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Old 03-17-2008, 08:02 AM   #1
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Whole house automatic transfer switch?


I am looking into getting an automatic standby generator for my house and was wondering about the automatic transfer switch. The generators I have been looking at are 7000 - 10000 watts and include the ATS that "powers 8 circuits of your home". I would assume that any circuits that I would like powered by the generator would need to be moved into the ATS box. I would have to step up to the 18,000 watt model in order to get the ATS that "Protects one 200 amp distribution panel", but the price is $4800 instead of the ~$2200 for the models the lower wattage models. I have a 100 amp service and would like to provide backup power to the entire distribution panel, so can I purchase a different ATS that will just connect to the existing 100 amp panel and not have to choose and move circuits to the ATS (and use one of the smaller generators)?

Also, I have been looking at the Centurion 5247 and 5248. Does anyone have any suggestions on others I should be considering?

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Old 03-17-2008, 08:30 AM   #2
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Whole house automatic transfer switch?


If you really don't need the automatic transfer option check this out.

www.interlockkit.com

There is no need for a seperate generator panel. You can pick and choose on the fly what you what to power, up to the output limit of your generator.

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Old 03-17-2008, 09:24 AM   #3
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Whole house automatic transfer switch?


Thanks for the reply. I actually have one of those right now for my 2500w generator and it does work, but I have some very expensive saltwater aquariums in my house that if left off for very long, especially in the winter, spells disaster. This past winter the power went off when I was at work and I didn't realize it until I got home. I lost several hundred dollars worth of livestock and don't want to do that again. Also, the lockout is not very girlfriend-friendly. She doesn't even like to go in the basement, much less touch the electrical panel.
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Old 03-17-2008, 10:23 AM   #4
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Whole house automatic transfer switch?


This device is excellent for you. You simply pull the meter(the POCO pulls it actually), Plug in the generlink then plug the meter back in.

http://www.generlink.com/about_generlink.cfm
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Old 03-17-2008, 10:38 AM   #5
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Whole house automatic transfer switch?


But that device is for a portable generator and you still need to manually start the generator. I am looking at natural gas generators that would work without any intervention on my part, even if I am not home.
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Old 03-17-2008, 11:32 AM   #6
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Whole house automatic transfer switch?


A whole house transfer switch will always be considerably more than an automatic transfer panel.
The units I supply and like have the option to use a panel or switch, neither is included, you just choose what you want.
The units run from 7Kw and up. Typically I would use a 10Kw-15Kw. IMO any bigger than that and you need to check your priorities. NO ONE needs to run their WHOLE house for the occasional power outage. Even a day or two.

I would NOT touch a Generac unit with a 10' pole. By this I mean I would not supply one. I will install one if it is customer supplied, but I will NOT have ANYTHING to do with the warranty.
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Old 03-17-2008, 02:43 PM   #7
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Whole house automatic transfer switch?


I can certainly live without most of my house for a day or two, but there are a few key circuits that I would like to power. The only reason that I wanted to go with a "whole house ATS" would be so that I essentially would not have to move circuits out of the main panel into the generator sub-panel and thus have to choose which circuits are powered and which ones simply have to wait for the power to come on. If there is a large price difference for the luxury of being able to run anything in the house from the generator instead of just 8 or 10 circuits, it will factor in my decision.

It appears that Centurion is made by Generac, so I would assume it would have the same issues as a Generac. Are you saying that the Generac's are problematic, or if there happens to be an issue, they are difficult to get warranty parts from?

What do you think of Guardian?
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Old 03-17-2008, 02:45 PM   #8
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Oops, looks like Guardian are made by Generac too.
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Old 03-17-2008, 02:50 PM   #9
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Whole house automatic transfer switch?


Quote:
Originally Posted by TronCarter View Post
But that device is for a portable generator and you still need to manually start the generator. I am looking at natural gas generators that would work without any intervention on my part, even if I am not home.
Your right. I thought they had auto capablility but they don't. The only thing auto is that they disconnect from the grid if the generator is powered on.
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Old 03-17-2008, 03:18 PM   #10
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Whole house automatic transfer switch?


I just know that Generac has a horrible reputation as far as service and tech support goes. I'm not sure about parts.
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Old 03-17-2008, 03:38 PM   #11
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Whole house automatic transfer switch?


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Originally Posted by TronCarter View Post
I can certainly live without most of my house for a day or two, but there are a few key circuits that I would like to power. The only reason that I wanted to go with a "whole house ATS" would be so that I essentially would not have to move circuits out of the main panel into the generator sub-panel and thus have to choose which circuits are powered and which ones simply have to wait for the power to come on. If there is a large price difference for the luxury of being able to run anything in the house from the generator instead of just 8 or 10 circuits, it will factor in my decision.

It appears that Centurion is made by Generac, so I would assume it would have the same issues as a Generac. Are you saying that the Generac's are problematic, or if there happens to be an issue, they are difficult to get warranty parts from?

What do you think of Guardian?
If you go with a whole house ATS then by code the Generator must be sized for the entire load. this can get very expensive depending on the size of your house... I myself would install a generator panel. and just relocate the required circuits and size the generator to that...

Last edited by chris75; 03-17-2008 at 03:43 PM.
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Old 03-17-2008, 03:44 PM   #12
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Whole house automatic transfer switch?


Speedy Petey (or anyone),

Just so I am sure I understand how these are wired, Utility power comes in from the meter and feeds the main panel. The main panel feeds the sub panel via a for example a 60amp breaker in the main panel. If there is power feeding from the 60amp breaker in the main panel (ie utility power is on), then the sub-panel is fed from the utility power. If the ATS senses that there is no power on the 60amp feed, it disconnects the feed and gets power from the generator. Once utility power is restored, the ATS switches back to the 60amp feed.

In a "whole house" situation, the feed from the meter goes to the ATS and the output of the ATS goes to the main breaker on the main panel. The ATS will supply the main panel with power from either the utility or generator.

Do I have this correct?
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Old 03-17-2008, 05:36 PM   #13
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Whole house automatic transfer switch?


That is it Tron. You've got a good handle on it.
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Old 03-17-2008, 06:01 PM   #14
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Whole house automatic transfer switch?


Have you considered a UPS instead of an ATS / Genset?
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Old 03-18-2008, 08:40 AM   #15
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Whole house automatic transfer switch?


Yes, but they don't run for very long. When the power does go off, it is usually off for a day or two, and they UPS doesn't give me more than an hour and does nothing for the refrigerator. So I have to wheel out the portable generator and hook it up. Also, the UPSs I have at least, do not allow you to turn the alarm off, so if the power goes off at night, all of the alarms start chiming and wake everyone up.

If I have a 100 amp service and the sub-panel is rated at 100 amps, do I feed the sub-panel with 100 amp breaker, or something less? I am guessing that if all of the "essential" devices were operating at once, it would be ~3500-4000 watts + a 2-ton AC, worst case scenario.

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