As hurricane season approaches, it’s crucial to be prepared for potential power outages. Portable generators and interlock kits are excellent solutions to ensure you have access to electricity during a storm. Frank Gay Services, a trusted name in Florida, offers reliable generator services and solutions to keep your home powered during emergencies.
In this guide, our licensed electrical pros will go over some tips on what you need to know about interlock kits and portable generators to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season.
What is a Generator Interlock Kit?
A generator interlock kit is a mechanical device that connects your portable generator to your home’s electrical panel. It works by allowing the generator breaker to be switched on only when the main breaker is switched off.
This prevents the generator from back-feeding electricity into the utility grid and ensures that only one power source is active at a time. Back-feeding power into the grid can be hazardous for utility workers and result in damage to your appliances.
Note: An interlock kit should only be installed by a professional electrician. This ensures that it is connected correctly and prevents any electrical hazards.
Choosing the Right Portable Generator and Interlock Kit
Selecting the right generator for your needs is essential for optimal performance and safety. Here are some factors to consider when purchasing:
Determine the total wattage required to power your essential appliances, like your refrigerator, lights, and fans. Portable generators are rated by the number of watts they produce. Choose a generator with enough capacity to handle your needs.
Portable generators can run on gasoline, diesel, or propane. Consider the availability of fuel in your area and your storage capabilities when deciding on a generator.
Interlock Kit Compatibility
Make sure to choose an interlock kit that is compatible with your home’s electrical panel and the portable generator you plan to use. Consult with a professional electrician if you’re unsure which interlock kit is right for you.
Is It Safe to Use a Generator Interlock Kit?
By having a generator interlock kit installed by the Frank Gay Services team, the risk of back-feeding power into the main grid from your generator is eliminated, as it prevents simultaneous usage. A transfer switch can also achieve this; however, a generator interlock kit is more cost-effective and easier to install.
Using a Generator Interlock Kit
Once installed, using it is pretty straightforward. When the power goes out, follow these steps:
- Turn Off All Circuits
- Ensure The Main Breaker Is in the “Off” Position
- Slide The Interlock Plate Up (Or Down Depending on the Kit)
- Connect And Start Your Portable Generator
- Turn On the Generator Breaker
- Turn On Each Circuit One at a Time
Keep in mind that appliances like water heaters, dryers, and microwaves may not be used simultaneously. Plan accordingly.
Prepare Ahead of Time
To prepare for a potential power outage, ensure that your household has the essential items covered. Create a physical list of appliances and items you want to power and ensure that your generator can handle the load.
If other individuals reside with you, ensure that they are knowledgeable about how to operate the generator (if capable) and can physically access it. It’s also advisable to have a professional electrician install a transfer switch, which simplifies the process of switching from utility power to generator power.
Finding a Place for Your Generator
When the power goes out, it’s essential to have a dedicated spot outside for your generator. This spot should be easy to reach and clear of any objects or foliage.
Remember to protect your generator from rain since water and electricity don’t mix well. Also, don’t forget to keep the exhaust pipe unblocked. By taking these simple steps, you can keep your generator running safely and efficiently.
Note: Generators should never be used indoors or within 20 feet of doors or windows. This is because generators emit carbon monoxide, a colorless and odorless gas that is very dangerous.
Be Prepared to Weather the Storm with Frank Gay Services
Frank Gay Services is committed to helping Florida residents stay prepared during hurricane season. Whether you need assistance with choosing the right generator and interlock kit or need preventative maintenance, you can rest assured that your safety and satisfaction are our top priority.