Generator Transfer Switch

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by ddagsyn, Sep 21, 2008.

  1. ddagsyn

    ddagsyn New Member

    Messages:
    50
    I live in Texas and lost power due to the hurriance. I purchased a generator and would like to know whether i need to have a permit to install a generator transfer switch.
    Thanks
  2. brownizs

    brownizs In the Trades

    Messages:
    196
    Location:
    Springfield, IL
    Depends on your area, and what the inspector says at City Hall. Some villages & Cities do not like Home Owners doing their own Electrical, while others could give a rat's ass what the home owner does.
  3. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT
  4. ddagsyn

    ddagsyn New Member

    Messages:
    50
    Chris75,
    I was on the site and if i understand the interlock technology. There is a XX amp breaker for the generator installed on the panel that feeds the other breakers in the event of a power outage, and it is designed so that it only operates if the main power source switch from the Power company is in the off position to prevent backfeed.
    Please correct me if i am wrong.
    Thanks
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,537
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    transfer

    Because of the potential hazard of an improperly installed transfer switch, it should be inspected, and that means a building permit. Whether you as a homeowner can get the permit depends on the parameters of your local building department. Even though a homeowner is permitted to do much of his own work, that task may be one that they require be done by a licensed electrician.
  6. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT
    That is correct and meets code with Article 702.6 of the NEC.
  7. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

    Messages:
    422
    In my area a permit would be required. But for your specific area of Texas, I have no idea. Ask your city/town or if you live in the county, ask the county or state.

    The problem with connecting generators to your panel is that they can "back feed" into the electrical lines in the neighborhood, possibly electrocuting someone who thinks the power is off. So good idea to have it inspected whether you have to or not. (CYA)

    Also as to generators, these provide "dirty power". Electronic things do not like the electricity provided by generators. Might possibly damage electronic things. Best to use a "power line conditioner" or a computer type UPS with power line conditioner between the generator and anything electronic.

    For example I have a generator. When power goes out, I will directly connect my refrigerator, freezer, window A/C, or space heater. (Not all at once since not enough power.) But if I want to connect my computer, satellite TV, stereo, etc., I will connect my UPS between the generator and these.

    I just run extention cords all over the place.
  8. alternety

    alternety Like an engineer

    Messages:
    650
    Location:
    Washington
    The suggested device is a stamped metal plate. $150 is what I consider excessive profit. Square D also sells one for their equipment. But it does work.

    If you use this sort of device, you must be aware of possible loads and disable things that could overload your generator. It is best done with a planned subpanel that contains only backup loads.

    The dirtyness of generators is a function of each manufacturer's equipment. Many generators provide power that is just fine for any load. The inverter based units are probably the best and they allow a variable speed engine based on load vs the constant 3600 rpm (or 1800 for some) speed to maintain proper line frequency. This can improve fuel consumption and lower generator noise.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2008
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