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Chunter001 04-16-2012 10:48 AM

Transfer switch install
I would like to instal a transfer switch to allow me to safely run my generator. The problem I have is that my house is equipped with a split bus panel. What makes me nervous is that there is no main breaker. Instead, with a split bus you must throw up to six breakers to shut off service power.

My actual questions is if the 5 breakers (instead of six in my case) are thrown, will it behave as a main breaker? That is to say with all five "supplied" breakers on the off position can I be assured that I'm not putting power out onto the grid and possibly hurting someone? I only plan on hooking the generator to circuits that are below the "supplied" breakers.

Thanks for your input.

JoeD 04-16-2012 11:11 AM

Depends on the type of transfer switch your get. If you get the type with 6 switches in it then you choose which six circuits you want to transfer.

Chunter001 04-16-2012 11:16 AM

That's the type I have. I'm just worried that if I don't have a main I could put power back out to the grid. Since I don't have there is no actual main I believe my bus would always be hot. Or would throwing the top 5 "supplied" breakers act like a main and prevent me from back feeding past that point.

JoeD 04-16-2012 12:22 PM

The five supplied breakers are not breakers. They are switches. They disconnect the circuit from the panel and connect it to the generator.
The other option you have is larger single transfer switch. In the upper part of the panel there is one double breaker that feeds the lower half of the panel. If put a transfer switch between that breaker and the panel you could energize the entire lower portion of the panel. Both of these setups would not energize any of the double pole circuits in the upper portion of the panel.

Chunter001 04-16-2012 01:25 PM

So, if I'm understanding you correctly there should be no way I might unintentionally send power out to the grid even though my bus is always technically hot as long as the top 5 switches are in the off position?

JoeD 04-16-2012 04:43 PM

The top five switch can be ON. If you use a properly installed transfer switch there is no way to back feed the grid no matter what state the breakers are in. You should not be required to turn off the breakers in the panel to run your generator. That is what a transfer switch does. It switches between one or the other. It does not allow them(grid and generator) to both be connected together.

Chunter001 04-17-2012 12:40 AM

Ok, so I understand that the transfer switch keeps me from running both grid and generator power. What I don't understand is what keeps the generator power from running up the bus and out to the grid since I don't have a main disconnect. I may be wording this poorly, I just want to make certain I don't injure someone.

JoeD 04-17-2012 06:48 AM

Because in your panel you actually have two sets of buses. In the upper section you have one bus pair that is connected to the meter/grid. In the lower section the buses get their power from one of the breakers in the upper bus. Think of it as two separate panels in one case. The lower panel is fed by a breaker in the upper panel.

Chunter001 04-17-2012 12:15 PM

Perfect! I think I get it. Thanks for the help.

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