Portable Generators

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carlson1
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Re: Portable Generators

#16

Post by carlson1 »

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.
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Daddio-on-patio
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Re: Portable Generators

#17

Post by Daddio-on-patio »

Take Down Sicko wrote: Fri Feb 19, 2021 4:44 pm You guys are pros at this generator stuff. I wouldn't know how to wire up the home heating system to one. Is it hard to repair or replace the carb in one of those things?
You have options to connect to your fuse panel to run your home with a portable that are legal and within code. This is my method. Only thing he's missing is the interlock on the panel.
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Re: Portable Generators

#18

Post by troglodyte »

Consider an LP conversion kit. LP stores indefinitely. The kits allow you to convert your gas generator into a dual fuel, running both LP and gas. You may even be able to rejet and use on NG. I’ve never used a kit but they look easy enough to install.

I have a Generac LP3500 (discontinued) and use it about every year or so. It works great and I don’t have to worry about the gas going bad or the carb gumming up. Hook up a tank and pull the cord a few times. A 20# tank will run about 4.5 hours (50% load) continuously. I only run it about 30 minutes every 4 hours to keep the refrigerators cold and run the furnace if it’s cold outside to supplement the fireplace. A 20# tank can last me 24+ hours if I manage it right. I keep at least 5 20#s on hand. If it really gets bad I can hook it up to my house 500 gallon tank. I store water so I haven’t tried running the well with it but I need to try sometime.

We’re looking at a standby 22kw Generac for the house. Unit with transfer switch and battery runs in the neighborhood of $5500 plus install. My understanding is you need a certified Generac installer to put it in and enter the access code. We installed two of these at work but they haven’t been used yet. They do a self test every week and are WiFi enables but I hear it has issues sometimes. Ours at work are monitored with a third party WiFi.

Last week gets you to thinking about where you preps are short and how you’re on your own, at least for a time. Kind of reminds me of why we carry guns.
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Re: Portable Generators

#19

Post by Tex1961 »

Watching local Fox News Dallas and they were showing empty grocery shelves and interviewed some supply chain managers. Could be a little tight for a few weeks. Only found a few holes in our prep but those will be easily corrected. No preparation will be perfect but we are sure trying. It may be a weak link in my plans, but I keep my Motorhome fully gassed and propane tank full. Between that and home stores we can hold out for at least a few weeks if not longer. Only issue would be bathing.
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Re: Portable Generators

#20

Post by Chemist45 »

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.
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Re: Portable Generators

#21

Post by AF-Odin »

Agree with you Tex1961, we had pretty good preps, found a few holes which were not catastrophic, just caused some inconvenience. Had plenty of propane at home with a propane grill, but my propane stove and heater were at the ranch. Luckily, we were among the fortunate and never lost power or water. Food and water situation was not an issue as we could easily have made another two weeks if need be. Was talking with my sister in NC and told her that here in Central Texas, we have had freezing weather and several days of it before, but just not eight straight days with temps down to zero and below. In the past it has been 3-4 days with worst temps in the mid-teens. We have duplicate stuff at the house in town and the ranch, but the lesson is that we need to make sure that we have MORE items on that duplicate list.
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Re: Portable Generators

#22

Post by Keith B »

Daddio-on-patio wrote: Fri Feb 19, 2021 7:45 pm
Take Down Sicko wrote: Fri Feb 19, 2021 4:44 pm You guys are pros at this generator stuff. I wouldn't know how to wire up the home heating system to one. Is it hard to repair or replace the carb in one of those things?
You have options to connect to your fuse panel to run your home with a portable that are legal and within code. This is my method. Only thing he's missing is the interlock on the panel.
As a Master Electrician, I will only wire a back feed breaker if I install an interlock. I even have them in my panels. It’s just too easy to get out of sync if your tired in the middle of the night or in a hurry and end up forgetting to open the main breaker(s).

Personally, unless someone is a little savvy on electric, I prefer to install a transfer switch of some sort. Much simpler for the homeowner. 👍
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Re: Portable Generators

#23

Post by Keith B »

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.
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Re: Portable Generators

#24

Post by carlson1 »

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.
If you don’t mind me asking about how much does one cost?
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Re: Portable Generators

#25

Post by Middle Age Russ »

Regarding Carlson's question, we purchased a standby generator after Ike left us without grid power for 17 days. It is a Generac liquid cooled 23KW (propane)/20KW (Natural Gas) unit with an auto transfer switch. This essentially replaces our 100 Amp service entirely so all circuits stay on. It carries the A/C, the well, and everything else we have going just fine in the heat of summer. The liquid cooled unit is MUCH more expensive than the air-cooled units, and much quieter since they run at 1800 RPM instead of 3600 RPM. Turn-key, installed on a pad, with a short run of gas line from where it enters our home, the auto transfer switch and a whole house surge protector, the prices was within a few dollars of $15,000. It has proven to be money well spent on multiple occasions.
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Re: Portable Generators

#26

Post by cirus »

carlson1 wrote: Fri Feb 19, 2021 7:21 pm 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'm a Generac dealer and my son is a Generac tech. I have a 22kw that a homeowner gave me after it was hit by lightning. His insurance paid for a new one. We repaired it and installed it at my house. You may never need it but its nice if you do. A 22kw air cooled will carry a 5 ton unit. The problem arises if you have 20 kw electric heat that all kicks in during extreme cold like this past week. I had a homeowner call who had a 22kw and said his emergency heat was overloading his generator and throwing a code. He now wants to move up to a 30kw water cooled.

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Re: Portable Generators

#27

Post by 2farnorth »

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.
The above is what my neighbor has on natural gas. It test runs for a period of time every Thursday. The Generac installer does the routine scheduled maintenance plus any warranty work. After our 6 day power outage last March I want to do the same, but $12,000+ is a bit steep for me at the moment. We survived with a 3300 watt (surge) generator to run the freezer, fridge, a light or 2 and a charging station. Sometimes at night we had to disconnect the fridge and freezer to run a little 1500 watt electric heater. The neighbor's Generac runs the whole house and is automatic,
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Re: Portable Generators

#28

Post by mrvmax »

I had a cheaper generator that worked fine but the parts became impossible to find anymore. I actually planned on buying a whole house generator last summer, got quotes and all. I just did not expect the cost to be 12 grand for a 1500 foot square house - that was way too much so I dropped that idea. I ended up buying a quality generator that is dual fuel, I like propane due to not having to worry about the carb being gummed up from gas sitting in it. But, I can also swap over to gas when I run out of propane. I ended up with Cummins due to the rep (Cummins/Onan are well known gen manufactures). This model has electric start with remote, built in power conditioner and can be wired into a panel which will cut start the generator with a power loss. This year I am going to get the transfer switch installed with selected circuits for things I will need in the future. I will also get the 100 pound propane tank I bought filled so I will have 140 pounds of propane on hand.

https://www.cummins.com/generators/onan ... -generator
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Re: Portable Generators

#29

Post by Excaliber »

I did things a little differently.

In order to support my electric heat or AC, I would have needed a huge genset that was way out of my budget. Other than those items, my most important support requirements were my well pump, refrigerator, freezer, a few lights, and the fans that force air around my fireplace insert stove (about $4,000) and into the room to deliver a lot more heat than just convection would. The stove alone kept my house in the low to mid 60's during the coldest times this week as long as the fans were running.

I bought a 12KW Champion gasoline fired generator (about $2,000). I keep at least 20 gallons of fuel stabilized gas around at all times for my other power equipment, and I have about another 30 gallons in my vehicle fuel tanks that I keep at least 3/4 full. This will support all my critical items and lots more as well. I fill more gas cans if I think a situation is coming, and if it doesn't materialize I just put the gas into my cars.

I looked at transfer switches and auxiliary panels but was put off by the cost and by the fact that I already had a perfectly good panel full of perfectly good breakers. I figured there had to be a better way. There is - I discovered generator interlocks. I had one of those installed in my panel and an external 50 amp receptacle installed on the wall of my garage behind my panel. Cost: around $600 including a custom 30 ft. cable to let me keep the generator exhaust away from the house.

When power goes out I turn off all the breakers including the main, fuel up the generator, plug in the heavy single cable between the generator and the house, fire up the generator,turn on the generator breaker, and manage the load by selectively turning the breakers for high wattage items like the well pump on and off as I need them. My generator has a set of LED lights that tell me how much of the available load I'm using so I can easily avoid overloading it. This setpu can even support a window air conditioner for the bedroom to stay comfortable in summer. All for around $7,000 (generator, stove, cable, gen interlock, and external receptacle). This works for me.

For a smaller budget setup, Home Depot in Weatherford is selling Champion 6KW units for $799 this weekend. They're big enough to run a lot of things turned on and off selectively if you don't mind playing with a lot of extension cords.
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Re: Portable Generators

#30

Post by eieio1 »

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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