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Educate me on home generators please

Discussion in 'Survival/Preparedness Forum' started by gunman_23, Mar 19, 2012.


  1. gunman_23

    gunman_23
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    Hello all.

    Im looking into a generator for the home incase things go sideways/SHTF.

    What does the GT braintrust recommend?

    Sound, fuel source, and output are considerations.


    Thanks!
     

    Wanna kill these ads? We can help!
  2. Contact

    Contact
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    Subscribed to hear replies. Great question.
     

  3. RED64CJ5

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    I recommend a 16-20kw propane/natural gas system with automatic transfer switch. If you have on-street natural gas, great. If you don't, like me, I recommend at least a 500 # propane tank and always leave it at least 30% or more full.
     
  4. gimmejr

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    If you have the money, Honda.
     
  5. cowboy1964

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    First thing is, what kind of capacity do you need? Do you only need to run a few lights and maybe a small TV on an extension cord or do you need to run your entire house with a tranfer switch at your main panel?
     
  6. cowboy1964

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    First thing is, what kind of capacity do you need and what is your budget? Do you only need to run a few lights and maybe a small TV on an extension cord or do you need to run your entire house with a tranfer switch at your main panel?
     
  7. ozark-tracker

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    check out this link, we had an electric meter transfer switch installed last fall, haven't had to use it yet, but it's very handy for hook up. it also has some generator information

    http://www.generlink.com/about_generlink.cfm
     
  8. cowboy1964

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    First thing is, what kind of capacity do you need and what is your budget? Do you only need to run a few lights and maybe a small TV on an extension cord or do you need to run your entire house with a transfer switch at your main panel?
     
    #8 cowboy1964, Mar 19, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2012
  9. Carry16

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    If you do a search of this forum you will find lots of discussion on this subject.

    If the S _really_ HTF, IMHO, most will not be able to stockpile enough fuel to power a large genset for the long term. I personally like the concept of a medium and small alternator based gensets. I like Honda. They cost a lot, but I feel they are worth the cost. I have a EU6500is and hope to pick up a EU2000 in the near future. I stock around 60 gallons of gasoline for the generator. I anticipate this might last me 2 weeks of intermittent use.

    IMO the problem with realy large whole house backup generators is they consume vast amounts of fuel regardless of the load. If you had two freezers and a refrigerator you could keep them up (individually) with a EU2000 and a very small amount of gasoline.

    One added bonus of the Honda's - they are nearly silent.
     
  10. Adjuster

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    What Cowboy says is important. Heck he had to say it three times!



    /
     
  11. kirgi08

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    KISS.

    We use gennys for fridge and other ep needs.'08.
     
  12. gunman_23

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    Cowboy and all others that have input so far,

    Excellent questions and points. I apologize for leaving my initial post a bit bare.

    I was posting from a mobile device and was on a time crunch. I apologize.

    So far the expected needs would be a few lights and the refrigerator rolling if things went sideways. Nothing attracts attention like a lot of noise and a fully lit house when everyone else is blacked out in the neighbor hood.

    I use honda generators at work often and understand their noise levels and fuel consumption. They are great yes. But a few things I want to avoid are; having to circulate/store gas, run extension cords into a house during the summer months/winter.

    As far as heating the house, that isnt a concern due to a wood burning heater ducted into the furnace/vent system.

    This would be to run basic electronic needs if power is out for an extended period of time.


    Thanks all.
     
    #12 gunman_23, Mar 20, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2012
  13. TangoFoxtrot

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    I love to have a generator myself, but I can't safely store enough fuel to make it work for me.
     
  14. Contact

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    Can anyone who is electrically inclined educate me on the difference between watts and amps as they relate to home generators? I notice (IIRC) that some generators list similar wattage output, but different amperage output.

    Im on my phone right now and cant do all the legwork, but I think I saw one that was 7k watts/25 amps, and saw another one that was 7k watts/58 amps.

    Thanks!
     
  15. wrenrj1

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    During a basement remodel I added a generator panel with an exterior hook up. The panel was about $375.00 plus install. It has 8 circuits. I divvied them up to run basement lights, outlets, furnace blower motor, and both upstairs and downstairs fridges. I figure we'll be living in the basement if a major event occurs.

    I also purchased a Generac portable generator (6500w) that's power line quality (<5% harmonic distortion). This is important if you want to run sensitive electronics such as computers, you don't want power fluctuations.
     
    #15 wrenrj1, Mar 31, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2012
  16. douggmc

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    I've researched this in the past and decided against whole house for the reasons mentioned earlier in the thread. A couple lights, a pump, refrigeration .... For as long as possible is what I would want .... with as little attention drawn to me and as efficiently as possible. In a SHTF, a whole house gen is WAY overkill IMHO, and the few things that a little gen can provide for the long term would be a serious luxury enough.

    While I have not done this, if I were to I would get a little tri-fuel Honda or Yamaha

    http://www.generatorsales.com/triple-fuel-generators.asp

    You can buy the tri-fuel kits separately if you already have the generator.

    Forget gas, too impractical to store at quantity and for long periods for most of us. If you are on natural gas hookup however, it is plausible that It would remain functional in some SHTF scenarios and this fuel source for the generAtor would therefore provide virtually limitless power needs (probably limited only by durability/lifespan of the generator). If you have the space, a 500lb LP tank would also be great as a first/second fuel source ... Providing an extended source of fuel.
     
    #16 douggmc, Mar 31, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2012
  17. beatcop

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    Hit the FAQ on the generator sites first. That will help you get the basic trade language and such figured out.

    It comes down to a "depends". I have a friend who still wants hvac, so we each have our own level of "survival".

    Contact: Hit the genny sites. The ratings vary based on output voltages...whether you are using only 115v or energizing both legs of your home cb panel for 220v.
     
  18. R_W

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    You also need to look at your local codes. Not everywhere allows manual transfer switches--some places you HAVE to do an automatic system.

    I see a genny as a short-term SHTF answer--mainly storms taking out the lines for a day to a week, two weeks MAX. I know I can keep my house warm and my food cold for about 4 gallons a day. So we are talking 10 NATO cans. That is easy enough to rotate through vehicles. I figure that after that point, either I can get more fuel or I can't.
     
  19. wrenrj1

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    Good point here in the first paragraph. Get a transfer case that switches from one to the other. For instance the panel i have will not feed into the grid. It's either on the main breaker box or the generator breaker box.
     
  20. beatcop

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    Gunman...there are enough folks here to inform you fully, however there is more than one way to skin the cat. Some are more concerned with meeting the "codes" local/NEC etc. than others. You should read up and determine your level of comfort (some people work on cars, but won't do their own brakes).

    Fuel- depends on duration of shtf. Gas is fine for most applications. Diesel may be better for northeast, since most have 200+gallons of home heating oil in the basement tank

    Cost-gas genny will be cheapest. Diesel usually most expensive. Common sizes aroud 5-6k will be decent values.

    Maint-gas small engine repair is pretty easy. Diesel?

    output-If you have an issue in the Summer, a honda eu2000 may take care of a everything (assuming city water, etc.) If you have a well pump and oil burner, you're gonna want something 5K and larger.

    Duration-if you want a storm genny, grab a gas 5.5K and run it. If you want to live like mad max, grab a lister diesel gen "kit" and enjoy good fuel economy and a long life.

    Install-they can all be hacked into your house in a variety of non-compliant manners for short duration/cheap outlay. If you have the money, you can have it installed in a compliant manner which will be more forgiving to ignorance.

    So, quantify you budget, intended duration, home size/load, fuel preference & maybe your tech ability and we'll focus your options.
     
    #20 beatcop, Apr 1, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012