Transfer switches and generators go hand-in-hand. They are dependent on each other to work as a system. It, in turn, powers your house in case of a power outage. For the smooth working of a generator and to avoid any hassle, we need to understand what transfer switches are? Why are they a necessity, and how to ensure their perfect installation?
It is an electrical switch that shifts electrical power between two sources. These sources are the portable generator and our transfer switch in most cases. The fundamental working of a transfer switch is to transfer power to the circuits of your choosing.
Why are transfer switches necessary?
First off, The National Electric Code requires you to have a properly installed transfer switch with your portable generator. In addition, NEC 700.5 and 701.5 imply that every homeowner with a standby generator to power their homes in case of a power outage must also get a transfer switch installed.
Secondly, it helps you avoid any inconveniences you might face otherwise. For example, it includes a tangled mess of extension cords. Moreover, improper switch installation can land you in trouble as it is a direct code violation.
Transfer switches allow you to power all your home appliances. For example, you cannot power your microwave directly from your generator during a blackout. You need a power relay system. It is where the transfer switch comes in handy. It also minimizes the risk of electrocution or electrical fire. Extensions cord can cause back feed from the power source. These switches take these power cords out of the equation.
Types of transfer switches
Transfer switches are of two types, manual and automatic controllers. The difference is noticeable. A manual control lets you relay power from the grid to the generator by switching. In contrast, automatic switches shift the power automatically from the grid in case of a blackout. However, mechanical switches are much more expensive than manual ones.
What to seek in a transfer switch
- Straight off the bat, check if it has the necessary certifications. However, most switches do have them. It is a good idea to recheck.
- See if the switch is manual or automatic. Then decide on which one you need based on your budget and need.
- Make sure the switch comes with an all-in-one kit. It makes the assembly and installation quicker and easier and is much more feasible.
- Lastly, check how many running watts the switch can handle. Calculate the watts it will require to power a specific circuit. Choose the button accordingly. In addition, always corroborate the warranty that comes with the switch.
Reliance controls transfer switches
Reliance Controls was previously known as Reliance Automatic Lighting Company. It has been up and running since 1909. Reliance control deals with heavy-duty electrical products. These products include
- Home security system
- Generator power cords
- Transfer panels for portable generators
Best transfer switches by Reliance Controls
Reliance Controls is one of the big names when discussing transfer switches and numerous electrical items. Below are some of their best-selling buttons with outstanding customer reviews.
Reliance Controls R306A
It is a Pro/Tran 2 model by Reliance control. This switch features a lock-and-key mechanism and a gasket steel cabinet. Though, it works best for commercial and residential installation. The maximum running watts power is 7,500, and it also comes with a 5-year warranty.
Reliance Controls 31406CRK
It is a CUL1008 verified, manual transfer switch with a market-competitive price and maximum running watts power of 7,500. In addition, 31406CRK comes with a fully equipped installation kit and a 5-year warranty.
Reliance Controls 51410C
It is another manual switch but has much more features than 31406CRK. For example, 51410C comes with six combination knockouts, tight double-throw controls, and a resettable branch circuit breaker.
This switch has a maximum running watts power of 12,500 and comes with a 2-year warranty.
Reliance Controls XRC0606CR
This switch belongs to the Link X series. It is a heavy-duty switch and is best for outdoor installation. XRC0606CR has 10 circuit branches and can manage up to 18 chapters with the help of tandem breakers. The maximum running power is 15,000 watts. Therefore, it has the most compatibility with GFI-protected generators and can avoid ground faults and irritating tripping of the circuits.
Reliance Controls XRR1010DR
XRR1010DR is another Link X series transfer switch. Most of its features resemble that of XRC0606CR. However, it has a maximum running power of a whopping 25,000 watts.
Moreover, it is a double pole switch with a third pole for sequential switching for neutral. XRC0606CR can manage 34 circuit branches maximum with the help of tandem breakers.
How to install a Reliance Controls transfer switch
Although it might sound easy to install a transfer switch, it does not mean you should jump in on the task. It requires a skilled and qualified electrician to perform the job. Additionally, it might take more than 3 hours to install.
Mount the switch next to the pre-existing electrical panel.
Before connecting the wires from the transfer switch to the main panel’s breaker, ensure the house’s power is shut off from the main electrical panel.
You will have to drill a 1.5 inches diameter hole through the house’s wall and screw the electrical box to the wall of the house right above the drilled hole.
Drive an electrical cable through the drilled hole
From the outside, connect the electrical receptacle with the transfer switch to the electrical cable. You will have to screw the box to the container.
Get back inside and connect the transfer switch to the electrical receptacle cable.
Perform a small test by turning your generator on. Keep the power off and connect the generator’s plug into the outdoor receptacle.
Flip the transfer switch’s switch and verify if the generator gives power to the desired circuits.