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Manual Transfer Switches

What Is a Manual Transfer Switch?

For business owners, nothing is more frustrating than losing power in your store, office, or commercial property. Whether you own a small sporting goods store or an HVAC company, constant, reliable electrical power is crucial when operating your business.

Without it, many critical duties and responsibilities are delayed or lost entirely — your heating and cooling systems, electrical systems, security systems, computer networks (including individual workstations, servers, printers, etc.), and your building’s tankless water heater are just some of the vital systems relying on electrical power in your business.

A manual transfer switch is an easy solution to keep the lights and other important systems powered during a temporary or emergency power outage, allowing you to keep your business up and running with minor productivity loss.

Contact us to learn more about our manual transfer switches, automatic transfer switches, and other services, or call (704) 594-4107.

Why Do I Need a Manual Transfer Switch?

A transfer switch is not required to operate your generator. Extension cords can be used to bring power directly from your generator in times of need without the use of a switch. However, this method is severely limited. When you do not use a transfer switch, you are limited by:

  • A slower method that requires considerably more effort
  • A method that is considerably less safe
  • Plugging methods that limit your access to power, meaning major operations must halt
  • A far more involved method of returning to utility power after an outage

Transfer switches are essential for emergency power electrical installations when generators are used. Whether your application is industrial or commercial in nature, power supply continuity and electrical distribution are critical.

A manual transfer switch allows you to start a generator and restore power to predetermined circuits when utility power fails. This is a reliable, simple, and cost-effective method to provide building owners with a high level of safety and security.

Types of Manual Transfer Switches

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PSI manual transfer switches are offered in 60 to 3,000 amps, with enclosure rating options, including NEMA 1, NEMA 3R, and NEMA 4X. The switch component is labeled UL1008 through 1,200 amps/IEC Rated 1,600 through 3,000 amps. The overall package will be assembled and labeled in accordance with UL508A through 1,200 amps.

Eaton manual transfer switches are offered from 1,600 to 5,000 amps with enclosure rating options, including NEMA 1 and NEMA 3R. All switches meet or exceed the standards set forth in UL1008 and UL489 with high withstand, totally enclosed Magnum switches. PSI’s manual transfer switch has one of the smallest footprints in the industry.

How To Pick the Perfect Manual Transfer Switch

Your manual transfer switch helps ensure the delivery of fast, safe electrical current. To select the proper manual transfer switch, first, calculate the wattage you require to operate your generator. Next, choose a switch that is rated to the generator’s largest outlet. This will be anywhere from 30 to 3,000 amps. You should also verify that the switch can handle the amount of dedicated circuitry required. You will also want to select a manual transfer switch that features a built-in wattage meter. This will help avoid overloading the system and causing damage to the generator or your appliances.

How To Size Your Manual Transfer Switch

In the world of manual transfer switches, amperage is denoted as “size.” The market supplies a massive berth of amp ratings, from 30 to 3,000. Your generator tap box should tell you exactly which size you need. If you don’t have one installed yet, you’ll have to match amperage to your generator load. The more powerful your biggest outlet, the more powerful your switch needs to be, but you can also build mini-switches into complex circuits.

  • Households usually don’t reach beyond 400 amps, which is enough to power a large generator.
  • 200-amp transfer switches offer limited support for whole-house generators. They’re expensive and unwieldy, but they provide plenty of power.
  • Rudimentary portable generators need a switch of around 50 amps. These inexpensive products can be used to split power to your sub-panel.

Choosing the Right Voltage

Your generator’s application will decide your voltage. A 960-volt transfer switch is perfect for a 480-volt HVAC system, but most homes don’t need much more than 240 volts. A 120-volt generator provides about 3,000 watts of power, so it doesn’t pack enough punch for all your equipment. Still, 120-volt switches have their uses. You can split your generator into several 120-volt terminals with the help of a circuit breaker panel. That packs extra safety into your equipment by preventing overheating that can lead to fires. It also eliminates waste, so you’ll get more for your money.

Three- or Four-Pole Manual Transfer Switches

Your grounding strategy tells you whether you need a three- or four-pole switch. A solid neutral design with a single ground bonding point usually needs a three-pole transfer switch. Four-pole switches are best for separately derived power systems with no direct connection between conductors.

Fusible Safety Switches

Safety switches have two important jobs: to provide power and to curb it. They put the power in your hands, allowing you to prevent overloads with the flip of a switch. Fusible switches are the go-to solution for securing higher loads. Like non-fusible switches, they can open circuits manually, but their safety ratings are unmatched. Their capacity to disconnect powerful overcurrents makes them a favorite option for large equipment.

Count on PSI Power & Controls to guide you through the confusing world of transfer switches. We’ve been a safety switch specialist for over 50 years, so our knowledge is tough to beat.

Call us at 704-594-4107 to discuss your options.

Choose PSI Power & Controls for Manual Transfer Switches

PSI Power & Controls offers a complete line of non-fusible manual transfer switches from 30 to 3,000 amps. We also have fusible manual transfer switch-based solutions, a reliable and time-tested technology.

If you need a service entrance-rated manual transfer switch in a NEMA 3R enclosure or a NEMA 4X 316 stainless steel enclosure, PSI Power & Controls has the answer. Service entrance-rated above 1,000 amps will have ground fault protection. The switch component is labeled UL1008 through 1,200 amps/IEC rated 1,600 through 3,000 amps. The overall assembly will be built and labeled UL508A through 1,200 amps.

For more information about manual transfer switches for your business, contact us online!

Not sure if a manual transfer switch is best for you? Learn more about the differences between manual and automatic transfer switches.

View the manual transfer switch specifications >>

Manual Transfer Switch FAQs


Yes, manual transfer switches are just as safe as automatic transfer switches when sized properly for the application. Plus, they include an interlock that prevents the connection of the generator to your electrical system while the building is still connected to utility power, which prevents backfeeding and possible dangers to utility workers. At PSI Power & Controls, we can recommend the best manual transfer switch for your application, load requirements, and generator output.
A transfer switch increases the safety and convenience of using a standby generator. Not only does it prevent backfeeding through the utility lines by ensuring only the generator or utility power is connected at any one time, but it also provides a safe, permanent connection to your critical circuits, eliminating the need for potentially hazardous extension cords or more dangerous solutions. To learn more about the benefits of transfer switches for your business, talk to our team at PSI Power & Controls today.

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