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I am a Home Inspector and I came acrross this set up the other day. The transfer switch has a manual throw switch, that you throw after you start the generator. When the power goes out, you start the generator, then throw the switch on the transfer switch. The only way to know that the street power is back on, is a light bulb mounted on the wall, that when it goes on........the street power is back on, so you can shut off the generator. Is a whole house transfer switch supposed to be automatic, or can it be a manual throw switch? Should the transfer switch be downstream from the main service panel or can it be installed before the main panel, where the service goes into the transfer switch first?
 

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Just call me Andrew
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I am sure the pros will chime in, but....

I don't think they have to be automatic. If it's manual it HAS to cut off power to the street when the generator is on. This can be done either with a transfer switch between the meter and the panel, or with an interlock kit...

Interlock kits allow you to feed your panel from a generator via a double-pole breaker. The catch is, the interlock slides up and down, allowing you to have EITHER the generator breaker OR the main breaker on. Not both at once.

 

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Lic Elect/Inspector/CPO
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It can be automatic or manual transfer switch. They both have to keep main power seperate from generator power
 

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I have been wrong before, but I typically refer to a system with a manual transfer switch as a backup system, and one with an automatic transfer switch as a standby system. Regardless, I am quite sure that neither is exempt from NEC and local code. Other than whether or not it is an approved installation, the other thing in my mind would be to investigate whether the circuit with the indicator light on it is indeed isolated from the generator, such that power cannot backfeed into the grid. This could be something as simple as the fact that the transfer switch is on specific circuits, the one with the light not being included, but, again, it would seem that this should have been reviewed as part of the electical inspection of the transfer switch installation.
 

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A proper transfer switch will dissconnect the street power,
from the main panel when it is activated,
That is the whole idea of a transfer switch.
They dont just turn off the power,
They are supposed to prevent back feeding into the grid.

They can be manual or auto matic.
But there function is still the same.
They should completly isolate the genny supply
from the main feeder.

I am sure the pros will chime in, but....

I don't think they have to be automatic. If it's manual it HAS to cut off power to the street when the generator is on. This can be done either with a transfer switch between the meter and the panel, or with an interlock kit...

Interlock kits allow you to feed your panel from a generator via a double-pole breaker. The catch is, the interlock slides up and down, allowing you to have EITHER the generator breaker OR the main breaker on. Not both at once.

 

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Should the transfer switch be downstream from the main service panel or can it be installed before the main panel, where the service goes into the transfer switch first?
The service can go into the transfer switch first if you wish but it is usually more expensive to install this way because you need to coordinate it with the power company who will kill your power while you install the transfer switch.

The transfer switch can be downstream of the main panel in which case the generator will serve only the subpanel or outlet box further downstream of the transfer switch.

In some cities but not others you do not need a transfer switch unit and the transfer switch function is accomplished by an interlocking cam or slider or lever such as in the picture above.

What I am not sure about is whether the service side of a transfer switch before the main panel can have a 14-2 cable coming out of it and going to a small breaker box (considered a second main panel and outside the reach of the generator) and with a connection to the light that comes on when utility power is restored.
 

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Electrical Contractor
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Most newer utility meters these days are electronic with digital displays.

That display will be blank until the power is restored -- then it will be visible. No indicator light is needed.
 

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I have a 15 kw generator and a automatic transfer switch that came with a automatic stand by generator that crapped out on me. My question is how can I use the automatic transfer switch with 10 r 12 20amp breakers to feed my 200 amp main breaker panel as one live feed instead of 10 r 12 seperate 20 amp feeds? Rather not forking out another $600 for a manual transfer switch.
 

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Home Inspectors have forum site,rather than running questions on a DIY site. imot
By asking questions here. he is getting answers from electricians, and not just getting replies from other inspectors that may not know the answer.

He is welcome here.
 
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sorry. i agree with bobelectric.

it is pretty ridic that a "home inspector" is asking on a DIY website if manual transfer switches exist, and if they can be used as service entrance equipment.

if he doesnt know that, how can he possibly do safe inspections in other areas of the house, that is pretty darn basic. and being able to identify service entrance equipment is pretty darn basic.
 

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Home inspectors only need basic knowledge.

While this is a DIY site. It has lots of Journeymen Tradesman that answer questions. So he is at a good place to ask his questions.

The Tradesman here, can either complain that a HI is here asking questions. Or they can help him do his job better. Depends how petty they want to be.
 

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I also agree with bobelectric. If a home inspector doesn't know how things are supposed to be, how can he do a legitimate inspection?
 

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I also agree with bobelectric. If a home inspector doesn't know how things are supposed to be, how can he do a legitimate inspection?

By finding out how things are suppose to be. Which it appears is what he is doing. Despite the efforts of some to ridicule him.
 

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As an aside. When I installed my generator and lockout I spoke with electricians that did not know the options available. There are varying levels of knowledge and experience in every profession. I laud those that know what they don't know and seek to learn. Rather than those that don't know and just talk anyway...
 
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