A portable generator is a smart investment. When there's a power outage in your area, you can turn on the portable generator to supply your home or business with electricity. Most portable generators run on gas. As long as you have gas on hand, you can keep the lights running. But if you're going to use a portable generator, you may want to connect it to a transfer switch.
Transfer Switches Explained
A transfer switch is an electrical box that sits between a portable generator and the hour or business with which the portable generator is used. It's essentially a circuit breaker. It changes the load from the power grid to the portable generator.
Manual vs Automatic Transfer Switches
There are two types of transfer switches: manual and automatic. Manual transfer switches are exactly what they sound like: transfer switches that require manual operation. You can switch them from the power grid to the portable generator and vice versa by pulling a lever.
Automatic transfer switches work automatically. You don't need to switch from the power grid to the portable generator. If you have an automatic transfer switch, it will perform this task automatically. As a result, automatic transfer switches are more popular than manual transfer switches. The downside is that they typically cost more. But if you're going to invest in a portable generator for your home or business, you may want to spend the extra money on an automatic transfer switch.
The Importance of a Transfer Switch
A transfer switch is important because it protects against power surges. When the power grid comes back online, your portable generator may send a surge of power to it -- assuming it's not connected to a transfer switch. A transfer switch will prevent this from happening. It will kill the circuit so that your portable generator isn't able to send power to the grid.
A transfer switch will allow you to power electrical devices and appliances without using extension cords. Most portable generators, of course, require extension cords. You'll have to run extension cords from a portable generator to the device and appliances that you want to power. A transfer switch, though, eliminates the need for extension cords.
Whether you're planning to use it for your home or business, you may want to connect your portable generator to a transfer switch. Transfer switches are circuit breakers. With a transfer switch, you can prevent power surges from occurring, and you won't have to use a bunch of extension cords.