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Old 04-28-2011, 09:55 AM
 
63 posts, read 123,779 times
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Who has a backup generator for his private house and what are your experiences?



Are they worth the money?

(I know, this is a very subjective question - would like to hear your opinions)



Thanks.
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Old 04-28-2011, 10:25 AM
Status: "Trump: pardons a cop killer." (set 12 days ago)
 
12,198 posts, read 7,202,247 times
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I see you have posted several questions about generators, so far without response. Hence I will jump in.

First, I have a portable, 5,000 watt generator, run by gasoline. Heretofore whenever we have lost power (which happens quite a bit, it seems, here in my part of north Texas) I will pull out the extension cords and hook up various items like the refrigerator, computer and television.

I am now contemplating getting a true 'standby' generator. Here is one I am probably going to buy, from Lowes (they do have an occasional sale on this generator):

GE 10KW Home Standby Generator - Whole House Managed Power - 40316GE at The Home Depot

Note that it is propane.

If I pull the trigger I will, in addition to purchasing the generator, have to buy a transfer switch, a propane tank, and have an electrician come out to the house and install the transfer switch, hooking it up to the house's electrical box.

The advantage of such a standby generator is that when the power goes off, the generator automatically switches on (about a one second delay, is what I have read). Another advantage: I can run the central AC/heat. GE claims that this generator will prevent you from accidentally overloading the system (it is 10,000 watts). Hence, if you need to turn on the AC unit, the generator will determined if there is enough spare power to run the AC; if not, it will turn off some things (I am not sure how this part works).

As for the propane: I dislike having gallons of gas in the garage. Gas also goes stale (although I do try to remember to use a gas stablizer).

This (as well as other) propane generator will run off tanks of propane, either the common 20-pound tank (which will last about a day) and bigger (I am planning on at least a 100-pound tank, sufficient for some 4-5 days).

Note that this (as well as other brand of propane generators) will also run off natural gas. If you already have gas laid to your house, then you would merely have the natural gas people hook you up to the generator (I do not have natural gas).

That GE website has a section in which you select the size of your house, etc. and it recommends the size unit you need. Rather surprisingly, to me, although our house is 3,000 square feet, GE claims it is a 'small' house.

I hope this helps some.
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Old 04-28-2011, 10:35 AM
 
63 posts, read 123,779 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by legalsea View Post
I see you have posted several questions about generators, so far without response. Hence I will jump in.

I hope this helps some.
"legalsea", Thanks for your extensive reply. I tried to post 2 threads, but somehow one was posted double.

Regarding the responses :-)
Quote:
Originally Posted by legalsea View Post
....., so far without response.
You already replied within one hour of my original post. Didn't expect much within the first day.
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Old 04-28-2011, 10:44 AM
Status: "Trump: pardons a cop killer." (set 12 days ago)
 
12,198 posts, read 7,202,247 times
Reputation: 8626
I normally do not look in the Alabama thread, but since I have been busy researching standby generators, your thread immediately interested me.

I will add that one issue I must address is placement of the propane tank: the city rules state that a 100+ pound propane tank must be at least 10 feet away from the residence. I assume that I can run a connection from the tank to the generator, although whether I have to bury it or not is still unknown (since I have dogs, I imagine I will have to).
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Old 04-28-2011, 04:37 PM
 
19,731 posts, read 59,692,792 times
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5KW portable generator. When Hurricane Wilma left us without power for about eleven days in Florida, I used it so we could do laundry, have hot water, and watch tv while recharging batteries. Overnight, I used a half dozen batteries and an inverter, so we had lights and fans and the refrigerator had power.

What a lot of folks don't realize is that fuel for a whole house generator becomes expensive quickly, and refueling may not be possible in the period after a disaster. A neighbor's son ran through 60 gallons of gas in about three days, then sat in the dark. We used fifteen gallons of gas over the entire eleven day period and never were without some type of power.
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Old 04-28-2011, 04:50 PM
 
1,314 posts, read 3,149,704 times
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have you ever thought about a protable solar system to have some basic things like power for the fridge and freezer and lights and fan set up in the house ..

try a company called solar stick google there name and they have a neat set up for the same price a a gas gen set connected to the house you can use solar ..
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Old 04-28-2011, 06:14 PM
 
19,731 posts, read 59,692,792 times
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Solar is not practical for fridge and freezer. Consider that even a $100 Harbor Freight generator will put out 800 watts day or night and use a couple quarts of gas an hour. It can (barely) keep most refrigerators running. My recycled Quad-lam solar panel was about three times more costly, put out about 75 watts during daylight hours only, and required an interface to properly charge batteries, both at additional expense. Solar simply cannot supply enough reliable power for standard household refrigerators and freezers, which is why those people who are off-grid pay big bucks for small highly efficient refrigerators.
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Old 04-28-2011, 06:46 PM
 
Location: Madison, Alabama
956 posts, read 2,310,599 times
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We drug ours out today and I'm SO thankful for it. Hubby is cranking it on for 2 hours/off for 2...that's about how long it runs on a gallon of gas. So far, our freezer food is intact and we can charge our laptops/cell phones.
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Old 04-28-2011, 07:46 PM
 
Location: Afghanistan
152 posts, read 467,826 times
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I use 2, one is a Honda inverter type which produces clean power for electonics. One gallon of gas will go 6 - 8 hours. That is for 1000 watts, with that I get lights and TV. THose are very satisfying things to have on a day like today and you can stay informed. THe small generator will run the electonics portions of my tankless water heater (it also uses Natural gas), so yea we can have hot showers

The other is 2500 watts, that powers a fridge (1500 watts) and a few other items. The power is 'dirty' but it runs a AC motor it uses about 2 quarts of gas an hour (rough estimate)

The Honda was 639.00 and the 2500 watt one was a Chinese overhead valve one that flooded the market over the past 10 years, it was 239.00

With a little bit of conservation I get by on 4 - 5 gallons of gas per day.

Although it is counter intutitve smaller is better, the Honda is quiter than conversation and gives us what we need. But then again cold food is a nice benefit.
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Old 04-29-2011, 02:35 AM
 
63 posts, read 123,779 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
What a lot of folks don't realize is that fuel for a whole house generator becomes expensive quickly, and refueling may not be possible in the period after a disaster.
These are good points and therefore I'm still not sure which type of fuel to take.
What happens if you connected to gas and the supply stops during a disaster. Diesel on the other hand needs to be checked, it can get old.
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