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Automatic Transfer Switch 101: Uninterrupted Power Explained

Honeywell Generator outside home

When it comes to power outages, a home standby generator can offer peace of mind by providing backup power. However, by incorporating an automatic transfer switch (ATS) into your setup, you can elevate that peace of mind to a whole new level.

In this informative blog, we will delve into the world of automatic transfer switches, exploring their functionality, benefits for you and your family, as well as the essential aspects of installation and maintenance. Discover how an ATS works seamlessly with your home standby generator, ensuring continuous power without the need for manual intervention. Say goodbye to the inconvenience of manually starting your generator during outages and embrace uninterrupted power supply effortlessly.

What is an Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS)?

An automatic transfer switch is a device used in conjunction with a home generator to provide continuous power during outages.

How Does an Automatic Transfer Switch Work?

When a power outage occurs, an automatic transfer switch detects the power interruption and promptly activates your home standby generator. This action takes seconds and will allow your home’s lights, appliances, and other essential devices to operate normally. When power is restored, your transfer switch detects the outage has ended and turns off your generator. No need to manually touch your generator – an automatic transfer switch does it all for you so you can sit back and relax.

1. Unexpected Loss of Utility Power

Whether it’s due to severe weather conditions or equipment failure, the electricity you rely on suddenly vanishes, leaving you in the dark.

2. Prompt Detection by Your Generator

In a matter of moments, your generator detects the disruption in utility power and prepares itself to take action.

3. Automatic Activation of Your Generator

Without any manual intervention, your generator swiftly springs into action, reaching the required speed to generate electricity.

4. Seamless Restoration of Power

Thanks to the ATS, generator power is seamlessly directed to your home, ensuring that your lights, appliances, and essential devices continue to operate until utility power is restored.

5. Detection of Restored Utility Power

When utility power returns, your generator system promptly senses the revival, initiating the transfer back to utility power and transitioning the generator to standby mode.

See How Automatic Transfer Switches for Home Generators Work

Video Courtesy of Honeywell Generators

Benefits of Automatic Transfer Switches for Homeowners

Automatic Transfer Switches offer a range of benefits for homeowners, ensuring a reliable and uninterrupted power supply. Beyond mere power continuity, automatic transfer switches also act as a shield, protecting your household electronics and appliances from potentially damaging power surges and voltage fluctuations. This safeguarding feature prevents costly repairs or replacements.

Whether it’s sensitive electronics, medical equipment, or essential appliances, you can experience peace of mind knowing their continuous operation, even in the face of power disruptions.

Additionally, an ATS can be advantageous for pet owners. It guarantees uninterrupted power to essential devices like heating or cooling systems, keeping your furry friends comfortable and safe during power outages. Whether you’re on vacation or at work, you can maintain control over your home’s functionality, providing an extra layer of care and comfort for both your property and your beloved pets.

Dog Sleeping In The Sun
Honeywell Generator Automatic Transfer Switch

Image Courtesy of Honeywell Generators

How To Install An Automatic Transfer Switch & Maintain It

When it comes to the installation and maintenance of Automatic Transfer Switches and home standby generators, entrusting the task to professionals like Smith & Keene ensures a seamless and reliable experience. Professional installation is paramount as it ensures proper wiring, connection, and integration with your existing electrical system and standby generator. A skilled technician from Smith & Keene will ensure that the right type of automatic transfer switch is selected, is correctly sized, meets all safety requirements, and is positioned for easy access and functionality in conjunction with your standby generator.

Once installed, regular maintenance and inspections conducted by Smith & Keene’s expert technicians are essential to ensure optimal performance of both the automatic transfer switch and standby generator. Through routine checks, our technicians can identify potential issues, make necessary repairs or adjustments, and ensure that both the transfer switch and generator remain in top condition, ready to provide reliable backup power when needed.

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In the event of any problems or malfunctions, an experienced technician can troubleshoot and resolve issues promptly, saving you from potential inconveniences or prolonged downtime.

Automatic Transfer Switch vs. Manual Transfer Switch

Choosing the right transfer switch for your home’s power management during outages is essential. Two common transfer switches for home generators available are the Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) and the Manual Transfer Switch (MTS).

Understanding the distinctions between these two transfer switches is crucial for homeowners looking to maintain uninterrupted power supply. By examining the chart below, you can gain valuable insights to help you make an informed decision on which transfer switch is the best fit for your specific needs.


Factors Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) Manual Transfer Switch (MTS)
Power Transfer Automatically detects power loss and switches to backup source Requires manual intervention to switch between power sources
Convenience Provides seamless and immediate power transfer during outages Requires manual operation, which may cause delays and inconvenience
Uninterrupted Power Supply Ensures continuous power supply without interruptions Power supply interruption during manual switching
Complexity More complex system with automated controls and sensors Simple system with manual controls
Safety Built-in safety features and safeguards Requires careful manual operation to prevent accidents
Cost Generally more expensive due to automation and additional features Usually less expensive compared to ATS
Ease of Use User-friendly operation with minimal intervention Requires manual operation and monitoring
Application Suitable for critical power needs and sensitive equipment Commonly used in non-critical applications and smaller loads
Dependability Reliable and quick response to power outages Relies on human intervention, which may vary in response time
Maintenance Regular maintenance required for optimal performance Minimal maintenance needed for manual operation
Availability Widely available in various sizes and configurations Available in limited sizes and configurations


The incorporation of an automatic transfer switch (ATS) into your home standby generator setup takes the peace of mind provided by backup power to new heights. Throughout this blog post, we have explored the functionality and benefits of them, shedding light on how they seamlessly work in tandem with your generator to ensure uninterrupted power during outages. By eliminating the need for manual intervention, ATS grants you the convenience and ease of enjoying continuous power supply effortlessly.

When it comes to the installation and maintenance of your whole house generator automatic transfer switch, choosing a trusted professional like Smith & Keene provides the expertise and peace of mind you need for a reliable and efficient power management system in your home.

Consult with professionals for expert installation and maintenance, and empower your household with a seamless and reliable power management system. Say goodbye to the inconvenience of manually starting your generator and embrace uninterrupted power with confidence, knowing that your ATS is professionally installed and maintained by experts like Smith & Keene.

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