Our 21st century lives come to a screeching halt when the power goes out. Even before we became dependent on an array of electronic devices like cellphones and computers to manage our everyday lives, we relied on electricity to provide power for lights, televisions, refrigerators and other luxuries that we now consider basic staples.
Our reliance on electricity has existed since the invention of the first power plant in the late 17thcentury by George Westinghouse. His creation relied on research and development conducted by British chemist and physicist Michael Faraday in creating his inventions, the first electric motor and the first electric generator.
Today, the world relies on electricity to such an extent that business cannot be conductedwithout it. The necessity of electrical power is the reason many homeowners and businesses invest in gas-powered, portable electric generators to provide essential power during outages. In the event of a power outage, a home or business connected to a generator is able to access power by switching the flow of power into the building from the utility company’s power source to the generator.
Both sources of power cannot operate at the same time. You have to keep the sources separate to prevent overloading electronic circuitry and/or the generator and for maintaining the safety of utility workers and others, including yourself.
All generators require a switching mechanism to transfer power from the main source (usually a utility company’s power line) to the generator, until such time as it can be reconnected back to the main source, whether manually or automatically. An electrical transfer switch is a device used to affect the switch (or transfer) of an electrical load between two sources.
Some transfer switches require manual flipping of a switch to affect the transfer, while others have sensors that automatically switch the power source from one to the other whenever it senses that one of the power sources has gained or lost electrical power. Automatic transfer switches are most often used and installed in business situations where one or more back-up generators are in place to provide temporary power in the event of an outage.
An electrical transfer switch can be programmed to provide power to only certain important, pre-set circuits or entire electrical panels and sub-panels. Some switches utilize features such as load shedding and prioritization of circuits, i.e. heating and cooling.
Large back-up generators require much more complex electrical transfer switches that allow the smooth transfer of power back and forth in order to prevent disruption of business operations. The dangerous nature of electricity and complexity of electronic circuitry requires the knowledge of a qualified electrician who can ensure that all local code requirements are met and that the generator and transfer switch are free of electrical hazards that could cause electrocution or fires.
Whatever your situation when utilizing a generator, you have to have a manual or automatic transfer switch that allows the flow of power from one source to another in such a way that both sources never operate at the same time, thereby preventing overloading of electrical equipment, including the generator, and dangerous situations that could be posed to utility workers and others.
Ampacity Electric is your New Jersey Electrician for portable generator connections. 201-406-2855