The generator transfer switch is one of the most important parts of the generator. It uses to connect the circuit breaker on the switchboard to the generator. The transfer switch ensures a secure connection between the home appliances and portable generator.
This switch allows you to quickly switch from mains power to a generator in the event of a power outage. As the generator transfer switch goes bad, you must replace it as soon as possible. The replacement cost of the transfer switch is different for different areas.
What Does the Transfer Switch Do?
A transfer switch is an electrical device mounted in an electrical box that switches the power load between two power sources.
With permanent source of backup power, this occurs automatically if the first power supply source is not available. The transfer switch is best suitable as it allows current to flow smoothly with minimum delay.
For most generators that are designed to supply power to whole house or building, the generator is connected to a transfer switch installed on the circuit board. As you start the generator, the transfer switch transfers the power load from the grid to the generator.
If this switch is not connected, you will require to connect an outdoor-rated extension cord from the generator to your home. You should use dedicated cables for high power consumption appliances such as window air conditioners or space heaters as they may overload. Remember that without transfer switches, you can only power electronic devices that contain standard plugs.
You shouldn’t link hardwired to the circuit panel, e.g., an AC compressor or a furnace.
Types of Transfer Switches
The transfer switches have the following two types:
- Automatic switch
- Manual switch
1) Automatic Switch
These types of transfer switches seamlessly transfer electricity from main power source to the backup source according to the requirements. When the power is needed, it automatically transfers power to the generator. There is no need human for its operation.
2) Manual Switch
The manual switch requires a human to operate it. It has a small lever. The worker operates the switch by flipping the lever. These types of transfer switches are most usually used in portable generators. However, the manual switches are not as much popular as automatic switches.
Generator Installation Costs
Standby Generator Installation Costs
The installation cost of a standby generator varies according to the fuel source, size, type of brand, your living area, labor cost, the amount of wiring and gas plumbing.
The average installation costs (without the generator) of the residential standby generators that don’t have complicated installations is from $3,000 to $5,000. For long distances or power ratings more than 20 kW, the average installation costs of the generators that have complicated installation is from $5,000 to $13,000.
If you’re using a natural gas generator, you might not necessarily have to pay for something like an LP tank, but the cost factor (listed below) of installing a standby generator gives you a good idea of the potential costs:
- Propane tank: $390 to $1,900
- Permits: $70 to $470
- Concrete pad: $140 to $410
- Electrician labor charges (per hour): $50 to $110
- Gas line (per foot): $10 to $30
- Generator transfer switch installation: $410 to $2,100
- Electrical wiring (per foot): $5 to $10
Portable Generator Installation Costs
Without the generator itself, the average installation cost of a portable generator is $410 to $1,400. However, if you are connecting your system directly to the generator and you require a heavy-duty extension cord, additional costs may apply. The following is the list of different factors:
- Transfer switch: $190 to $810
- Generator cover: $15 to $160
- Electrical work: $210 to $510
- Wheel kit: $20 to $320
- Heavy-duty extensions cords: $20 to $220