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Blog posts tagged with 'Automatic Transfer Switch'

Power Outages Will Become Much More Frequent Very Soon

In another very recent article, we wrote that now is the perfect time to get yourself a standby generator for your home because of the serious threats of more and more power outages in the not-too-distant future.

However, while we mentioned climate change and the loss of Russian gas causing issues with power generation, and power outages as a result of more frequent and worse storms, there is another thing that is about to happen any day now, and that is rail strikes caused as a result of decisions taken largely by the RMT Union.

This union has announced rail strikes on June 21st, 23rd, and 25th across the whole of Britain with some 50,000 employees going on strike. (This is despite the fact that the average rail worker has an income of £46,000 compared with £37,000 for teachers and £32,000 for nursing staff). The result will be that because of varying shifts, there will be virtually no trains for a week, and in turn that will affect delivery to power stations, leading to further disruption and more power outages. Not only that, but the union has stated that if the employers do not accede to their wishes, this will go on all summer!

Just another very good reason why you need to consider buying a standby generator for your home or business right away!

 

Look No Further

If you are looking for new generators for sale in the UK, then look no further than Blades Power Generation. We have a huge range of different new generators for sale in the UK, from very small ones to those that can power a large business when the electricity goes down. Look at it this way: things regarding electric power are only going to get worse, not just in the short term but for the long term.

When you install a standby generator, you need to be aware of certain legal requirements. Chief of these is that you must install a transfer switch.

This can be an automatic transfer switch or a manual one. When you have a manual transfer switch, as the name suggests, you have to start your generator by hand when the power goes down and then switch over from the mains once it is up and running.

On the other hand, an automatic transfer switch does the job for you. It detects when the power has gone down, fires up your generator, and then when it is running at full power, automatically switches from mains to generator. The result is that you will only be without power for a matter of seconds before the lights come on again.

Should You Buy A Generator For Your Home?

More and more people today are investing in a standby generator for their homes because of the possibility of greater numbers of power outages. There is a definite increase in violent storms, the like of which we have not seen since October 15th 1987, and these can bring down power lines and cause blackouts.

Buying and installing a standby generator for your home or business will give you the peace of mind that you know you will still have power if or when the worst happens.

To some extent, a standby generator is a matter of choice. For some people, even one blackout is enough to warrant a purchase, but if you live in an area with frequent (more than three a year) or long blackouts, then it becomes something of a necessity.

Generators come in different sizes, depending upon the mount of power that you need. This is not just related to the size of your home, but more to the complexity, or otherwise, of your electrical system, especially if you have air conditioning. You will need an electrician to calculate the size of generator that you need.

Manual or Automatic Changeover Switches?

You also need to decide whether to install a manual changeover switch or buy an automatic transfer switch in the UK. If you have a manual changeover switch, it means that when the power goes down you will have to manually start the generator and then switch over when it is up and running. That’s OK if you are at home or on your business premises when the power goes down, but it means that if you are not at home then there will be no electricity. In turn, that means that your fridge and freezer won’t be running, along with anything else such as a water heater or the heater that keeps the tank of your pet gecko at the right temperature.

If you buy an automatic transfer switch in the UK, then that will detect the power outage, fire up the generator and then automatically switch over, so your home is only without power for a matter of seconds.

Manual Transfer Switch For Your Generator Or Automatic? Which Is Best?

One of the biggest arguments for buying a standby generator is that you will always have electricity, no matter what. So, any issues with the electricity supply will not affect you.

This is becoming more and more important in this day and age, particularly with climate change. As we have seen very recently, there have been some very large and powerful storms that have affected homes and businesses in the North-West and Scotland, and it seems that these could become more commonplace. Some homes have been without electricity for as long as two weeks.

When you have a generator as a backup to your business, you can forget about time and productivity losses, because your generator can kick in and take over while the power is down. And there can be more to it than time and productivity losses, because when there is a sudden power outage it can cause serious damage to devices and machinery when the power comes back on if there is a power surge, yet this can be avoided if there is a power backup.

You can also cut down on your electricity consumption in a business by using a generator as a backup during peak hours. Some studies have shown that you can save as much as 40% during this time slot.

A Range Of Sizes

Backup generators come in a range of different sizes, and in order to establish what you need, whether for your home or business, you will need a qualified electrician to calculate the amount of power required. The cost of a 1kW generator is only around £300: a 7kW one would be about £2,000, a 15kW one £6,000, and so on. To this, you need to add the cost of installation which can be around another £1,000.

Now we said that you will always have electricity, and this may, or may not, be true. It depends upon the type of transfer switch that you install. You can have a manual transfer switch or an automatic transfer switch.

As you might guess, if you have a manual transfer switch you have to switch over to the generator manually. That means that if you are not on the premises when the power goes down you won’t have electricity, so if you happen to be away on holiday for three or four days, you can say goodbye to the food in the freezer!

However, an automatic transfer switch will detect when the power goes down, fire up the generator, and within a few seconds the lights will be back on. The choice is yours.  

Energy Bills Could Increase To £60 A Week!

The likelihood of power shortages and outages in the UK has increased considerably since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Only a few days ago, MPs were warned that oil and gas could be rationed because of the crazy increase in prices. Experts have stated that household energy bills could increase to £3,000 a year – that is £60 a week!

The US, UK and EU have unveiled a growing list of sanctions, including on the import of Russian oil and gas. While only 3-4% of UK gas comes from Russia, plus 8% of our oil, Russia provides 40% of the EU’s gas and 25% of its’ oil, which means that energy price increases on the continent will have a major knock-on effect elsewhere. 

At a Treasury select committee in parliament on Monday March 14th, Dr Amrita Sen, director of research at Energy Aspects, told MPs that the rationing of diesel and gas could be on the horizon as a result of supply issues and growing instability in energy markets. That can have a serious effect on electricity supplies.

What’s The Answer?

So, what is the answer? What can you do to keep the lights on and the wheels turning if the power goes down?

Fortunately, there is an answer, and it is one which quite a lot of businesses have been investing in recently. Many businesses simply cannot operate without electricity, and for place such as hospitals it is vital that they keep the power going. So, the answer is a standby generator.

If you have a standby generator in your home or at your business premises and you team it with an automatic transfer switch, when the power goes down you will only be without electricity for a matter of seconds.

Now, a new standby generator can cost quite a bit of money, depending upon the amount of power that you need to produce. However, you don’t have to buy a new generator because you can also find used generators for sale in the UK.

Indeed, at Blades Power Generation, we always have a selection of used generators for sale in the UK because as businesses expand, they find that they need a generator with more capacity than the one that they currently have. So, they come to us for a bigger generator and then trade in the existing one. We are happy to do that because it is a profitable deal for us, and it also means that you can get a generator for your home or business for a lot less than buying a new one. 

Today, We Take Electricity For Granted

It is a fact that, today, the majority of people take electricity for granted. You flick a switch, and the light comes on. You would be absolutely astonished if you flicked the switch, and nothing happened!

And yet, the power can go down at any time, and usually just at the worst possible time. Moreover, with the way that things are going in the world just at the moment, it is becoming increasingly likely that there will be power shortages and outages.

This may, or may not, give you some concern. However, these days we do rely on electricity for much more than we used to 50 or 60 years ago. Just for starters, most people today have a freezer full of food. If the power goes down for a couple of days, you can say goodbye to that lot. Furthermore, if you have no power, how do you charge your mobile, or use your laptop to work from home as so many more people do? The answer is that you don’t, if the power is down.

As for running a business, you are reliant on electricity to keep going. If you have no electricity, your business simply cannot function.

A Couple Of Tips If the Lights Go Out

A couple of good tips if the lights go out in your business is to check other local buildings and offices. If they still have power, the odds are that the issue is in your own building, and you will need to call an electrician. It is also a very good idea to turn off all computers, printers, and other appliances because when the power is restored it can cause a power surge and this can result in damage to the appliances.

The very best answer today is to invest in a standby generator to cover the occasions when the power goes down. This will take over and keep your business going.

The best way to use a standby generator is to have an automatic transfer switch. This will kick in immediately the power goes down and start the generator, so you will only be without power for a matter of seconds.

Certainly, you can use a manual transfer switch, but that means that you have to go and start the generator by hand. If you happen to be away from the office but things still need electricity, that means that there will be no power until you return. An automatic transfer switch does the job for you.

Why An Automatic Transfer Switch Is Preferable To Manual

If you have a standby generator for your home or business, then you are one step ahead of many of the population. There is an increased risk of power outages due to climate change and the rise in global power usage, so having a generator that can jump in and continue to provide the power that you need makes a lot of sense.

You won’t have to worry about not being able to use the TV, the water going cold, and all the food in the freezer defrosting. If the power goes down, as long as you have the right sort of generator, you can last for days. It is like having an insurance policy. If you are going to buy a generator, it is important to get one that is the right size for your needs, and for this you need to calculate the wattage required or get an electrician to do it for you.

Whatever type and size of generator you buy, it is a legal requirement that you have a transfer switch. This can be either a manual transfer switch or an automatic transfer switch. A manual transfer switch is less expensive but does have disadvantages. As the name suggests, you have to switch over to the generator by hand and then go and start the generator. Not a lot of fun if Storm Fred is blowing a hooley and you’ve got to go outside to do that.

Goodbye To All The Food In The Freezer

Furthermore, if you have things that you need to keep powered and you happen to be away from home for three days, then there is nobody on hand to transfer and start the generator. So, you can say goodbye to all that food in the freezer, and to your tropical fish if you have them. Equally, you have to shut down the generator and switch back to the mains when the power comes back up.

Now, an automatic transfer switch does all this for you. It detects when the mains power goes down, starts the generator, and when that is up and running at full power switches over to the generator. This all happens in a matter of seconds. Equally, when the mains power is restored, the automatic transfer switch will close down the generator and switch back to the mains.

So, it really is a matter of choice, but despite the extra expense, an automatic switch is by far and away the best idea. 

How An Automatic Transfer Switch Works

If you have a standby generator at your home for the purpose of providing you with electricity if / when the mains power goes down, you also require a transfer switch. The purpose of the transfer switch is to ensure that the mains power and the generator power are never connected. If the mains power came into contact with the generator, it would almost certainly burn out the generator.

If the generator is running and is connected to the mains it could back feed the mains and this would endanger the lives of electricity workers. There are two types of transfer switch, one being a manual switch and the other being an automatic transfer switch.

If you have a manual transfer switch, it follows that when the mains power goes down somebody has to manually switch over from the mains to the generator. Then it is also necessary for someone to start the generator in order to supply power to the house again. This is not too bad if you are at home when the power goes down, but if you happen to be away, you are not going to get any electricity into the home until you return and carry out the switching process, or the mains power returns. This may, or may not, be a matter of concern depending on whether you need to keep anything running all the time.

The Automatic Switch Is The Better Option

The alternative, and probably better option, is to have an automatic transfer switch. These do cost more than a manual transfer switch but, as the name suggests, switch from mains to generator automatically. When the mains power goes down, the switch will detect the lack of power and then send a signal to the generator telling it to start up. Once the generator is up and running, it will send a signal back to the transfer switch to tell it that it is operating, and the transfer switch will then switch off the mains contact and connect to the generator. Thus, the generator and the mains can never be connected.

The automatic switch means that when the power goes down you will only be without it for a few seconds, until the generator is up and running.

There is another option, and that is an ATS without mains detection. In this case the mains detection has to be built into the generator which will send a signal to the ATS to disconnect from the mains. The generator then starts itself and when running sends a signal to the ATS telling it to switch over.

Storm Arwen Caused Havoc in the North

Investing in a standby generator for your home is not going to be cheap, but in the light of recent events there will no doubt be many homeowners who would never have considered it before but are now studying the market to find a generator that will cover them for a power outage.

Storm Arwen - only the first named storm of this season – has caused havoc for people in the north, some of whom have been without power for 11 days. Many of them have had no lighting and no TV, so not only have they had no power but have not been able to keep up with the news and see when (if ever!) their power is going to be restored. The worst part of it for those people is that in most cases they have had no heating either – in the freezing conditions caused by the storm.

It is bad enough having a power outage in your home, but in other situations it can literally be a matter of life or death. In a hospital, for instance, the loss of power for even a few seconds can be a catastrophe. So, under those circumstances, the installation of a standby generator is not an option, but an essential.

Then there is the matter of how the generator kicks in when the power goes down. This is taken care of by a transfer switch, and it can either be manual or an automatic transfer switch.

With a manual transfer switch, as you might imagine, you have to start the generator yourself and then when it is up and running switch over from the mains input to the generator. This means that there will be a time gap between the power going down and the generator producing power again. It also means that if you are not at home or on the premises, the power will be down until someone can start the generator.

An automatic transfer switch, however, does the job for you. It senses when the power has gone down and sends a signal to the generator to start up. When the generator is running it will send a signal back to the automatic transfer switch which will then switch over from the mains to the generator. When the power returns from the mains, the switch will turn off the generator and return to mains power again. 

Should You Buy A Generator For Your Home?

Should you buy a standby generator for your home? Well, the answer to that is “it depends”. To some extent it may be a matter of choice. For instance, for some people, suffering from a blackout on one occasion may be sufficient reason to get a generator.

However, if you live in an area where power outages are frequent (i.e., more than three a year) or they last for several hours, then investing in a standby generator is more a matter of necessity rather than simple convenience.

Generators are available in a range of different sizes and can be powered by diesel, propane, or LPG. Whether diesel generators will be available for much longer in the UK remains to be seen. One option is to buy a generator that is big enough to power the whole of your home, and if you can afford it you might want to do just that. However, another option, which is more affordable, is to buy one that powers your most essential electric circuits. You would need an experienced electrician to calculate the anticipated electrical loads of your home in order that he could recommend the correct size.

You will also need a transfer switch to transfer the power supply from the mains to the generator and back again when the mains power is restored. This can either be a manual transfer switch or an automatic one.

The disadvantage of a manual transfer switch is that someone has to be on the premises in order to transfer from one to the other. It rather depends on what sort of equipment you need to power. If there is always someone at home, it is not so much of an issue, but if you need to be able to switch to the generator instantly at any time, then an automatic transfer switch is the answer.

This will detect the fact that the mains supply has gone down and send a signal to the generator to start up. When the generator has started it sends a signal back to the automatic transfer switch which will then switch over to the generator. When the power is restored, the automatic transfer switch will transfer back to the mains and switch the generator off.

Certainly, an automatic transfer switch is more expensive to install than a manual one, but once you have it, you have no worries.

Automatic Transfer Switches: Purpose And Function

Much as our electricity suppliers do their best to keep power available on a continuous basis, there are, nonetheless, occasions when the power fails. This can be for one of many different reasons, but when it happens to you it can be anything from a bit of a nuisance to an outright disaster. It rather depends upon your situation.

For instance, if you were watching a programme on TV, it may be annoying, but it is hardly going to be life-changing. However, if you were a surgeon in the middle of a tricky operation when that same power outage occurred and all the lights went out, that can be extremely dangerous for the patient.

Furthermore, power outages can occur for a few minutes or may continue for many days. For example, after the Great Storm of 1987 many people were without power for up to two weeks as engineers worked to get power lines back up and working again. This is why some sort of backup is vital in many situations, and for many people, the answer is a generator. At Blades Power Generation, we supply both new and used generators.

Since one doesn’t want to have run outside to the generator in order to start it up, the answer is what is known as an automatic transfer switch, or ATS as it is known. Power backup is often by a generator but can also be a second mains supply. In the latter case, the primary power supply into a building is backed up by a secondary supply and the ATS changes over to that instead of a generator.

If using a generator for the secondary supply, it is essential to check it and give it a test run on a regular basis so that one can be confident that it will perform as required if there is an outage.

Of course, there are many situations where power is required other than simply inside a home or other building. For instance, if there is an outage in an area, all of the streetlights and traffic lights would go out. This means that traffic slows to a crawl at crossroads, car accidents increase, and emergency services cannot get to where they need to be. An automatic transfer switch overcomes these issues.

Of course, there is another issue, and that is that the power can be restored at any moment. When this happens, it can be dangerous, as there would be a power overload and this can cause wiring and appliances to burn. However, the ATS works both ways, so that as soon as power is restored it switches back again and allows the generator, if one is being used, to rest.