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Blog posts tagged with 'manual transfer switch'

Standby Generators Are Becoming More Important In Today’s World

In today’s world we are almost totally dependent upon electricity – far more so than even 50 years ago. Back in the day, we didn’t have computers, but today it is almost impossible to run a business without one. Even a local convenience store which deals largely with cash may not need a laptop for the actual serving of customers, but you can bet that the owner has one for ordering stock and supplies, keeping track of stock levels, and so on. Electricity is also necessary to keep the fridges running. So, electricity is vital.

However, with the increase in the use of electricity comes the possibility of more power outages. This is increased further by climate change which seems to be bringing us more frequent and very heavy storms, which in turn can bring down power lines. So, if you run any sort of business, it makes sense to invest in a standby generator in order that you can keep going when the power doesn’t.

Used Generators

But you don’t have to invest in a brand new one if you only run a small business or need one for your home. You can buy used generators in the UK for considerably less than a new one. In fact, when you buy used generators in the UK it is just like buying a used car. Sure, if you can afford the very latest swanky Mercedes Benz or a Roller, then you might want to buy one. But a second-hand Nissan Juke will get you around just as well.

You can buy used generators in the UK for under £500 at Blades Power Generation. Of course, you then have to add in the cost of installation as well. And you will need a transfer switch. This is a legal requirement because it stops the mains power coming into contact with the generator, which would almost certainly burn out if this happened. It also stops the generator from back feeding the mains when it has failed, endangering the lives of electricity utility workers.

You can buy an automatic transfer switch (ATS) or a manual transfer switch. An automatic transfer switch does what it says on the tin, so when the power goes down it will fire up the generator and you will have power back on within seconds. However, a manual transfer switch costs a lot less than an ATS. It does mean, of course that you have to fire up the generator and then switch over. This is OK if someone is on the premises but could prove difficult if you need to keep the power running even though you are not there. You need to consider your options. 

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.

How A Manual Transfer Switch Works

It seems that more people these days are investing in a standby generator in order to provide electricity to the home or business when the mains power goes down. This happened quite a bit recently in Scotland with all the storms that we have been having. There seems to be no doubt that climate change is an issue, and that means that those storms could become more frequent. This writer is old enough to remember the Great Storm of 1987 when our home was without power for 13 days! Fortunately, we had an oil-fired Aga cooker. If we hadn’t, we would have been in serious trouble.

In addition, of course, there is the threat of a lack of gas supply coming from Russia, and this could be used as a weapon by Vladimir Putin.

So, it makes sense to many people to have a standby generator to step in when the mains power fails. But how does the generator work?

Most generators run on diesel, and they can be started either manually or automatically when the power fails. Every generator must have either a manual transfer switch or an automatic transfer switch.

If you have a manual transfer switch you need to manually turn a handle or alternative lever to switch from the mains to the generator and then start the generator by hand as well.

Required By Law

In fact, a transfer switch is required by law in every country when you install a generator at a premises that has a mains supply. This is for two main reasons, one being that it stops the mains power coming into contact with the generator when the power is restored, which would almost certainly burn out the generator.

More importantly, it prevents the generator from back feeding the mains when it has failed which could endanger the lives of the electricity utility workers.

So, you switch from mains to generator manually and then go and start the generator. When the power is restored, you would then switch off the generator and manually switch back to the mains.

While a manual transfer switch is cheaper than an automatic one, the latter does have certain advantages. Apart from anything else, it is much faster, because it automatically starts the generator and then switches to it in seconds. If you are not on the premises when the mains fails and you use a manual switch, then you are without power until somebody returns and switches over.

Manual Changeover Switch Or Automatic? Which Is Best?

If you are considering buying a standby generator for your home, which in the light of recent events in the north many homeowners are looking at, there are a number of things to consider.

The first thing is to buy a generator which does what you want, because generators come in different sizes. One answer is to buy the largest size available in order to power the entire home, and if money is no object that could be one solution. However, if you want to buy a generator which only covers the essentials in order to keep costs down, then you will need to make an assessment of your home to purchase a generator which will cover only the essential electrical circuits.

However, sizing generators is not just a question of saying that your home is “x” square feet, so you need an “x” size generator. The complexity of your home’s electrical system also needs to be taken into account, especially if it has air conditioning. You will need an experienced electrician to calculate the electrical loads of your home and recommend he right size of generator.

Once you know this, you can then buy the generator and install it. However, there is also another issue, and that is how the generator starts when the power goes down. When this happens, it is necessary to switch from mains power to generator and it can be done using a manual changeover switch or an automatic one.

With a manual changeover switch you have to physically start the generator, and then when it is up and running one needs to switch from the mains to the generator. This means that there will be a delay while you do this. It also means that if the power goes down when you are not at home there will still be no power until you get back again. This may, or may not matter, depending upon what systems and equipment you use.

However, you can also get an automatic transfer switch. This is more expensive, but the way that it works is that when the power goes down the switch will send a signal to the generator telling it to start up. When the generator is running it will send a signal to the ATS telling it to switch over. When the mains power is restored, the ATS will switch off the generator and transfer back to the mains.  

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.

Manual Changeover Switches Available From Blades Power Generation

At Blades Power Generation we are a group of experts who understand that you need to be able to rely on electric power at all times, whether that is in your home, at your office, on your farm, in your garage, or anywhere else. We supply automatic transfer switches that can be either mains to mains or mains to the generator as required.

However, we also understand that you may not need a super-fast transfer to your generator when there is a mains power failure, so we can also supply you with a manual changeover switch if you prefer. We have a range of different manual transfer switches which you can use instead of an ATS. This means that when a power failure occurs, you simply have to throw a lever-like switch to transfer from mains to generator power.

These changeover switches can range from 63 to 3,150 amps and we stock them in different models from manufacturers such as ABB, Bespoke, and Lovato. ABB switches are of compact design and this means that they don’t take up very much space. They have a three-position rotary handle from mains, to off, to the generator. There are also optional extras if you need them, and these are with a rated plug and sockets fitted, LED lights for the main indication, and LED lights for generator indication.

We can also supply a manual transfer switch instead of a manual changeover switch if you wish. A manual changeover switch is wired into your electrical distribution board and allows either all or selected electrical appliances to be powered when there is a power failure. On the other hand, a manual transfer switch is installed next to the electrical panel and can be connected to the circuit as you require.

At Blades Power Generation we can build and install your control panel to any particular design that you need. Every control panel that we design and build adheres strictly to British Standards and incorporates your individual requirements and specification. We use the very latest computer technology to assist in the design and planning.

When we install your control panel it comes with an inspection report and also has an electronic project folder which will ensure that all emails, together with the relative documents and certification are easily traceable in future years.