Backup Power Current with 2011 to 2013 Electrical Codes
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Backup Power Current with 2011 to 2013 Electrical Codes


- Backup Power Supply.

- Installing a Transfer Switch.

- Conversions.

- Converting Temperatures.

Installing a backup generator is an invaluable way to prepare your family for emergencies. The simplest backup power system is a portable gas-powered generator and an extension cord or two. A big benefit of this approach is that you can run a refrigerator and a few work lights during a power outage with a tool that can also be transported to remote job sites or on camping trips when it’s not doing emergency backup duty. This is also the least expensive way to provide some backup power for your home.

You can purchase a generator at most home centers and be up and running in a matter of hours. If you take this approach, it is critically important that you make certain any loads being run by your generator are disconnected from the utility power source. The next step up is to incorporate a manual transfer switch for your portable generator. Transfer switches are permanently hardwired to your service panel. They are mounted on either the interior or the exterior of your house between the generator and the service panel. You provide a power feed from the generator into the switch.

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The switch is wired to selected essential circuits in your house, allowing you to power lights, furnace blowers, and other loads that can’t easily be run with an extension cord. But perhaps the most important job a transfer switch performs is to disconnect the utility power. If the inactive utility power line is attached to the service panel, “backfeed” of power from your generator to the utility line can occur when the generator kicks in. This condition could be fatal to line workers who are trying to restore power. The potential for back feed is the main reason many municipalities insist that only a licensed electrician hook up a transfer switch. Using a transfer switch not installed by a professional may also void the warranty of the switch and the generator.

Automatic transfer switches turn on the generator and switch off the utility supply when they detect a significant drop in line voltage. They may be installed with portable generators, provided the generator is equipped with an electric starter. Large standby generators that resemble central air conditioners are the top of the line in backup power supply systems. Often fueled by home natural gas lines or propane tanks that offer a bottomless fuel source, standby generators are made in sizes with as much as 20 to 40 kilowatts of output—enough to supply all of the power needs of a 5,000-sq.-ft. home.

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