How To Install Automatic Transfer Switches For Permanent Standby Generator Systems

Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) Explained

The Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) is a crucial component to any automatic backup generator system. The ATS is designed to automatically switch a building’s power source from the main utility grid to a backup generator in the event of a power outage. It can monitor the power input from the utility company and automatically switch the power source back to the main grid once utility power is restored.

The ATS also plays a role in maintaining safety during a power outage by ensuring that electricity flows in the right direction. Without a transfer switch, power could flow from a home’s generator back into the power grid. This could cause a power overload in the grid and risk the lives of utility workers who may be repairing overhead lines or working on nearby electrical infrastructure during an outage.

Prior to installing a transfer switch in a residential home or business, it is important to consult the building code enforcement department in your municipality to ensure your installation meets local building codes.

What follows is a general overview of the transfer switch installation process. Be sure to consult the owner’s manual and installation guide that comes packaged with the transfer switch for more comprehensive instructions.

How to Install an Automatic Transfer Switch

Choose A Location and Mount the ATS

The switch should be installed indoors, close to your customer’s main electrical panel. The location should be dry, cool, and easily accessible for maintenance. If you need to install the ATS outside, be sure to purchase a switch that has a NEMA 3 rating.

Choose the Appropriate Size

You need to select an ATS that can handle the power needs of your customer’s home or business. To learn more about generator and ATS sizing, check out our Training and Resources page.

Turn off the utility power

Turn off the main power breaker and verify that there is no power to the panel.

Connect the ATS to the Electrical Panel

Install the ATS in the chosen location and connect it to the electrical panel. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for wiring and grounding the ATS to ensure operator safety.

Connect the Generator to the ATS

Follow the owner’s manual carefully when writing the generator to the switch. You’ll need to run power wiring and control wiring so that the generator can communicate with the ATS and send power to the main electrical panel by way of the ATS when the utility goes out.

Test the System

Test the system to ensure that it is functioning properly. Turn off the main power breaker and verify that the ATS switches the power source to the backup generator.

Train the Customer

Once you have finished the install, walk your customer through on any maintenance that may be needed and how to troubleshoot should a malfunction arise.

Have Your Customers Been Asking About Generators?

By offering generator and transfer switch installation, electricians and general contractors can provide a comprehensive solution to their customers and position themselves as a one-stop-shop for their electrical needs.

With increasing weather-related events, a deteriorating power grid, and a growing reliance on technology, the demand for backup power solutions is likely to continue to rise, making it a smart investment for businesses looking to expand their services.

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