In theory, you could operate a home generator without an automatic transfer switch, but it’s such an integral tool that most homeowners would not and should not do without one. What an automatic transfer switch does is act as the middle man between the home generator and the power grid. An automatic transfer switch will detect when the power goes out, and most will automatically activate the home generator to begin providing power. However, that’s not the most important job an automatic transfer switch does. The most important thing they do is disconnect the house from the power grid, an important step to protect your home generator investment. If the electricity returns while a home generator is still operating, this can damage the generator. An automatic transfer switch guards against that and the best designs can do even more.
A leader in the home generator market, Briggs & Stratton builds its own line of automatic transfer switches for use in their own and other company’s home standby generators. Two of their basic automatic transfer switches are the 01918 50 amp transfer switch and the 071035 Command Central. The 01918 50 amp is a 10 circuit, single frequency build that can handle many types of generators. However, the 071035 Command Central is something more. It can manage up to 4 high wattage appliances and includes 4 low voltage contacts for air conditioners or heat strips. The Command Central allows homeowners to utilize a smaller generator design while still running all essential systems during an outage. Command Central is also built with overload protection to prevent generator damage during high intensity operation.
While the 01918 50 amp transfer switch can do the job, most homeowners will want to opt for the 071034 Command Central. Overall, it’s a much more functional tool for home generator control and protection.