Think of a transfer switch as a miniature circuit breaker panel that draws electricity from your generator instead of the power company. When electric service is out in your area, you plug your portable generator into an outdoor outlet that’s connected, through the house, to a transfer switch inside.
Do I need a transfer switch for my generator?
While you might be tempted to skip a transfer switch when installing your generator, the truth is that it is almost a mandatory part of owning and using a backup power source. The only real choice you have is to use a manual switch or an automatic one.
Why would you install a transfer switch?
The switch is wired to selected essential circuits in your house, allowing you to power lights, furnace blowers, and other loads that can’t easily be run with an extension cord. But perhaps the most important job a transfer switch performs is to disconnect the utility power.
How far can a generator be from the transfer switch?
Most generators are safe up to about 60 to 70 feet away from the transfer switch. That extra distance can help cut the generator’s loudness.
Are generator transfer switches safe?
A transfer switch is the key to safe and convenient operation of portable generators for standby power. By isolating those circuits using generator power, a transfer switch eliminates the risk of back-feeding the electrical utility which can cause injury to workers and property damage.
Can you hook up a generator without a transfer switch?
Wiring Directly to the Main Electrical Panel Another way of connecting a generator to the house without a transfer switch is to wire it directly to the main electric panel. However, you can connect the generator directly to the main electrical panel by using a subpanel.
Which is better interlock or transfer switch?
Interlock switches are usually less sophisticated and therefore less expensive than automatic transfer switches. They require training and an understanding of the building’s electrical system for safe use.
How much does it cost to install a transfer switch?
A transfer switch allows you to power any of those—and skip the extension cords. Plan on a cost of $500 to $1,500 for the switch, including installation, which usually takes less than a day.
Can a homeowner install a generator transfer switch?
Installing and using a transfer switch An automatic generator transfer switch should only be installed by a qualified professional electrician. A manual transfer switch can be installed by a well-informed homeowner, but we recommend consulting your owner’s manual.
Can you plug a generator into a wall socket?
A generator should not be plugged into a wall socket. While it is physically possible to do so, there are substantial risks involved. Not only is it illegal in some areas, but permanent damage could also be done to the home’s electrical system by way of backfeeding.
How much does an electrician charge to install a generator transfer switch?
Transfer Switches for Generators It will take an electrician three to four hours to install a transfer switch, and will cost about $200 to $400 in labor. They can be added with manual or automatic functionality.
Do you have to turn off your main breaker when using a generator?
Generators quickly can produce high levels of deadly carbon monoxide gas. Turn off the generator’s circuit breaker before starting, so the load does not draw current until the generator is running smoothly.
How far from house should generator be?
Always place the generator at least 20 feet from the house with the engine exhaust directed away from windows and doors.
How many watts do I need for a backup generator?
You can run the most critical household equipment with a generator rated at 5,000 to 7,500 watts. These include things like a well pump, refrigerator and freezer, and lighting circuits. A generator with around 7500 running watts can run all these appliances at once. For RV, a 3000 – 4000-watt generator would be ideal.
How many watts do I need to power my house?
An average size home requires from 5000 to 7000 watts to power essential items. provides you with the number of continuous or running watts your generator must supply.
Can I plug my generator into my dryer outlet?
With both the generator and the main breaker off, you can plug your generator into the dryer outlet. The plugs for both ends will be specific to both the dryer outlet and the receptacle on the generator, so there is no need to worry which end is meant for which.
Can I use an interlock instead of a transfer switch?
Compared to a transfer switch, which is limited to a particular number of circuits, an interlock kit allows you to run power from a generator to any circuit within the electrical panel. While this is good in theory, there’s a risk of overloading the generator if it’s not sized according to the load.
Can I backfeed my house with a generator?
Backfeeding is a dangerous and possibly illegal way to power your home by connecting your generator to an appliance outlet (like a dryer outlet) and allowing electrical power to flow in reverse. Using backfeeding to restore power to your home is dangerous because electrical loads are not balanced.
What is the purpose of interlock switch?
In order to safely transfer the power source from a generator (and back to the main), a safety interlock is often employed. The interlock consists of one or more switches that prevent both main power and generator power from powering the dwelling simultaneously.
Do you need an electrician to install a generator?
ElectricalDo I Need an Electrician for Generator Installation? For larger generators, particularly whole-house standby generators that must take care of powering multiple systems in a house in case of a power outage, you absolutely must have installation from a licensed professional electrician.
What size generator do I need to run my AC?
If you have a 3-ton (30-Amp, 36,000 BTUs) air conditioner, you need at least a 14 KW generator. If you have a 4-ton (40-Amp, 48,000 BTUs) air conditioner, you need at least a 17 KW generator. If you have a 5-ton (50-Amp, 60,000 BTUs) air conditioner, you need at least a 20 KW generator.
Where is the transfer switch in a house?
A transfer switch is a compact breaker box that is installed inside the home, right beside the main electrical panel. The switch is wired into the main panel and connected to the most critical circuits, such as the furnace, water heater, refrigerator, range, well pump, and interior lights.
Do you need a permit to install a generator transfer switch Texas?
Do I need a permit to install a generator transfer switch or interlock kit? Yes, because electrical work is involved, a permit will be required.