If you're looking for a fast route to an electrical nightmare, choose the wrong type of electric transfer switch. Whether it's an under-powered or an overpowered unit introducing the risk of a safety issue, a lot can go wrong when you don't make the right decision. If you're planning to update a switch in your home, in addition to amperage requirements, educate yourself on some additional important selection criteria.
Switches are available in both an automatic and manual operating style. With an automatic switch, power is automatically turned on and the generator activated whenever the voltage drops below a certain point. Once it increases, the system automatically powers off. With a manual transfer switch, you must manually turn it on and off based on your needs. When choosing between the two, effort is the primary factor.
Sure, an automatic switch does offer a more effortless operation, but it also comes with a higher cost and more complicated installation. So, if you don't mind the extra effort, a manual unit might be a better option. Additionally, an automatic switch will only automatically function when the transfer switch is connected to a generator equipped with an automatic starter.
Another important factor to consider is the encasement style of the actual box that houses the electric transfer switch. When it comes to this selection, make sure you understand that it is much more than a cosmetic requirement, but instead one of safety. Transfer switches are installed near the main breaker panel, even if it is located outside. For an inside unit, there are fewer concerns.
However, for an outside installation, given its exposure to the elements, including intense UV rays and rain, the encasement must be designed to keep these elements out and withstand this constant wear. If not, not only can the box fail, but the risk of an electrical danger increases. An outdoor encasement needs to be waterproof, ensuring that none of the wiring to the main breaker panel is exposed. Make sure you're looking for this option to protect your home and family.
Unless you have existing experience, it's often a great idea to contact a professional. In the time of an electrical power outage, having access to power is important, and if you choose the wrong power switch, you might not have this access. A professional will help ensure you're are equipped with the features you need.