It’s that time of year again in California where the sun is hot, and the storms can get nasty. With the potential risk of losing power, many businesses and some homes rely on a backup generator to keep everything running smoothly during a storm. These backup generators all have a transfer switch, a name that is very literal because you flip a switch and it then transfers electricity to all things relying on it. This switch also allows the backup generator to remain isolated from power lines that may be getting repaired at the same time.
There are two types of transfer switches, manual and automatic. The choice of which is right for you depends on what kind of electrical intake goes through your home, how much you’re willing to spend, and what type of business/house it is.
For a manual switch, be prepared to walk around in the dark for a little bit. As the name states, this will be a manual process, which means locating the generator in the dark (make sure you have new batteries for that flashlight) and start it manually and connect to the transfer switch. When power has been restored to the occupancy, you will have to manually shut off the generator after switching back over to the original power.
For the automatic switch, there is a lot less footwork to be done. The name implies right away that the backup generator will work automatically. If everything is in working order, it’s very possible not even to realize the power has gone out as the backup generator kicks in. A couple of seconds of flickering lights might be the only indicator you have. Same goes for when the utility power comes back on, it automatically shuts off the generator and reconnects to the utility power with no damage done.
Automatic switches are perfect for businesses that require lots of electricity and have no time for power failures, hospitals being the leading example. Whereas a manual switch would make more sense in a two bedroom home that was reasonably cozy. The cost will make a difference too, so figure out which switch works best for you today!