Portable Generators and Transfer Switches – A Good Option

Why A Portable Generator?

Portable Generators with manual transfer switches are actually a good option to  whole house generators.  In many cases, if large enough they can power much more of your home equipment and appliances than you would think.  They are also quite a bit easier to operate than in the past.  Read on and you’ll see why.

The Advantages 

Availability:  Whole house generators are currently in very short supply and average wait time to procure a unit may take several months.  Portable generators are generally readily available, and you can purchase a good sized unit anywhere from 5,500 watts up to 8,500 watts which will power quite a bit.

Price Point:  Portable units are typically several thousand dollars less than a permanently installed whole house generators.  You will also save time and $$ on the installation costs.  There is also no need for a natural gas line or propane tanks.

Ease of Operation:  Very simple.  The ability to add a transfer switch, a dedicated circuit and outlet eliminates the need for extension cords.  Once the transfer switch system is installed it is just as easy as throwing a switch next to your panel, pressing a button to run the appliances that have been connected and plug in your unit.

Location:  When in use the portable generator must be outdoors, not the basement or garage.  That’s a must to avoid deadly levels of carbon monoxide. Always place the generator at least 20 feet from the house with the engine exhaust directed away from windows and doors.  Other than that they can go outside anywhere, unlike a whole house that has placement restrictions.

What’s Included

  • Manual Transfer Case
  • Transferring all circuits
  • Dedicated circuit and outlet
  • Labeling all transfer case circuits

What it Looks Like: The photos below show what a typical manual transfer switch setup looks like.  The switching system looks almost like a sub-panel or smaller panel. The transfer case shown below is a Siemens case that would be included in your installation.

Main Panel

Main Panel and Transfer Case

Transfer Case and Panel

Transfer Case

Transfer Case Labeling

Labeling adds a nice finish to your job.  Labeling theses circuits makes it easy for you to know exactly what is available for emergency power and what you might want to add.



Donna & The Bill Mullen Team