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  1. #1
    Platinum Member tkappeler's Avatar
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    Default Electric Service Panel questions

    I have an electric questions for any electricians out there. I am building a new home in NJ (see new home begins thread).

    Background:

    I am having local electric company install a private pole on the property as the distance from street to home is to much. I will then run underground from there. I am installing 200A service with a 40 circuit panel. I am keeping a few spaces free to run a subpanel in the future for my woodworking hobby.

    Hurricane Sandy forced us to pick up a generator a little earlier than we wanted but it's needed anyway. The generator is rated at 6750W continuous and will be used as a backup for the house when complete.

    Now for the questions:

    1) Is it realistic to put a manual transfer switch in and use the generator when/if needed? My loads are: well pump, air handler, fireplace fan, some electric outlets, refrigerator. The well pump and air handler are the biggest draws and may have to be run in a mutually exclusive manner.

    2) Am I being shortsighted on the generator in lieu of a whole home generator and automatic transfer switch?

    3) What are you using for transfer switches/panel combos?

    Thank you gentlemen.
    Tom

    "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work" - Thomas A. Edison

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Electric Service Panel questions

    I am doing the same this week. The electrician says I should be able to run the whole house except the air as long as I don't go crazy with it. I am useing a 6750-8000 Ridgid with an auto transfer $340
    installed. He is putting a plug on the outside wall, one hookup to the Generator, It is a 2600 sq. ft. ranch. The heat is propane so less drain.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member tkappeler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electric Service Panel questions

    JDL, thank you. My home will be smaller (1800 sqft_and will be ultra insulated (R26 walls, R42 ceilings) and heated primarily by high efficiency fireplace. Heat pump is backup. If I may ask, what brand/model is the auto transfer switch?
    Tom

    "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work" - Thomas A. Edison

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Electric Service Panel questions

    Tom, It is not in yet it is supposed to be installed this week. When he puts in I will let you know it sounds simple He said it would take about 3 hrs.

  5. #5
    Platinum Member MikeInEburg's Avatar
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    Default

    Actually, you are in an enviable position as it is much cheaper to install for generator support at initial construction versus retrofitting. I would install a manual break-before-make switch between the meter and breaker panel, allowing for a second power source. If you're using a portable generator, there is no real need for the switch to be automatic - unless you see a permanent generator in your future.

    "As you go through life, make this your goal: watch the donut, not the hole"

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  6. #6
    Platinum Member tkappeler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electric Service Panel questions

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeInEburg View Post
    Actually, you are in an enviable position as it is much cheaper to install for generator support at initial construction versus retrofitting. I would install a manual break-before-make switch between the meter and breaker panel, allowing for a second power source. If you're using a portable generator, there is no real need for the switch to be automatic - unless you see a permanent generator in your future.
    I am guessing that a make before break is better in that I would not have to segregate only certain circuits to the transfer switch. Instead I would install this in series between the meter and the panel, thereby being able to run the whole house (within load capabilities).

    If my assumption is correct, then this sounds like a better solution. Even if we move to a bigger, permanent generator, I am not worried about having to throw a switch or not.
    Tom

    "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work" - Thomas A. Edison

  7. #7
    Super Member radioman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electric Service Panel questions

    A manual switch is not bad at all really. If you have a portable genny, you have to go out there anyways to start it up so might as well use a manual switch the same time after startup. I'm using a manual switch. its good that way anyways as not all my circuits are on all genny so I know when power is on.
    You, however have the perfect opportunity to setup automatic built in your standard breaker box with whole house surge protection. you would be looking at minimal cost for these options instead of upgrading later

  8. #8
    Super Member grsthegreat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electric Service Panel questions

    an automatic transfer switch is useless unless you have a permanent generator . Also, most auto transfer switches are brand specific. for instance a generac autotransfer switch wont operate a kohler generator.

    different switches also wire control wires differently. If you plan on sticking with a smaller manual start generator, and theres nothing wrong with doing so, you can make your own manual transfer panel very cheaply. Simply place a smaller 12 space panel next to the main 40 space panel, and land the circuits that you want to control with the generator. Next, pick us a cheap manual transfer interlock from places like home depot or an electrical supply house (for instance Siemens sells one for $26.00), and your all set.

    I have a 10,000 watt battery start generator, fed from my 500 gal propane tank on my house. Its a manual start unit, but i start it from a switch in the house. I elected NOT to go with the auto start unit, cause if im not home, i dont want it running and sucking down the propane. The refer and freezer will last till i get home.
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  9. #9
    Member JeffInCO's Avatar
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    Default

    One gotcha with the auto switch, starting with the 2008 NEC, is that the generator must be large enough to power the calculated load that is being switched. When I say "calculated load", I mean load calcs done according to the NEC method.

    This means that you must either buy a very large generator which can handle your whole house/farm/property, or you must decide in advance which subset of the circuits will remain powered, and wire those circuits into the transferred panel.

    This is not required with a manual switch... Your main panel could be supplied by your generator and you can decide exactly which circuits you want to power -- when you want to power them -- up to the capabilities of your generator, by turning individual breakers on/off.

    Jeff

  10. #10
    Platinum Member tkappeler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electric Service Panel questions

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffInCO View Post
    One gotcha with the auto switch, starting with the 2008 NEC, is that the generator must be large enough to power the calculated load that is being switched. When I say "calculated load", I mean load calcs done according to the NEC method.

    This means that you must either buy a very large generator which can handle your whole house/farm/property, or you must decide in advance which subset of the circuits will remain powered, and wire those circuits into the transferred panel.

    This is not required with a manual switch... Your main panel could be supplied by your generator and you can decide exactly which circuits you want to power -- when you want to power them -- up to the capabilities of your generator, by turning individual breakers on/off.

    Jeff
    I am liking the manual transfer switch, even if in a generator-ready load center, more and more.
    Tom

    "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work" - Thomas A. Edison

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