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School me on generators

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by CAcop, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. CAcop

    CAcop

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    I live at the edge of civilization. The power for my house comes from another county over one of the roughest passes in the Bay Area so with every car accident and tree fall I loose power a couple of times a year. With the wife having to stock mama milk for the kid I want to be able to run a fridge, at least one lamp, and a space heater. I don't need to run a furnace or the whole house since this is cool Mediterranean Climate CA.

    I am looking for something quiet, dependable, and preferably can last at least 8-12 hours on one tank.
     
  2. robin303

    robin303 Helicopter Nut

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    I used the Honda Generator when I'm out in the sticks building houses. Nice quiet with an elec start.
     

  3. OGW

    OGW NRA, SAF

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    The space heater might be an issue if it's electrical resistance (as opposed to propane). Other than that, a 2KW Honda or Yamaha inverter unit would be great. You're also not likely to find a small unit with a big enough gas tank to run 8-10 hours unless it's idling much of that time. Do you have a big propane tank you could run a generator on?
     
  4. CAcop

    CAcop

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    Closest to propane I have is the tank on my BBQ.
     
  5. janice6

    janice6 Silver Member

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    Most space heaters run 15 Amps@ 115VAC. That is a minimum of 1725 Watts. This is a major factor for selecting a generator. You also have to consider the "Starting Load" capabilities of a generator if you are using motors, such as in a refrigerator..

    You are the only one that can specify the requirements, but it sounds like you should look at 5KW and up.

    Many large generators have limited fuel capacity because it severely limits portability having a large heavy fuel tank on board. Generally I remember 5 to 7 hours as a norm.

    .
     
  6. RenoF250

    RenoF250

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    I agree, the Honda and Yamahas are very quiet and run a long time but they are expensive ~$1,200. Also, the heater, likely ~1.5kW will eat most of your power. If you go propane for the heat that would solve that problem but you have an added fire hazard. If your house heated with electric or NG? If NG you could power your furnace with the gen, it is likely only ~700W for the blower.

    I have a 5.5kW that was $600 and deal with the noise. It can run everything but the dryer, AC, and WH but it is fairly loud. I have been thinking of making an added glass pack muffler for it. I have held a muffler in front of it and it makes it much quieter. That may be an option for you.
     
  7. faawrenchbndr

    faawrenchbndr DirtyThirty fan CLM

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    My advice would be to select a generator TWICE as big as you think you need.
    Bigger generators are cheaper than the super small ones. Make sure you select
    one with a pull start.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2012
  8. captainstormy

    captainstormy

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    I'd say use a portable kerosene heater to cover the heat. They are great and fairly cheap both to buy and run.

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
     
  9. RenoF250

    RenoF250

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    They smell terrible and require an added fuel. Propane is a little more but no storage issue and no smell.
     
  10. nikerret

    nikerret Mr. Awesome

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    I am in a similar situation; just started looking at generators, decided I need one.

    Thus far, the best bang-for-the-buck I've found is the Generac GP5500 at Lowes for $650. I'm just getting started, though. Thanks, for starting this thread. :wavey:
     
  11. powderhead

    powderhead

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    Both Sams and Costco sell the same generator but with a different name on it. Mine is a Sams club Black Max. 8,500 w surge 7,000 run. They cost about $1000 but they are powered by a honda engine. I don't know who make the gen set portion. I felt like I was getting a decent gen for the money. I couldn't afford the same in a total honda which would have run twice the money.
     
  12. RenoF250

    RenoF250

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    That is what I have and it has been a very good unit. ~10 years old and still starts right up. If you can deal with the noise it is the way to go.
     
  13. CAcop

    CAcop

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    Thanks for all the info. Maybe I'll bump it in the morning before work for the early bird crew.
     
  14. shotgunred

    shotgunred local trouble maker

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    The most important thing is that if you are going to wire it to your house you need to have a emergency generator transfer switch. without it you might kill a line man and even you don't you will be fined severely. Even throwing your main circuit is illegal. You have to unplug anything you want to run from the wall and directly connect it to the generator to be legal. So no heater or hot water without the emergency generator transfer switch. Which will cost you $250 if you wire it yourself up to over a grand, not including generator. If you are serious buy a diesel and plan on spending $7500 or more.

    Those little honda's are good enough to run a fridge but that is about it. What do you want to do and what is it worth to you.
     
  15. Bilrus61

    Bilrus61

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    Get a little Kubota tractor and a small generator to run off the PTO.
     
  16. PISTOLHUNTER

    PISTOLHUNTER

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    propane or natural gas for this would be the best. lower maint., quiet, don't have to worry about carb getting trashed because you forgot to use stabil or that crappy alcohol gas.

    something like this is best. once installed when the power goes out it will automatically start and power house. an autodisconect will have to be wired into your home.
    http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200434679_200434679

    Cheapest option.
    http://www.championpowerequipment.com/images/product-photos/41152/1_large.jpg
     
  17. RonS

    RonS Millennium Member

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    I have that unit. The pull start is a bit stiff, not bad but I doubt my wife could start it. It has a reputation for problems with the low oil shutoff causing it to not start, I have not experienced that but it appears to be something to check if you have trouble starting it.

    Buy stabil when you buy a generator.

    I cut a couple of pieces of plywood to make a doghouse roof for it if I need it. I also made a grounding wire with a couple of big ass alligator clips to ground it, it has a ground lug and they recommend that you use it.

    I run it for ten minutes or so once a month and so far it has started on the second or third pull as long as I remember to set the choke.
     
  18. certifiedfunds

    certifiedfunds Tewwowist

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    It sounds like you want standby power, right? Electricity goes out and your genny kicks on?

    If you have NG or propane at the house the solution is real easy but it sounds like you don't. That leaves gas or diesel.

    How much are you willing to spend? Your big draws are obviously the fridge compressor startup and the heater. Would a small 3000W unit cover those? I'd be skeptical.

    If keeping milk is the biggest issue, pre-freeze some ice packs and use them in a cooler when needed.

    If lights are the issue simply have some LED lanterns handy at all times.

    Heat I can't help you with. We fret over air conditioner down here.

    If you want a small portable gas unit spend the money on a honda inverter unit. I promise. I have a 6500W inverter that is electric start, quiet as a church mouse, very efficient and could push everything you mentioned. Can mama haul it out and hook it up when needed or will you always be there?

    You'll want a transfer switch. Don't be messing with cords. Gets old ultra fast.

    Another spendy option would be a battery/inverter backup system.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2012
  19. certifiedfunds

    certifiedfunds Tewwowist

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    A diesel standby is a real option. You'll just have to maintain the fuel.
     
  20. failsafe

    failsafe

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    In my area, used generators can be found on Craigs List..5.000 W's are going $250 and up...The idle back is a great feature, saves on fuel..