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LFLS84
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Posted: 5/25/2011 2:58:03 PM

THE IMAGE ABOVE IS A PAID ADVERTISEMENT
I made a thread a little while ago asking about transfer switches and decided to go with the harbor freight cutler hammer 200 amp manual transfer switch.

I had an electrician out yesterday to get an idea of the cost of having it done by a professional. I received the quote today of $1200.

Here is what the estimate said:

"Supply materials and labor to wire customer supplied transfer switch next to existing panel.
Install Service trough to splice feeders to break utility line and loads. Surface mount switch and conduit."

It also said the price would be %15 off if accepted by 5/27, but am I wrong or is that still way too high?

I'm no electrician, but isn't this switch just a break in the line? Meaning can't one simply remove the 2 feeders from the main panel and then install those in the transfer switch utility input, then run another length of wire of the same gauge from the utility output on the transfer switch to the main panel?

There is a breaker on the outside of the house to shut off utility power also.
ColtRifle
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Posted: 5/25/2011 4:55:53 PM
[Last Edit: 5/25/2011 4:58:36 PM by ColtRifle]
Sounds a little high to me but would depend on how much wire you need. If that price includes the transfer switch, then I don't think it's too bad. If you bought the transfer switch, then yes I'd say it's too high. Ooops....saw that you said that you supply the switch. I think he's a little high. In my area, I would expect to see about $500-700 for this job....depending on how much work is needed and how much wire is needed.

In my area, I can install it myself. In your area, you may have to pay for an electrician's expertice even if you don't need to.

On a related note...I'm installing that exact transfer switch on my future house/shop build. The shop is up but need to build the house once the current house sells. I was favorably impressed with that switch and it's actually made in the USA....I think the Goodyear air hose and this transfer switch may be the only USA made products there!!!! With the discounts and being on sale, I was able to get it for $321 out the door.
Tight-group
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Posted: 5/25/2011 5:43:22 PM
Originally Posted By LFLS84:
I made a thread a little while ago asking about transfer switches and decided to go with the harbor freight cutler hammer 200 amp manual transfer switch.

I had an electrician out yesterday to get an idea of the cost of having it done by a professional. I received the quote today of $1200.

Here is what the estimate said:

"Supply materials and labor to wire customer supplied transfer switch next to existing panel.
Install Service trough to splice feeders to break utility line and loads. Surface mount switch and conduit."

It also said the price would be %15 off if accepted by 5/27, but am I wrong or is that still way too high?

I'm no electrician, but isn't this switch just a break in the line? Meaning can't one simply remove the 2 feeders from the main panel and then install those in the transfer switch utility input, then run another length of wire of the same gauge from the utility output on the transfer switch to the main panel?

There is a breaker on the outside of the house to shut off utility power also.


Yes the job is cake since you have the switch at the meter. 200 amp wire is a little more difficult to work with than 100 amp but if you can mount
the switch close enough to use the existing wire coming thru the wall you could be done in less than 2 hrs. Get the proper lube for the connections and
don't forget your gen side can be 100 amp or less depending on the wattage of your gen puts out. Should be plenty of room to work in that big box.

LFLS84
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Posted: 5/25/2011 5:44:20 PM
Thought it sounded way too high myself.

Originally Posted By ColtRifle:
...depending on how much work is needed and how much wire is needed...


Did some mspaint on my situation:

Original Setup:



What I want done:


Transfer switch will be inside directly next to the main panel, not outside like usual.

Now again I'm no electrician, but this seems fairly straightforward. It looks to me unless I'm missing something that maybe 5 feet of additional wiring will be needed and that's it.

Thinking about just doing it myself.
LFLS84
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Posted: 5/25/2011 5:47:30 PM
Originally Posted By Tight-group:
Originally Posted By LFLS84:
I made a thread a little while ago asking about transfer switches and decided to go with the harbor freight cutler hammer 200 amp manual transfer switch.

I had an electrician out yesterday to get an idea of the cost of having it done by a professional. I received the quote today of $1200.

Here is what the estimate said:

"Supply materials and labor to wire customer supplied transfer switch next to existing panel.
Install Service trough to splice feeders to break utility line and loads. Surface mount switch and conduit."

It also said the price would be %15 off if accepted by 5/27, but am I wrong or is that still way too high?

I'm no electrician, but isn't this switch just a break in the line? Meaning can't one simply remove the 2 feeders from the main panel and then install those in the transfer switch utility input, then run another length of wire of the same gauge from the utility output on the transfer switch to the main panel?

There is a breaker on the outside of the house to shut off utility power also.


Yes the job is cake since you have the switch at the meter. 200 amp wire is a little more difficult to work with than 100 amp but if you can mount
the switch close enough to use the existing wire coming thru the wall you could be done in less than 2 hrs. Get the proper lube for the connections and
don't forget your gen side can be 100 amp or less depending on the wattage of your gen puts out. Should be plenty of room to work in that big box.



This is what I was hoping to hear, will probably just do it myself. When you say proper lube, are you talking about dielectric grease?
ColtRifle
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Posted: 5/25/2011 8:31:35 PM
[Last Edit: 5/25/2011 8:31:54 PM by ColtRifle]
Originally Posted By LFLS84:
Originally Posted By Tight-group:
Originally Posted By LFLS84:
I made a thread a little while ago asking about transfer switches and decided to go with the harbor freight cutler hammer 200 amp manual transfer switch.

I had an electrician out yesterday to get an idea of the cost of having it done by a professional. I received the quote today of $1200.

Here is what the estimate said:

"Supply materials and labor to wire customer supplied transfer switch next to existing panel.
Install Service trough to splice feeders to break utility line and loads. Surface mount switch and conduit."

It also said the price would be %15 off if accepted by 5/27, but am I wrong or is that still way too high?

I'm no electrician, but isn't this switch just a break in the line? Meaning can't one simply remove the 2 feeders from the main panel and then install those in the transfer switch utility input, then run another length of wire of the same gauge from the utility output on the transfer switch to the main panel?

There is a breaker on the outside of the house to shut off utility power also.


Yes the job is cake since you have the switch at the meter. 200 amp wire is a little more difficult to work with than 100 amp but if you can mount
the switch close enough to use the existing wire coming thru the wall you could be done in less than 2 hrs. Get the proper lube for the connections and
don't forget your gen side can be 100 amp or less depending on the wattage of your gen puts out. Should be plenty of room to work in that big box.



This is what I was hoping to hear, will probably just do it myself. When you say proper lube, are you talking about dielectric grease?



Think he's refering to the no-ox paste. Probably not absolutely necessary (lots don't use it) but I'd use it.

It's pretty easy.

Post pics!!
shortround
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Posted: 5/25/2011 9:30:28 PM
[Last Edit: 5/25/2011 9:47:51 PM by shortround]
No-ox paste is absolutely necessary. Try not using it on that size circuit and come back in six months to see the corrosion (= higher resistance = heat = possible fire).

Oh, and I am an electrician.

Does the price quoted include the permit? I don't know about SC, but up here, you don't get a permit on a job like that for much under $200. No permit means maybe no insurance pay out if there is a problem down the road.

Does that price include any of the wiring to the generator location? How are you feeding your generator power in?

Unless you have a big enough generator, your going to have to drop a bunch of circuits out. 200 amp = 24kw.

We normally install 16-18kw for that size application with a automatic switch..

If you are running of a portable genset, then the switch you have is over kill and something like this would serve you better:

http://www.amazon.com/Reliance-31410CRK-10-Circuit-Generator-Generators/dp/B000HS2L3O/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1306374223&sr=8-2
CoyoteGray
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Posted: 5/25/2011 9:35:01 PM
Here in Okc I had a manual cut over switch installed for my 10K generator, and external power inlet 100' of cable and a plug all for about $1,100..
Islam wants you dead. Plan accordingly.
USN Seabees.. We Build, We Fight!


BBsound
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Posted: 5/25/2011 10:18:03 PM
if you think that is too much get another estimate.
ColtRifle
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Posted: 5/25/2011 10:20:42 PM
[Last Edit: 5/25/2011 10:22:26 PM by ColtRifle]
I have a 200 amp transfer switch on my current house but only have about 5500 watts running generator. I can't come close to maxing out the transfer switch but I really like being able to run any circuit in the house (within reason) instead of just the ones that I have set up on the transfer switch. I really recommend doing it the way the OP is planning to do it.

200 amps is 48kw.
LFLS84
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Posted: 5/26/2011 11:21:32 AM
Does anyone have any pictures of the inside of this switch installed? I would like to get an idea on how to run the wires inside.

From what I've read, no ox is similar to dielectric grease but it is conductive while dielectric is not. So I'll have to find some of that, thanks for the tip.

Here are some pics of the transfer switch, again any tips or pictures on were to run the wires would be great:







ColtRifle
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Posted: 5/26/2011 12:44:56 PM
[Last Edit: 5/26/2011 12:49:14 PM by ColtRifle]
The two bars in the center are the power feed to the house. The connections on the top are for the grid power input. The connections on the bottom are for the generator supplied power.

When the switch is on grid power, the grid feeds to the two bars. When the switch is to generator power, the generator power feeds onto the two bars.

If you wanted to send power to another panel, you would attach the cables to the center bars as well.

You also need to know if you have 3 wire input or 4 wire. If 4 wire, then you have to know where the neutral is bonded to the ground. Hopefully, someone will come along here and explain bonding for you better than I can.
BBsound
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Posted: 5/26/2011 4:30:21 PM
[Last Edit: 5/26/2011 4:51:14 PM by BBsound]
Originally Posted By ColtRifle:
The two bars in the center are the power feed to the house. The connections on the top are for the grid power input. The connections on the bottom are for the generator supplied power.

When the switch is on grid power, the grid feeds to the two bars. When the switch is to generator power, the generator power feeds onto the two bars.

If you wanted to send power to another panel, you would attach the cables to the center bars as well.

You also need to know if you have 3 wire input or 4 wire. If 4 wire, then you have to know where the neutral is bonded to the ground. Hopefully, someone will come along here and explain bonding for you better than I can.


the bond should be in the breaker enclosure at the meter, so he should have four wires in the conduit he wants to intercept.

also you can not mount that switch like you have it in the pictures, the conduit has to be below any live parts in the switch, unless you use myers hubs into and out of each side.

have you got another quote yet?
Mid-Tenn
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Posted: 5/26/2011 5:33:15 PM
Looked at some standby generators at Lowes and they advertised an install price of 1500.00....
No self entitlement complex here...
Gixxersixxer
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Posted: 5/26/2011 6:40:44 PM

Originally Posted By Mid-Tenn:
Looked at some standby generators at Lowes and they advertised an install price of 1500.00....

For an automatic transfer switch and pouring a cement pad, that's not bad for install cost. Especially if it's a 10kw+ system, I wouldn't move that bitch by myself. Plus they should handle all the permits and dealings with the PoCo.

Over $700 for the OP's manual transfer switch is excessive IMO. That's also figuring in the OP bought the TS already. The electrician should identify circuits and wire the TS in a manner that keeps the power draw balanced. The electrician should have questions about which circuits will be used more than others during a power outage. If he just wires the shit up he's not earning the $700.

I installed a 10 circuit manual TS myself for ~$550 including the TS and 30ft 10ga L14-30 cable.
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Mid-Tenn
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Posted: 5/26/2011 8:25:58 PM
Pretty sure that's not a poured pad. List referred to it as a composite pad. Of those that I've seen they look similar to a plastic shipping pallet- skid.
No self entitlement complex here...
Grove
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Posted: 5/26/2011 11:57:12 PM
Originally Posted By Mid-Tenn:
Pretty sure that's not a poured pad. List referred to it as a composite pad. Of those that I've seen they look similar to a plastic shipping pallet- skid.


Correct

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LFLS84
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Posted: 5/28/2011 9:32:11 AM
Thanks for all the help. Sorry for the delayed response, getting over a cold. First one I can remember having in the summer.

I do think I can tackle this myself but I'm going to get at least 2 more estimates first, and I'll mention load balancing/neutral bonding etc. to make sure it's done right.

Don't stop with the tips though. I'll update with the new estimates and then hopefully the completed work.
showpare
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Posted: 5/28/2011 11:13:41 AM
LFLS84––what size generator are you using?
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LFLS84
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Posted: 5/28/2011 3:57:36 PM
Originally Posted By showpare:
LFLS84––what size generator are you using?


I'm going with this for daytime running(water heater, stove, ref/freezers, window a/c units, etc.)

And was thinking of purchasing 2 eu2000's and converting them to propane to run the ref/freeezers, fans, tvs, and window a/c's quietly at night.

I have an underground 1000 gallon lp tank to fuel these.
LFLS84
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Posted: 8/9/2011 3:01:44 PM
Been extremely busy with work lately so this project has been delayed. Was supposed to have an electrician out yesterday but got called in to work so hopefully sometime this week I can get this done.

The guy said he charges $50 for the call + $35 an hour so that seems more reasonable to me than the $1000+ the other electrician wanted.

I will make sure to mention the no-ox and load balancing.

If anyone has anything else they think I should bring up to the electrician or any other advice let me know.
LFLS84
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Posted: 8/17/2011 5:12:57 PM
An update...

Had another electrician out today, and was quoted $1690!

I was told that I should return the MTS if I can and instead replace my current 200 amp main disconnect with another disconnect that costs around $900. It would have another breaker for the generator and an interlock kit.

The price includes balancing, permit and inspection.

It does not include the price of wire from the new disconnect to the generator as I said I would supply that.

I was also told that code forbids cutting/splicing the wire between the current 200 amp main disconnect and the panel. It must be one continuous run, therefore I would not pass inspection with my original plan.

Thoughts?
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Posted: 8/17/2011 5:20:27 PM
Seems very high. I paid $1,100 for installation of a B&S whole house transfer switch and 14kw B&S NG generator. That included installing the switch, hookup to the generator, wiring of the load control circuits to the AC compressor, and NG pipework from the NG meter to the generator.

TheGrayMan
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Posted: 8/17/2011 7:02:38 PM
Originally Posted By Speedie:
Seems very high. I paid $1,100 for installation of a B&S whole house transfer switch and 14kw B&S NG generator. That included installing the switch, hookup to the generator, wiring of the load control circuits to the AC compressor, and NG pipework from the NG meter to the generator.



Did the guy owe you money? I might be able to envision that... but ONLY if all the utilities were right there next to the genset (requiring maybe 5' of gas piping), and likewise for the transfer switch and load-center.
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ilbob
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Posted: 8/17/2011 7:03:12 PM
[Last Edit: 8/17/2011 7:04:31 PM by ilbob]
Originally Posted By LFLS84:
I was also told that code forbids cutting/splicing the wire between the current 200 amp main disconnect and the panel. It must be one continuous run, therefore I would not pass inspection with my original plan.

I think that may be correct if the N-G bond is being made at the panel. I think the service wires have to be continuous. But I am not real sure about that. If so, if the transfer switch was rated for service use, the bond could potentially be moved there.

Many professionals do not want to deal with people who want to buy parts themselves. Long experience has taught them these kind of jobs often end up painful.

There may be non-obvious issues with the price as well. There are localities where a $200 permit fee for this kind of work is quite possible (as someone else mentioned), and the electrician's time going and getting the permit has to be figured in. There may be an hour or more driving time just to get to where he has to go to get the permit, and another hour or two of screwing around waiting for the permit to be issued. Then he will have to be around for the inspection. The inspector is a lot like the cable guy. He will show up somewhere between 8 and noon. In many localities, it is not unusual for the EC to have to add 3-4 hours (some places even more) into a job just to deal with the permit and inspection.
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Posted: 8/18/2011 10:52:00 AM
https://www.crawfordelec.com/electricity-101/portable-generators

I approached our Rural Electric Co-op about their requirements for a transfer switch install as I didn't know if they wanted a 2 pole or 3 pole to also break the neutral. I learned that they had a program to assist with the install that was in trial, but not public yet. I got on the list and a 2-3 months later I was one of the 1st installs. For $450 they installed a new meter base can with a 200A transfer switch. It's "their" switch and they maintain it, I just paid for the labor to install it. We had a couple of bad winters with ice storms and outages in our area. Their idea was to subsidize having the job done correctly, and have less issues in the future.

I'm installing the generator in the detached shop and back feeding power from there. I just throw the transfer switch on the pole and lock it out, then warm up my generator, and power the house from the shop. I have 45A to play with, which will run the well pump, water heater, etc. Possibly start the AC if nothing else is running, haven't tried it and may need a hard start kit. If not I have 2 little window units to cool down the bedrooms.

- JP
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