An Automatic Transfer Switch: Advantages and Disadvantages

If your company needs to implement a generator but doesn’t know whether to access it with an automatic transfer switch or a manual one, there are several things to consider before making your choice. In this entry, we give an overview of the basic advantages and disadvantages of automatic switches, the type that many entities implement based on the convenience of its operation.

Advantage: Necessary for uninterrupted electrical supply

If your company requires constant electricity to maintain critical services, then an automatic switch is your best option, especially if your services represent the financial interests or general safety of other parties. Some common examples of entities that implement automatic switches out of necessity are: hospitals, data centers, jails and prisons, fire departments, defense organizations, and police departments.

Disadvantage: May occasionally respond to false signals

When an automatic switch senses signals in a building’s primary power supply that seem to indicate an impending power outage, it switches the building from utility feed to generator feed to avoid the coming outage. However, some transfer switches have been known to respond to false signals, a scenario that could waste generator power, albeit in small amounts.

Advantage: Ideal for efficiently switching to generator power

Beyond the necessity of maintaining constant electrical supply, an automatic switch offer the most efficient way to change from utility feed to generator feed. Instead of locating manual switches after the lights go out, businesses can let the changeover happen automatically, the only scenario that wholly exempts a building from the noticeable effects of a power outage, allowing the business to carry on as before.

Disadvantage: Usually costs more than a manual model

Because automatic models are generally larger and contain more complex components than manual models, they usually cost more. However, their price tag varies according to the style of switch a building needs and what brand is purchased. An emergency power solutions provider is the best entity to consult about switch choice.

Advantage: Ideal for less accessible generators

If you own a small business where the generator is located in an easy to access utility room, operating a manual switch might not be inconvenient. But for facilities whose generators are located in upper areas that require ladders, catwalks, and special keys to access, having to access manual models in the midst of an outage is inconvenient, and potentially dangerous.

Disadvantage: needs more maintenance than a manual model

Manual models typically involve less maintenance because they involve less complex components, particularly in terms of testing maintenance and replacement parts. An emergency power solutions provider is the best entity to consult about transfer switch maintenance.