Privacy guaranteed - Your email is not shared with anyone.

Tell me about your home generators

Discussion in 'Survival/Preparedness Forum' started by Sam Spade, Aug 2, 2012.

  1. Sam Spade

    Sam Spade Staff Member Lifetime Member

    May 4, 2003
    What size, to run what gear? How many hours' fuel do you stock? What lessons have you learned with them?

    All that stuff...TIA
  2. Carry16


    Sep 7, 2004
    SW Missouri
    I've dealt with several power outages, the longest lasting 3 weeks. We are in SW Missouri. The 3 week loss followed an ice storm which took down most poles and lines in our rural area. My wife and I are retired and so don't have to deal with children or going to work each day - that makes it a lot easier to deal with catastrophes.

    Slap me if I'm rambling. The first thing we learned was to get up with the sum and go to bed when it gets dark. Made for some very short days as this was winter.

    I have a Honda EU6500is generator which I decided to buy after rebuilding our home from a tornado 5 years ago. It is a splendid, but very costly generator. Ideally I think a fellow should plan on having one large or medium-large generator and a smaller unit. I have been thinking about a Honda EU2000, but picked up a 900 watt at Harbor Freight for $89 a month ago. I have not used the HF unit for more than 15 minutes so far.

    I stock a minimum of 40 gallons of gasoline in the barn which is rotated every fall. I have 3 vehicles usually topped off, but which cannot be siphoned I am told. If we had a widespread disaster I could be in trouble. I'm sure I burned around 3 gallons of gas per day during the 3 week outage. We have a shared well which I ran for an hour each day, and we have 2 refrigerators and 3 freezers which I kept going by running the generator for 30-40 minutes every few hours. The Honda is extrememly efficient in fuel consumption.

    I could have bought a pad mounted whole-house generator for less than the Honda, but I need the portability to run the well which is about 500 feet from the house.

  3. Jon_R


    May 3, 2009
    Central Florida
    I have a portable 7.5 KW Gasoline Generator. Mine is basically for Hurricanes. So in essence our disasters are scheduled as you always have a few days notice it is coming. Because of that I don't keep any gas on hand. I have ~8 5 gallon gas cans empty. If a storm is heading this way I fill them up along with all the vehicles. I leave the generator inside off obviously and don't worry about it the few hours as the storm comes through. Once it passes if we don't have power I pull out the generator and adjust my circuit breakers.

    Electrically I have a hardwired backfeed plug that takes a generator extension cord. I turn off the feed to the house from the power company. I turn off many breakers in my panel and bring the generator online and run what I want to run. I can't run my central AC but I can run my Mini Split AC in the finished garage and a large window AC in the Master Suite. I can run the hotwater heater, microwave, all the lights, fridge, having the paddle fans are nice. Can run the TV and such. I don't think I can run the oven but never have tried. Just use the grill when no AC. Sure I could run the stovetop (electric) but grill and propane works well and keeps the heat out of the house.

    One thing you will want not on your generator is any Battery UPSs you have. Mine does not like them at all.

    One thing I did get is a good size invertor and some deep cycle marine batteries. I use them when the house will be empty (off to work) just to run the fridge without having to run the generator at all. I can then charge the batteries with the generator.

    Longest power outage for me was 10 days but in FL it happens in Aug / Sep so weather is ~100 degrees and 80% humidity. No AC just sucks IMO so I have a way to have it.
  4. banger


    Nov 8, 2005
    Where evil lives
    I'll keep this short...

    8,000 running, 12,000 peak (starting surge) generator.

    50 gallons of gasoline in "Blitz" metal cans (pre-CARB).

    I can run my whole house, freezer, two refrigerators lights and forced hot air heat in the winter.

    Summer, I can't quite get the central air up and running, however, I can run all that and a 6k BTU window A/C unit I bought for emergencies.

    So for, my longest single use has been three days.

    One Final thought, I don't run it constantly. I used mine for 2-3 hours on (to allow fridges and freezer to come to temperatures), than off for approx. the same amount of time.

    I have not done it yet, but I did recently buy a 2,500 watt unit to run the window air unit all night.

    Using the large unit seemes like "over kill" and a waste of fuel.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2012
  5. NBT


    May 19, 2012
    Pretty much same boat here...worst the Mrs had to deal with was 8 day's without power.
    I was on deployment...thank God the neighbors are great. Our neighborhood really sticks it's "good" if SHTF...everyone really has each others back.
    We have a Troy Built 7550 13.5K gas generator...which can power our mini split A/C unit out back.
    The Mrs made sure that she didn't have to worry about not having A/C when I put on the addition... so...
    I ran a secondary system outlet's, and can run the mini split off of the Troy Built.
    You can see the access box, and the split....hope I never need it.

    Regardless...still has to be done in stages, because I only have 75 gallons of gas to power the generator....that's including the two vehicles...provided they are still in the driveway after.
    Honestly...I wanted to put a bigger A/C system on the house and be done with it...but she did have a point about not having A/C with the heat index @ 105-110 degrees.
    Now that I don't have to worry about deployment...were leaving.
    IF I/we had to do it all over again, I would just get a Generac...since the house has natural gas.
    It was crazy after hurricane Ivan, only "safe" way to the Key was by Helicopter. The bridge needed to be evaluated by structural engineer's from Bracken Engineering (awesome outfit, second to none IMHO).
    After the birds took off we hear the faint grumble of generator(s) running from hotels, homes, and businesses that were built, to take the possibility of a Hurricane hitting them.

    This is what the back looked like before I got the "hammer out"....
  6. kalashluvr


    Aug 26, 2008
    Converted my 7000 watt Black Max with Honda engine over to propane. Figured that was easier to store than gasoline. Plan on running that on big appliances that need a lot of juice (hot water heater and stove won't run my hvac). Hopefully will get a Honda 2000 watt generator (converted to natural gas) that has a built in inverter that I can run refrigerator, tv, DVD player, or other "sensitive" electronic devices with for longer periods of time. I have a natural gas line on my back porch that I also connect my grill to for cooking.

    Haven't had to use the generator yet, so probably need to run a test soon.

    Outdoor Hub mobile, the outdoor information engine
  7. Allfal


    Jan 29, 2008
    I have 3. I keep a troy bilt 5500 and a generac 5500. I bought the generac on sale at home depot for 369 shipped and could not pass it up. I also keep a little 900 watt harbor freight. I read the reviews, had a coupon, it cost $67, so I had to have it to. The troy has a higher starting watt than the generac. It is also significantly more quiet. The generac has a hour meter that is helpful for oil changes. The little harbor freight always starts and does the small stuff, as it should. It is a disposable gen. I keep 5, 5 gal. GI. cans for the troy or generac. I keep 1, 2 gal premix tank for the harbor freight. I keep all vehicles over 1/2 full, keep super siphons and a way of getting fuel from vehicle fi systems. I have never had an outage lasting much more than a day. It may be overkill for my needs but I can keep drinking my bourbon on ice, just like a civilized man, when the power goes out.
  8. Allfal


    Jan 29, 2008
    To further answer your question, 5500 watt will not run my central ac. It will run window or portable units. I ran a 220 line to the garage and ran a 220 v cord to it to power the house. Square d panel, ran a cheap interlock system that ensures the main must be off for the 220 breaker to be on. I now have at nat gas water heater, so that is not an issue. In the summer I turn off the central ac breaker and leave everything else on in the panel. The biggest issue for me is wet ground. The basement has 2 sump pumps and in wet weather, they both run. Depending on what else is running sometimes the gen will bog down some, but they have not kicked out to this time. I only run 1 gen at a time. Small summer storms with short term outages, I just run the harbor freight to power the tv, cable box or the computer, if i run anything at all. with the larger gen sets, you can't turn everthing on at one time. You can leave the breakers on in the panel to most everything and turn switches, ect on and off when needed. Just keep aware of approx what you are trying to use. I have not tried to used the elec oven. I do use the smallest burner on the elec stove and it has not been an issue although it may be if you try to use it right away after you start your gen when the power has been out a bit. Hope this helped.
  9. We have two.. a 8000/12,000 Generac, and a 2000i honda. The generac will start and run our central A/C, run our water heater, keep the fridge cool and freezers froze, and keep the reef tank up and running.. but not all at the same time.

    The 2000i will start the A/C on our camper, but NOTHING else electric in the camper can be used.. and that is only after a "hard start" capacitor change in the A/C.

    We store enough fuel to run the big genny intermitently (6 hours or so a day) for 2 weeks. We do plan to switch it to propane in the future, and add a large(ish) tank for it. We heat with wood, so if it's winter we are golden..
  10. kalashluvr


    Aug 26, 2008
    SFCSMITH, did you have to install a capacitor on your home A/C? How large is your AC unit, 2 ton, 4 Ton? Thanks for info.

    Outdoor Hub mobile, the outdoor information engine
  11. ratf51


    Aug 6, 2010
    NW GA
    Tagged. I will be looking for a generator myself fairly soon. Thus, I am interested in this conversation.
  12. We needed it for the single 2000i to start the rv A/C. The generac starts the house a/c without one. It's a heat pump, around 3.5 ton I think. 2100 sqft two story house, with a full basement, moderate climate. The nominal amps required for the cooling circuit is 24amps@240v.. the generac does about 31amps..
  13. How long can you store the propane in its tank? Is the efficiency the same, i.e. the amount of space occupied by the tank provides the same amount of power provided by gasoline occupying the same amount of space?
  14. JBL13


    Oct 24, 2010
    Northern Utah
    I bought a new Honda 2000i earlier this summer. I have it to run small appliances, and I have about 15 gallons of fuel stored (plus what's in my three vehicles, if I can extract it).
  15. cowboy1964


    Sep 4, 2009
    +1 on tri-fuel generators. If there were a gasoline emergency/shortage/rationing you may still be able to scrounge up propane tanks or hook your genny up to your house natural gas. Save your gasoline for vehicles.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2012
  16. Akita

    Akita gone

    Jul 22, 2002
    Sitting idle with a gummed up carb due to disuse.

    See, you can learn something from Everyone.
  17. kalashluvr


    Aug 26, 2008
    From what I understand and have researched , propane can be stored without going bad as long as the container holds it without developing leaks. I've read stories of 5, 10, up to 30 years. My containers are in a very controlled environment and all I'm looking for is something like a 5 year lifespan to make me happy.

    Propane does not yield the same output from the generator as gasoline. I have some links I can post when I get back to my regular computer that shows the levels of output from a few different generators depending on model and fuel. It's around 10-15% less using propane and natural gas rather than gasoline. The tanks I have hold 4.1 gallons of propane and I would have to run my large one sparingly to charge my hot water heater mainly. Adding the second Honda 2000i, and it will run 2 days at half load off of one 20lb propane tank (4.1 gallons). I plan on using my natural gas line to fuel the Honda as long as the city's natural gas system holds up. If things got ugly I could just disconnect the propane line and use what gasoline stores I have.

    The cool thing is that the propane isn't a liquid so the carb doesn't get gummed up and the generator starts right up every time no matter how long I go between cranks.

    Outdoor Hub mobile, the outdoor information engine
  18. emt1581

    emt1581 Curious Member

    Oct 17, 2002
    Penn's Woods
    Around here, the longest we've been without power was 2-3 days. That was back in 94 when the massive blizzards hit around here. As kids we loved it. We built tunnels in the snow from yard to yard. However, without my family's wood insert and good supply of food it would have been miserable.

    So maintaining power is only a short term goal for me until we can transition over to doing without. That is, it's a way for us to control when we lose power. We have yet to need our larger generator.

    It's a 5000watt Coleman with a Subaru engine. I usually keep 30+ gallons on hand give or take.

    I also bought a HF small generator. That thing is awesome! Runs for hours and throws out enough power to power a water pump, small fridge/freezer, and a fan. Plus I can throw it in the back seat, trunk, etc. on a moments notice. It's 2- Stroke so no need to screw with oil changes and monthly runs to keep it in shape. Sips fuel to.

    Again, I've geared our preps on the assumption we won't have electricity. I just hate to imagine not having AC because I sweat like a dog in a Chinese restaurant in the summer!

  19. kalashluvr


    Aug 26, 2008
    Here's a couple of links I find useful:

    This link above will show how many watts it takes to "start" your home AC unit...I would use this as a rule of thumb because I've found it's not exact. It's best to check your unit and do research to see what it takes to start it.

    This link above is where I plan on purchasing my Honda 2000i that's ready to run on natural gas. This will allow me to run my refridgerator, a few fans, and a TV/DVD player all at once, or maybe a small window a/c unit or multiple fans at night. It would produce just enough power to run an oil heater if it's winter time. If the natural gas lines go down, I'm only good for a couple of days with propane or gas stores....

    If anyone has some good links to share that shows generator info, etc, that would be great.
  20. AK_Stick

    AK_Stick AAAMAD

    Jan 20, 2004
    Alaska, again (for now)
    7KW diesel, runs about 1/3 to 1/2 gph.

    100ish gallons on hand.

    would like a larger tank, but not in the financial situation to pull it off right now.