ATS: The Good, the Bad, and the Shocking
Automatic Transfer Switches (ATS) can ensure an uninterrupted supply of power to your systems in the event of a power failure. But that doesn’t mean they are perfect. As with any system, there are advantages and disadvantages your business should know about. The more you know, the more you can mitigate the shocks caused by the disadvantages.
The chief advantage of an ATS is that it will ensure the flow of electricity doesn’t skip a beat. When the grid experiences fluctuations and loss, your computers, machinery, freezers, etc., won’t even know it. This makes them ideal for everything from hospitals and data centers to emergency response centers and retail stores.
The ATS also facilitates the efficient switch from the grid to the standby generator. There is no need to hunt for the generator in the dark, and no need to restart and reboot systems. Everything happens in an instant without the need for manual switching.
This ties into another key advantage: you can position your standby generator in a remote location or deep within a utility corridor and depend on it day or night to keep the power flowing. This means you don’t have to dispatch personnel in potentially hazardous weather, nor do you need to send someone down to the facility to flip the switch in the middle of the night.
There are a few disadvantages to installing an ATS on your standby generator. They are indeed more complex and thus, more maintenance-intensive than manual switches. In addition, they do require more testing and often require more parts replacements over their lifetime. Fortunately, regular maintenance of the ATS performed by an EGSA certified technician can ensure safe, reliable, and long-term operation.
Of course, added complexity means added cost. They do cost more than manual options due to the complexity of the components. But, this cost is typically negligible. The added convenience and reliability is well worth the slightly higher price when you factor in the cost of downtime, potential damage to systems, wages, and other costs that a power outage can cause.
Finally, some ATS do have a bad reputation for responding to false signals. When this happens, it can cause your generator to kick on, resulting in wasted fuel. This doesn’t last long for most generators, but if it keeps happening, the fuel costs can add up. That said, if it’s a recurrent problem, then maintenance or replacing the ATS with a more reliable unit can solve the problem rather effectively.
Our EGSA certified technicians can tell you everything you want to know about the advantages and disadvantages of an ATS. We encourage you to contact Gen-Tech Power Generation Specialists at (800) 625-8324 to speak with our team and determine whether an ATS or manual switch is best suited for your needs.