It will cost $300 at the lower end and $600 at the higher end to install a transfer switch excluding the price of the device itself.
If you are living in either California or Texas, you are exposed to regular power outages. At least that’s what the stats say. A simple device like a transfer switch can increase the efficiency of your generator and keep you safe from certain risks.
Here’s a small guide for you that will help you determine the cost of installing a transfer switch and plan ahead. Cheers!
Why Do You Really Need a Generator Transfer Switch?
If you are here, we assume you already know the benefits. Just to recap, here are some of the things that a transfer switch can offer:
- This device will prevent back-feeding and save your appliances from frying up. It can also pose risks for utility workers on power lines.
- It will let you know when the main power is restored unless you’re closely watching your neighbor’s lights.
- Eliminates the requirement for extension cords— too much wires running around isn’t a good idea at all.
- Power up only the appliances that you need most with just a flip of some switches
Generator Transfer Switch Installation- Cost Breakdown & Analysis
1. Electrician Fees
We talked with some of the electricians in our neighborhood. The reality is it’s tough to find an electrician who is willing to put in time for such small projects or gigs.
Here’s a tip! Talk to some of your neighbors and get some contacts. Personal connections matter and you might well get a good pricing.
$300-$400 would be justified for work of this caliber. Anything over $600 is unrealistic and you should look for someone else.
The fees can differ depending on the difficulty of the installation and the type of transfer switch you have. Have your electrician see your device first to avoid dispute later.
2. Additional Accessories (May or may not require)
In some cases, you might need to spend extra on additional items like wires and conduit. But you can avoid this cost if you buy a transfer switch that comes with all the accessories.
Pro tip- This is for those who haven’t bought a transfer switch yet. If you are buying online, check the product description first. Make sure it has everything needed to complete the installation.
For those extra things, you might need to spend $80-$100 and in most cases, your electrician might buy it for you.
3. Cost of Buying the Transfer Switch
Assuming, you haven’t bought a transfer switch, you might as well need an idea of the price range. The type of device and its wattage will greatly affect the price. Overall, something between $250-$750 is applicable for most people.
Things to Consider: Wattage & Type of Transfer Switch
If you want to buy transfer switches like the Reliance Controls or Connecticut electric that have 5000+ wattage, you will need $300-$450 at max. These are generally 10-circuit switches and have a higher price tag.
For generators with less than 5000 watts, a 6-circuit switch is sufficient. You can find one between $250-$300 but the price will always be below $300.
For wattage over 1000 watts, the price can go over $450.
Now, for the type of transfer switch, you have two options— manual or automatic transfer switch. The most popular and cheaper option is the manual switch for a portable generator. You can also install an automatic version if your generator comes with an electric starter. But that’s unnecessary!
4. Cheaper Alternative Solution: the Interlock Device
Many of us don’t know that an interlock device can be used in place of a transfer switch and it’s a much cheaper option. You will still need the services of an electrician at the same rate of fees for installing a transfer switch.
You can find interlock kits between $50-$150. So, you can save $150-$200 if you go with this option.
The downside is it’s more manual than a transfer switch and will need some more work from your part when the power goes off and on. Also, there is a risk of overloading the generator if it doesn’t fit with the load. So, talk with your electrician before you make the decision.
Now you know how much you will need to get the transfer switch into place! For the long run, a manual transfer switch will be your best option.
If you don’t have enough experience with electrical systems, don’t try to do it on your own. And some states even require a licensed electrician to do the job and you won’t be able to do it on your own legally.