Emergency Power FAQs
Is it difficult to make the generator connection to the StormSwitch™, TripleSwitch™ or TempTap™ product line?
No, they utilize the industry standard 400A series 16 cam-style connectors. ESL’s StormSwitch, TripleSwitch and TempTap are color-coded to the voltage, e.g. 208Y/120 green, white, black, red, blue.
What is UL 1008 and how does it affect me?
Local building inspectors typically require all new electrical equipment installed in their jurisdiction to be “Listed” which means the equipment has been approved by Underwriter Laboratories or another recognized test lab. For standby systems that allow portable generator connection, UL 1008 is the proper standard to comply to. If the equipment is not Listed, it may not be acceptable to the inspector.
Do the generators have the same color coded plugs that the StormSwitch, TempTap, and TripleSwitch have?
ESL cannot guarantee that. Industry standard is green for ground, white for neutral, and typically black for “A” phase, red for “B” phase and blue for “C” phase. When entering in an agreement for generator service, it is recommended that you request the aforementioned color-coding for the cams.
How do I know what product will best work with my specific needs?
ESL’s knowledgeable sales personnel will gladly assist with helping to identify the proper product for your application. The key factors will be the voltage system and the desired emergency load that is to be fed.
What are the advantages/disadvantages of using a manual transfer switch with a portable generator versus an automatic transfer switch with a permanent generator?
Significantly lower cost
No on-site fuel storage required
No maintenance or standard periodic testing
Easier installation – days instead of weeks
Portable generator can be rented or used at other facilities
Permanent generator requires multiple permits
Longer time before generator power is established
Can’t I just connect my generator directly to my panel?
Accidentally backfeeding the utility grid can be very dangerous. There are other methods and products available for powering up from a portable generator, but the StormSwitch is the best product available that combines the simplicity of cam-style connectors with a safety interlock device that prevents back feeding the utility grid.
Can vandals open or steal the StormSwitch? Can they shut off my power?
Once installed, the device is always in use. The StormSwitch door can be padlocked, preventing unauthorized entry. The disconnect handles can be padlocked in the “OFF” position for further security. With a minor modification, the disconnect handles can also be padlocked in the “ON” position, however, this is not recommended. For complete security the StormSwitch is equipped with a lockable handle cover to prevent unauthorized use.
Can the StormSwitch be Service Entrance Rated?
Yes, the StormSwitch has the option to be SUSE (Suitable for Use as Service Entrance in the USA). This option should only be used when the StormSwitch is installed at the building service entrance.
I am in Texas. Can the StormSwitch survive the rain/heat/cold/bugs here?
The StormSwitch is a Type 3R enclosure. This means it is suitable for outdoors and will protect components from rain. To ensure that insects, debris, small animals do not enter the enclosure, ESL provides a hinged cover over the cam openings in the bottom of the enclosure.
What is the reason an additional circuit breaker is available with the purchase of a StormSwitch?
Circuit breakers provide over current protection; switches do not. If the supplied generator does not have built in over current protection, then it is recommended that the generator disconnect and the StormSwitch be equipped with a circuit breaker rather than a switch. Also depending on your specific application, you may or may not need over current protection on the utility side. Again, ESL’s knowledgeable Sales personnel will gladly help you in deciding what combination works best for your application.
After the StormSwitch is installed by a licensed electrician, what type of basic training is required for use?
Minimal. The key is to arrange for the generator to arrive with 400-amp rated, cam-style, female plugs. Then simply connect the plugs to their corresponding colored receptacle in the StormSwitch following the directions on the unit.
How much does it cost to install a StormSwitch?
Costs will vary depending on amperage, local contractor rates, whether this is part of new construction or an addition to an existing installation, etc. However, rest assured, the ESL StormSwitch is designed for easy installation. The StormSwitch is designed to mount to a vertical surface with (4) external bolts. Utility input power can be from the top, back or side. Load exit is through the back, bottom or side.
What happens after the utility power is restored?
Once utility power is restored, simply turn “OFF” the generators disconnect. Shut down the generator itself. Open the StormSwitch door. Disconnect the generator cams. Replace the cover over the wire openings. Close the StormSwitch door. Turn the utility power “ON”
How does the StormSwitch compare to a standard “double-throw” or “double-key” transfer box?
The traditional “safety switch” and/or “double-throw” switches do not provide the over current protection option that is available in ESL’s StormSwitch™. These “safety switch” and/or “double-throw” switches are intended for “hard wiring” and therefore would require a licensed electrician (difficult to find one available as they are in high demand during power outages) to connect and disconnect the generator.
What is a TempTap?
Also referred to as a docking station or tap box, ESL’s TempTap is a means for direct connection from the generator to the buildings switchgear.
Is there any protection offered in a TempTap?
Locking doors and internal connection points to keep unauthorized persons from the devise. The TempTap is designed to be a safe and simple pass-through box mounted to the outside of a building. It should be used in conjunction with a with a transfer switch or a utility disconnect.
What is the TripleSwitch designed to do?
The TripleSwitch was designed to simplify the load bank testing procedures and to provide a backup for the backup. This unique 3-way manual transfer switch system provides a quick and completely safe way to supply power to the facility from a portable emergency standby generator during load bank testing in the event the utility power is disrupted due to a power loss or if the permanent generators are offline.
I know it is easy to show the ease of use and the safety aspects of the TripleSwitch, but are there other advantages as well?
Yes, an added benefit is reduction of down time and load bank testing service time.