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  • What to look for when choosing a transfer switch

    I will be installing a transfer switch in a new home soon. It has 400 amp service panel. Generator is 7000 watt, 12,000 surge, unit. The most power anything pulls in the house is the hot water heater (4500 watts).

    I saw a 30 amp, 6 circuit switch at Home Depot for approx $220. But, I don't know what to look for with these units. Is this one sufficient?

    Thanks for any advice.

  • #2
    Re: What to look for when choosing a transfer switch

    You might take a look at this and ask your utility if it is acceptable to them. You'll probably need them to install it anyway.

    http://www.generlink.com/about_generlink.cfm

    It has some plusses:

    Can use ANY circuit in your house with in the limits of your generator and the GenerLink. Align the breakers in your panel to supply only the loads you need to.

    No transfer switch to install, the GenerLink mounts between the meter and the meter socket.

    Prevents backfeed from your generator out to the mains by not allowing switching back to utility power until your generator is disconnected.

    I don't have one of these but am seriously looking at it for my home.

    There are some limitations on the generator you can use, but it works with about 75% of those on the market. Check their compatability list before you by one. There was a thread about a month ago and I mentioned the GenerLink, but I don't think anyone commented for or against them.



    Click the photo to view a 21 page .PDF file about GenerLink.



    Not afiliated with this company in any way (but I wish I'd thought of it cause I think they will catch on and sell, sell, sell.)
    ---------------
    Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
    ---------------
    “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
    ---------
    "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
    ---------
    sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: What to look for when choosing a transfer switch

      Bob's way is an easy way to do it but you must watch out for generator overloading. Here is a link to a company that really does home user and light commercial transfer switches in a big way. You would do well to prowl around their site.
      http://www.reliancecontrols.com/

      Here is another company to check out.
      http://www.gen-tran.com/

      Never even dream of buying anything with the name of Emerigen (or close to that) on it. JUNK

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: What to look for when choosing a transfer switch

        Yep, I know there are other alternatives out there that require more work to install and can carry larger loads, etc. But if you only need to get a couple lights going and keep your heater running in the winter, the GenerLink looks like it will fill the bill nicely. I have not priced out the GenerLink yet (waiting for email reply from them since yesterday) or compared it to more traditional setups as yet. I think the GenerLink will come in at a lower price. This doesn't of course make it better just less expensive.

        For me I might loose power for more than an hour maybe once a year in a big snowstorm (which we rarely get), and for longer than a half hour maybe two or three times. I can't see investing in a expensive transfer switch and large generator for that level of use. If I get a generator it will be one that I can easily take with me in my truck, not something that is too big to move.
        ---------------
        Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
        ---------------
        “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
        ---------
        "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
        ---------
        sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: What to look for when choosing a transfer switch

          I personally like a whole house or area, transfer switch, one that will transfer the generator to all circuits, of the house yes you need to watch what you turn on, but unless you have electric heat or the like most of the time if your careful your normally not pulling that much,

          the problem is you say you have 400 amp entrance, to get a transfer switch of that size will set one back some, (if it is whole house, then it has to be capable of carrying the full load of the grid side power load, and you can always breaker the generator to protect if from being over loaded,

          If they make that meter base thing in that size, that would be ,more than likely the easiest, method,
          Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
          attributed to Samuel Johnson
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

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          • #6
            Re: What to look for when choosing a transfer switch

            Marchboom.. I have the switch you mentioned. It is fairly easy to install but should be used with a weatherproof flanged male outlet to connect the generator to the switch. This will eliminate having to run the cord that connects the generator to the transfer switch through an open window or door. I have no large loads, except the central a/c, but in a summer power failure, central a/c was scarificed to budget considerations. If your H/W is 220, that will take up 2 of the 6 circuits in the HD switch. The remaining 4 circuits may not be enough to adequately service your requirements. Reliance Electric makes several manual transfer switches up to 10 or 12 circuits, also fairly easy to install. I really like the Generlink, but it hasn't yet been approved by Con Ed in NY, so it's not an option here. But it looks really easy. Only one isue comes to mind. I would imagine that all breakers need to be switched "off" before conneting the generator to the Generlink. Moving breakers to "on" will energize the appropriate circuit. What happens if the energized circuits exceed the rating of the generator?
            there's a solution to every problem.....you just have to be willing to find it.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: What to look for when choosing a transfer switch

              If I remember correctly Generlinks' documentation says it will shut down if overloaded. The Generlink is limited in how much current can be fed through it into the house but it's not designed to let you power up the whole house, only essential circuits up to its rated capacity. Yes, the instructions say you should open all breakers before starting the generator then close only those breakers for the circuits you need. The big plus I see of the Generlink over a transfer switch with is that you can direct power to whatever circuit in the house you desire, not just the few you have wired through the transfer switch. It also foolproofs backfeeding the grid, as the generlink automatically disconnects you from the grid when it senses power on the generator input.

              FINER9998, you say ConED has not approved it as yet, are they looking at it and evaluating it. If so I would like to know since I live in a neighboring utilities service area. This might help persuade them to accept it too.

              Generlinks web sitefool-proofsback-feedingGenerlink says it is UL approved. I sent them an email last week but have not heard back as yet, which to me is not good news. You would think they would be jumping on getting these things out there and for word-of-mouth advertising to kick in.
              ---------------
              Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
              ---------------
              “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
              ---------
              "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
              ---------
              sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: What to look for when choosing a transfer switch

                Bob D.. The principal untilities in my area are Con Ed, NYSEG, Central Hudson and Orange and Rockland. Generlink's customer service confirmed, via telecon, that they have sent data to all and only Central Hudson has blessed it so far. Given the Con Ed's beaurocracy, it'll probaby get addressed just about the time it becomes obsolete. For the record, the Generlink product looks to be a functionally much better alternative to manual transfer switches when using a portable generator as a back up power source.
                there's a solution to every problem.....you just have to be willing to find it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: What to look for when choosing a transfer switch

                  Bob D, I got a reply from Generlink. The units start at $650 for 30 amp (if I rember right) and $750 for the 40 amp, and up from there. Still weighing the pros and cons cost wise.

                  Clato

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: What to look for when choosing a transfer switch

                    Thanks for the info on the cost of the Generlink. You can be sure that they will be pricing in the same range (or slightly below) what it would cost for material and labor for an electrician to install a transfer switch. After all the y want to grab the business from the transfer switches, not lose any potential profits.

                    First I have heard of a 40A version. That's good, I can upgrade the size of the generator I plan to buy.


                    One must remember the Ferengi Second Rule of Acquisition:
                    "The best deal is the one that brings the most profit."


                    Form my previous post; Generlinks web sitefool-proofsback-feedingGenerlink says it is UL approved.

                    I don't know how this paragraph got screwed up. That's not how I wrote it. Looks like a couple sentences got run together there and I don't remember what all I wrote. Just as well it probably wasn't worth the electrons it took to create it to begin with.
                    ---------------
                    Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
                    ---------------
                    “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
                    ---------
                    "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
                    ---------
                    sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: What to look for when choosing a transfer switch

                      Ok, you say you have 400 amp electrical service. I assume it is a FULL 400 Amp service and not a dual 200A service which is a bit different. Most of the time a FULL 400A service has a CT panel for metering. Anyway, it is most unlikely that you would consdier a 400 amp transfer switch, way too expensive and UNEEDED. Back to your problem, I have to assume you have a big house and alot of circuits if you have a 400 amp service. If it was MY house here is what I would do. I would purchase a 100 amp transfer switch, they are about $225.00. Then I would get a small 20 circuit 100A main lug only breaker panel for about $50.00. I would feed the transfer switch with 100 amp breaker from the main 400A panel and then feed the 100 amp small panel through the transfer switch. Then you will select the circuits that you want to be on the generator (you can select 20 of them) and move them over to the smaller panel from the 400A panel. You then feed the transfer switch with your generator. When the power goes out, you pull the transfer switch to generator and all the circuits in the smaller panel will be run from your generator. Your total investment is about $300.00 and you have up to 20 circuits you can have on your generator. You can't beat that price with any type of other transfer device. Lou

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                      • #12
                        Re: What to look for when choosing a transfer switch

                        You may want to have a look at this PDF document. They have load centers (breaker panels) with 2 breakers mounted back to back with a handle interlock which serve as the transfer switch. Then there are regular circuit breakers for the different circuits that you can buy and install as needed. They have many models to look at. This keeps the installation nice and neet looking. You would feed the utility breaker from one in your main load center and use this as a sub-panel for only the circuits you want standby power for. QROKING is correct that you're not going to be able to use a meter socket type device with 400 Amp service. Also, you really want control over the load on the generator unless you plan on installing a monster (for a house) size generator that could run the whole place.

                        http://www.reliancecontrols.com/Documents/S1204TE.pdf

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