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What Are Manual Transfer Switches and Why You Need Them

Having a backup generator at home or in your office is a great way to ensure you can use appliances and electronics when you need them the most. But if you’re going to invest in a generator, you must get a transfer switch to ensure that you get a quick transfer of energy with only minimal delay!

Here’s a closer look at manual transfer switches and how these can help maintain electrical service in the event of a power outage.

Manual Transfer Switches—What Are They?

As far as generators go, a portable one is an excellent option because of its accessibility and reliability. However, portable generators aren't exactly known for their ease of use. For it to work, you need to connect every single appliance to the generator manually. Imagine threading a network of extension cords to your backup power supply. When there's an outage, you have to rush in and connect all your extension cords just to get them back up and running!

Manual transfer switches, on the other hand, are designed to eliminate all that hassle. They serve as a connection between your home’s electrical system and your backup power supply. There’s no need to use extension cords when you have a manual transfer switch; all it needs is a one-time installation, and your transfer switch is good to go!

How a Manual Transfer Switch Works

Manual transfer switches are the middleman between your generator and your home or building's electrical network. The switch works by connecting directly to the main electrical panel. An electrician wires this panel to your power inlet box, along with the generator. Collectively, this creates a power transfer system capable of channeling energy from your generator and into your electrical system.

When you have a power outage, everything goes dark for a while until you can get to where your manual transfer switch and generator are located. From there, you will need to activate the generator and connect it to your manual transfer switch installation. Then, you’ll have to switch your home or business over to receive power from the generator. Once the power comes back on, you need to remember to switch off the generator and disconnect it from the power inlet box to get things back to normal.

Some Things to Consider About Manual Transfer Switches

Unlike automatic generators, a portable generator with a manual transfer switch isn’t capable of a seamless transfer of energy. You won’t have power until you can connect your generator to the switch. If you happen to be not at home when the power goes out, your manual switch generator will not be able to supply any power until you’re able to turn it on yourself! An automatic generator can quickly fix that because of its instantaneous transfer of power to your electrical network.

Another thing you should consider is that portable generators contain concentrated power—which can cause electrical hazards if connected improperly. However, with a manual transfer switch, you can minimize improper connections from extension cords because you only need to connect to the generator once.


When you are in the middle of a power outage, quick energy restoration is essential. Manual transfer switches are a significantly better way of restoring power to your property using a portable generator. Extension cords will no longer be needed, and you can resume your work as soon as you turn the switch on and connect your generator.

Whenever you need electrical troubleshooting, turn to DHT Electrical Inc.! We are London, Ontario’s go-to electrical service specialists. Our highly trained and licensed technicians specialize in residential and light commercial electrical services. Contact us today and let us help you out!

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