Generator & Transfer Switch Installation

Barrier Electric provides professional services for all of your commercial and residential needs.

Ever had a power outage in your area?

If so, you understand the frustration of being in the dark and loss of lighting isn’t the only thing you’re forced to deal with. Just a little while and food goes bad and thaws in the refrigerator.You aren’t able to cook anything without a gas stove or barbeque grill. If your operating with an electric well pump, you’ll have no drinking water, water for washing, bathing, or flushing toilets.

We can agree that power outages are bad, however, there’s no reason to feel helpless. You can run your most important electrical circuits with the help of a portable generator and an electrical transfer switch. A transfer switch is a good alternative to a standby generator because it allows you to power up the most important items. A transfer switch is installed beside the main electrical panel and is a small breaker box. The switch is connected to the most important circuits and wired into the main panel such as the water heater, furnace, stove, refrigerator, interior lights and well pump. An electrical outlet, is mounted to the exterior of the structure. An electrical cable runs from the outlet directly into the transfer switch. (Sometimes the cable runs to a junction box installed close to the transfer switch and a power cord with plug is wired into the box.)

After the transfer switch is installed, the system works like this:

When you have a power outage, you set up a portable generator outside and plug it into the power outlet box. If the outlet-box cable runs to a junction box with power cord, plug the power cord into the transfer switch. Be sure all the toggle switches on the transfer switch are in the off position. Then start the generator. (Warning: Gas-powered generators exhaust hazardous carbon monoxide fumes. Never run a generator indoors, near an open window or door, or in an enclosed area, such as a garage or carport.)

Once the generator’s running, you can pick and choose which appliances and electrical circuits to electrify by simply flipping up the switches on the transfer switch. Note that in most cases, the transfer switch will be connected to more circuits than the generator can accommodate all at once, so keep track of which circuits are on and be careful not to overload the system. Read the owner’s manual that comes with the transfer switch. You’ll find details on operating procedure.

Transfer switches come in various sizes to match common-size generators. The two most popular residential transfer switches are the six-circuit switch ($250 to $300), which is designed for use with a 5000-watt generator ($600 to $750), and the 10-circuit switch ($350 to $400), which can accommodate a 7500-watt generator ($850 to $1,000). Hire an experienced, licensed electrician to install the transfer switch, which will cost an additional $200 to $400 depending on the size and complexity of the installation.

The total cost of installing a transfer switch is significant, but it’ll be well worth the investment the next time the power goes out and you’re not left sitting in the dark.