How to use a Generator Transfer Switch

Spread the love

There will hardly be any exaggeration if we say that generator transfer switches have become the most important part in the case of an emergency power plan. But in this guide, we will discuss about how to use a generator transfer switch.

How to use a Generator Transfer Switch

A generator transfer switch allows us to switch the main electrical feed from the utility company to portable generators without switching over permanently.

The generator transfer switch kit will be very helpful in a power outage. It allows us to connect our generator to our house’s electrical system in order to run your appliances without any tension.

As our generator provides electricity to our home appliances and all connected ones. On the other hand, we should also learn how can we transfer the power in an efficient way with the help of a transfer switch.

You need to make a transfer switch by installing a module very carefully. After setting it up, you must turn on your generator without turning on the circuits that you placed on the transfer switch and the service panel.

Before connecting your generator transfer switch to your home’s electrical wiring, you must be very careful. You must read to learn about the details of such a job if you really don’t want to put all your investments at high risk.


Step-by-Step Guide About How to Use a Generator Transfer Switch:

Generally, you don’t need some sort of special tools in order to use a generator transfer switch. But in the case of using a transfer switch, you need to learn how to install it properly.

In this guide, we will come to know about how to find the best tools and further steps to place a proper generator transfer switch and use it efficiently.


How to Prepare a Generator Transfer Switch:

Transfer Switch: Most of the time, generators do not come with a transfer switch. Be mindful that you can use a DIY generator transfer switch or also can buy it from a trustworthy seller.

Hammer: You can use a hammer with the screwdriver to open the knockout panel from the main service panel box.

Screwdriver: We use it particularly to remove part of the main electrical service panel box. We can also use it in order to install a circuit breaker in need.

Wrench: it is used to secure your wires that are connected to the transfer switch from the circuit breaker in the electrical service panel.


Steps In Detail to Prepare a Generator Transfer Switch

Step 1- Install Transfer Switch

In the very first step, refer to your home wiring diagram in order to make sure about the correct location of the transfer switch. And yes, make sure that your module is also near the service panel.

You have an option you can install your generator transfer switch inside or outside of your house. But must evaluate the house’s electricity needs to have the best location.

Must turn off the main breaker from the service panel before setting your transfer switch.

After this, must label those circuits which you will use in your home for an emergency case. E.g. put a note on the circuit breaker which is connected to your appliances.

Have a note for each of your circuits that you want to use to connect to the transfer switch. In order to prevent overloading the generator must balance the load transfer.

From the bottom of the service panel, remove and knock out the hole with the help of a hammer and screwdriver.

Now feed your wires from the transfer switch to the knockout hole connected to the service panel. While doing this you need to take much care otherwise you may have a risk of damaging wire insulation.

Place a locknut into the group of wires and put it on the inner part of the knockout hole. Then secure the locknut with the help of a wrench.


Step 2- Connect Wires to the labeled Circuit Breakers from the Transfer Switch

The red wire must be put into the breaker and the hot wire must be taken out.

Rotate the black wire and feed the wire together.

Then connect the neutral wire to the neutral bus bar of the panel. As it is, the ground wires will go to the grounding bar.

You must check every time your home’s wiring diagram.


Step 3- Connect the Transfer Switch to your Generator

In order to connect your generator to the transfer switch, you can use a generator cord for this purpose.


Step 4- You can use the Manual Transfer Switch

After installing the module safely, before using a transfer switch you must have to turn off all of the circuit breakers placed in the main service panel. After this, you can turn on your connected generator.

Now, let your generator run for a few minutes to warm up.

After that, from the electrical service panel turn on the circuit breakers one each time which are connected to the transfer switch. Be mindful that they are in generator mode.

When the power comes back from the utility company, don’t forget to turn off all the circuit breakers in the service panel in order to transfer them to the utility company power through the transfer switch.

Types of Portable Generator Transfer Switch:

There are two types of portable generator transfer switches: Manual and Automatic transfer switches.


Automatic Transfer Switch:

It is an advanced transfer switch that allows your generator to switch between the incoming power and its own source by itself.

Most of the models do disconnect themselves completely from all the things but their motor is running. That allows users to continue to have power for their appliances like fridges in order to operate on backup power.

Most of the generators come with a mode that uses an automatic transfer switch specifically for the pneumatic switch which gets stuck even in the middle which is totally failed. As it leaves all the things as it is and the source without having power.

Normally it happens when you try to clean your generator’s filters exactly after turning them off, it may cause problems If you don’t take much care.


  • Easy Solution And Is More Convenient.
  • Best For Standby Generators.
  • Saves You From knuckle-biting


  • Much Expensive Than Manual Switch
  • Not Recommended For Portable Generators


Manual Transfer Switch:

You will find this sort of apparatus only in smaller engine generators, which are specifically used in RVs and small cabins. It is normally mounted on the top of the generator and allows us to control every stage of the transfer process manually.

If you don’t take much care, you may lose power over the entire system. The manual transfer switch specifically for the whole house should be controlled by extreme precautionary measures. You must leave this whole process to the professional who knows well about its operation otherwise you will suffer from a significant loss.


Pros of Manual Transfer Switch:

Inexpensive – the manual transfer switch is much cheaper compared to an automatic transfer switch. If you don’t really need to transfer from one power source to another one on a daily basis – then it would be beneficial for you.

Convenience – The manual transfer switch is much easier to use. You just need to switch over the power source and it’s done.

Does not Provide Flexibility – with an automatic transfer switch you get the relaxation which allows you to choose when you need electricity. But a manual transfer switch does not allow you that liberty.

Easy to Install – As we know that manual transfer switch does not need much work to install it. This makes it much cheaper as compared to the automatic transfer switch’s counterparts.


Cons of Manual Transfer Switch:

Not useful for frequent generator Use – In case of frequent generator usage, the manual transfer switch will not work for you because you will have to switch over all your things every time. It will be a lot of inconvenience.

Advantages of Using Generator Transfer Switch:

 There are a lot of advantages to using a generator transfer switch:

Peaceful Mind – when you know that you have a great backup plan in case of a power outage. You do not need to remember to transfer back to the use utility when power is restored.

Reliability – When you have two power plans, you will not suffer much from a power outage. By having a generator transfer switch, you get redundancy to have your lights on in case of an emergency.

Safety – Having a generator transfer switch will help to prevent dangerous backfeed to the grid. It helps to keep the voltage stable and prevents us from surges that can damage our appliances.

Minimum Energy Cost – In case of facing an outage, the generator transfer switch automatically moves towards the generator. And it can save money on your electricity bills. And, running your generator only in the hour of need also can save you money by consuming less fuel.

Most Convenient – You can install a generator transfer switch with minimal effort in most cases. When you come to know that it is according to your power needs, then you may plug it into your home appliances.


Final Verdict

We must know how to use a generator transfer switch correctly. So just follow the above step-by-step procedure or guide which is highlighted in the article.

And while turning circuits or/off you do not need to be quick. You must activate or deactivate those power deliverance units especially once at a time. Otherwise, in that way, you may overload your generator which will lead to permanent damage to the whole system.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top