House Generator and its maintenance

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities

House Generator and its maintenance

Postby CountryBoy » Tue Dec 25, 2012 8:43 pm

House Generators and its maintenance is a topic most moderators will consider worthy of Locking; it is just too boring for some. For me it is where the challenge is. My wife the librarian says many library patrons visited her during and after Hurricane Sandy to say their generators did not work………..surprise people; these generators need to be maintained. So if this thread is not locked out of sheer bored here are a couple of questions:

1-The owne’rs manual for my 8kW Generac advises running the generator for 30 mins. each week. This means keeping gas on hand to facilitate same. Hence the question……..can I store the gas outside instead of in the garage with my 2 cars. My wife forbids it being stored in the garage. Does keeping it outside, for let’s say 4 weeks, lower the octane and prevent it from running well? Gas is expensive and I don’t want to throw away gas on money. What are my options? Switching wives is not an option at this time.

2-This 8kW Generac, according to its manual, does not charge the battery when running, like a car, I have to trickle charge it. So how long do I have to trickle charge it after the 1x a week / 30 mins. running? There is no meter on this trickle charger and no store in the area has a trickle charger with meter that will plug into the slot for charging the generator…I have looked all over for one. Advice?

If this thread gets locked please PM me with answers.

Thanks.
cb
User avatar
CountryBoy
 
Posts: 1403
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 11:21 am
Location: NY

Re: House Generator and its maintenance

Postby ClevrChico » Tue Dec 25, 2012 8:55 pm

Storing gas outside should be fine. Farmers do it all the time. Use an appropriate container and stabilize the fuel.

You should be able to find a battery maintainer that is set it and forget it.
ClevrChico
 
Posts: 257
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:24 pm

Re: House Generator and its maintenance

Postby CountryBoy » Tue Dec 25, 2012 9:29 pm

I should have been more specific in my OP.

Does anyone have extensive experience that they might be able to cite as a basis for some advice on the questions I raise?

Thanks.

cb
User avatar
CountryBoy
 
Posts: 1403
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 11:21 am
Location: NY

Re: House Generator and its maintenance

Postby HardKnocker » Tue Dec 25, 2012 10:31 pm

People park their cars outside in the winter and summer with gas in the tanks all the time. They do fine.

Gas only stays fresh for about a month though.

I keep about 5 gallons of gas in my garage for generators and dump it in my car after a month, then buy fresh gas.

Maintaining those larger gas generators is a pain.

Have you considered converting your gas generator to natural gas? It costs about $200.

Check it out: http://www.propanecarbs.com/conversion_videos.html or http://propane-generators.com/
“Gold gets dug out of the ground, then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility.”--Warren Buffett
User avatar
HardKnocker
 
Posts: 1987
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 12:55 pm
Location: New Jersey USA

Re: House Generator and its maintenance

Postby LadyGeek » Tue Dec 25, 2012 10:40 pm

CountryBoy wrote:House Generators and its maintenance is a topic most moderators will consider worthy of Locking; it is just too boring for some.

Sorry, there's nothing in the policy about boring threads - it will continue until it's well past beaten to death. House generators, like investing, should be boring.

As others have stated - The only difference between a garage and outside storage is protection from the wind, rain, sun, and snow. Temperature and humidity are the same.

I store my 3750 W generator outside in a protected area under a tarp. Similar to you, switching husbands is not an option - so that's where it stays.

The gas tank is drained and it was run until dry. We have 2 five gallon containers of gas in the garage.
To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.
User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
 
Posts: 18476
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 6:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia

Re: House Generator and its maintenance

Postby TRC » Wed Dec 26, 2012 12:34 am

I just invested in a Honda EU 6500 watt generator this week and am awaiting delivery. I plan to run it once a quarter and plug it into some appliances to run the electrical load. I imagine once a year I'll make sure the gas is cycled with new gas.
TRC
 
Posts: 1331
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 6:38 pm

Re: House Generator and its maintenance

Postby aja8888 » Wed Dec 26, 2012 1:07 am

I'm surprised no one mentioned fuel treatment for keeping gasoline fresh for long periods of time:

http://www.goldeagle.com/brands/stabil/
User avatar
aja8888
 
Posts: 478
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:28 am
Location: Texas

Re: House Generator and its maintenance

Postby heyyou » Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:23 am

Follow the mfg's recommended run times, but don't leave much gas in it that can go stale. Do use Stabil or equivalent in the gas. Get a good setup for storing gas-- a separate, well ventilated shed for less heat and no UV rotting the jugs, secure from kids. Get good spouts/funnels for rotating the older stored gas into your car.

Your generator is a high maintenance item to own if you are expecting it to be continously reliable for the life of the engine. At your convenience, run the generator dry to practice priming it. Learn to clean the battery terminal connections, replace the fuel filter, change the oil. You can recycle the oil at the auto parts store that sells the filters. You will save money if you can cross match them at the self serve big box stores.

Commonly used on parked boats, there are battery maintainer chargers with less charging amps than a trickle charger, so they are so low powered that they will not recharge a discharged battery. That is good in that they will not reduce battery life by over charging. The maintainer runs on grid power. Mount a voltmeter on the battery so you can see at a glance what level of charge is in it. Northern Tool will have those items.
heyyou
 
Posts: 1643
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 5:58 pm

Re: House Generator and its maintenance

Postby reggiesimpson » Wed Dec 26, 2012 10:48 am

Use "Stabil" as recommended and buy "Battery Tender" brand trickle charger. It wont destroy the battery.
reggiesimpson
 
Posts: 1265
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:47 pm

Re: House Generator and its maintenance

Postby CountryBoy » Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:15 pm

Has anyone out there noticed how difficult truth or the right course of action to follow in life is in regard to small engine issues?

Examples:

1-Generac- the manufacturer of my 8kW generator sent a packet of Stabile to put in the gas. But my local Generac service repair person says definitely do not use it; that it clogs up the lines.
(NB: there is a large body of people out there who are anti-Stabile, but instead use Startron-
https://www.google.com/search?q=star+tr ... =firefox-a
)
2-The Generac manual says to run it every week for 30 mins. but my local Generac service repair person says once a month is fine. Since gas is expensive, the decision here can be significant in the long run.

3-The Generac folk sent a trickle charger with the generator.
But some people here say trickle chargers are not the way to go.

Please note, I am interested in people's comments who have multiple years of an experience base to go from in answering the questions posed. To just say something should work is not much help to me at this point.

Thanks.

cb
Last edited by CountryBoy on Wed Dec 26, 2012 3:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
CountryBoy
 
Posts: 1403
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 11:21 am
Location: NY

Re: House Generator and its maintenance

Postby reggiesimpson » Wed Dec 26, 2012 3:46 pm

CountryBoy wrote:Has anyone out there noticed how difficult truth or the right course of action to follow in life is in regard to small engine issues?

Examples:

1-Generac- the manufacturer of my 8kW generator sent a packet of Stabile to put in the gas. But my local Generac service repair person says definitely do not use it; that it clogs up the lines.
(NB: there is a large body of people out there who are anti-Stabile, but instead use Startron-
https://www.google.com/search?q=star+tr ... =firefox-a
)
2-The Generac manual says to run it every week for 30 mins. but my local Generac service repair person says once a month is fine. Since gas is expensive, the decision here can be significant in the long run.

3-The Generac folk sent a trickle charger with the generator.
But some people here say trickle chargers are not the way t
Please note, I am interested in people's comments who have multiple years of an experience base to go from in answering the questions posed. To just say something should work is not much help to me at this point.

Thanks.

cb

cb.

Been using Stabil in my small equipment and my "summer" car for years without problems. Ditto for the Battery Tender. I start the generator once a month and run it for 5/10 minutes.
reggiesimpson
 
Posts: 1265
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:47 pm

Re: House Generator and its maintenance

Postby user5027 » Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:05 pm

In 2006 I bought an 8kw (13kw starting) generac/briggs & stratton with electric start at home depot. I keep it in the shed with no electricity to power the trickle charger that came with it. Eventually the battery would no longer crank the starter. 90% of the time the champ starts on the first pull. I've never pulled 3 times.

I've never used any gasoline stabilizer.
user5027
 
Posts: 270
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:54 pm

Re: House Generator and its maintenance

Postby CountryBoy » Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:14 pm

Just for the record, we in this area are in the midst of recovering from Hurricane Sandy and now............. another major storm is threatening this area.

Check www.weather.com, if you think I jest.

cb
User avatar
CountryBoy
 
Posts: 1403
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 11:21 am
Location: NY

Re: House Generator and its maintenance

Postby dratkinson » Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:48 pm

CountryBoy,

(1) Pull start capability.

As I remember, your generator also has a pull-start backup. Just for grins you might want to exercise that capability too. Use the rope-start to start it after your next extended storage period. It will provide you will good-to-know information.

(2) Exercise times.

I would think starting your generator once a month/quarter should be okay. Weekly runs sounds excessive.

My single-cylinder 30-yo generator is bullet-proof simple---rope start, short plug to stop, no AVR, no oil/temp sensors. Almost nothing to go wrong, so it lives in extended storage until I need it.

Before putting it into storage, I run it dry on stabilized fuel, put fogging oil into the cylinder, and bring the cylinder up on a compression stroke to close the valves.

It has never failed to start and run well. (Knock wood.)

(3) Stabilized fuel.

I've used Stabil in the past and it seems to work well for long-term storage. But recently I've switched to something called SeaFoam (fuel stabilizer, fuel system cleaner, top oil) recommended by the lawn/snow service guys. If it works as advertise, it will replace using Stabil and Gumout in my preventive maintenance program. It also seems to be a little cheaper. I buy it at my local NAPA.

(4) Battery tender.

A good battery tender will not damage your battery and can be left connected all the time. So no need to worry about recharging times.

If the one sent with your generator is not recommended for continues use, then replace it. You want things to be as bullet-proof simple as they can be. Much less to remember. You can keep the one sent with your generator as a backup. Just in case.
d.r.a, not dr.a.
User avatar
dratkinson
 
Posts: 2408
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 7:23 pm
Location: Centennial CO

Re: House Generator and its maintenance

Postby Padlin » Wed Dec 26, 2012 8:27 pm

A trickle Charger/Battery maintainer can be left on indefinitly, if your concerned with the cost of running such you can go http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=pd_sl_4gm84y0575_b?rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Abatteryminder+solar&keywords=batteryminder+solar&ie=UTF8&psrk=solar+battery+maintainers the solar route.

If you are going to keep gas either in your generator or in staorage for more then a few months use Stabil or whatever brand suits your fancy. I mix it in in the fall then what I don't use in the snow blower or Generator goes in the lawn mower come Spring.

I empty my small Honda generator and run it dry when I have no plans on using it, it only takes a minute to fill. I do the same with all my smaller power tools and have done so for the last 30 years without problems. My bigger equipment, like the tractor, gets Stabil for the winter and I keep these as full as I can get them to eliminate condensation. You do not want to keep untreated gas in the carb, it clogs the jets.

No way would I run the generator weekly, maybe once a month if you can remember to do so.
Regards | Bob
User avatar
Padlin
 
Posts: 604
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:46 pm
Location: W Mass

Re: House Generator and its maintenance

Postby Epsilon Delta » Wed Dec 26, 2012 9:12 pm

There are two options for keeping a generator (or anything else) if you want it to be available in an emergency. The first is to test it periodically so that if it fails you can detect the failure. The second is to prep it for long term storage and leave it alone. You will probably find that agencies that stock pile goods for emergencies take the second approach. The prep for storage approach is more reasonable if emergencies are rare, say once every few years rather than once every few months.

Prepping for long term storage could include some of the following:
  • Drain all fluids
  • Coat exposed metal with oil or cosmoline
  • Shrink wrap with a tub of silica gel (or store in climate controlled building)
  • Figure out how to start it with a battery that can stand long term storage (e.g. a primary lithium battery)
  • Storing spares for parts that might deteriorate (e.g. stockpile spare gaskets in original packaging)
User avatar
Epsilon Delta
 
Posts: 3372
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2011 8:00 pm

Re: House Generator and its maintenance

Postby CountryBoy » Wed Dec 26, 2012 9:20 pm

(4) Battery tender.

A good battery tender will not damage your battery and can be left connected all the time.


I am not sure what a Battery tender is but the trickle charger they sent with the machine has a special 'male' prong that goes into a slot on the machine for charging. Nothing for connecting to the battery itself.

The manual says that the battery should not be charged for more than 48 hrs. at a time.

While I am truly grateful for everyone's advice I think people can begin to see that the path is not always clear.

cb.
User avatar
CountryBoy
 
Posts: 1403
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 11:21 am
Location: NY

Re: House Generator and its maintenance

Postby dratkinson » Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:33 am

CountryBoy wrote:
(4) Battery tender.

A good battery tender will not damage your battery and can be left connected all the time.


...
The manual says that the battery should not be charged for more than 48 hrs. at a time.
...


What you have is a battery charger, not a battery tender.

Do a google search for the product names "Battery Tender" and "Battery Minder". Both products are designed for connect and forget operation. Both will correctly recharge your battery, but not overcharge it.

Ensure you get the one that supports your battery technology (liquid filled lead acid, non-spilling AGM,....)

Either product should clamp directly to your battery terminals. Or, for fun, you can wire up a plug that will connect it directly to your generator's battery socket.

Simple.
d.r.a, not dr.a.
User avatar
dratkinson
 
Posts: 2408
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 7:23 pm
Location: Centennial CO

Re: House Generator and its maintenance

Postby vtMaps » Thu Dec 27, 2012 8:55 am

You can keep your battery maintained with a small solar panel. I am not familiar with your particular generator's battery, so I will not tell you what size panel. If you ask about it at http://www.wind-sun.com/ForumVB/forum.php you will likely get some expert advice. There are a number of generac users there.
--vtMaps
connecting at 19k with a 56k modem through 10 miles of copper in central Vermont.
vtMaps
 
Posts: 53
Joined: Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:05 pm
Location: central Vermont

Re: House Generator and its maintenance

Postby CountryBoy » Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:06 pm

Many thanks to dr.atkinson and everyone else for the patient and comprehensive guidance.

So, I went down to my local Generac servicing people and discovered the following:

• My battery is probably of the non-spilling AGM type
• My charger is of the ¾ amp variety
• No one makes a tender with the prong I need, and to use a tender or manager on my generator is going to be a challenge re the hook up for same and the placement of the battery on the generator. It is difficult to get at.
• Only necessary for maintenance to run it 15 mins. at a time rather than the 30mins. suggested in the manual; probably every other week is sufficient.
• Best to keep the gas tank totally full or empty but not in between with partial fill up.
• Gas- the manual said to not use premium gas. The guys at the shop noted that every 30 days gas loses 2 octane points in efficiency and so shelf life is not that good for high octane.
• Probably not that worthwhile using a gas stabilizer; it is a toss up for multiple reasons and the way gas today is made.

My thanks once again.

cb
User avatar
CountryBoy
 
Posts: 1403
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 11:21 am
Location: NY

Re: House Generator and its maintenance

Postby CountryBoy » Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:01 pm

Postby dratkinson » Wed Dec 26, 2012 3:48 pm

(1) Pull start capability.

As I remember, your generator also has a pull-start backup. Just for grins you might want to exercise that capability too. Use the rope-start to start it after your next extended storage period. It will provide you will good-to-know information.


Yes, you are correct, it does have a pull-start backup, and I tried it..........Maybe in the books it is supposed to work but not for this man. 8kW machine pull? I tried and did not come close to it. Very glad I tried it so I now know that it is not an option for starting although the manual says one can...........

Must confess to being battery dependent for this machine.

And a 4 inch snow storm is expected for tomorrow, so I am glad to have it running.

(You folks in Arizona, etc. must be on the floor laughing with all the stuff we gotta do to cope with weather... :oops: )
User avatar
CountryBoy
 
Posts: 1403
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 11:21 am
Location: NY

Re: House Generator and its maintenance

Postby FoolStreet » Fri Dec 28, 2012 5:01 pm

Why not consider buying a Prius or Highlander Hybrid and using that as the generator?
FoolStreet
 
Posts: 139
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:18 am

Re: House Generator and its maintenance

Postby lawman3966 » Fri Dec 28, 2012 5:25 pm

FoolStreet wrote:Why not consider buying a Prius or Highlander Hybrid and using that as the generator?


I wrote an entry about a month ago about a colleague of mine did just that (i.e. used a Prius to power his home) during Hurricane Sandy.

On reflection afterwards though, he conceded that it wasn't for everyone. He is an experienced electrical engineer, and not everyone would know how to make all the right connections, and operate within the needed limits. He had only one kilowatt to work with for his entire home, and had to carefully limit what appliances to use in his home prior to connecting the inverter (which he'd installed in his Prius) output to the house junction box.

However, with all the correct settings in place, the Prius is an extremely efficient and useful generator. He ran his home for four days on 1/2 of a tank of gas - about 6 gallons. By then, most people with traditional generators had long run out of gasoline.

With a little more current output from the 12-volt system, the Prius would be perfect.
lawman3966
 
Posts: 911
Joined: Sun Aug 10, 2008 1:09 pm

Re: House Generator and its maintenance

Postby dratkinson » Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:01 pm

Re: Using the Prius as a Generator: viewtopic.php?p=1534166#p1534166
d.r.a, not dr.a.
User avatar
dratkinson
 
Posts: 2408
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 7:23 pm
Location: Centennial CO

Re: House Generator and its maintenance

Postby Epsilon Delta » Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:31 pm

lawman3966 wrote:With a little more current output from the 12-volt system, the Prius would be perfect.


The Prius motor controller can generate AC of arbitrary frequency and voltage. With aggressive modification of the control rules* a determined tinkerer could probably use the hardware in a Prius to produce continuous 120V 60Hz AC at up to several kW while intermittently running the engine (using the traction battery as required).

It would be nice if Toyota offered this as an option, although for various reasons they would be more likely to add an option to the plug in hybrid.

* This might require cooperation from Toyota, I don't know how hard they worked to prevent unauthorized modifications.
User avatar
Epsilon Delta
 
Posts: 3372
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2011 8:00 pm

Re: House Generator and its maintenance

Postby Mister Whale » Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:40 am

CountryBoy wrote:Has anyone out there noticed how difficult truth or the right course of action to follow in life is in regard to small engine issues?

Examples:

1-Generac- the manufacturer of my 8kW generator sent a packet of Stabile to put in the gas. But my local Generac service repair person says definitely do not use it; that it clogs up the lines.
(NB: there is a large body of people out there who are anti-Stabile, but instead use Startron-
https://www.google.com/search?q=star+tr ... =firefox-a
)
2-The Generac manual says to run it every week for 30 mins. but my local Generac service repair person says once a month is fine. Since gas is expensive, the decision here can be significant in the long run.

3-The Generac folk sent a trickle charger with the generator.
But some people here say trickle chargers are not the way to go.

Please note, I am interested in people's comments who have multiple years of an experience base to go from in answering the questions posed. To just say something should work is not much help to me at this point.

Thanks.

cb


I have used both Sta-Bil and Seafoam as fuel stabilizers for the last ten years, both with excellent results (I used Sta-Bil once to store a motorcycle in an unconditioned storage unit for 3.5 years, after which it started with 15 seconds of cranking). Currently I am using SeaFoam exclusively, if only because you can purchase it in gallon cans. For extra fuel, I keep two "Type II" 5-gallon safety cans, rotating their fuel into my daily driver once every six months. There is no smell from fumes, ever, in my garage.

I run my Honda EU6500is generator (which I have owned for nearly three years) about once every two months, for about an hour at a time. I keep its battery charged with a Battery Tender Jr., a unit that I currently have five of (mostly for keeping charged the batteries of various motorcycles). I change the oil with Mobil 1 every 12 months or 100 hours of use (and keep enough extra on hand for multiple oil changes if necessary for the continuous use that a prolong outage would bring).

I keep a roll of blue low-tack painters tape in the garage, and use a small of piece to date the run date and fuel purchase date of every fuel can and vehicle that doesn't see near-daily use. I also use it to date the last oil change on all of my small engines.

Hope that helps.
" ... advice is most useful and at its best, not when it is telling you what to do, but when it is illuminating aspects of the situation you hadn't thought about." --nisiprius
User avatar
Mister Whale
 
Posts: 457
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:39 am

Re: House Generator and its maintenance

Postby dratkinson » Sat Dec 29, 2012 2:03 am

Mister Whale wrote:...
I run my Honda EU6500is generator ...


Could you tell us more about your EU6500is? I'm considering it and some firsthand data would be nice.

How loud? Fuel consumption/loads carried? Anything else you have found to be useful or to be avoided?
d.r.a, not dr.a.
User avatar
dratkinson
 
Posts: 2408
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 7:23 pm
Location: Centennial CO

Re: House Generator and its maintenance

Postby Qtman » Sat Dec 29, 2012 4:25 am

Why not look into nat gas or propane powered. We have a 20kw propane that is totally automatic and starts itself once a week for a few minutes.
Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich; be wise enough to control yourself. | Wealth can vanish in the wink of an eye. It can seem to grow wings and fly away | like an eagle. - King Solomon
User avatar
Qtman
 
Posts: 337
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:00 pm
Location: Rocky Mountains

Re: House Generator and its maintenance

Postby vtMaps » Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:23 am

dratkinson wrote:Could you tell us more about your EU6500is? I'm considering it and some firsthand data would be nice.
How loud? Fuel consumption/loads carried? Anything else you have found to be useful or to be avoided?

Its the most perfect gasoline generator I have owned. I have only good things to say about it. I used it to build a house off grid. It supported a crew with multiple air compressors, table saws, etc. Now I hardly ever use it and am looking to sell it. My honda eu2000 is able to run any of my tools or household appliances (one at a time) and it is much more efficient (at 1000-1500 watt loads) than the 6500.

I agree with the advice to buy a propane generator. Gasoline is great for portable generators, but propane makes for a lower maintenance and more reliable standby generator.

--vtMaps
connecting at 19k with a 56k modem through 10 miles of copper in central Vermont.
vtMaps
 
Posts: 53
Joined: Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:05 pm
Location: central Vermont

Re: House Generator and its maintenance

Postby CountryBoy » Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:50 am

Does everyone know that YouTube has lots of videos on generators, setup, running, and conversion?

This is the model I have
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvOwukT7i0I

cb
User avatar
CountryBoy
 
Posts: 1403
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 11:21 am
Location: NY

Re: House Generator and its maintenance

Postby Mister Whale » Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:19 pm

dratkinson wrote:
Mister Whale wrote:...
I run my Honda EU6500is generator ...


Could you tell us more about your EU6500is? I'm considering it and some firsthand data would be nice.

How loud? Fuel consumption/loads carried? Anything else you have found to be useful or to be avoided?


I *really* like it. It's very quiet (perhaps sliiigtly louder than a heat pump condenser/compressor unit) -- I currently live in a townhouse and noise level is an extremely important factor for obvious reasons. The engine that powers it, the Honda GX390, is legendary for its reliability (I have a large pressure washer with a GX390, and although that engine has many hours on it, it starts and runs perfectly every time). Fuel consumption I can only anecdotally rate as "good" -- it regularly uses less than I think it will, if that's helpful to you. Itl'll run almost anything in my home, save only (I think) the HVAC unit -- although not all at the same time, of course. I thought it was the perfect size to run the things in my home that I wanted to run, but not so big that it would use fuel unnecessarily (ideally in an outage with a limited fuel supply your generator would only be large enough to run what you need and be NO LARGER).

The only problem I have ever had was when I ran it with the battery door removed. Apparently this will allow the unit to breathe too much air and run lean; it ran poorly (inconsistent RPM) until I realized the problem.

(When I first bought it, I changed the oil 3 times in the first hour and a half of operation -- like almost all small motors, these units have no oil filter, and quite a fair amount of metal shavings come out in those 3 oil drainings. I switched to synthetic with the next oil change after that. Overkill, probably, but that may give you some insight as to how I take care of my machines. And this generator is, as you probably know by now, not inexpensive.)

Here's a link to the owner's manual: http://powerequipment.honda.com/pdf/man ... 256110.pdf

And according to this article, Honda substantially under-rates the power output of this unit (partly, perhaps, because of certain OSHA regulations): http://www.screenlightandgrip.com/html/ ... ating.html

I posted this about it on another forum:

I run a Honda EU6500is at my townhome, which makes 5500w steady and 6500w "surge" power. It wasn't cheap, but I have lots of neighbors and I was willing to pay more for the quietest unit so that I wouldn't be facing an angry mob during a prolonged outage. I'd guess that it's only several dB louder than our heat pump/AC compressor/condenser unit -- you hear it, but it's not very intrusive (I can't hear it from inside with our windows closed). It also runs "smart" -- only revs up to the RPM that are required to generate the power load on the unit -- so it's much easier on fuel than I thought it would be. Finally, it makes very clean power that I can run computer equipment, audio gear, TVs etc. with.

For maximum flexibility, I have one of those transfer switches that connects at the meter, which allows me to power (almost) anything in my house and manage the power at the breaker box. (For example, if I want hot water, I turn off breakers for the fridge and some of the lights so that I can "afford" 3000 watts for the hot water heater. Once the water in the tank is hot, cut that breaker and turn the fridge breaker back on.) It WON'T run the central heat pump/AC unit, but I have oil-filled "radiator" space heaters for winter outages, and a window AC unit for summer outages.

A couple of points:
1) You need to periodically run the generator so that the carburetor doesn't "gum up" and change the oil once every year or two.

2) You need to keep fuel on hand. I keep an extra 10 gallons of fuel on hand (which I refresh every 6 months or so by dumping it into the car and refilling the cans with fresh gas). All fuel gets labeled with a date, and all fuel receives fuel stabilizer.

3) You need to keep the generator starter battery charged. I use a "smart" trickle/float charger made by Battery Tender.

4) You need to have a way to keep the generator covered in case you need it during inclement weather. (I use an EzUP-type 10x10 canopy.)

5) You need a spot in your garage to put the thing!

Hope this helps someone.
" ... advice is most useful and at its best, not when it is telling you what to do, but when it is illuminating aspects of the situation you hadn't thought about." --nisiprius
User avatar
Mister Whale
 
Posts: 457
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:39 am

Re: House Generator and its maintenance

Postby CountryBoy » Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:36 pm

Many thanks folks; good advice.

cb
User avatar
CountryBoy
 
Posts: 1403
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 11:21 am
Location: NY

Re: House Generator and its maintenance

Postby dratkinson » Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:24 am

Mister Whale wrote:...
And according to this article, Honda substantially under-rates the power output of this unit (partly, perhaps, because of certain OSHA regulations): http://www.screenlightandgrip.com/html/ ... ating.html
...


I read through the linked article a while back and found it most interesting. From what I remember, the generator's inverter section has build-in automatic circuit protection to handle the higher power the generator is capable of providing, and these higher-rated generators are sold in other countries. The front-panel circuit breaker is inline and intentionally rated at less than the inverter's automatic circuit protection for an artificial reason, so Honda could market this generator here in the 5KW (continuous) market. (Have forgotten the cited artificial justification differentiating <=5KW and >5KW.)

While reading the article, I found myself wondering if Honda sells those other-country higher-power front-panel CBs here as an after-market kit with instructions? (RQ)
d.r.a, not dr.a.
User avatar
dratkinson
 
Posts: 2408
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 7:23 pm
Location: Centennial CO


Return to Personal Consumer Issues

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 16 guests