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10 circuit transfer switch or whole house transfer switch?

10 circuit transfer switch or whole house transfer switch?

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  #1  
Old 12-06-11, 10:50 AM
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10 circuit transfer switch or whole house transfer switch?

Hi all,

I'm looking to hookup a transfer switch to my portable generator and I was wondering if anyone had opinions on these two options:

10 Circuit Transfer SwitchReliance Controls 31410CRK - Power Transfer Kit for Portable Generators (10 Circuit)

Pros:
I can install myself
Has meters for usage
Can be bought in kits with the wires / input box

Cons:
Limited to 10 circuits

- or -
Whole House Transfer Panel
Reliance Controls TWB2005DR - 200-Amp Outdoor Manual Transfer Panel

Pros:
Allows me to run all the circuits rather than picking and choosing
Quicker installation (though requires an electrician - see cons)

Cons:
Have to hire an electrician as the hot power from the pole is hooked into the device ($$$$)
No meters for wattage usage
Larger footprint (takes up more space)
Does not come in a kit
Slightly more expensive

Am I missing something here? I mapped out my circuits and selected my 10 "must haves" as well as the load that the devices will represent. However it would be nice to have the option of flipping on what I need in the panel rather than limiting myself to the 10 circuits.

Thoughts?
 
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  #2  
Old 12-06-11, 11:01 AM
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Have you considered an interlock kit? That may be a good option for you. Most manufacturers make them for their panels and interlockkit.com makes an aftermaket version.
 
  #3  
Old 12-06-11, 11:21 AM
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If it's for a true portable generator...there's no reason to go for the whole house unless you think you might upgrade to a whole house generator in the future.

I think far to many people want to try to power everything in the house during outages. Now, if you are in an all electric home (heat, WH, cooking, etc) and are subject to frequent lengthy power outages..that may be worth considering. Most folks can get by with the basics, fridge, furnace, a couple of lights and maybe the TV.

We (and a 3rd neighbor) went about 5 days in VA after a hurricane using extension cords from a neighbors 12KW gennie. We'd hook up in the afternoon, run the fridge, do some things on the PC (conditioner/UPS on the line), charge some batteries, etc....then he'd shut down about 9PM. Luckily it was a time when the furnace and A/C weren't needed. That would have complicated matters. I probably could have easily gotten by with a 3-5Kw gennie and 4 extension cords.
 
  #4  
Old 12-06-11, 11:25 AM
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Auger - thanks for the reply.

I had looked into these but my understanding is that they are not approved by code in all towns and they are load-center specific. I tried once to call my town and ask them if PEX is approved by code and the guy started yelling at me saying 'I was trying to pull a fast one and do the plumbing work myself'. I hate them and avoid all contact if possible. I suppose the power company might have something to say on the matter though (they also lectured me when i asked to have my feed line burried as I was without power for 4 days...grrr).

I have to admit that I am not crazy about back-feeding even though it would be done correctly....perhaps I have an incorrect view? I understand the principle behind it but to me there is still a margin for error if the panel cover were to be removed (not that I would be likely to do that in a power outage of course).
 
  #5  
Old 12-06-11, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Gunguy45 View Post
If it's for a true portable generator...there's no reason to go for the whole house unless you think you might upgrade to a whole house generator in the future.

I think far to many people want to try to power everything in the house during outages. Now, if you are in an all electric home (heat, WH, cooking, etc) and are subject to frequent lengthy power outages..that may be worth considering. Most folks can get by with the basics, fridge, furnace, a couple of lights and maybe the TV.

We (and a 3rd neighbor) went about 5 days in VA after a hurricane using extension cords from a neighbors 12KW gennie. We'd hook up in the afternoon, run the fridge, do some things on the PC (conditioner/UPS on the line), charge some batteries, etc....then he'd shut down about 9PM. Luckily it was a time when the furnace and A/C weren't needed. That would have complicated matters. I probably could have easily gotten by with a 3-5Kw gennie and 4 extension cords.
Vic,

As much as I would love a standby generator I do not have natural gas and would not want to put out the expense for a propane or diesel tank so my 8000W (10k peak) should do the trick.

I was very methodical with the loads by using a watt meter on basically every single device (fridge, microwave, home theater (big one there!), etc.) and then coming up with what size generator I actually required (how I ended up with the 8000w). The problem is that some of the lights are on completely separate (under used) circuits so it would be nice to have say the basement lights work - they did not make the 10 circuit list.

That's basically why I'm debating as the prices are very close although I have to take into account the wire / connection boxes which are typically separate from the whole house type.
 
  #6  
Old 12-06-11, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by spta97 View Post
Auger - thanks for the reply.

I had looked into these but my understanding is that they are not approved by code in all towns and they are load-center specific. I tried once to call my town and ask them if PEX is approved by code and the guy started yelling at me saying 'I was trying to pull a fast one and do the plumbing work myself'. I hate them and avoid all contact if possible. I suppose the power company might have something to say on the matter though (they also lectured me when i asked to have my feed line burried as I was without power for 4 days...grrr).

I have to admit that I am not crazy about back-feeding even though it would be done correctly....perhaps I have an incorrect view? I understand the principle behind it but to me there is still a margin for error if the panel cover were to be removed (not that I would be likely to do that in a power outage of course).
Most places have thier code amendments etc avalible online so you might check there for a start. You are correct that some places dont allow interlocks or third party interlocks. However, some place also dont allow non metallic, a.k.a. romex, so it is best to see exacly what is acceptable where you live. To do it properly, you will need a permit so you are going to have to deal with them anyway.
 
  #7  
Old 12-06-11, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Auger01 View Post
Most places have thier code amendments etc avalible online so you might check there for a start. You are correct that some places dont allow interlocks or third party interlocks. However, some place also dont allow non metallic, a.k.a. romex, so it is best to see exacly what is acceptable where you live. To do it properly, you will need a permit so you are going to have to deal with them anyway.
I'll inquire. I wasn't thinking about an interlock until I checked that link and saw the price - $150 for the device would be significantly cheaper for something I would use very rarely!
 
  #8  
Old 12-06-11, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by spta97 View Post
I'll inquire. I wasn't thinking about an interlock until I checked that link and saw the price - $150 for the device would be significantly cheaper for something I would use very rarely!
Depending on who makes your panel you might get one cheaper. The Square D made interlock kit for my Homeline panel was $60 at a local electrical supply place. Of course I found this out only after I spent WAY more for one on Ebay.....rolling eyes
 
  #9  
Old 12-06-11, 05:42 PM
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The $150 is way better than the $400 - $500 for the switch, however I am not convinced it is 100% safe. Is it possible to have issues with the cover off?

I am pretty sure I have a Murray panel. Seemed to be $150 on their site for a compatible switch
 
  #10  
Old 12-06-11, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by spta97 View Post
The $150 is way better than the $400 - $500 for the switch, however I am not convinced it is 100% safe. Is it possible to have issues with the cover off?

I am pretty sure I have a Murray panel. Seemed to be $150 on their site for a compatible switch

Yes with the panel cover off it doesn't work, but it's a manual switch over not automatic so you should be fine. I think they also rely on the placarding that is on it and the breaker holding bracket (on mine anyway) that warns you if the panel is removed.
 
  #11  
Old 12-06-11, 06:36 PM
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not sure if any of those work

http://www.sea.siemens.com/us/intern..._Cut_Sheet.pdf

Not familiar with Murray panels
 
  #12  
Old 01-18-12, 03:47 PM
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spta97 - any update on what you went with here? your situation and preferences sound very much like my own!
 
  #13  
Old 01-18-12, 05:23 PM
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Hey bheron,

I haven't pulled the trigger on anything yet but I intend to soon. I'm leaning toward the 10 circuit transfer switch but I will call the town about the interlock switch (which would by far be the easiest cheapest option) as well as an electrician about the whole-house transfer switch. I am less inclined to go that route as I have not been impressed with the quality of any contractors I have hired in the past - I would rather do it myself.

I will be purchasing something soon and will post back....stay tuned
 
  #14  
Old 01-18-12, 08:01 PM
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I am sure the code officials would not approve this but who needs them to tell u what to do ! Just b sure to kill the main every time!


Yeah and you can die instantly too. Dont listen to this guy please.

Go with the 10 circuit switch IMO.

Mod Note: Post to which this post refers has been deleted because of its dangerous content.

Mike NJ
 

Last edited by ray2047; 01-19-12 at 04:03 AM.
  #15  
Old 01-18-12, 08:46 PM
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Thanks for the idea but "Backfeeding" is something I would never consider....EVER. That is why I am aprehensive regarding the interlock switch - there is the potential if you happen to have the panel off. Unlikely - but not fool proof.
 
  #16  
Old 01-18-12, 08:54 PM
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I have a 6 circuit and its all I need. well, heat, lights, TV, some outlets.

Its emergency power, not a day at the Hilton.

less circuits = smaller gen = less gas = less maintainance = easy transport.

Mike NJ
 
  #17  
Old 01-19-12, 12:27 PM
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Many people in my area had a day of emergency power turn into a week or longer. I personally went 4 days after one storm so I want to be as comfortable as possible. Hilton > Motel 6
 
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