1. Home
  2. Knowledge Base
  3. Transfer Switches
  4. Why do I need a transfer switch?

Why do I need a transfer switch?

Whether you purchased a portable, permanently mounted, or power take-off (PTO) generator you will need to figure out how you will want to get power from the generator to your equipment.

cord thru window

1. Plug equipment directly into the generator.

This is a simple and cost effective way. There are some disadvantages. For example, you will not be able to easily power your furnace or AC; for a light source, you will need lamps. There is also the hazard of the extension cords running through the building. It is also essential that the generator is far enough away from the building to prevent carbon monoxide from getting indoors.

2. Backfeeding


Some people (not us) will recommend backfeeding. Backfeeding is when the flow of electrical energy is in reverse and is injected back into the building without a transfer switch. This is illegal, may be deadly, and should never be attempted – under any circumstances. Backfeeding power into a building has the risk of feeding generator power onto the utility lines. This can cause harm or death to a utility worker when they come to repair a power line . They aren’t expecting power present in the line and you could be criminally prosecuted. Even if you have the main breaker off, this is an illegal practice.

Backfeeding will also cause damage not only to the generator, but everything around it. A huge surge of back-fed power will blow up the generator. This causes a huge fire risk. Take time to read this story submitted by Rick Berry, the Electrical Safety Officer in Vancouver, Canada. https://www.electricgeneratorsdirect.com/stories/13-How-NOT-to-Connect-a-Portable-Generator.html

3. Transfer Switch

Transfer switch

The simplest and recommended way is installing a transfer switch.


A transfer switch is connected to the utility power, generator power and the building load. Once the power goes out, the switch will disconnect the building from one source of power (utility) then make the connection to the generator. The transfer switch is mechanically interlocked making it impossible to connect the building to both the generator and utility at the same time. This is the same concept for both manual and automatic switches.

What does WINCO provide?

At WINCO, we are experts when it comes to recommending the best transfer switch to suit your needs.

Whether you need a manual transfer switch, an ASCO automatic transfer switch, or if you have questions on how to plug your equipment directly to the generator, we are here to help.

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *