vinyl-vs-wood-windowsWe’ve talked about several electrical switches here on the Nelson-Miller blog, but one that we’ve yet to cover is a changeover switch. So, what exactly is a changeover switch and how does it work?

A changeover switch is designed to transfer a house (or business) electricity from the commercial power grid to a local generator when n outage occurs. Also known as “transfer switches,” they connect directly to the generator, commercial power supply or line, and the house. When the homeowner or business owner experiences a power outage, he or she can switch over to the generator via a changeover switch.

Although there are dozens of different types of changeover switches, most fall into one of two different categories: automatic or manual. With an automatic changeover switch, the home’s power is automatically switched over during an outage, eliminating the need for manually switching. But with a manual changeover switch, the homeowner must flip a switch to turn the power draw from the commercial grid to the generator.

Changeover switches are becoming more and more popular — a trend that will likely continue in the months and years to come. According to some reports, there were roughly 2.5 power grid outages per month in 2000. Fast forward to 2013, and that number has increased by six-fold, with reports indicating that some 14.5 outages have occurred per month on average. Most of these outages have been associated with weather events, including hurricanes and winter storms. Others, however, have been caused by hardware failure.

It’s frustrating when your home loses power. You won’t be able to watch TV, use electronic devices, etc. This can certainly be an inconvenience, but it can also be dangerous. If you live up north and your power goes out during the winter, you may find it difficult to stay warm. This has prompted many homeowners to invest in generators along with changeover switches, as it protects against disasters such as this. Even if the power goes out, the homeowner can continue running his or her electrical devices, assuming their generator runs.

And for businesses, power outages can prove equally as destructive. Businesses lose millions of dollars each year as a result of power outages. But these problems can be prevented with a generate and subsequent changeover switch. If the commercial power grid goes out, the business can continue running thanks to the generator.