Transfer Switch for Generator Power in Outages

GrizBota

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If you are the owner and occupant of the structure, you can do the wiring yourself, as long as you do it to code, get a permit and pass inspection.

Edit: apparently your mileage may vary. Here on the left coast, that’s how residential stuff works last I knew. But I haven’t built a house in 15 years.
 
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trial and error

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If you are the owner and occupant of the structure, you can do the wiring yourself, as long as you do it to code, get a permit and pass inspection.
Depending on your location, for instance. Orange county ny requires a licensed electrician for generators pools and spas. You can still "do it yourself" but you won't get a permit or inspection without the electrician which for a generatir switch is pure rubbish and a money grab, as with the switch it us literally impossible to backfired the grid and the only risk you carry is to your own person and property.good ol "new york freedom"
 
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RCW

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Where I’m at work needs to according to code, of course.

I can do any work I want, either myself or contractor. Electricians are not licensed.

Permitting is relatively loose for electrical work if there isn’t structural work involved.
 
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trial and error

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Where I’m at work needs to according to code, of course.

I can do any work I want, either myself or contractor. Electricians are not licensed.

Permitting is relatively loose for electrical work if there isn’t structural work involved.
That's way better then where I'm from then, which is the lower hudson valley
I would seriously consider putting one in if you can swing it. Should be 5-600 all parts and extra wire included if you do it yourself. I played the whole extension cord game for the first year in this house and when we lost power christmas morning trying to put the turkey in the oven that was the last straw. Next day we picked up the switch and i had installed in a leasurly 3/4 days work , having a gas range makes using a small genset that much more usefull, you already said you are on city water so that's a huge win but having hot water and the ability to cook as well.as turn on lights/outlets by flipping a couple switches beats running cords etc through windows by miles. and since you already have a 5k watt genset It will make it so even Mrs RCW can have the modern luxuries during a outage with little effort. I know I sound like a salesman but with the recent severe weather we had a couple weeks ago which knocked us out for 21 hours and many other locals longer I was up and running in about 10 minutes and my 7 month pregnant wife was able to switch everything back to grid power without me being home it was litterally one of the best ROI projects I've done on the house
Good luck w/e you decide. It's never too late to make the decision and the longer you wait the more youll kick yourself when you do go through with it saying "why didn't I do this years ago"
 

mikester

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We have a bathroom(s) project coming this fall. As such, lot of electrical work.

While that e-work gets done, would like to add a transfer switch/plug for a new generator. Limited to the 50A output.

Not set on any switch, but thinking about something like this. Would turn on/off circuits as needed:

Reliance 510C 120/240-Volt 50-Amp 10-Circuit Pro/Tran 2 Indoor Transfe – Generator Factory Outlet

What works for you?

Are there strict limitations on how far a plug can be from the Transfer Switch?

What are the limitations on a cord's length between the plug and the generator?

For many years I've run our 5,500 watt genny outside the garage overhead doors...almost 70 feet from the service panel. (Opposite ends of the house/attached garage)

I've always just run extension cords to individual appliances, etc. in the house.

I put in a subpanel with 2-220v outlets just inside my garage doors years ago.

I know many folks that "backfeed" their service through a 220v outlet after shutting off the Main Breaker on the Service Panel/Load Center....I thought I would to the same.

I just can't make myself backfeed for several reasons. I can easily fashion a cord, but there's some other safety problems with it.

I know many of you guys have automatic standby generators. That's great for you. Probably not in the cards for us right now. I need something I can run off a decent sized portable generator when I get one.
I was too cheap to buy a transfer switch and aux panel. I just wired a 50A breaker to a weld plug outside for my genny to hook into. I just had to remember to disconnect the mains, turn off all the house breakers, then back feed from the genny to power the circuits I wanted i.e. well pump and refrigerator.
 
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Daren Todd

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It wasn't as recent as I thought. The pics are 10 years old :)

The existing service cable came down inside the wall in the garage to a flush-mounted 200A breaker, then down out of the breaker to a 200A panel in the basement. The "transfer switch" wasn't any more involved than a small 200A panel with two breakers that were mechanically interlocked. The Normal 2P 200A breaker in the TS is fed from the power company meter and the Emergency 2P 30A* comes from an inlet plug on the exterior of the garage where the generator is plugged in.

I had to cut into the wall and break the incoming line to wire the TS electrically between the power company meter and the 200A breaker. To do that I used a box with sufficient depth to be back into the wall to catch the existing cable and get a nipple between the new box and the existing 200A breaker. It also had to stick out of the wall enough to catch a piece of trough. Thought that looked cleaner than a bunch of conduit bends. Took a good 1/2 of a Saturday till it was wrapped up.

* - Could have been either a 30A or 50A, don't remember.
My grandparents had a similar set up. It was just a matter of installing a second breaker panel next to the existing one with an interlock tied in.

I'm full manual on my setup out on the property if we lose power 🙄🙄🙄

But plan on having a generator hookup installed with a manual switch and plug in on the home when we have a place built.

This way we can have some lights, internet, fridges, and septic pump still going during an outage.

I plan on having two cables made up. One for our 4300 watt generator which has a 30amp RV plug.

The second cable would be for the 5kw generator on my service truck that has a 50amp 220 plug.

For the camper, I went old school. I have the 50amp to 30amp rv adapter plug for our 4300 watt generator.

For the service truck, it's just a matter of stopping by one of the local rv dealers, and matching up the adapter to the plug on the generator. Which I plan on doing one night when I'm going home in the service truck.

And I will have to pop the cover for the septic pump to plug in the septic pump to an extension cord if needed.

Granted we can go a few days in the camper before needing to drain the tanks and power the septic pump.
 

William1

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I replaced my existing two 200 amp panels with two of these: https://www.powerequipmentdirect.com/Reliance-Controls-TTV2005C/p1141.html
TTV2005C_1141_600[1].jpg

...However... I am going to covert the house to a automatic system in the next year. The wife mates me dragging out the 22.5K 'portable' and she really can barely do it herself so...
We have at least one power outage a year and over the last 20 years, several outages over a week long!
 
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sagor

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I was too cheap to buy a transfer switch and aux panel. I just wired a 50A breaker to a weld plug outside for my genny to hook into. I just had to remember to disconnect the mains, turn off all the house breakers, then back feed from the genny to power the circuits I wanted i.e. well pump and refrigerator.
Very, very dangerous. All it takes is one little mistake at 2am when the power goes out, and you forget to trip the main breaker. If the fault is at the feed point to your house (fuse/breaker on pole), you risk electrocuting the utility worker who shows up the next day. You risk losing EVERYTHING, just because you want to save a few dollars. Not to mention, if any utility worker gets killed, your freedom may be gone for a while as well. Is it really worth it? A proper transfer switch has interlocks to prevent such incidents. Follow electrical codes as well, bypassing those and getting someone hurt can be classified as negligence.
I doubt there is any electrical code in any jurisdiction that allows what you are doing. Do it right!
 
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mikester

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Very, very dangerous. All it takes is one little mistake at 2am when the power goes out, and you forget to trip the main breaker. If the fault is at the feed point to your house (fuse/breaker on pole), you risk electrocuting the utility worker who shows up the next day. You risk losing EVERYTHING, just because you want to save a few dollars. Not to mention, if any utility worker gets killed, your freedom may be gone for a while as well. Is it really worth it? A proper transfer switch has interlocks to prevent such incidents. Follow electrical codes as well, bypassing those and getting someone hurt can be classified as negligence.
I doubt there is any electrical code in any jurisdiction that allows what you are doing. Do it right!
If I had a dedicated BU genny the transfer switch is the way to go.

FYI I don't need power at 2am to run my hair dryer because I'm trying to sleep. I've only run a welder-genny when power was out for more than 24 hours to power my well pump to recharge the water tank, flush toilets, and to cool down the fridges. We've had 3 outages more than 8 hours in the past 20 years. A dedicated BU genny is a waste of time in my area as our electricity supply is reliable 99.9% of the time.

When you disconnect the mains there is no back feed potential.

Funny how I can wire my own stuff and pass code inspection.
 

RCW

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@mikester - we went years without much for outages. I think our utility (NYSEG), now owned by a European interest, have been much less attentive to distribution system maintenance.

We were out 9 days total in 4 outages last year.

If we were in your situation I wouldn’t be on this endeavor.
 

trial and error

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@mikester - we went years without much for outages. I think our utility (NYSEG), now owned by a European interest, have been much less attentive to distribution system maintenance.

We were out 9 days total in 4 outages last year.

If we were in your situation I wouldn’t be on this endeavor.
I have NYSEG as well, they've been pretty good for the last few years, but interesting info on the overseas interest.
 

RCW

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I have NYSEG as well, they've been pretty good for the last few years, but interesting info on the overseas interest.
NYSEG sold off all their generation plants years ago.

I think they’re owned by a company from Spain?
 
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Chanceywd

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RCW, I used the very same transfer switch when I ran a portable genny without issue. My run was only about 30 feet from the 50 amp receptacle to the transfer switch. Pretty sure it was wired with 10/3.

I now have a standby gen setup, so the transfer switch is no longer needed. But, I keep it in place as a backup should I ever need it.
I had the interlock and 30 amp breaker set up too. I now have a full transfer switch with 20kw Generac.
I left that interlock in place and the outside inlet box just as a back up to the backup generator.
Our Gov here In NY might make LP and issue some day so I might have to get an electric powered generator! Sarcasm alert!

Bill
 
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Chanceywd

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NYSEG sold off all their generation plants years ago.

I think they’re owned by a company from Spain?
NYSEG is installing smart meters in our area, we got ours last week. The hired subcontractor was here while I was outside so I stopped to watch. He had the new one in tilted up and was trying to horse the cover on. I was standing to the side and told him. He didn't believe me but finally took a look then corrected the meter but now it tilted down with the top ring out and again tried to force it. Again I told him and he finally got it right. If I wasn't here I probably would have come home to a cocked meter and a bent cover but the nyseg lock would have been in place.
Scary when you have one job to do and you can't learn to be good at it.

Like you say a lot of outages here, that is why I finally got the generac. Hauling out the portable one on a snowy night got old at 68 2 years ago.

Bill
 
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Magicman

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IMG_1734.JPG

I have the GenerLink which automatically switches the power feed. It is still manual in that I have to throw my main breaker off, crank the generator, and then re-energize the main breaker.
IMG_1746.JPG

I have this TriFuel 8000 watt Champion generator running on Natural Gas.
 
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The Evil Twin

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View attachment 112549
I have the GenerLink which automatically switches the power feed. It is still manual in that I have to throw my main breaker off, crank the generator, and then re-energize the main breaker.
View attachment 112550
I have this TriFuel 8000 watt Champion generator running on Natural Gas.
That's pretty nifty! Did the power company let you pull the meter yourself?
 

Daren Todd

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View attachment 112549
I have the GenerLink which automatically switches the power feed. It is still manual in that I have to throw my main breaker off, crank the generator, and then re-energize the main breaker.
View attachment 112550
I have this TriFuel 8000 watt Champion generator running on Natural Gas.
I have the 4300 watt champion dual fuel.
 

GrizBota

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View attachment 112549
I have the GenerLink which automatically switches the power feed. It is still manual in that I have to throw my main breaker off, crank the generator, and then re-energize the main breaker.
View attachment 112550
I have this TriFuel 8000 watt Champion generator running on Natural Gas.
I’d forgotten about those. Good addition to the discussion. More economical, especially if one isn’t eyeball deep into needing to redo the electrical system in the planned remodel scope.
 
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GrizBota

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I had the interlock and 30 amp breaker set up too. I now have a full transfer switch with 20kw Generac.
I left that interlock in place and the outside inlet box just as a back up to the backup generator.
Our Gov here In NY might make LP and issue some day so I might have to get an electric powered generator! Sarcasm alert!

Bill
Believe it or not, there’s some folks that like to build battery banks into their garage walls. They get a couple days of power that way. And I’m sure the batteries are inexpensive (as in not). And I can only imagine the good times the fire department has when they have to deal with one of those systems. Some of them probably think they can charge their Tesla from it or charge it with their $100k Ford Lightning.

Or there’s the less than a $1000 option with a 7500 - 9000 Watt dual or tri fuel generator from a big box or farm supply store.
 
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