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Should You Get Automatic or Manual Transfer Switches 
Should You Get Automatic or Manual Transfer Switches 
Jul 01,2023

Should You Get Automatic or Manual Transfer Switches 

At Mr. Electric, we provide local property owners with a wide selection of premium services including electrical panel replacement, generator installation, and more. We know firsthand how frustrating unexpected electrical issues can be and we want to help you avoid them. Emergencies are inevitable, and power outages are no exception. Whether caused by natural disasters or grid failures, power outages can disrupt daily life at home and halt operations in businesses. Having a backup power system can help property owners avoid trouble. However, a generator alone is not enough. You need a device that safely connects the generator to your building's electrical system. Read below to discover more information about transfer switches, the differences between automatic and manual transfer switches, and what considerations to make when choosing one for your setup.

The Role of a Transfer Switch

A transfer switch serves as a bridge between your generator and your electrical system. It's a crucial component of any backup power system that ensures a smooth transition from your utility power to your generator during an outage. More importantly, it isolates your generator from the main power grid. This isolation is essential because it prevents backfeeding which could cause severe injuries to utility workers and significant damage to your equipment. Therefore, a transfer switch is not just a convenience device; it's a requirement for all wired-in backup generator installations for safety reasons.

Manual Transfer Switches

When the power goes out, and you're equipped with a manual transfer switch, expect a brief period of darkness. With a manual switch, owners have to physically start their generator. Once that's done, you need to flip the switch to transition from utility power to generator power. When utility power is restored, you will have to reverse the process manually by turning off the generator and flipping the switch back. This process might seem cumbersome, but manual switches have their advantages. They're generally cheaper to design, fabricate, and install. 

Automatic Transfer Switches

When the power goes out an automatic switch will sense the interruption and signal to your generator to start up. A second or two later, the transfer switch shifts your electrical system from the utility power to the generator. When utility power is back on, the automatic switch will disconnect your electrical system, and shut down the generator. All this happens without any manual intervention, providing a virtually uninterrupted power supply during outages.

Comparing Manual and Automatic Transfer Switches

The decision between a manual and an automatic transfer switch primarily depends on your electrical demands, your budget, and your tolerance for power interruptions. Manual switches have the advantage of lower cost, smaller size, and easier installation and maintenance. They're a viable option if you're on a tight budget and power outages are infrequent in your area. On the other hand, automatic switches require a larger investment initially. But if you live in an area prone to regular power outages, the convenience and near-seamless power supply they provide can be invaluable. For some businesses like hospitals and data centers, even a short power interruption can have severe consequences.

Do You Need a Generator or Automatic Transfer Switch Installation? 

Regardless of the type of transfer switch you choose, hiring a reliable electrician for the job is a must. If you’re struggling with electrical problems, there’s no need to wait. Get quality care with one call to the professionals at Mr. Electric. From electrical panel replacement to transfer switch installations, our experienced electricians have the tools and training needed to get the job done correctly. Contact our office to learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment with reliable electricians in your area. 

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