A Portable Generator Transfer Switch: How & Why You Need to Have

Portable generators are invaluable if you are attending an outdoor event where you need light. They vary according to size depending on how much power you need and how long you need it for.

But they are also very useful as a back-up at home in the event of a power failure especially if you live in an area prone to regular power cuts. They are a much safer option than candles which can get knocked over and cause a fire.

But you will need to have a Portable Generator Transfer Switch which must be installed by an experienced electrician, this is important because in the event of anything going wrong that involves an insurance claim your policy will not be valid if you tried to instal it yourself.

You can get a small portable generator transfer switch which is specifically designed for this purpose. The switches are manually operated,as opposed to the automatic switch systems used on large generators in hospitals and large office blocks. They are limited to 21,000 watts (21 kw) and are very easy to understand and operate once they are installed.

The portable generator transfer switch has three different positions Line, Off and Gen (Generator) and you can isolate selected circuits in your home with make and break switches. All these switches have to meet certain safety standards and should be coded like all electrical goods so it is important you check your switch has this code before you buy it, especially if you get it online.

A portable generator transfer switch is essential to ensure your generator will work safely and efficiently when you need it to provide back-up in the event of a power failure. The switch will isolate the circuits using the generator in the event of a power cut, it also avoids any risk of electricity overload as the engineers work on the fault which can sometimes cause injury to them and a fire in your home.

The advantage of using these switches is you do not have to run any extension leads from the generator to things like table lamps which can cause a trip hazard especially to the elderly. With a transfer switch your portable generator will also power ceiling and wall lights as normal.

It is important you do not overload your portable generator as if you do you will burn the wiring and weld the switches and it will trip. If this happens any warranty you got when you purchased the switch or switches will be invalid as they will consider it your fault.

It is a good idea to leave a light turned on in a room that is not on a circuit covered by the generator. In that way you will know when power has been restored. As your portable generator transfer switch is manual it will not automatically switch itself on when the power comes on again, you will have to switch it to line by yourself.

Benefits of having a generator with a Portable Generator Transfer Switch

1. Efficient - A portable generator is essential to keep your home running efficiently during a power cut. You will not have to miss your favorite television programs and sit in the dark until the lights come on again.

2. Safe - If the transfer switch is properly installed by a qualified electrician the generator is 100% safe. If you use candles or T-lights during a power failure they can get knocked over by a blowing curtain and cause a serious fire.

3. Save Food - You can power your fridge/freezer with your generator so any food stored in there will not be wasted or have to be thrown away because it has defrosted in a power cut.

4. Eat as normal - Your generator may not have enough power for your oven, fridge/freezer and the lights but you will be able to power your microwave. So there is no need to live on sandwiches or cold food.

5. Life Saver - If someone in your household has to take medicines that are kept in the fridge or even use a dialysis machine the generator could well prove to be a life saver.

6. Keep Warm - Your portable generator will be able to power an electric stove if you get a power cut in the winter which is when they so often happen. That is when you need heat the most and so you will be able to keep warm.

So, how to choose the correct transfer switch for your portable generator?

Your transfer switch will be installed by the electrician next to the main electricity panel in your home and he will connect it to the circuits you want to maintain during a power cut.

You should choose how many circuits you wish to be covered by the power of your generator. Most 5,000 watt generators will run power to 6 circuits which should be enough for a normal household.

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You need to choose a portable generator transfer switch which has a built-in wattage meter. In that way you can keep track of how much power you are using during the power cut so there will be no danger of overloading and damaging both the switch and the generator.