Possibly time for a home generator - Chevelle Tech
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post #1 of 42 (permalink) Old Jul 13th, 20, 2:29 PM Thread Starter
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Eric
 
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Possibly time for a home generator

After spending the last 38 hours without power and losing the contents of the fridge and freezer, I think its time to think about a generator. Looking to see what others have done and budgeting figures.

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post #2 of 42 (permalink) Old Jul 13th, 20, 2:39 PM
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Re: Possibly time for a home generator

My farmer had a Generac installed a few years ago. I didn't ask what it cost. I have not heard him complain about it. FWIW
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post #3 of 42 (permalink) Old Jul 13th, 20, 3:25 PM
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Re: Possibly time for a home generator

You can throw away a lot of food for the price of a generator.
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post #4 of 42 (permalink) Old Jul 13th, 20, 3:25 PM
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Re: Possibly time for a home generator

4000 watt portable generator. When it dies, I'll replace it with a new one. Cost me about $300, been working like a champ for quite a while.

It is enough to run the boiler for hot water, fridge to keep things from going bad and a few other small things like TV and DVD player to keep the little ones occupied when they get bored.

If it is in the winter time that it is needed, we use the wood stove for all heat (do that most of the time anyway) but could run one of the air handlers if we wanted to as well.

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post #5 of 42 (permalink) Old Jul 13th, 20, 5:09 PM
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Re: Possibly time for a home generator

I got an 8500W Rigid unit from Home Despot - pressurized oiling! My previous 5K generator died on a winter morning because the oil was too thick. Splash oiling on a cheap engine in cold weather doesn't work --- engine seized up. It'll easily run the whole house on 120V, and also the water heater. I have yet to test whether it has enough juice to run the heat pump, but if not, I have an emergency kero heater that works just fine (and was using that during the same winter event where the generator seized up).

And saying you can replace a lot of food for the cost of a generator --- try saying that again when it's just past a hurricane blowing through and all of the grocery stores are also closed due to no power! (or completely ransacked as always happens during emergencies anyway)

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post #6 of 42 (permalink) Old Jul 13th, 20, 5:47 PM
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Re: Possibly time for a home generator

Whats your load?? A couple of refers, a few lights and internet or something a bit more? Are you willing to move power cords around?
Electric heaters and ACs are big loads. A gas heater or an oil furnace is just a fan motor. Lights can be changed to LEDs

I have a 6 circuit manual transfer panel, $900 installed, and a Harbor Freight Predator 3500w inverter generator, $625 pre covid sale. Mine lives in the attached garage so even in winter starting is not a problem.
From "OH ***** time to start the generator" to lights back on is 2 min. Haul it out to the pad, hook up power cord, ground clamp and start it. Go back into the garage and flip the transfer switch. If I have to run a window AC I can go to the transfer panel and shut off the freezer. Get up in the middle of the night and switch the refer and freezer and keep the AC running

The industrial generators are cheaper, but are loud and run at a constant speed and burn more fuel.

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post #7 of 42 (permalink) Old Jul 13th, 20, 6:50 PM
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Dan
 
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Like TKG mentioned, it depends what you want to run. If you want to run a fridge and a chest freezer, you need to go to the internet and educate yourself on start up load for motors which can be twice running amps. Oil/gas/propane heaters are pretty low on power consumption, boilers take barely anything. AC is tough, specially central. Window AC would be like running another fridge. If by some chance your fridge, freezer and window unit were to start up at the same time, and tour genny doesnt have a big enough surge, you could damage that stuff.
A basic harbor freight gen will work well for anything that doesnt need “clean” electric, basically computers, newer tv’s (circuit board kinda stuff) wont like dirty electric.
An inverter generator will put out the cleanest electric, but you can get spendy going that way.
Oversizing a generator to some point is good, going way over, and you just waste fuel.
There are some calculators online, plug in what u wanna run and gives u an idea what u r after.
I went through the same ordeal as you a few years ago. It sucks. I threw all my food away, and left that house in favor of my cabin upstate that had electric.
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post #8 of 42 (permalink) Old Jul 13th, 20, 8:41 PM
 
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Re: Possibly time for a home generator

my grandma was 83 ten years ago and went 5 hours with no a/c. she can't do that again at now age 93. so ten years ago she got a 20kw generator to run her whole house (a/c, fridge, dryer, lights etc.). i believe
that 20kw is still the recommended size to run a whole house (her house is about 1600 sq. ft.). she paid 10k ten years ago, but they are much cheaper now. a quick search of google shows a generac 20kw for
around 5k. this includes disconnect at the pole, but you would have to pay an electrician to install (unless you are an electrician). my grandma lives in the country so the engine runs off her propane, but can also run gas. don't know if you live in the country, have propane, etc, but if i had the money to get a generator i would. it will be worth it if you are living in the house you will probably be living in for a while. her's has worked perfectly for these 10 years, several times where she couldn't still be living by herself without it.
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post #9 of 42 (permalink) Old Jul 13th, 20, 8:57 PM
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Re: Possibly time for a home generator

Have friends that live out in the country. Electric can go out at any time and take several days before it is back in operation. They have a whole house generator that runs off of natural gas. Operation is controlled automatically. If you can afford it, or not, why live without it.
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post #10 of 42 (permalink) Old Jul 13th, 20, 9:13 PM
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Re: Possibly time for a home generator

I went solar. I calculated the cost, and the purchase of a whole house generator with propane (1000 gallon) and the continued purchases of propane vs going offgrid solar, it was about the same (I installed everything myself). My system cost about 9k and it does power the entire house (including Central A/C, the well and electric stove). We also upgraded our water heater to a heat pump water heater and that only draws 400 watts when it runs. I also get the benefit of using the solar during the day to offset my electric bill (we cut it in half), and here in FL, it gets mighty hot. I have 7,500 watts of panels (on the roof and ground), 2 solar charge controllers, 2 split phase pure sine wave inverters (for 13.6 kw running, with 36kw surge), with 400 ah worth of batteries.


It's killer not having to start a generator (and not maintaining it), and it's always quiet and ready (if power goes out, it switches to solar day or night in 1 second).

Just my .02.
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post #11 of 42 (permalink) Old Jul 13th, 20, 9:54 PM
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Re: Possibly time for a home generator

We run Generac's at my work, 20 KW in each plant, auto switching and fairly easy to install. They run just the emergency lighting.
I was thinking I'll end up putting one in that runs off of propane this fall. I've got a wood burner for backup heat. But yea, it only takes 1 to 2 times to loose what's in the refrigerator and the deep freeze to pay for it. Quarter cow is not cheap....

John
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post #12 of 42 (permalink) Old Jul 13th, 20, 10:03 PM
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Re: Possibly time for a home generator

We put in a 14KW Kohler natural gas unit about 10 years ago....after straight line winds leveled the town. Most were out of power for about 6 days. We were out about 9 because trees ripped the lines and electrical box off my basement wall. Other problem was local gas stations couldn't pump gas or ran out. The new electrical box, transfer switch and gen was about 5K. It runs an exercise every week. Fires up everytime and in 15 seconds 70% of the entire house is back online. One of the best investments we made (because this town always loses power).
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post #13 of 42 (permalink) Old Jul 14th, 20, 12:01 AM
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Steve
 
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Re: Possibly time for a home generator

Quote:
Originally Posted by 69SS454 View Post
You can throw away a lot of food for the price of a generator.



For what a couple freezers and refrigerators hold, and the price of food today, a $600 generator is a bargain.


I replaced my Honda with a Harbor Freight Predator 8750W and it powers my house just fine in a pinch, as long as the wife hangs the laundry out. I mounted a receptacle box outside tied to a 30A breaker, so I can just plug the cord into the gen and outlet, flip the main and Gen breaker and keep the lights on.


The Predator generators are rated pretty well and for a backup that gets occasional use, is more than most folks will need.


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post #14 of 42 (permalink) Old Jul 14th, 20, 4:55 AM
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Re: Possibly time for a home generator

My fuse panel is hard wired to use a generator. I would love to do a generac bottle gas unit but I don’t know if it would ever pay for itself. We are coming up on hurricane season here on the east coast of Florida. We Usally lose power but rarely more than a day or 2.


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post #15 of 42 (permalink) Old Jul 14th, 20, 6:29 AM
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Bill
 
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Re: Possibly time for a home generator

How much fuel would you burn in 38 hours?

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