Generac or Kohler Standby Generator?

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by MGGLOCK9, Jul 13, 2020.

  1. VN350X10

    VN350X10

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    My place has a Generac that is worn out.....(air-cooled)
    The previous owner found out it was cheaper (like 1/3 price) to run the generator (N.G.) to power his hot tub(S) than to buy electricity from Comm. Ed. so the machine got used unmercifly.
    Not the machines fault, but since there's no hour meter to tell me how much time, we did a compression test, we came up with 22 PSI in 1 cyl & 27 PSI in the other:faint:so that tells me "worn out" and from the serial #it's just about 20 yrs. old. The prior owner bragged about the fact it was cheaper !
    The idea of what service techs are nearby is probably the best criteria for selection.
    I'm going to replace mine with a liquid-cooled Generac, and going to jump up anther 10KW at the same time. Another project that will out-live me (probably) but I'll never need to worry about it again. Goes good with the metal roof that's going on in 2021, last of the worries :)


    uncle albert
     
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  2. willie_pete

    willie_pete NRA Life Member

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  3. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect I feel pretty.

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    Flip a coin. Each has it's issues.

    Kohler is way better at industrial diesel units. Resi is a wash.
     
  4. VN350X10

    VN350X10

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    My other thought, for a residential unit, with Nat'l. gas on site, it seems to make more sense.
    Diesel has it's own potential problems, the first being the tank itself, in a residential setting.
    In my case, I'm going to be increasing my engine size 50%, but only picking up 30% on output.
    Should live even longer.

    uncle albert
     
  5. .264 magnum

    .264 magnum CLM

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    Kohler has made really sweet marine generators for a very long time. That's likely why they have the corner on quietness.
     
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  6. cougar_ml

    cougar_ml

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    For that compression test, did you make sure to do a valve adjustment first?
    The most frequent reason why I get called to older generators is that nobody ever checks and adjusts the valves, and they have a habit of tightening up over time, to the point where they won't start at all due to lack of compression.

    another sign of bad valve adjustment tends to be the choke plate (on the models that have them) being bent up away from the intake tube a little bit. Engine backfires and bends the choke plate, then it is hard to start until it gets bent back.
     
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  7. ThePhoneGuy

    ThePhoneGuy

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    Installed a Kohler two years ago with an auto transfer switch. Works well. Runs when needed. Propane on a 600 gal tank. Kohler was the closest dealer and the way I was leaning anyway.
    When I was doing online research I noted on a Generac forum that one owner who needed warranty service (controller board?) was denied because he was 'using it as a constant source of power'. This was for 5 days after a hurricane. Unit was sold as 'intermittent use'. I'm sure that has been worked out, but it kinda stuck in my mind as bad customer service.
     
  8. cougar_ml

    cougar_ml

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    That doesn't sound right.
    The "constant use of power" is supposed to be when it is installed as a primary source of power, when grid power is not installed on site. If it was installed but not connected to the utility power, then I could see that being denied, because of improper install. They've never denied any of my claims just because the unit had to run for a week or more due to utility loss.
    They have denied warranty for units installed in off grid locations, or used with solar arrays, but not any that were on grid houses. To me it sounds like either someone said something wrong and gave Generac the impression it wasn't properly installed and operated, or it really wasn't.
     
  9. MaxB

    MaxB

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    The problem with auto-start generators (Generac is by far the most common) in my area is that there are installers but no service people. It's why I stuck with a big "portable" unit that's more of a PITA to use but I can haul it to a repair facility if it ever takes a dump. A dealer I know installed a 20K unit for my brother and when he had problems with it while still quite new, tough luck. He had to pay for a service call from a company 70 miles away.
     
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  10. furetto7

    furetto7 Galloglaich

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    I have a propane fueled Generac 22kw at my house out in the sticks and my in-laws have a natural gas fueled Generac 17kw at their house in town. The one the in-laws have is several years old and has never given them any trouble as the have the routine maintenance done.

    Father in law told me that the system works so well that they didn't realize they were on the generator a couple of times until they noticed that all of their neighbors were dark.
     
  11. misunderestimated

    misunderestimated

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    Simple What size ? Kohlers make the cleanest electricity because the have a skewed rotor. Kohlers have the largest heads with a giant surface area to displace the heat. Kohlers have hydraulic valves that never need adjust ment , others don't
     
  12. cougar_ml

    cougar_ml

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    I have customers 100 miles out in multiple directions from me. A few of them seem happy to pay me 4 hours round trip travel simply because I'm willing to show up when they call me, the others are usually willing to wait until I have another customer in their area so I can split the travel between them. One likes to complain about how much it costs, but is trying to run a hotel on a 14KW unit and massively overloading it. Trying to explain they need a bigger unit or multiple units when it isn't in their budget gets tiresome (and I don't do installs so not like I'm just trying to make a sale)

    Some of the dealers near my area require a credit card on file before showing up for any reason, whether it's an obvious warranty issue or not. I've gotten customers from that because I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt, and so far none have screwed me over.

    I also have multiple electricians that install units that put my business card in with the paperwork during the sale and tell them to call me if anything goes wrong.

    Generac has a class to teach electricians how to do installs. Not many of the electricians that do installs actually go to it.
    Kohler requires a service tech no matter who does the install.
     
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  13. VN350X10

    VN350X10

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    Yeah, the first thing the Generac tech did was adjust the valves, as he stated it was a common problem.
    One thing, a N.G. or a propane unit runs a lot cleaner than a gasoline fired unit. But they still can wear out.

    uncle albert
     
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  14. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect I feel pretty.

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    Kohler's dealer level electricians, do their own installs and start up inspections now.

    Service tech from a distributor is only required if the resi unit is connected to some fruity clinic with 120v loads on a 208 system. The tech can program the ATS to accept 208 from utility, and 240 from the gen.

    Resi gen's are only available in 240v usually.

    70 miles ain't jack, I do about 300 per day.
     
  15. Desert Kraut

    Desert Kraut

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    We installed a ton of standby generators prior to Y2K and the Generac had fewer issues than Kohler, though most of those units ended up being little used. They seemed to tolerate the wet weather better in the Puget Sound. Just my experience.
     
  16. cougar_ml

    cougar_ml

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    Main products of NP/LP combustion are CO2 and H2O. The units that only do a weekly cycle end up building up moisture in the oil over time. Not that big of a deal if you are changing your oil every year, but I still recommend to my customers to do a longer run (30 minutes to 1 hour) every 4 to 6 months, 3-4 months if they are on a lake or by the ocean.
    If not removed, the water in the oil along with other byproducts and oil components can actually form acids in the oil. Mostly mild acids, taken care of with oil change, but still better to burn oit the moisture before it becomes an issue.
    A few have had what looked and felt like margarine in the valve covers from all the moisture and oil mist that built up. Hydrogenated oils are icky.
     
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  17. bubbatime

    bubbatime

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    I have small engine experience in Florida. We have very stable power except for the occasional hurricane or very strong summer thunder storm.

    Around here almost no one has natural gas. Propane requires a buried tank, and that cost $4000 last time I called for an estimate. AND, a buried propane tank last about 3-5 days before it runs out gas. After that, you need a tank refill. Ever try and get a tank refill after a hurricane? You cant. The entire state of Florida sells out of propane for about 1-3 weeks after a hurricane. The propane delivery companies have none to sell and cant deliver any to you. So if its a cat 4 or cat 5 storm and power is going to be out for 14-21 days, you might have power for the first 5 days. Which sucks and kind of defeats the purpose of having a generator. I have seen this time and time again...

    If you dont have access to natural gas, in my location, and in my opinion, most Florida based folks would be better off with a portable generator and having an electrician wire up the generator interlock switch. Because at least in Florida, propane wont be available, but you can always find gas, even if you have to drive 30 miles to find a station that has some. But you can always find gas...

    A 2000-3000 watt inverter generator will power a fridge, a stand up freezer, a TV, internet modem, and window AC unit for your master bedroom for 3 weeks at a time. And sip gas doing it...

    I have seen people buy these massive generators because, more must be better right? Try to fuel the thing. Gas/propane is expensive. Would you rather your generator use $75 worth of fuel a day? Or $10 worth? If gasoline, do you really want to store 50 gallons of gas? Thats not really safe to do so. I believe the fire codes only allow the storage of 5 gallons of gas in a garage, no more. You could store 25 or 50 gallons of gas in a shed I suppose, which would be much safer than having that in the house, but probably still against the law.

    All I can say about generator maintenance, in Florida, is to keep the fuel tank empty until you need it, change your oil every two days, and skip the 30 weight oils that they recommend in the manual. 40 weight minimum, for our climate and heat and humidity...
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
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  18. redrick

    redrick

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    After installing my stand by I am realizing what you say is true bubbatime and I live in Va . I think that I wasted over 11,000 dollars if we have a outage that last over 5 days and my tank is not full , which it probably will not be . They will only deliver when your tank gets to 30% .
     
  19. bubbatime

    bubbatime

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    These Champion inverter generators are used by RV folks and off grid folks and some are reporting impressive hour figures, into the thousands of hours. Im of the one is none, two is one camp, so I always keep at least 2 working generators at my house.

    https://www.championpowerequipment.com/product/100204-3100-watt-dual-fuel-inverter/

    A dual fuel you can run on your propane source, and then switch to gas if you run out of propane. And the pricing is pretty darn good, $700 to $800 for a decent unit.
     
  20. redrick

    redrick

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    I have a brand new in the box generac 8000 portable unit that I bought before I finished building my house . So I have a gasoline backup . I was going to sell it to my brother , but I am going to keep it . Yes , I think a 3000 would have been better on gasoline consumption .