You can’t use a generator without a transfer switch. It’s apparently impossible, except you use a removable console. Besides, there is a limit of benefits that comes with that also.

Therefore, no how you’d be able to use a portable generator effectively without a transfer switch. The transfer switch technically connects power flow from the generator straight into the house – just as it does for power from a utility source also.

Yes, it serves as the barricade between utility power supply and generator power. Once there’s a power outage on the utility line, the transfer switch conveys the electrical power from the generator and supplies the house both manually and automatically.

Power cords from the utility power connection and generator are connected in separate phases on the transfer switch, so the phase you position the transfer switch is where the power flow comes from into the circuits in your home.

Nevertheless, that’s for a 3-position transfer switch is set up, anyway. There are some other types of transfer switches, which you might be keen to learn how to Install a Transfer Switch for Portable Generators here. It could even interest you to inquire that:

Do You Need a Transfer Switch for a Portable Generator?

Yes, you’ll definitely require a transfer switch if you’ll be using a portable generator for your home, office, restaurant, shop, and so forth. There are different types of transfer switches: manual types, automatic functioning type, close transition, and soft transfer application switch. They all have their ways of installation.

Can I Install My Own Generator Transfer Switch?

Yes, but with the aid of this article. It’s what several persons have been finding so easy to do. However, precautionary measures have to be put in place to make the safe installation of the transfer switch. Nevertheless, buy the generator transfer switch that will benefit you and check out the steps to its installation here.

How to Install a Transfer Switch for Portable Generator – 4 Easy Steps

1. Installing a 3-Position Transfer Switch

  • Buy a 3-position transfer switch and learn how to install it by reading the manual that comes with the product.
  • Cords from a domestic/home circuit are often connected to the toggle-like north and south poles.
  • While the cords from the utility power supply cling on the designated phase/breaker at the top, the cables from the generator are screwed to the designated north and south poles underneath the breaker. The fixing must be replicate one another, though the top phase takes the utility power source wires, while the nadir takes the generator’s power source.
  • Hang it on the wall by nailing the base to the wall through the apertures. You could use a plank as the base to the wall while the transfer switch’s plastic base is nailed upon it.
  • The north and south poles that make up a phase/breaker on the upper part, the downward part, and the toggle are made of steel. The two wires leading from the utility power sources take the upper phase; those from the generators take the lower phase, while those from the house take the toggle or the middle phase.
  • Make sure that it’s shielded to prevent unwanted occurrences.

2. Installing a Multi-Phase Manual Transfer Switch:

i. Identify the Components

Provided you’ve got the need to power some specific gadgets in your home and need the aid of your generator and utility source, then such a manual transfer switch will be helpful. Go to a nearby store or buy online and get the most appropriate product that’s great for you. Take a look at the picture below. You’ll see that there is a transfer switch box and an operating unit box. Several toggles serve for the phases on the transfer switch box.

ii. Install the Base 

The control box installation shouldn’t be as complicated as the transfer switch since you wouldn’t be doing much in that regard. Nonetheless, the two would have to be placed side by side to each other. You could read the manual and find out the screws needed for setting up the transfer switch.

iii. Extend Circuits from the Main Panel to the Transfer Switch Box

The main panel has phases that represent each of the circuits in your home. Identify them and their cords right on each breaker. Find shunts or probably wires and connect from the main panel to any phases/breakers in the transfer switch box. There are perforated circles in the form of holes, which you need to run the bundle of wires through. After that, insert them in their respective poles on the phases. Check the diagram below and get the logic.

You can use the manual that comes with the transfer switch box to learn about this. Once you’re done, check the switches that connect to each phase in the transfer switch box and find out if it works.

iv. Fixing Each Extension Cord into the Phases

  • Release the screws from each phase and insert the wire from the circuit section in the main panel to the phase/breaker on the transfer switch.
  • Recognize the phases you’re inserting the wires into. For instance, you intend to set up one of the phases for your refrigerator. Find out the shunts for the fridge in your main panel. Connect them straight to the transfer switch box by seizing one of the phases/breakers. You can use the inscriptions on the phases to recognize the south and north. Connect to the north and south poles to have a judicial setting.
  • Fix the screws back in to reinforce them into their designated spots while the wires are in their positions.
  • Do that to every circuit you intend to power your house with the generator.

v. Testing the Transfer Switch

Use the control panel switches to test the phases. First of all, disconnect from the utility source to your generator right from your main panel box. Plug the connecting power cord from the generator into the designated spot on the transfer switch.

Try switching on the toggle of each phase one after the other to be really sure of the one you did appropriately. You can focus on the phase/breaker that’s not responsive to your electrical command to get the work done incredibly.

3. Installing a Closed Transition Transfer Switch

This is a make-before-break transfer switch. The generator and the utility source interchangeably switch electrical power automatically whenever there’s an electrical power failure between the two.

They overlap one another, which makes it recommended to businesses that use sensitive electronic gadgets. It makes power outages to be hard to detect in any form. Notwithstanding, you’d need to read the manual to get how you’re to set it up for your generator.

4. Installing an Opened Transition Transfer Switch

This Break-Before-Make is a transfer switch that automatically switches on and off the generator, but one has to off before the other controls on. The momentary function sets it apart from a closed transition transfer switch.

The units come in different types and shapes. However, make the proper inquiries by reading the manual and visiting the company’s website to learn about the installation of the product. Better still, you can get an electrician to help you out with the setup if you don’t want to take up the challenge.

How Does a Transfer Switch Work for a Portable Generator?

It’s simple! It works with the circuit breaker of the house. It serves as the intermediary between the generator and the utility source that powers your home circuits.

It works like a switch. All it does is transfer the power that your generator is producing to your home circuits.

Since it serves as the intermediary between your generator power and your utility power, power from the utility source would have to be connected to switch the home circuit between the two. Transfer switch could regulate the amount of energy that’s conveyed to your house. It all depends on the type of power switch that you buy actually.

Safety Tips:

  • Get an electrician to help you out if you’re new to something like this. Nonetheless, it’s what you can do if you discreetly adhere to the safety instructions here.
  • Put on your PPE to prevent accidents in assembling the components. Ensure that neither is power running from a utility source nor the generator.
  • You’ll need a Philip screwdriver, driller, and planks that could serve as the base to keep the transfer switch well-placed on the wall.
  • Identify the circuit that requires 240V and connect the wires to the double-pole breaker. Connecting the cables singly for 120V would work.
  • Be careful each time you power the generator to see if the connection is lucid or not.

Final Words

This is the best way to install a transfer switch for portable generators in your homes, offices, restaurants, and so on. Indeed, that’s the best way to get the best result at the end of the day. Nevertheless, this shouldn’t stand in place of the manual that comes with your product.