Portable Generators

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puma guy
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Re: Portable Generators

#31

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eieio1 wrote: Sun Feb 21, 2021 11:41 am Here is my setup with approximate costs - we were without power for over 2 weeks after hurricane Ike in 2008. During that time we borrowed a friend's generator - gasoline only. Based on that experience I knew that I wanted multiple fuel options - finding and dealing with the gasoline was a major hassle.

This has been a series of small projects over the years. The transfer switch feeds 6 circuits (1) freezer, (2) refrigerator, (3) microwave, (4) kitchen plugs, (5) living room plugs, (6) master bedroom plugs (for window A/C and furnace). I never considered powering the furnace until now so I added cords to the furnace yesterday.

2011 Powermate PM0675700 (5.7kW running, 7.1 kW peak, gasoline only), Home Depot (clearance) $450
2011 Tri-fuel kit (NG, propane, gasoline), US Carburation $200
2012 Reliance 6 circuit transfer switch and cord, Home Depot $300
2012 25 ft. 10/4 STW 30 Amp 125/250-Volt Power Cord $90
2013 50 foot natural gas hose, Fairview Fittings $220
2013 Natural Gas valve and quick disconnects, The WEBstaurant Store $150
2020 Mineral wool / OSB sound panels, ATSAcoustics.com / Home Depot $150
2021 Furnace cords, Lowe's $35
Total$1,595. Note that this does not include any labor - I have done all of the installation myself.

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puma guy
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Re: Portable Generators

#32

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Keith B wrote: Fri Feb 19, 2021 9:00 pm
Chemist45 wrote: Fri Feb 19, 2021 8:29 pm Carlson1 asked
Has anyone checked into or own a Generac Generator? I was wondering how elk they worked and what the cost might be for a small house.
I have a Generac 20KW that runs on propane. Its about 5 years old and has only been used a few hours here and there until this past week.
It does a self test every week and I have a 250 gal propane tank in the ground.
This past week, it ran from Monday morning until Wednesday at 5:30. It shut itself off twice when we got power back for short periods.
I got the automatic transfer switch, so I don't have to do a thing.
This generator was worth every dollar I paid for it.
5 years ago, Mrs Chemist gave me a little grief about the cost.
2 days ago she thanked me for buying it.
A whole-home auto start generator with a automatic transfer switch is optimum for situations like this snowmagedon. In Texas, it’s probably more likely it would be used during a power outage from a severe storm or tornado, If you have natural gas available, it’s even better than a propane model. A 22kw is enough to run most all electric homes. With natural gas you can go with a smaller unit. A smart transfer switch will prioritize your items in the home and take non-essential items off line if a higher priority item like water heater or heat strips need to be utilized.

A reputable electric contractor can evaluate your needs and properly size a unit for your home. Well worth the money if you can afford the initial expense.
:thumbs2:
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Re: Portable Generators

#33

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I have my Generac XT8000E (8KW running/10KW starting) back fed to my breaker panel. We have a gas furnace in the central air unit w/ a 1HP fan motor that ran constantly and I it energized first. I had our entire 5 B/R house on it. Two refrigerators, two freezers, all rooms w/ led light bulbs (I still admonished everyone to turn off light when leaving a room), electric stove - used one large burner. Couldn't use the oven. I had two 1500W heaters running as well. The generator breaker tripped the first night about 2AM. I discovered what happened when I tripped all the panel breakers and turned them one on at a time until the gen tripped again. It was the very last 120 V breaker I energized that had a 2HP air compressor on the circuit. I leave it turned on and it leaked down and was trying to start. I just left that breaker tripped. I was surprised how long the gen ran between fill ups. It has a 7.5 gallon capacity, but I only fill it with 5 gallons of ethanol free stabilized gasoline in it.
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Re: Portable Generators

#34

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puma guy wrote: Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:45 pm I have my Generac XT8000E (8KW running/10KW starting) back fed to my breaker panel. We have a gas furnace in the central air unit w/ a 1HP fan motor that ran constantly and I it energized first. I had our entire 5 B/R house on it. Two refrigerators, two freezers, all rooms w/ led light bulbs (I still admonished everyone to turn off light when leaving a room), electric stove - used one large burner. Couldn't use the oven. I had two 1500W heaters running as well. The generator breaker tripped the first night about 2AM. I discovered what happened when I tripped all the panel breakers and turned them one on at a time until the gen tripped again. It was the very last 120 V breaker I energized that had a 2HP air compressor on the circuit. I leave it turned on and it leaked down and was trying to start. I just left that breaker tripped. I was surprised how long the gen ran between fill ups. It has a 7.5 gallon capacity, but I only fill it with 5 gallons of ethanol free stabilized gasoline in it.
You have conquered the challenge with smaller portable generators set up for temporary use. ‘Load balancing’ is necessary to not exceed the available wattage (amperage) of your gen set. Bringing individual circuits on one at a time will keep you from throwing a large surge to your generator and keep it from tripping. Large resistive element items like heaters, coffee makers, hair dryers, etc are the large current draw items that will cause you trouble when brought online.

It surprising how much of a house that can be kept operational with a portable generator during an outage. One thing that can really help during an outage as well as every day with your bill is to replace incandescent and CFL (curly-que) bulbs with LED. A 60 watt equivalent LED bulb uses only 8 watts compared to the 60 of the incandescent. Additionally, you can choose the color temperature, or Kelvin, the light emits. I like daylight (5k) for kitchens, utility and laundry rooms, and garages. 4K bright white for bathrooms and 3k for living/family rooms and bedrooms where a ‘warmer’ light is more my liking.
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puma guy
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Re: Portable Generators

#35

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Keith B wrote: Sun Feb 21, 2021 1:44 pm
puma guy wrote: Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:45 pm I have my Generac XT8000E (8KW running/10KW starting) back fed to my breaker panel. We have a gas furnace in the central air unit w/ a 1HP fan motor that ran constantly and I it energized first. I had our entire 5 B/R house on it. Two refrigerators, two freezers, all rooms w/ led light bulbs (I still admonished everyone to turn off light when leaving a room), electric stove - used one large burner. Couldn't use the oven. I had two 1500W heaters running as well. The generator breaker tripped the first night about 2AM. I discovered what happened when I tripped all the panel breakers and turned them one on at a time until the gen tripped again. It was the very last 120 V breaker I energized that had a 2HP air compressor on the circuit. I leave it turned on and it leaked down and was trying to start. I just left that breaker tripped. I was surprised how long the gen ran between fill ups. It has a 7.5 gallon capacity, but I only fill it with 5 gallons of ethanol free stabilized gasoline in it.
You have conquered the challenge with smaller portable generators set up for temporary use. ‘Load balancing’ is necessary to not exceed the available wattage (amperage) of your gen set. Bringing individual circuits on one at a time will keep you from throwing a large surge to your generator and keep it from tripping. Large resistive element items like heaters, coffee makers, hair dryers, etc are the large current draw items that will cause you trouble when brought online.

It surprising how much of a house that can be kept operational with a portable generator during an outage. One thing that can really help during an outage as well as every day with your bill is to replace incandescent and CFL (curly-que) bulbs with LED. A 60 watt equivalent LED bulb uses only 8 watts compared to the 60 of the incandescent. Additionally, you can choose the color temperature, or Kelvin, the light emits. I like daylight (5k) for kitchens, utility and laundry rooms, and garages. 4K bright white for bathrooms and 3k for living/family rooms and bedrooms where a ‘warmer’ light is more my liking.
I agree. I also use LED bulbs, mainly 60 with a couple of 75W and a 100W in large spaces with different degrees Kelvin as you mentioned. One of my fridges and a freezer are in a screen room so they weren't cycling frequently during this frigid weather. It will be a different story in summer weather typical of hurricane season. I have smaller gens - 2.5KW or 4KW that I could use with extension cords for them if necessary. I also have a small window unit in a spare B/R where we could sleep since 8000W would never handle my 5T Central A/C. Though I'm back feeding through my panel, which I've done for 15 years when I need the gen, I have purchased an inlet and transfer panel to hook it up right. I have considered retrofitting the 8KW for natural gas, but that will reduce the output.
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Re: Portable Generators

#36

Post by philip964 »

puma guy wrote: Mon Feb 22, 2021 3:51 pm
Keith B wrote: Sun Feb 21, 2021 1:44 pm
puma guy wrote: Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:45 pm I have my Generac XT8000E (8KW running/10KW starting) back fed to my breaker panel. We have a gas furnace in the central air unit w/ a 1HP fan motor that ran constantly and I it energized first. I had our entire 5 B/R house on it. Two refrigerators, two freezers, all rooms w/ led light bulbs (I still admonished everyone to turn off light when leaving a room), electric stove - used one large burner. Couldn't use the oven. I had two 1500W heaters running as well. The generator breaker tripped the first night about 2AM. I discovered what happened when I tripped all the panel breakers and turned them one on at a time until the gen tripped again. It was the very last 120 V breaker I energized that had a 2HP air compressor on the circuit. I leave it turned on and it leaked down and was trying to start. I just left that breaker tripped. I was surprised how long the gen ran between fill ups. It has a 7.5 gallon capacity, but I only fill it with 5 gallons of ethanol free stabilized gasoline in it.
You have conquered the challenge with smaller portable generators set up for temporary use. ‘Load balancing’ is necessary to not exceed the available wattage (amperage) of your gen set. Bringing individual circuits on one at a time will keep you from throwing a large surge to your generator and keep it from tripping. Large resistive element items like heaters, coffee makers, hair dryers, etc are the large current draw items that will cause you trouble when brought online.

It surprising how much of a house that can be kept operational with a portable generator during an outage. One thing that can really help during an outage as well as every day with your bill is to replace incandescent and CFL (curly-que) bulbs with LED. A 60 watt equivalent LED bulb uses only 8 watts compared to the 60 of the incandescent. Additionally, you can choose the color temperature, or Kelvin, the light emits. I like daylight (5k) for kitchens, utility and laundry rooms, and garages. 4K bright white for bathrooms and 3k for living/family rooms and bedrooms where a ‘warmer’ light is more my liking.
I agree. I also use LED bulbs, mainly 60 with a couple of 75W and a 100W in large spaces with different degrees Kelvin as you mentioned. One of my fridges and a freezer are in a screen room so they weren't cycling frequently during this frigid weather. It will be a different story in summer weather typical of hurricane season. I have smaller gens - 2.5KW or 4KW that I could use with extension cords for them if necessary. I also have a small window unit in a spare B/R where we could sleep since 8000W would never handle my 5T Central A/C. Though I'm back feeding through my panel, which I've done for 15 years when I need the gen, I have purchased an inlet and transfer panel to hook it up right. I have considered retrofitting the 8KW for natural gas, but that will reduce the output.
This is a really great thread. The depth of knowledge of this forum is awesome, thanks everyone, I will be pouring over this when I get a generator.

Regarding LED bulbs, I have been told in continuing education that LED's have a pretty big inrush current. So even though it says 5 watts or 12 watts the inrush current when you turn them on can be significant. Like the square root of 3 in 3 phase power, I know only enough to be dangerous.
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Re: Portable Generators

#37

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Funny thing about having a generator. Not having gas for it is the same as not having it. Yep, and since my driveway slopes down to the retaining wall behind my house, I learned years ago not to try and back down my driveway when there is ice on my driveway. I tried that once and got my truck stuck with the rear bumper resting on the wall and the front end sticking half way out of the driveway. So yep, I have a generator and had no gas to power it.
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Re: Portable Generators

#38

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My welding machine, a Miller Bobcat 250, puts out 11,000 watts on the generator side. I have run my whole house (2500 sq ft) on it many times due to power outages from storms. During this freeze, I learned a valuable lessen. It will run the AC/Heat, refrigerators, and well pump just fine. But, it will not run the heat strips when the emergency heat cuts in. If you want a generator that provides heat to an HVAC that runs heat strips when the heat pump can't keep up, 11,000 watts is not enough.
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Re: Portable Generators

#39

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03Lightningrocks wrote: Mon Feb 22, 2021 7:48 pm Funny thing about having a generator. Not having gas for it is the same as not having it. Yep, and since my driveway slopes down to the retaining wall behind my house, I learned years ago not to try and back down my driveway when there is ice on my driveway. I tried that once and got my truck stuck with the rear bumper resting on the wall and the front end sticking half way out of the driveway. So yep, I have a generator and had no gas to power it.
03LR, Sorry to hear that. Fortunately I had 15 gallons of ethanol free gasoline from hurricane season. I have a siphon if I needed to get gas out of my vehicles, as well.
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Re: Portable Generators

#40

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puma guy wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 11:00 am
03Lightningrocks wrote: Mon Feb 22, 2021 7:48 pm Funny thing about having a generator. Not having gas for it is the same as not having it. Yep, and since my driveway slopes down to the retaining wall behind my house, I learned years ago not to try and back down my driveway when there is ice on my driveway. I tried that once and got my truck stuck with the rear bumper resting on the wall and the front end sticking half way out of the driveway. So yep, I have a generator and had no gas to power it.
03LR, Sorry to hear that. Fortunately I had 15 gallons of ethanol free gasoline from hurricane season. I have a siphon if I needed to get gas out of my vehicles, as well.
In addition to having no gas for my generator, my truck only had about 3-5 gallons in the tank. I had planned to fill up the Friday before the cold hit but got a phone call on the way home, got distracted, and forgot to stop. Then on the second day of no power, after a good 12 hours of no heat, I was shivering so bad I thought i was gonna die. I open my garage a third of the way, hop in my truck with my dog and fire it up. Dog and I both fell asleep from having no sleep for so long and literally ran the truck out of gas. Yeah, I was a real mess. :banghead:
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Re: Portable Generators

#41

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03Lightningrocks wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 2:31 pm
puma guy wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 11:00 am
03Lightningrocks wrote: Mon Feb 22, 2021 7:48 pm Funny thing about having a generator. Not having gas for it is the same as not having it. Yep, and since my driveway slopes down to the retaining wall behind my house, I learned years ago not to try and back down my driveway when there is ice on my driveway. I tried that once and got my truck stuck with the rear bumper resting on the wall and the front end sticking half way out of the driveway. So yep, I have a generator and had no gas to power it.
03LR, Sorry to hear that. Fortunately I had 15 gallons of ethanol free gasoline from hurricane season. I have a siphon if I needed to get gas out of my vehicles, as well.
In addition to having no gas for my generator, my truck only had about 3-5 gallons in the tank. I had planned to fill up the Friday before the cold hit but got a phone call on the way home, got distracted, and forgot to stop. Then on the second day of no power, after a good 12 hours of no heat, I was shivering so bad I thought i was gonna die. I open my garage a third of the way, hop in my truck with my dog and fire it up. Dog and I both fell asleep from having no sleep for so long and literally ran the truck out of gas. Yeah, I was a real mess. :banghead:
Oh! Wow! I'm sorry you went through all that, but glad you survived the truck in the garage. I talked to another forum member who lost power and they had 45° temp in their house.
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Re: Portable Generators

#42

Post by eyedoc »

03Lightningrocks wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 2:31 pm
puma guy wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 11:00 am
03Lightningrocks wrote: Mon Feb 22, 2021 7:48 pm Funny thing about having a generator. Not having gas for it is the same as not having it. Yep, and since my driveway slopes down to the retaining wall behind my house, I learned years ago not to try and back down my driveway when there is ice on my driveway. I tried that once and got my truck stuck with the rear bumper resting on the wall and the front end sticking half way out of the driveway. So yep, I have a generator and had no gas to power it.
03LR, Sorry to hear that. Fortunately I had 15 gallons of ethanol free gasoline from hurricane season. I have a siphon if I needed to get gas out of my vehicles, as well.
In addition to having no gas for my generator, my truck only had about 3-5 gallons in the tank. I had planned to fill up the Friday before the cold hit but got a phone call on the way home, got distracted, and forgot to stop. Then on the second day of no power, after a good 12 hours of no heat, I was shivering so bad I thought i was gonna die. I open my garage a third of the way, hop in my truck with my dog and fire it up. Dog and I both fell asleep from having no sleep for so long and literally ran the truck out of gas. Yeah, I was a real mess. :banghead:
Good thing you woke up after running the truck in the garage.
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03Lightningrocks
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Re: Portable Generators

#43

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eyedoc wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 4:43 pm
03Lightningrocks wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 2:31 pm
puma guy wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 11:00 am
03Lightningrocks wrote: Mon Feb 22, 2021 7:48 pm Funny thing about having a generator. Not having gas for it is the same as not having it. Yep, and since my driveway slopes down to the retaining wall behind my house, I learned years ago not to try and back down my driveway when there is ice on my driveway. I tried that once and got my truck stuck with the rear bumper resting on the wall and the front end sticking half way out of the driveway. So yep, I have a generator and had no gas to power it.
03LR, Sorry to hear that. Fortunately I had 15 gallons of ethanol free gasoline from hurricane season. I have a siphon if I needed to get gas out of my vehicles, as well.
In addition to having no gas for my generator, my truck only had about 3-5 gallons in the tank. I had planned to fill up the Friday before the cold hit but got a phone call on the way home, got distracted, and forgot to stop. Then on the second day of no power, after a good 12 hours of no heat, I was shivering so bad I thought i was gonna die. I open my garage a third of the way, hop in my truck with my dog and fire it up. Dog and I both fell asleep from having no sleep for so long and literally ran the truck out of gas. Yeah, I was a real mess. :banghead:
Good thing you woke up after running the truck in the garage.
My daughter told me I was probably lucky I ran out of gas. Aparently there were people who died running their vehicles in the garage. Honestly, I figured having the door open a couple feet would air it out.
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Re: Portable Generators

#44

Post by TxRVer »

I'm thinking the 22kw Generac at around $5000 is not a bad deal. Right now they have a deal for two extra years of warranty for a total of 7. Installation is shown to be $2000. Does anyone know if they ever have an installation special?
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Re: Portable Generators

#45

Post by DevilDawg »

TxRVer wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 1:42 pm I'm thinking the 22kw Generac at around $5000 is not a bad deal. Right now they have a deal for two extra years of warranty for a total of 7. Installation is shown to be $2000. Does anyone know if they ever have an installation special?
I rather doubt there will be any discounts between now and hurricane season. Given how miserably the grid just performed due to freezing I’m not optimistic about the summer capabilities. Right now $7g give or take to get one installed your biggest problem is getting in before the supplies from China run out
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