Installation, applications & costs
Backup electrical power can provide a homeowner or small business owner with a safe and easy way to use essential electrical loads when the main utility power is not available. This is accomplished by turning selected circuits on or off during a power outage. Many electricity users depend on electricity for safety, comfort and the operating continuation of important systems within the electrical system.
Applications for backup power
Transfer Switch Panels are most often used in residential, agricultural and light commercial applications. People that have in-home care, home businesses, and live in rural regions are at higher risk if electricity isn’t available. This can lead to either a safety issue or financial loss. You may consider a backup power option if your area is exposed to extreme weather conditions such as ice and snow storms, heat waves, tornadoes or hurricanes.
How much Backup power do I need?
Backup power requirements are different for every installation and situation. It is advised that you come up with a list of essential items that you must have to get through a power outage. This list should include the voltage and ampacity of any equipment you are planning to operate. With this information a properly sized generator system can be purchased and installed.
Electrical backup generator costs to install
Costs to install a typical generator panel range greatly due to what requirements are to be met.
For home owners I generally recommend going with a GenerLink 30 amp meter mounted transfer switch combined with a 4000 – 9000 watt gas generator. This is by far one of the most economical backup solutions as it doesn’t involve intrusive wiring. This solution will allow you to safely rotate which circuits in your main panel you wish to operate. It will not allow a full power up of your electrical panel at once but allows for the necessities such as water pump, fridge, lighting and receptacles.
For light commercial or a home business I recommend using either a dedicated generator panel or going with a combination service entrance generator panel.
A combination panel will usually include two interlocked main breakers that ensures only one source of power is active at a time. In this configuration the user will be limited to what circuits can be powered due to the hard wiring in the panel. However it would allow you to maintain power to critical circuits such as a furnace, pump, refrigerator, or lights.
For a commercial or farm business I would recommend going with a dedicated generator panel and automatic or manual transfer switch. A automatic system would be the most expensive system to install but comes with the greatest power output potential and conveniences.
A dedicated generator panel can be a complete off the grid power solution. This configuration utilizes either a manual or automatic transfer switch and is often paired with a suitably large sized generator to run most if not all electrical loads. In a automatic system you gain peace of mind that power will be available should you not be present to start a generator manually.
Many farms use a manual backup power strategy. Generally this uses a tractor with a pto driven generator connected to a transfer switch. The switch is mounted on a hydro-pole in a easy to access location (aka pole switch).
The advantage to this configuration is a savings on installation labor and upfront costs. This configuration won’t require intrusive wiring in the buildings. Also, the initial cost for full backup power is lower because you can utilize a tractor you already own.
A disadvantage to this configuration is that you will need to start a tractor, hookup a generator and manually connect the generator to a transfer switch. It is advised that a user should also pair this system with a suitable auto dialing alarm to notify you of power loss. This is especially important if you are not on the farm at the time of the power outage. Another disadvantage to this setup is trying to start a tractor in cold weather which can be difficult if a block heater or heated workshop isn’t available.
As always If your not confident in your abilities with how to preform this electrical home renovation safely, it is advised you seek or speak to a qualified electrician for assistance with removing and installing the new fan fixture.
For questions regarding emergency backup power, scheduling a electrical panel installation, or service visit.
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