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Portable generator

TGRIMMOSU#1

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Just kind of curious to see the different responses. I currently have a 7500 continuous 9375 peak Generac. We frequently loose power for anywhere from a couple hours to upwards of 12 hours. With 2 small kids at home this can be quite painful. I have an interlock switch on the house so that I can power the main breaker box. But now that the family has grown and my wife works from home I'm looking at getting a bigger generator. Just wanted feed back on what kind of generator all of you have and your experience with it
 

Fueling Around

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What are your power demands for work from home wife?
Computer, modem, router, lighting, water, sewer, fridge, freezer, microwave, etc?
Obviously you need power during the day to keep your wife working from home.
Are you around the house when wife is working?

Auto transfer switches are very expensive.

If your wife can handle the interlock, get her an electric start Honda (or equivalent) inverter unit

I used to live in greater Seattle and power outages were anywhere from a few hours to a few days.
Stay at home Mom with 2 small kids in those days. Moved the car outside the garage so they could go do errands to places with power.
I powered the entire house (less electric range) with a 5 kW Generac being we were on city water and natural gas water heater (no power required) and FA (forced air) furnace, but oddly enough most outages were in the spring and fall so no heat required.
I only ran the generator when I was home so an hour or so in the morning and all evening until bedtime.
Luckily outages were not frequent, but occurred enough that I did get a generator.
On outage evenings, I made sure to show my neighbors we had power by opening and closing the garage door many times. Our family room faced the back yard so no one saw the lights.
Winter outage only happened once. We were in Minnesota for Christmas holiday. We had very happy friends (and neighbors) that moved into our house for the 2 days until power was restored
 

GaryHibbert

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I needed a gen set to power my 5th wheel RV the entire winter. I live in it during the winter log haul in northern Alberta (couple of weeks of -40 C--same as -40 F). So I bought a used construction light tower. 8KW, powered by a 3 cylinder Kobota diesel engine. Burns about 1 gal US per hour, and has way more power than I need. It's trailer mounted, so you can't just stick it in the corner of the garage, but it makes a great back up at home, and will last forever. I paid $1000 Canadian for it.
Gary
 

rjob

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Have 20kw air cooled with auto transfer switch propane fueled.
For us it is an important component of the home. Have run 10 days straight due to hurricanes.
Makes it great for the wife, nothing to switch or worry about since she fears electricity.
When you review your options consider where parts and service are located in relationship to your location.
If I had to do it all over again, yes I would. Would consider liquid cooled for next unit.
Just remember all generators are prone to failure and require maintenance. Reliability is a factor to consider if you can find truthful info.
 

TGRIMMOSU#1

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Have 20kw air cooled with auto transfer switch propane fueled.
For us it is an important component of the home. Have run 10 days straight due to hurricanes.
Makes it great for the wife, nothing to switch or worry about since she fears electricity.
When you review your options consider where parts and service are located in relationship to your location.
If I had to do it all over again, yes I would. Would consider liquid cooled for next unit.
Just remember all generators are prone to failure and require maintenance. Reliability is a factor to consider if you can find truthful info.
Yea I'm really considering going the auto transfer route just for peace of mind. I've been looking at the generac and champion 14k
 

Winterrider

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Something operational off propane or NG would be the ticket, as hauling fuel constantly would suck.
 

chesterinflorida

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I’ve got a 5500 that can plug into the house and run stuff like the water heater and we’ll pump. Not at the same time, but is workable. So for instance, you can run the well, get the water pressure up, then switch over to the heater to let the water warm up. After awhile, you can switch the heater off and put it back on the well, and take a warm shower. It’s not ideal, but for the few times we get extended power outages (when Hurricane Irma hit it was about 7 days) it can work.

I also have a Honda 3000 inverter unit that is really quiet that we plug the refrigerators and TV into,and a window ac. We use it for longer stretched than the other one and it sips fuel and way less noisy, so it works for us. The Honda is also great around the property as I can take it around the acreage, and have for power wherever, and can take it camping etc. Just a great all around smaller generator.
 

Bearcarver

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We live on top of a small mountain (Hill), and we're the farthest from where our power comes from. We lose power often for seconds to minutes, however at least a half dozen times a year we lose it for 3 hours to 6 days, due to Big Nor'easters, and sometimes the tail end of a Hurricane.

I learned years ago what generator not to use:
For years when we lost power, we'd transfer our Refrigerated goods to our Son's Fridges & Freezers, and just wait it out until the power came back on.
Then one time Our Son brought us one of his 5K construction Generators to use. He always has 3 or 4 of them for his Tower Jobs, and it worked pretty good for us a few times, just running extension cords to our 2 Fridges & 1 Freezer. Then one day I plugged our Micro-Hood into the Generator extension, and it ruined our Micro-hood.
I wasn't too happy about having to replace it, because at that time that one was in the $600 range.
So after my Son told me if I want to plug important touchy items, like the Micro-hood, Computers, TV, and a few other items, I should get a Generator with an Inverter.


So I started with the Honda EU3000iS. (Cost was $2000)
It worked great for the 2 times we used it, but mice got into it, and chewed off most of the shell's insulation, built a nest around the wiring harness, and chewed off most of the wiring in the harness. We took it to the only place in the area, and they wanted about half as much as it was worth to fix it.

So our Son had 2 Honda6500 Inverters in his stable, so we made a deal that he gave me one of them, and I gave him the "3000" plus $1500 cash.
Then he and his electrician Buddy ran a "220" outside outlet to my front porch, and added the cut-off switch & plate in my electric panel, it needed to be legal.
I also changed my heating system from ALL Electric Heat Pump to a Bryant Hy-brid Heat Pump with a Propane Gas Heater Back-up.
So now when we lose power, I can switch over to generator, and the generator can power everything in my house, except the kitchen range & the Hot Waterheater. The heat system only needs a small amount of power to keep the Gas Heater going. It's a hassle to switch over, but a lot less than having to run extension cords throughout the house.

So my recommendation is if you get a generator, get one of the good ones with the inverter. Honda has all sizes.

Bear
 

GaryHibbert

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I forgot to mention the best part about my gen set/light tower. I accidentally bought 2 at the auction for $1000 C each (it was an online auction and things got kinda hectic near the end) but I was able to sell the second one the next day for $1600. So mine really only cost me $400.
Gary
 

pineywoods

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A few thoughts a lot depends on the home like electric stove, water heater, central ac, heat, and a well or city water that will all affect what kind size generator you would need. Seems most people in FL that are trying to run the whole house are going with generac burning propane on auto switch systems and they generally test themselves once a week. If most of the appliances are propane or natural gas you may be able to get away with a smaller generator run off propane, gas, or diesel. Another way to go depending on what you have is possibly a PTO powered generator if you own a tractor. I'm trying to figure out what I want to do at our place as well and am kind of torn between different systems. Presently I have a 15,000 watt and a 5500 watt and after Hurricane Michael a friend brought his and another friends generators from out of the area to me to use. We're set up on acreage and several buildings along with a well. We ended up using all 4 generators at times to run everything except the ac one hooked to the well and used it when we needed to pump up the water pressure, We have fridges and freezers in a couple buildings that needed to be run. Then the house for lights and such. We were out of power for 21 days some of the people with the big whole house propane fueled generators had run out of propane and couldn't get any delivered. We were driving sometimes out of the area every few days for gas but could find it.
I know I didn't provide any answers but hopefully gave you more to think about before getting a system to hopefully make sure you get the right system the first time.
 

JeffB1961

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got a 4K champion inverter earlier this year for backup , possible camping and the occasional project away from power . chose a inverter for safe power for electronics , chose champion for engine quality given our very modest budget and 4K because we really don't need 220 and wanted to keep weight down . it also has wireless remote starting to make it easy for the better half to start it and so my butt doesn't have to go out in icy/wet weather to start/stop it .
 

radioguy

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I have a Generac 9Kw. Its 14 hp gasoline, single cylinder key start. I have it down at my barn, 400 feet away from the house. I dont have a transfer switch so I manually back feed it to the house. I have a power indicator on my commercial mains so I can watch for power there. I plug it into my welding socket there. Works great. It will handle 11Kw peak so I can run the hot water heater. I selectively turn on breakers to manage the wattage.

You cant beat the older diesel gensets for reliability. If you choose to go whole house and transfer switch, spend a few extra dollars on a surge arrester. We used all types of generators in the cellular business, 40Kw towables to 1Mw diesel monsters.

RG
 

rc4u

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in deisel pusher i have 50 amp service, but its actually wire 220 the rv;s are wire from that to 2, 50 amp sides. total 100amps. now thats a lot. my gen set is also diesel 7500 kw genrac. wired 220 split to 2, 120volt breakers. is uur gen set capable of 220, as many are. i assume your only getting 50 amps, correct.. and i just replaced my auto transfer switch and its only $150.. so then gen starts as soon as power goes down or if you start gen it automatically stops power company power in milliseconds
 

jcoleman66

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I have been looking to get a dual fuel (gasoline/propane) generator, I have seen good reviews on several. Biggest complaint seems to be customer service if needed. Do any of you folks have experience with these? Looking at upwards of a 15000w/12500w.
 

rkrider99

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We've got a 8500/5500 watt portable generator I bought in 2005. The year after the 4 hurricanes hit us and we were without power for a couple days each time. The first time I used it, running extension cords all over the house, I figured there had to be a better way. I found a 10 circuit manual transfer switch. Even the wife knows how to operate the whole system. It only takes care of 10 of the 22 circuits in the house, but I didn't think we needed power to the washer, dryer, A/C, furnace, Spa, or outside outlets. We do have a floor standing A/C unit that is powered by it, so sleeping at night isn't too bad.
 

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jcoleman66

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We've got a 8500/5500 watt portable generator I bought in 2005. The year after the 4 hurricanes hit us and we were without power for a couple days each time. The first time I used it, running extension cords all over the house, I figured there had to be a better way. I found a 10 circuit manual transfer switch. Even the wife knows how to operate the whole system. It only takes care of 10 of the 22 circuits in the house, but I didn't think we needed power to the washer, dryer, A/C, furnace, Spa, or outside outlets. We do have a floor standing A/C unit that is powered by it, so sleeping at night isn't too bad.
Yeah we have a 5500watt troybuilt that I have had since hurricane at first house back in 2003, but runs like a champ. Best prevention I could have for power going out. Every time I get it hooked up the power comes back on. LOL . The house we have now has hookup so we don't have to run cords etc. Like you mainly worried about freezers (that is where the meat lives).
Looking at dual fuel so have alternatives for fuel. What brand are you running?
 

rkrider99

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Funny story: A while ago a fuse blew in the transformer down the street. Power company said it would be 4-5 hours to replace, so I figured it would be a great time to run the generator. Hooked it all up, worked great, watched TV and all. After a number of hours went by, the wife asked when I thought they'd get the power restored. I said I don't know. I walked outside to check the gas level in the generator, and realized the street lights were on, and most of the houses were lit up. Then it hit me, that I have no idea of when power is restored. After that, I always turn on a light that is not connected to the generator so I can tell when the power is restored.
 

Bearcarver

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Funny story: A while ago a fuse blew in the transformer down the street. Power company said it would be 4-5 hours to replace, so I figured it would be a great time to run the generator. Hooked it all up, worked great, watched TV and all. After a number of hours went by, the wife asked when I thought they'd get the power restored. I said I don't know. I walked outside to check the gas level in the generator, and realized the street lights were on, and most of the houses were lit up. Then it hit me, that I have no idea of when power is restored. After that, I always turn on a light that is not connected to the generator so I can tell when the power is restored.

LOL---We have the same problem, both Me & Bear Jr's house down the driveway.
However when we go Generator, we have no other lights, so we can't tell when they get it restored. The power company texts Mrs Bear & Bear Jr when that get it restored.

Bear
 

Bearcarver

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Fun Bear Story!!

We used to have a house that was 1/2 mile from the road.
We had underground electric for the last 1/4 mile.
We had a Transformer in the back yard (A Steel box about 3 X 4 X 2' high).
A couple times we had a blow-out underground.
The first time that happened, we didn't know we were the only ones on that line, so we had no power for 12 hours, until we called to report it.
Then a bunch of trucks & cars came, and a Van they called "Thumper".
They hooked Thumper up & shot power into the line in blasts. Each time it thumped, they zeroed it in with a meter, like a Geiger counter. You could feel the "Thump" in the ground if you're standing nearby. Then the guy would put a spray painted "X" on the Ground. Then the Back Hoe showed up, and he dug down to the cables, very carefully when he got close, to avoid hitting it.
Then they put an underground splice in it, and closed it up.
Then they replaced the big fuse on the pole where it goes into the ground (about 1/4 Mile away).

That happened twice!! Both times was on the 4th of July.

The one time they worked all night, and got it done at 7 AM (July Fourth). There were 22 guys there when they were done, getting ready to leave, when Bear Jr brought "Shadow" (Black Lab) out for his morning walk. He was just a Pup then, and he had to say hello to every one of those 22 guys. He was so excited he peed a trail to every one of them, making a big circular "Pee-Trail" in my Driveway. Everybody loved him---He was the star of the show!!!
LONG NIGHT !!!

Bear
 
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