generator installation

Transfer Switch Safety 101

Choosing a portable or standby home generator is an important step to protecting your family in case of a power outage. If your power cuts out suddenly, you want to make sure you can get your generator running safely, quickly and easily. The best way to do this is to have a transfer switch installed for your generator.


Why Use A Transfer Switch?

Basically, a transfer switch allows your portable or standby generator to run safely without overpowering any of your home’s other electrical circuits. It gets installed right next to your main electrical panel inside your house. The transfer switch creates a safe connection between your generator and your home’s electrical wiring. When professionally installed, it allows you to change electrical loads between the power source of your generator, and your home’s electrical circuits. In short, when the power goes out, you’ll be able to re-power the whole house with the safe flick of a switch.


1. Avoid Back Feeding

Transfer switches prevent the utility power and the generator from powering your household circuits at the same time. The result is called back feeding. When this happens, the results can be very dangerous and can include fires, serious injury, or even death. Back feeding also occurs when a generator is plugged directly into a home’s electrical system, bypassing any built-in protection devices. It is best to keep your circuits separate with the installation of a transfer switch.


2.Top Transfer Switch Safety Tips:

Some of these may seem like common sense to you, but it’s so important that you make sure you cover all your bases.

  • Understand your manual:
    Your transfer switch was designed with specific details, and each model can be different. Fully understand your manual is vital.
  • Make sure your switch is damage free:
    Before using your transfer switch, make sure all connections are correct. If there is visible damage, or anything out of the ordinary, do not operate your manual switch, call a certified electrician to come check things out.
  • Avoid moisture and dampness:
    Exposure to water of any kind is the number one cause of starting a fire. If your panel runs any risk of being exposed to liquids, have your panel moved to a drier location.
  • Never run a generator indoors:
    Generators produce carbon monoxide when they are running. If operated indoors or in an enclosed structure, serious health complications could occur, so keep your generator outside.


3.It’s The Law!

Although you would be able to power your lights and appliances by running extension cords directly from your generator, it is not the safest or most convenient method. You could also connect your transfer switch directly to your home’s wiring, but this presents an even greater safety hazard to your family as well as utility workers who may come to restore your power. If you go this route, the National Electrical Code requires a transfer switch anyway. This law protects the linemen who work on the utility wires and to protect people from down power lines. If you don’t have a transfer switch connected to your electrical panel you run the risk of causing major safety hazards as well as damage to your home.



Licensed and Insured Electrician New Wiring

Fully Licensed & Insured Electricians

New York Electric Company has you covered for not only a wide range of transfer switches to purchase, but we can help you decide which one is best for you, and install it as well. From Manual to automatic switches, to switches for your home or business, we have all of your options available right here. Contact us today so we can help you decide which option best suits your generator needs.