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Automatic Transfer Switch VS Interlock: Which is Best?

What is an Automatic Transfer Switch?

An automatic transfer switch or ATS senses the loss of power in the electric panel and switches the main board off by switching on the power backup line. You can do all this manually, and the reverse will take place once the power restores.

automatic transfer switch

Interlock Vs. Transfer Switch: 

An interlock is similar to a transfer switch as this device helps you manage the operations of an electrical panel together with the backup generator panel. And interlock ensures that the electric breaker and generator circuit breaker never run at the same time. Thus, it ensures safety and prevents any dangerous feedback that might occur.

Before deciding which system suits your application best, you should understand your needs better. You should consider the type of generator installed, whether it is a standby generator or a portable generator. You should consider the size, electoral load, duration and frequency of outages, the demands of the occupants, and the onsite operator’s availability.

When to use an interlock?

The interlock system is less sophisticated and less expensive as well when compared to an automatic transfer space. Many people use it for residential and small commercial usage. It is better for places that don’t require power continuously, and the operation is easy. However, you need proper training to find out how it works. There is also additional power management that you will need to turn off the circuit breaker once it exceeds the generator capacity. We will go through the differences between interlock vs. transfer switches for portable generators in further detail below.

When to use a transfer switch?

A residential automatic transfer switch is in situations where the power is required to run automatically. You can often find this in commercial buildings that need alternate backup power to ensure safety. Also, it complies with the building codes and the national electoral code. You can also install this in residential even if the place experiences power outages often.

Both are an ATS automatic transfer switch as well as an interlock work in the same manner. Although, the way they operate is different. You can use them for various applications. An interlock is better for residential use and places that experience a minor outage of power. On the other hand, you can use an automatic transfer switch for commercial purposes and in vast apartments.

You must prefer an ATS transfer switch if you have a fully automated system and requires no supervision. It can also fulfill all commercial or industrial purposes with the help of an automatic switch as they require constant power. Either of these devices is necessary at home if there is a backup power generator. You will also need this for any building that includes backup power with the transfer switch.

How does a transfer switch work with a portable generator? 

Suppose you forget to include the transfer switch and directly connect the portable generator to the electrical service panels. In that case, it could lead to frying appliances and endanger utility workers that might be working on power lines and will also end up damaging your generator.

Transfers will quickly let you power whatever you need, whether it is a refrigerator, a boiler, or more. The power can reach these devices through a generator or utility but not both together. The automatic transfer switch will work with the help of a dedicated set of switches.

With the help of a transfer switch, you will need to make one connection plugging one end of the wire into the portable generator and the other end of it into a dedicated box that connects to the transfer switch.

How does an interlock device work with a portable generator?

Many of the third-party manufacturers and manufacturers of service panels use interlock devices as small connectors. Each of which intends for a specific panel model only but all of them work in the same way. You can attach them to the portable generator to the service panel without a transfer switch. Thus, they can eliminate the risk of a direct connection. You must install an interlock device with the help of an electrician.

Once you install this, the interlock will cover the service panel. Hence, it will not allow you to switch it on while the generator runs. While the utility power returns, you will be able to slide the interlock back to its original position. Hence, the power will only flow in One Direction. This option is a more manual option when compared to an automatic transfer switch, but it is cheaper than buying and installing an automatic transfer switch.

GEYA: One of the Best Automatic Transfer Switch Manufacturers

GEYA is the leading manufacturer of automatic transfer switches. Their main aim is to help improve the quality of the environment and life by using power supply management technology and service.

They have a set of guidelines for safe installation and wiring that will need to follow while installing automatic transfer switches. The professionals should refer to the manual before going ahead with the installation. The proper checklist should follow when you choose the best automatic transfer switch.

Why choose GEYA?

When it comes to ATS, GEYA provides the best quality that has some worthy features like:

  • The switches manufactured by GEYA are compact in structure, convenient when it comes to installation and maintenance, are reliable during transfer, and are very durable with a long life expectancy.
  • The size of the manufactured automatic transfers switch is relatively compact, which helps in meeting the different requirements of installation that customers may have.
  • GEYA ensures that the product has continuity, safety, as well as reliable power supply.
  • You can use the automatic transfer switch on various occasions where firms cannot afford power failures.
  • The automatic transfer switches can also use with an inverter.

Before choosing an automatic transfer switch, it’s best to consider all the features that it carries. Then, you can make a clear comparison of an automatic transfer switch and the interlock system to understand what will suit your building the best.

Picture of William

I am William, Electrical Engineering Author. Dedicated to writing technical articles on Timer Relay, Monitoring Relay, Surge Protection Device and other electrical devices. With 7 years of writing experience, I am committed to providing accurate and in-depth expertise to my readers.

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