When you live in an area where power outages are common, you know how frustrating it can be to suddenly be in the dark. While being in the dark is inconvenient, it isn’t the only inconvenience. A prolonged power outage can cause spoiled fresh and frozen foods. Unless you have a grill, cooking meals may not be possible. You also may not be able to wash clothes if you need to. If you have an electric well pump, then you’re not going to be able to use water for anything.
Basically, a power outage can really stink.
You do have some options when it comes to your standby generator. You can choose a whole home generator that automatically kicks on when the electricity goes out, powering everything. If a whole home generator is not in your budget, perhaps a generator with a transfer switch is what you need.
The transfer switch is a small electrical box that is installed in the home next to the main electrical panel. The switch is wired into the main panel and is only connected to the most critical circuits, such as the water heater, furnace, range, refrigerator, and interior lighting.
Once the switch is installed and the generator is running, you can pick and choose the electrical items that you want to run by flipping the switches on the transfer switch. Because a transfer switch is connected to more circuits than the generator can run at once, it is important to keep track of what you are turning on so you don’t overload the generator.
There are different sizes of switches to accommodate different generators. You can talk to your generator sales representative about transfer switch options that go with the generator that fits within your budget. A transfer switch typically adds anywhere between $250 and $1,000 to the cost of the entire system.