It is always your preference as to which of the following combinations you need or prefer. Here are the typical options you will select from:
An interlock needs a person to operate it. They cost less, and the setup can usually feed power to any circuit in the panel (but if you overload the generator input the generator breaker will trip.) This is also controlled manually, by the user turning other breakers off and on. Any breaker can be used.
A transfer switch can be (and usually is) automatic. They cost more, in general. A transfer switch setup can only feed specific circuits, since automatic operation means there's nobody to turn off circuits to shed load, so the loads connected to the generator must be less than or equal to what the generator can supply, if all are operating. You will likely have only 6 to 8 circuits available. If your main electrical panel is installed in your garage, you really don't need a power inlet box installed outside. You simply need at least a 25-foot power cord and a manual transfer switch with an outlet. Instead of using a power inlet box, connect the generator directly into the transfer switch through the garage. Just make sure that your generator is far enough away from the house to avoid inhaling any fumes.
While selecting your generator, you may ask yourself if you want one that powers the whole house or a limited amount of circuits. Be sure to look at running watts, starting watts, plug availability, warranty, portable vs permanent and gallon size.
Portable generators must run outside since they emit deadly carbon monoxide gas. The trick is getting the electricity safely inside the house.
When building new, ask your builder if they will include a whole house generator and hookup!
The Florida Building Code (FBC) is a set of standards designed by the US state of Florida for buildings. Many regulations and guidelines distributed are important benchmarks regarding hurricane protection. Miami-Dade County was the first in Florida to certify hurricane resistant standards for structures which the Florida Building Code subsequently enacted across all requirements for Hurricane resistant buildings. Many other states reference the requirements set in the Florida Building codes, or have developed their own requirements for hurricanes.
Lee and Collier Counties are required to participate within the Miami-Dade building code, in which is the highest in the state of Florida. These codes call for shatterproof windows, fortified roofs and reinforced concrete pillars, among other specifications. Updated codes add requirements for minimum elevations above expected flood levels.
“The code isn’t perfect,” said former Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Craig Fugate, who led Florida’s emergency management division during the 2004 and 2005 storm seasons. “It’s not always going to provide protection needed, especially for schools, firehouses, 911 centers and other types of critical infrastructure, even though those are critical functions that we should have hardened for wind and flood damage.”
Depending on the location in each county, the wind load may require the following:
Risk Category I: Buildings & Structures 165 mph
Risk Category II: Buildings & Structures 175 mph
Risk Category III: Buildings & Structures 185 mph
The Florida Building Code uses the America Society of Civil Engineers Standard (ASCE) Standard 7 as the basis for establishing wind-borne debris regions and wind-borne debris protection. The standard requires builders either to (1) construct buildings that can withstand the additional pressure that results when wind gets into a building through a hole in the wall or broken door or window and pressurizes it (like blowing air into a balloon) or (2) protect glazed openings in walls (e.g., windows and glass doors) from debris borne by high winds (Fla. Building Code Chap. 16).The wind-borne debris protection region is any area where the basic design wind speed is 120 mph or greater and any area within one mile of the coast where the wind speed is less than 120 mph but greater than 110 mph. It includes all of Miami-Dade and Broward County, which are designated as a “high velocity zone,” because of their extreme vulnerability to hurricanes. Buildings in the zone must meet stricter design and construction standards than those that apply to the rest of the wind-borne debris region. The most notable, according to the Florida Building Commission, is the requirement “to protect the overall building (the entire envelope), including windows, with either shutters or impact-resistant glass.”The wind-borne debris region extends about five miles inland in most cases and considerably further in others. But, in the Panhandle region (sections of northern Florida from the Walkula/Franklin County line to the western edge of Escambia County), the legislature designated the wind-borne region as the land within one-mile of the Gulf Coast. Thus, the wind-borne debris protection requirements do not apply to buildings outside the one-mile radius in the Panhandle, regardless of wind speeds. This Panhandle provision (commonly referred to as the “Panhandle exception”), has generated some controversy. Consequently, the state is in the process of changing it “through a multi-staged research program,” according to Rick Dixon of the Florida Department of Community Affairs.