I lose power here, on average 2.7 times per month. I’ve been keeping a log of all the power outages for the last year. I was not sure if we were losing it all the time or it just seemed that way due to unhappiness over losing power. I did some homework, talked with folks who have transfer switches, and those that install them regularly to make a decision on what transfer switch to put in. I settled on the Gentran 3028, a PREWIRED 8-Circuit Transfer Switch, for up to 7500 watts. This is larger then my current generator, but I plan to upgrade that to match the Transfer switch in the future. I bought my gentran 3028 from Amazon and it arrived in 3 days with super saver shipping.
My reasons for selecting the Gentran 3028 versus other prewired models, or wiring my own subpanel as a transfer switch are as follows: First, it’s pre-wired with nicely labeled wires going into the box. This covers the inconvenience factor, which made the installation a lot smoother and easier. Additionally I didn’t need to buy a bunch of various wire in different sizes and colors to wire my own. Second was the load meters in line on the Gentran 3028 transfer switch. This allows me to balance the loads on the generator. Third, I didn’t want to spend a week of evenings wiring up my own subpanel. There is a lot to be said for a prewired unit you just connect in place.
This is not a project for the unskilled homeowner. If you do not know exactly what you are doing when it comes to electrical wiring, then you need to hire a professional electrician to have him install a transfer switch.
First up is turning off the main breaker, aka service disconnect. I always make sure to shut down and unplug all of the sensitive electronics in the house prior to powering down a main panel. I like to take each breaker down one by one before switching the main. That way when you turn it on, there’s not a massive surge to everything that’s plugged in. The main panel was recently replaced by an electrician due to corrosion damage to the original. This was my first time in there since then and I was not impressed with some of what he did. I had to move the outlet you see in the right photo. I put it back after mounting the transfer switch in place.
The prewired Gentran 3028 transfer switch is just wonderful. The labeled wires make installation very easy. You simply wire in the transfer switch main feeds to a 60 Amp breaker you install in your existing main panel. Then just disconnect the hot wire from the breaker for each circuit you are moving in your box, twist and wire nut them to the clearly labeled wires from the Gentran transfer switch. I was impressed with how well everything went, and the clearly labeled wires made the installation go much faster then I anticipated. I definitely recommend this transfer switch in a big way.
The only other piece of the puzzle is the plug in the garage. I didn’t want to spend another 50 bucks on the fancy outlets they sell premounted. The transfer switch came with the NEMA L14-30 male wall recepticle, so I used an octagonal boxe, and had my cnc machine make me a nice mounting plate from some 1/4″ aluminum stock.
I’m now ready for the power to go out. Instead of a 2 hr hook up time running 5 large extension cords everywhere, I’ll now be able to simply wheel out the generator, plug it in and flip the switch. I’m absolutely certain now that I spend all of this money and time installing the transfer switch in place I’m not going to lose power for a long long time… *sigh*