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Blog posts tagged with 'Automatic Transfer Switch in uk'

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.

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.

Why An Automatic Changeover Switch Is Best For Use With Your Generator

More people today are investing in a standby generator for their homes because of the possibility of power cuts. If you live out in the sticks somewhere, you may find that you have power outages on a regular basis, and this can range from being a minor inconvenience to something far more serious, depending upon what sort of equipment you have and use that requires electric power.

For instance, you might have a family member dependent upon a power wheelchair, a ventilator, or communication devices that rely upon electric power, so if you are unable to charge them it can be a serious issue. OK, if the power goes down for a couple of hours it may not be too serious a matter, but if it goes down for a day or even more, then it is a big issue. Even if you only have a power outage three or four times a year,that is three or four times too many.

This is why more people are buying generators so that they can always have a supply of electricity, no matter what. However, when you have a generator, it is a legal requirement that you also have a transfer, or changeover, switch. You can install either a manual or an automatic changeover switch.

An automatic changeover switch is always preferable because - believe it or not – when the power goes down your system will automatically start the generator and so you will only be without power for a matter of a few seconds until the generator kicks in. If you have a manual changeover switch it means that somebody has to manually switch from the mains power to the generator. That may be OK if someone is on the premises and can do that, but if you are away from home for a couple of days and you have something such as a tropical fish tank, those fish are, unfortunately, not going to last until you get home.

With an automatic transfer switch, you have no such worries. You can have an automatic transfer panel with mains detection or without. If it has mains detection, it will detect the power failure and send a signal to the generator telling it to start. Once the generator has started, it will send a signal back to the automatic transfer switch to tell it that it is ready, and the transfer switch will then disconnect from the mains and connect to the generator.