to provide power when the community power grid is down. This protects appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, and electronic devices. There is a choice between portable and standby generators. Using a power generator with a generator transfer switch is safer and more convenient.

There are Two types of Backup Generators

Homeowners can choose to purchase a portable generator or an installed standby generator, and both kinds have advantages and problems to consider.

  • The portable models cost less to purchase but may be more expensive to run. They are noisier to run and produce less power than standby generators. They must be wheeled out of storage, connected to the most important circuits, and manually fired up. This generator must also be protected from the elements in inclement weather. The portable generators have built-in outlets for connecting the correct extension cords. Portable generators are meant for shorter power outages.
  • Installed standby generators cost more initially but are more convenient and quieter to run. They are pretty much worry-free for the homeowner. They are sized to power the entire house and can come on automatically in the event of an outage. This type of generator can run for days or weeks. The home standby generator is more expensive to purchase and costly to install. But, once installed, they are worry-free and dependable.
  • Both types of generators work better and more safely with generator transfer switches. Without working transfer switches, both types of generators are less safe and convenient to use. A good generator transfer switch lets the homeowner manually or automatically transfer the power for the home away from the community electrical grid and to the home generator.

The benefits of Generator Transfer Switches

Stationary installed generators come with automatic transfer switches but portable generators need a separate manual transfer switch. These switches should be installed by a licensed electrician. The automatic transfer switch is more expensive but is also safer and more convenient.

It is important to use some sort of generator sizing tool to match the generator type and size to the individual home. Companies such as Alltime Power supply this handy tool. Then the transfer switch must be matched to the generator and the home’s needs.

When an automatic transfer switch is installed by an electrician, it is directly connected to the home’s electrical circuits. Then, when the regular power source is interrupted, the transfer switch automatically changes the home’s power to the generator. It takes a little time for the generator to start and get ready to supply power, and that is when the transfer switch cuts off the home power and transfers it to the generator.

When the community power grid comes back online, the automatic transfer switch changes the home’s power back to that provider and cuts off the generator. This helps the home to keep a continual power supply no matter what is happening outside.

Transfer Switches Are Important on Portable Generators Also

You can run a portable generator without using a manual transfer switch, but it is not as safe or convenient. Without a transfer switch, the homeowner must connect each appliance they want to run to the generator with an extension cord. It might require the home’s windows to be open, which is a security risk. The National Electric Code requires standby generator owners to have a correctly installed transfer switch to use them.

Safety concerns

When a homeowner chooses a portable generator, there are safety concerns to address . Since portable generators have internal combustion engines, they exhaust carbon monoxide and must be located outside the house for safety. They should not be in a garage, porch, or basement. They should be at least ten feet away from the house for safety. Portable generators require heavy-duty extension cords of at least 12-gauge.

Don’t buy a cheap model, as it may damage appliances and electronics with the “dirty power” it produces. Spend the money for a quality generator that produces cleaner, safer power. It is safer and more convenient to add a transfer switch to the portable generator. Portable and standby generators can be lifesavers during severe weather and other electrical grid outage events if they are sized, installed, and used correctly. Keep the instruction manual handy for those times when the generator is needed.

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