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Top Electricians » Articles » What Are Transfer Switches?

What Are Transfer Switches?

A transfer switch is often an automatic transfer switch, but there are manual transfer switches as well. A building which has an emergency power system transfers its source of electricity from its primary source to a secondary one with the help of a transfer switch. This transfer generally occurs from commercial supply to a back-up generator supply. The automatic transfer switches have two variables, the closed transition and the open transition.

Closed transition switches are also known as ‘make before break’ switches, used in commercial buildings like data centers, security organizations and especially hospitals, where a constant supply of electricity is necessary. There should be a proper synchronization between the primary and the secondary energy sources, so that electrical emergency does not affect the building at all.

Open transition switches on the other hand are ideal for residential buildings, retail stores and some office buildings which do not require a constant electric supply, and hence are called ‘break before make’ switches. There is always a break between the switch-over from commercial electricity to generator electricity.

Electrical contractors and generator services should be consulted when you install transfer switches in your building. Manual switches are often more popular than automatic switches in buildings where use of such switches is not frequent. Check out with the emergency power service before you purchase new equipment, because they can advise you best what kind of switches are most suitable for you. Sometimes it may be possible to refurbish existing parts or retrofit them, which could benefit you financially. Regular backup generator maintenance should be carried out by your electrical contractors to keep the emergency electricity supply active.

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