Power Transfer System Buyer's Guide
How to Pick the Perfect Power Transfer System
Power transfer systems are the easiest, most convenient way to restore power to your home using a portable generator while ensuring the safety of your home and family.
A power transfer system contains a manual transfer switch, a power cord, and an optional power inlet box. Your type of installation will help you determine the length of the cord and whether you need the power inlet box at all.
You should never plug your generator directly into an outlet in your home. This practice, known as back-feeding, is illegal because it can cause someone to be electrocuted and can set fire to your home. Installed properly, power transfer systems can eliminate these risks.
Transfer System Installations
Let's take a look at the two most common types of installations that allow you to safely connect your emergency portable generator to your home.
If your main electric panel is located in your garage, congratulations. This is the easiest and least expensive way to install a power transfer system.
Your electrician simply connects a manual transfer switch to your main electrical panel. You don't need a power inlet box since you can run a power cord into the garage.
Always run your generator outside of the garage to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. You'll need at least a 25-foot power cord to give you ample distance.
If your main panel is located in the basement, you have two options.
- First, you can run a power cord through an open basement window.
- A better option, however, is to mount a power inlet box on the outside of your house near your electrical panel. A certified professional then hardwires the power inlet box directly to your manual transfer switch.
When the power goes out, you simply plug one end of a power cord into the generator. The other end connects to the power inlet box. Flip a few switches, and you're running on backup power.
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