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Blog posts tagged with 'Automatic Transfer Switch for Generators'

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. 

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. 

Why Must You Have A Transfer Switch If You Have A Generator

If you want to buy an automatic transfer switch in the UK, Blades Power Generation is the place to come. We can supply a very wide range of automatic transfer switches ranging from 25 amp to 2,500 amp so there is bound to be the perfect ATS for your requirements.

A transfer switch, either manual or automatic, is a legal requirement in every country when you install a diesel generator in any premises with a mains electricity supply. When the mains supply fails, the transfer switch is used to start the generator to take over where the mains left off. The purpose of an automatic transfer switch is to do the job automatically, which is much quicker than doing it by hand.

Now in some situations, a delay in restoring power to a building may not be very important. If you are at home watching Coronation Street, you may miss a little of it while someone goes to start the generator with a manual switch. However, in a hospital, a delay in restoring power could be a catastrophe and a matter of life and death.

The reason that a transfer switch is required by law is that it will prevent the mains power from coming into contact with the generator which would probably burn out if that happened, but more importantly, when the power is restored from the mains it prevents the generator from back feeding the mains when it has failed, which could endanger the lives of electricity workers trying to restore power.

When you want to buy an automatic transfer switch in the UK you should know that there are two types – those with mains detection and those without.

An automatic transfer switch with mains detection will monitor the mains supply and when it detects a failure will send a signal to the generator to start. When the generator is ready it will send a signal to the ATS informing it of this and the ATS will then switch to the generator.

If the ATS does not have mains detection, the system needs mains detection built into it somewhere else, normally the generator. When the generator detects a mains failure it will send a signal to the ATS telling it to disconnect from the mains and will then startup. When the generator is ready to connect it will send a signal to the ATS telling it to switch over.