Installing a transfer switch


Old 09-29-04, 05:04 PM
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Installing a transfer switch

I purchased a 10-circuit transfer switch, which I intend to use with my 6000W generator. The plan is to mount an outside receptacle to plug the generator in. The other end, obviously, plugs into the transfer switch. I studied the installation instructions and had some "office" talk with some people and all keep saying I should get an electrician to install the switch. So much for their confidence in my work.

Now, I do feel comfortable working around electric stuff and did wire our entire basement when we finished it 15 years ago. We never had any problems with any of the wiring. I do not have to worry about any 220 since I do not plan to make use of anything in the house that might use it during an outage. My question is what is your recommendation and what should I watch out form besides the obvious when working with hot wires
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Old 09-29-04, 05:08 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Yes, you do have to worry about 220. Your generator puts out 220 volts. You need to wire the other feed to the transfer switch from a 220 breaker in your main panel.

You also need to worry about trying to keep the loads balanced between each half of the 220 volts at the transfer switch. For example, you probably don't want the refrigerator, freezer, and sump pump to be on the same half of the service.
Old 09-29-04, 05:34 PM
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I understand that part. What I tried to say is that I do not plan on powering any 220v appliance with the generator. Wouldn't that mean, according to instructions, that all I have to do is remove the hot wire from the circuit breaker and tie it toget with the black from the switch and the corresponding red wire from the switch goes into the circuit breaker. I repeat these steps for all circuits I want to power, then tie the white wire to the neutral bar and green to the ground bar.

However, if I wanted to do it the save way and get an electrician is there a guideline how long such a job would take?
Old 09-29-04, 05:51 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
I have no idea what you are talking about.

You need to install a 240 breaker in your main panel and connecit to your transfer panel. This connection will be done with four wires. Two wires will connect to the 220 breaker you install. One wire will connect to the ground bar and the other wire will connect to the neutral bar. These may be the same place in your main panel.

At the transfer panel these will connect up to the switch. The other half of the switch inputs will be from the generator.

You then need to move up to ten circuits from your main panel to the transfer panel. You may need to buy breakers for the transfer panel, or it may come with some. These circuits should be circuits you need in a power failure. Generally thes circuits include refrigerator, freezer, furnace, water heater, sump pump, gas stove and one or two general purpose circuits for some lights.

How much this would cost to have done professionally and how long it would take depend on many factors. What equipment is needed (wire, conduit, breakers)? Do the circuits to be moved need to be extended, or do they reach the transfer panel? What work is necessary to hook up the generator (cable to be made or custom wiring, etc.).
Old 09-29-04, 06:42 PM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: welland ontario
Posts: 5,667
It is a simple as you describe.
The type of transfer switch he is installing requires you to pick which circuits you will power ahead of time. It is not a whole house transfer switch. There is a switch for each circuit which you manually select the circuits to power up. Some of them have watt meters so you can see how much power you are drawing from each leg.
Old 09-29-04, 06:53 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: NA
Posts: 1,065
Yes, Joed is correct Generac and gentran make them to name some I'm aware of. Usually there are two circuits available for 220 capability along with the 120 volt circuits. You usually can covert the 220 circuits to 120 circuits by removing the handle ties.

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Last edited by Roger; 09-29-04 at 07:06 PM.
Old 09-29-04, 07:53 PM
Bob Haller
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I would at least call and get some quotes from electrical contractors and definetely have it inspected when your done. Espically if you do it yourself. you might learn something too from their description of how its done.

A mistake on this doesnt just cause you troubles but might kill a lineman trying to repair a downed wire he believes is dead.

You might check out installing a automatic backup generator that runs on say natural gas, and switches over automatically and starts the generator.

much less fuss and bother.

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