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Home Standby Generators?Recommendations..

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by JuneyBooney, Feb 10, 2010.

  1. JuneyBooney

    JuneyBooney

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    Ok fellas, I had a gas generator during Isabel but I hadn't used it for years so when my power was out from Saturday to Monday I froze my butt off and it was truly horrible. I was wondering your opinions on either a diesel standby generator versus a Generac or Kohler natural gas 20kw generator for the home. I know you guys have some good information so I would appreciate your advice. I have heard of backfeeding into a dryer plug in emergencies but I would prefer not having to go out and constantly feed a portable generator. Thanks in advance.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2010
  2. stengun

    stengun

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    Howdy Juney,

    The Generac or Kohler natural gas 20kw generator need to be wired up with an ABT (automatic bus transfer) that will isolate your house from the power grid when you generator is running. Plus the ABT will automatically start when your power goes out for a certain lenght of time.

    Home Depot carries a couple type of generators in the 20kv range. Just pick the one that has the best price.

    Propane is the best way to go. Diesle, like gasoline will go bad over a peroid of time. Propane will last for ever. If you go with propane, you will need to decide how big of a tank you will need based on generator load aand run time.

    Paul
     

  3. Atlas

    Atlas transmogrifier

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    Good advice.


    Natural gas or propane offer the lowest maintenance by far, as compared to gas or diesel.

    Natural gas is great because you can be connected to the gas line and all you have to do is pay the bill to your nat gas provider.
    (in addition to routine maintenance of course, which again is very little compared to a gasoline or Diesel-fueled unit)

    Propane is supplied from your own storage tank.
    That works well if you live in a rural area where there is no natural gas service.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2010
  4. Diesel_Bomber

    Diesel_Bomber

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    I don't know about you, but I personally DO NOT want to run a 20kw generator for any length of time. Regardless of the fuel source, it will be gulping down fuel like a toilet being flushed and be noisier than hell. Cost of fuel is a minor thing, but in a serious emergency extra fuel may simply not be available. The constant WAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH of a big genny is not only a headache to be around, but a big beacon to thieves. Instead of trying to power your entire home at the same time, you might figure out what you actually need, and what you can switch around to power. You'll get by with a much more fuel efficent, quieter, and cheaper generator.

    I advocate two generators. One quiet fuel sipper that you can run for extended periods, and a larger cheaper generator that you'll only run a few minutes at a time to run the well pump or other large loads.

    I have several Honda EU2000i's, they're so quiet you can stand next to it and not know it's running. It's big enough to power the fridge, the computer, a couple fans for the wood stove or a window-unit AC. Or a microwave if you unplug everything else. The extended run fuel tank will let it run all night to power the AC. Two Honda EU2000i's can be parallel'd for twice the output.

    If it's going to be a long outtage or we need to run the well pump, I'll crank up my home built Listeroid slow-speed diesel genny. It only spins 650 rpms and it's water cooled, so it's pretty quiet, and will run all weekend on 5 gallons of fuel. It's twin 140lb flywheels give it a motor-starting ability that many 15kw gennies would envy, even though it'll only put out 3kw continuously. Not recommended if you're not mechanically inclined. My wife and I switched all our power-hungry appliances to propane, so a 3kw genny with the ability to start the well pump is enough for us to keep living like normal even during a power outage, provided I don't need to fire up any of my serious shop machinery.
     
  5. bluenoise

    bluenoise

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    I just installed a manual transfer switch (six circuit) and bought a Honda eu2000i generator to plug into it. As luck would have it, the power went out two days later for an entire day. The generator was able to handle the lights, the microwave, fridge, with no problem at all.

    There was a thread about backup generators that had lots of good info that I used in helping me to decide my solution.
     
  6. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine

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    Remember if you don't turn off the main breakers under the meter you will be feeding 220V back through the meter into the power lines.

    I have my system set up to go through all my normal breakers but I first isolate my breaker box from the meter.
    If you don't know that you are doing a pro can set this up for you.


    Anyhow I've had a 7000W gas generator for years. It will run the whole house, including the water well. What it won't do is start a 220v AC (heat pump). If our power went out often I'd get a big enough generator to run the whole house.
    For me a diesel would be better because I always have diesel for the tractors.
     
  7. PISTOLHUNTER

    PISTOLHUNTER

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    Sound advice. trifuel generators are also available if it helps with your decision process. :wavey:

    http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_6970_398826_398826
     
  8. certifiedfunds

    certifiedfunds Cosmopolitan Bias

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    I have this exact unit. Good unit. VERY loud. Not very efficient.

    Diesel Bomber - all good points. Just to point out one thing, natural gas/propane generators can be had that are very quiet. My neighbor across the street has a 20kW cummins-onan that is so quiet I can't hear it from my front yard. Up close it sounds about like one of those propane powered floor buffers you see late at night in grocery stores.

    With regard to propane/trifuel units, be aware that propane will spec out a minimum tank size, usually greater than 100 gallons, just for proper operation (fuel flow). Of course you'll want more than 100 gallons for any length of time but I mention it only so you don't think you can run it off of a bunch of 5 or 10 gallon bottles in a pinch.
     
  9. HiddenEyes

    HiddenEyes It can be done

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    If you get a portable unit remember not to run it in the house or garage.:shocked:

    Seems simple, but people do and die.



    Mr. HE:cool:
     
  10. PISTOLHUNTER

    PISTOLHUNTER

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    Some can be very quiet. Propane RV rated units have some of the lowest db.
     
  11. rustyg30

    rustyg30

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  12. uhlawpup

    uhlawpup Gentle Soul

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    I got a portable 16kw Generac that runs on natural gas, propane, and gasoline. Had a fitting mounted on the gas supply and my breaker box modified to take the input only when the main supply breaker was switched off.

    I haven't had to use it yet, but I test it once every couple of months. It works great, and runs the entire townhouse including the central air.

    The tri fuel option is really the way to go, because that way you have choices. Portability is good, too, because, should I decide to sell the townhouse and move, the generator goes with me. Plus, if we were to ever have an outside function for a lot of people somewhere, I can take it to the location and run it on either propane or gasoline.
     
  13. Unlocked

    Unlocked 4 8 15 16 23 42 CLM

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    Here is a good forum for backup generators.
    http://zillerelectric.com/forums/index.php

    Also, here is a site that carries conversion kits and adapters to convert just about any portable generator to propane or natural gas. I plan on doing this to mine soon.
    http://www.propane-generators.com/

    Here is a site that sells interlock kits for folks who want to legally backfeed a panel without installing a transfer switch. This is about as simple and as cheap as it gets to set up a portable generator most of the time.
    http://www.interlockkit.com/
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2010
  14. ranger56528

    ranger56528

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    I live out in the sticks and have a gas portable back-up Gen I believe its a 11hp 6500 watt max that runs everything I need durring a power outage,I just go and pull the switch on my service board outside to nuetral,plug in gen and throw switch over to gen setting and depending on load I get anywhere from 6-10 hours on a 6 gal tank of fuel....Propane Gen would be nice put the cost for a good one set up as a auto was just more then I wanted to pay but now I need to be home to start the gas one.
     
  15. 10-S

    10-S

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    Just wondering if natural gas is the best option. In the event of a natural disaster, all utilities will be shut off-electric, natural gas & water.
     
  16. HKUSP45Css

    HKUSP45Css

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    Um, no.

    Most natural disaters affect electricity because the lines are broken or the transformers blow due to a short. Water is seldom affected except that pressures can dip to a point where it's necessary to boil it before consuming. Natural gas is only shut off when there is a break in the underground line, near your house.

    I live in Houston, we have all kinds of hurricanes here, the power goes out all the time, cable tv, water and gass run all the way through the disasters, even IKE didn't shut of the NG but, the power was out for weeks for some residents.

    If there is a disaster in your AO that is so sever that you can't get electricity, water or NG it's not really time to bug-in anymore, your city has been destroyed.
     
  17. inthefrey

    inthefrey Moved on...

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    Champion 3500/4000

    It's the one on the home page.
    http://www.championpowerequipment.com/


    No Problems
    Ran for 18 hours last weekend.

    Ran lights, circulator pump for H/W heat, refrigerator, television. WIfe even plugged in the vacuume without asking me. I heard the governor kick it up and it stayed running along with everything else.

    It was around $400, 2 years ago at Lowes.

    I throw the transfer switch, roll it out in the back yard into a little plywood shelter, plug in the plug-in the 50' 10/3 SO cable and start her up!

    LIGHTS!
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2010
  18. 10-S

    10-S

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    Good to know, thanks. Having a ng generator with the lp conversion kit wouldn't be too bad.
     
  19. HKUSP45Css

    HKUSP45Css

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    Agreed, NG with dual-fuel (gas\deisel and LP)would be even better.
     
  20. AK_Stick

    AK_Stick AAAMAD

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    Unless you're dealing with earthquakes.