If you are having a back up generator on your property then chances are you are going to need some form of a transfer switch installed. This switch connects your portable power generator to your property's power network. When your property's power supply is disrupted, the transfer switch automatically turns on the generator in order to ensure continuity in your power supply.
When you set your emergency power system to operate using an automatic transfer switch, you should opt install an open transition or closed transition switch. This switch is designed to provide a safe method of connecting your back up generator with selected circuits and gadgets within your property. When professionally installed next to the breaker box, the transfer switch can help prevent electricity from accidentally becoming live and dangerous outside your property where technicians may be fixing the utility lines.
So how do these switch work?
i. Closed transition model
This is also referred to as 'make before break' switch. This model automatically switches a building from mains electricity to generator electricity before terminating its connection to the former. This ensures that entities like hospitals and data centers, which require constant power supply, are cushioned against outages, however brief. Installing a closed transition model typically involves special load synchronization considerations like the voltage variations between the primary and secondary energy sources, the variation in frequency (Hz) between the sources and the difference in relative phase angle between the power sources. Having a proper synchronization between the power sources ensures that the overlap time is no more than 100 milliseconds.
ii. Open transition model
This is also referred to as 'break before make switch'. This model switches the building from mains electricity to the generator's electricity only after terminating connection from the former. Unlike the closed transition model, this model is ideal for facilities that do not require constant power supply. This makes open transition switch popular with residential, retail and office set-ups. The main benefit of this model is the assurance that your generated power will not back feed into the mains supply line.
A transfer switch is one of the rarely used devices, especially in regions with steady power supply. As such, it can have a very long lifespan. Therefore, before investing in this equipment, you need to ensure that it will meet both your current and future power needs. This is why you need to consult an emergency power supply professional before making your purchase. Never assume that just because your back up generator is portable, it does not require the safety net offered by a professionally installed switch. There is no doubt that you can safely operate your unit; however, it is wise seeking the help of a professional before taking unnecessary risks.