The cool air of fall that has settled in during the past few weeks can only mean one thing – winter will soon be here. With it comes all the glorious beauty and fury of snow storms. Protect your family from the inconvenience and danger of winter blackouts by purchasing a home backup generator. If you already have an alternative power source installed, you should next consider installing one of the many transfer switches available. These can make switching over to the generator during a power outage a breeze.
What is a generator transfer switch? These devices were created to make the changeover from your house using utility power to the backup energy source both safer and easier. With portable generators, you can only power what can be reached and plugged into an extension cord. Transfer switches allow you to choose specific circuits to run using your generator when a power outage occurs, allowing your family to keep a level of normalcy while city is working on getting the utility lines back up.
How does a transfer switch keep you and others safe? Generators cannot be connected to your home without shutting down the channel of the utility power, which is what these devices do. Without one, a phenomenon called backfeeding occurs. This is when the extra power that your house is no longer using is sent back through the utility lines to the transformer. This puts both your family and electricity workers at risk for electrocution. It can also cause damage and power outages in your area.
When it comes to choosing a transfer switch for your backup generator, you have to main choices: automatic and manual. A manual switch is more affordable and therefore the common choice for first time buyers and for homeowners who live in an area that does not experience many blackouts during the year. As the name suggests, action is required on your part to cut off the access to the utility power and start up the generator, as well as switch back to the regular power source once the outage is over.
An automatic transfer switch is the more convenient choice and the more expensive one. This option continually monitors the level of power your home is receiving from the utility transformer. If it drops below a certain point, the connection is cut and generator switches on without any assistance from you. It will also reverse the change once conditions are back to normal. This is a very attractive option for people who live in cities with particularly harsh winters and those who do not want to track outside in the snow to turn their generators on.
If you have not purchased a backup generator yet, do not leave it to the last minute. Winter storms can catch you off guard. After the first freezing night your family spends without heat, you will regret procrastinating. Generators, along with transfer switches, can ensure you spend each day focused on the beauty of the winter wonderland around you, instead of missing the warmth of the summer.