Should I purchase a whole house generator?

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linuxizer
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by linuxizer »

lazydavid wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 11:52 am You are correct, but now you are talking about him spending Five Grand for an equivalent inverter generator, or $10k for two. At that point you should just get a standby generator and forget the whole portable bit. My entire setup above was about $1500 all-in, including the electrical work. And though I don't have a quiet inverter generator, the noise isn't that bad with the shed closed.
Champion dual fuel 3400w inverter is less than 2300 for two with parallel kit. If you don't mind running on gas (or converting yourself) the Harbor Freight Predators are supposedly quite reliable and are $750 each.
lazydavid
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by lazydavid »

linuxizer wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:04 pm
lazydavid wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 11:52 am You are correct, but now you are talking about him spending Five Grand for an equivalent inverter generator, or $10k for two. At that point you should just get a standby generator and forget the whole portable bit. My entire setup above was about $1500 all-in, including the electrical work. And though I don't have a quiet inverter generator, the noise isn't that bad with the shed closed.
Champion dual fuel 3400w inverter is less than 2300 for two with parallel kit. If you don't mind running on gas (or converting yourself) the Harbor Freight Predators are supposedly quite reliable and are $750 each.
Completely apples and oranges.

The generator that was being asked about was a Honda with a 240V/30A outlet, capable of being fed directly into the load center via a power inlet. The generator I linked was a Honda 240V inverter generator with a 240V parallel kit.

The generators you mention are all 120V generators with 120V parallel kits. So they can't be used to power an entire house in this manner.
linuxizer
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by linuxizer »

lazydavid wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:19 pmCompletely apples and oranges.

The generator that was being asked about was a Honda with a 240V/30A outlet, capable of being fed directly into the load center via a power inlet. The generator I linked was a Honda 240V inverter generator with a 240V parallel kit.

The generators you mention are all 120V generators with 120V parallel kits. So they can't be used to power an entire house in this manner.
That's fair - yes 240V is a huge price increase. We just got a 120V and plan on buying a window unit or two in case we need A/C, but obviously other people may have different needs (particularly older adults or babies).

Even so, if you're worried about redundancy, 2000W gas inverters regularly go on sale for <$350.... That's a different and very asymmetric setup compared to a parallel kit, though.
Van
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by Van »

It depends on how often your power goes off, how long it usually stays off and how severe the consequences are of having no power. For example, do you have a well? If yes, no power means no water, a not very pleasant situation for sure.

We have a well, our power goes off 2 to 4 times per year and sometimes is off for 2 or more days. Easy decision for us. We bought a whole house generator about 9 years ago. It runs off of our propane tank via an automatic switch on mechanism. ONE OF THE BEST EXPENDITURES WE EVER MADE.
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Stinky
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by Stinky »

Van wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 1:44 pm ONE OF THE BEST EXPENDITURES WE EVER MADE.
This^^^

We lose power at least once a month. Often for just a few hours, sometimes for a day or more.

About 15 years ago, we sprang for a generator that drives the whole house, including AC. It’s on right now, since we heard a transformer blow somewhere in the woods behind our house about 2 hours ago.

BEST MONEY WE EVER SPENT.
It's a GREAT day to be alive - Travis Tritt
Ron
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by Ron »

We had our 20kW unit installed in 2013 (along with a 500gal underground propane tank) and its one of the best upgrades we have done to our home, IMHO.

After the October Halloween Snowstorm of 2011 and Super storm Sandy in 2012, when we were down a week in each occurrence, it tilted the decision to get the unit along with the spotty electric service we've had over our last 25+ years in our current home.

I was able to get an 8200 watt portable generator after SS Sandy and used it for a few times before the 20kW unit was installed, but it was a real PIA. You could not use it in the rain, the running of extension cables all over the place, and just the idea of "should I hook it up", not knowing how long any outage would last.

The real kicker was having an all electric house with the big items (heat pump, cooking, etc.) directly wired into their associated 220v line, the portable generator was not the solution.

The longest outage over the last seven years since installation of the 20kW unit has been 45 hours. That's the longest, being that there have been many multi-hour outages along the way. Our local utility has done a good job installing “Smart grid” technologies over the last few years to minimize outages, but that accounts for the minor interruptions - not those caused by major weather or traffic accident occurrences.

Now that we're in our early 70's and our home is actually our "palace" these days, I'm glad we spent the money for the unit.

- Ron
clutchied
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by clutchied »

miamivice wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 5:23 pm We love power at our house around 5 times per year. It's annoying. If it happens in the early morning, I oversleep and don't get to work on time. Sometimes the power is out for 12 hours and then things start to go bad in the fridges. We're not sure why power is not more reliable (we are in a suburban community with all underground power) but it's life. Sometimes power goes out for days if we have a storm.

So, I am thinking about purchasing a whole house generator. OK, we don't really need one. I sort of just want one. I just called one place and professional turnkey installation is around $11,000 plus tax. Ouch! However I have found big whole house generators on Craigslist etc for not much money, and am contemplating DIY installation.

Questions:

1. How much value, if any, does a whole house generator add to one's house?

2. Beyond the generator, what are the expenses for a DIY installation? I assume gas plumbing (we have natural gas), wiring, transfer switch, and pad.

3. Has anyone here done a DIY installation of a generator? How did it go? Pitfalls?

4. Again, can I make this project pencil out financially? I clearly cannot make professional installation pencil out so looking for other options to consider.

5. One option is the 20kw generator from Costco. Out of stock at the moment but runs about $4400 plus installation. $4400 isn't too bad if I could DIY the installation.
I would NOT DIY.

I bought one @ costco on sale for $3500 and then had it professionally installed for like $2900.

I'll take a picture if the install and post it... what a nightmare. I am pretty handy but I think I'd be dead now if I tried. It is pretty complex and you have to know quite a bit about load calculations to do it correctly.

We used to lose power a lot but not so much anymore... my wife loves it though and we used to lose water (well) when the power went out which was unacceptable to her.
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by hudson »

lazydavid wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 11:52 am
hudson wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 11:14 am I like the above solution. A relative has a setup like that. Let's say that I choose a manual system like the above. Then I add a portable generator...maybe this: https://powerequipment.honda.com/genera ... els/em6500. I'm sure that I'd need to figure my load. I don't know if this generator is one of the quiet ones.

Then I put in a concrete pad....or maybe one of those plastic bases they now put under heat pumps. Then I put the generator in a good place so that the exhaust isn't a problem...not sure where that would be. I don't know how far the generator can be from the interlock....voltage drop problem? I want to leave the generator there; I don't want to store it or move it; I want easy access for maintenance. What kind of enclosure would be optimal and look good? I would hire an electrician and maybe consult with the appropriate engineer before finalizing this plan.
Here is what I did:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/8ipgel07vg6q5 ... 155642.jpg

https://www.dropbox.com/s/w7hea496aar5p ... 155614.jpg

https://www.dropbox.com/s/vwwsjxorfwlo2 ... 155610.jpg
linuxizer wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 11:29 am That is not a quiet one. You want an inverter, which is more efficient as well.

You can parallel two inverters together for twice the amperage. That gives you backup options as well since one will run the essentials.
You are correct, but now you are talking about him spending Five Grand for an equivalent inverter generator, or $10k for two. At that point you should just get a standby generator and forget the whole portable bit. My entire setup above was about $1500 all-in, including the electrical work. And though I don't have a quiet inverter generator, the noise isn't that bad with the shed closed.
lazydavid,
Thanks for the pics! I saved them. You solved the noise problem with the enclosure and distance from your house. Exhaust fumes were also taken care of. Nice fan and ventilation! You never have to move the generator. You can easily get into the enclosure to do maintenance. What's not to like? I'm guessing that the cable across the yard was carrying 220 volts to the house?
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willthrill81
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by willthrill81 »

linuxizer wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 1:27 pm
lazydavid wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:19 pmCompletely apples and oranges.

The generator that was being asked about was a Honda with a 240V/30A outlet, capable of being fed directly into the load center via a power inlet. The generator I linked was a Honda 240V inverter generator with a 240V parallel kit.

The generators you mention are all 120V generators with 120V parallel kits. So they can't be used to power an entire house in this manner.
That's fair - yes 240V is a huge price increase. We just got a 120V and plan on buying a window unit or two in case we need A/C, but obviously other people may have different needs (particularly older adults or babies).

Even so, if you're worried about redundancy, 2000W gas inverters regularly go on sale for <$350.... That's a different and very asymmetric setup compared to a parallel kit, though.
I've never really understood the appeal of parallel kits with inverter generators. They were designed with only one real application in mind, TMK: enabling the RV crowd to easily run a 13,500 BTU air conditioner with dual 2 kW inverter generators. But that's not necessary any more since several manufacturers now make inverter generators larger than 2 kW (like my Yamaha 2,400) that can do it with no problem and at lower total cost than two 2 kW units.

That said, I agree that there's a lot to be said for redundancy, and having two quality inverter generators is basically a guarantee that at least one will always be operational.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
lazydavid
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by lazydavid »

hudson wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:29 pm lazydavid,
Thanks for the pics! I saved them. You solved the noise problem with the enclosure and distance from your house. Exhaust fumes were also taken care of. Nice fan and ventilation! You never have to move the generator. You can easily get into the enclosure to do maintenance. What's not to like? I'm guessing that the cable across the yard was carrying 220 volts to the house?
No problem, glad it helps! I wanted to avoid the common complaints (heard several times in this thread also) of "I have to drag the generator out, set it up, then tear it down when I'm done, running in the rain is a problem, it's really noisy and I can't sleep" etc etc etc. I had seen a bunch of videos of people building "generator sheds" (that's what these are called) out of lumber, but I'm honestly not that handy. :) So modifying a pre-cast shed was the ticket for me. It's way bigger than it needs to be, but I store 5 gallon gas cans and 20 lb propane tanks in the extra space, then take them out before starting the generator.

The fan is on the exhaust side, so it pulls both cooling and combustion air through the left vent, and pushes exhaust out the right vent. Both vents are standard 20x20" returns like you'd use in a home. The fan has a "weathershield motor", meaning it's meant to be run in a window where it might see some rain. After 2 years, the frame/surround is starting to show rust spots from being fully outside at all times, but I've probably got another 5 years at least before it needs to be replaced, and it was less than $30.

Yes, the cable is carrying 220V. It's a 40 foot, 10 gauge 4-conductor RV-style extension cord, that plugs right into the twistlocks on the generator and inlet. I put a "waterproof in use" outlet cover on the side of the shed, then instead of using the outlet insert, just drilled a hole through the shed wall slightly larger than the plug end, so I can just fish it through. When I'm not using it, I coil it up, plug it into itself to keep the terminals clean, and throw it inside the shed.
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willthrill81
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by willthrill81 »

hudson wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 11:14 am From my army truck company days: it seems like they always used two portable generators to keep the reefers (refrigerators) going while in the field. They would run the generators in 12 hours shifts. I've never heard of that being used in the civilian world.
The 'two is one, one is none' mantra is very much alive and well in the preparedness community. That said, I've never heard of anyone running generators in shifts either, nor do I really see the point with smaller generators. Running them at no more than 50% load continuously should be roughly equivalent to 'highway miles' on a vehicle, better than frequent starts and stops, which most mechanics I've spoken to claim is far harder on an engine than a steady load.
linuxizer wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 11:29 am Not sure how far the cord can run before it's an issue but with a beefy enough cord, pretty far I imagine. Long low-gauge cords are not cheap but not insane either.
Voltage drop can be a real problem, and length is one of the bigger factors, but there are several others, including the amperage being pulled, the gauge, and the material used (e.g. copper vs. aluminum). A voltage drop calculator like this one is a must, especially for longer runs or any permanent application.

That said, as long as the voltage at the point of use is at least 110 volts, anything but maybe the most sensitive electronics (e.g. a finely tuned Ham radio) should work just fine. I've run modern refrigerators (i.e. with small, low amp compressors) on 200 ft. of 16 gauge extension cords (bought for under $20 for each 100 ft. length) with zero problems. Running power tools and anything that creates significant heat (e.g. hair dryers, coffee makers) requires a lot of amps and can lead to operational problems due to voltage drop though.
Last edited by willthrill81 on Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
hudson
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by hudson »

lazydavid wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:42 pm
hudson wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:29 pm lazydavid,
Thanks for the pics! I saved them. You solved the noise problem with the enclosure and distance from your house. Exhaust fumes were also taken care of. Nice fan and ventilation! You never have to move the generator. You can easily get into the enclosure to do maintenance. What's not to like? I'm guessing that the cable across the yard was carrying 220 volts to the house?
No problem, glad it helps! I wanted to avoid the common complaints (heard several times in this thread also) of "I have to drag the generator out, set it up, then tear it down when I'm done, running in the rain is a problem, it's really noisy and I can't sleep" etc etc etc. I had seen a bunch of videos of people building "generator sheds" (that's what these are called) out of lumber, but I'm honestly not that handy. :) So modifying a pre-cast shed was the ticket for me. It's way bigger than it needs to be, but I store 5 gallon gas cans and 20 lb propane tanks in the extra space, then take them out before starting the generator.

The fan is on the exhaust side, so it pulls both cooling and combustion air through the left vent, and pushes exhaust out the right vent. Both vents are standard 20x20" returns like you'd use in a home. The fan has a "weathershield motor", meaning it's meant to be run in a window where it might see some rain. After 2 years, the frame/surround is starting to show rust spots from being fully outside at all times, but I've probably got another 5 years at least before it needs to be replaced, and it was less than $30.

Yes, the cable is carrying 220V. It's a 40 foot, 10 gauge 4-conductor RV-style extension cord, that plugs right into the twistlocks on the generator and inlet. I put a "waterproof in use" outlet cover on the side of the shed, then instead of using the outlet insert, just drilled a hole through the shed wall slightly larger than the plug end, so I can just fish it through. When I'm not using it, I coil it up, plug it into itself to keep the terminals clean, and throw it inside the shed.
I'm not an expert, but I heard that 220V cables don't have voltage drop...whatever that is....so that passes that test.
I never heard of an RV-style extension cord....but if I do this, I'll find one.
I like the size of your enclosure. It's a plus to move gasoline storage away from the house.
What's not to like?
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willthrill81
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by willthrill81 »

hudson wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:49 pm I'm not an expert, but I heard that 220V cables don't have voltage drop...
That's bona fide false. All cables suffer from voltage drop.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by neilpilot »

hudson wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:49 pm
I'm not an expert, but I heard that 220V cables don't have voltage drop...whatever that is....so that passes that test.
Given the same gauge wire, length and amperage load, I think a 220v cable will have about half the drop, in percentage of voltage, of 110v service.
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by hudson »

So if I use Willthrill81's voltage drop calculator on lazydavid's 40 foot cable...

Here's what I put in....I guessed at some of the numbers...

wire material = copper
wire size 10AWG
Voltage: 220
Phase: AC single phase
Number of conductors: 4 conductors per phase in parallel
Distance 40 feet
Load Current 30 amps

The result....is this right? What did I miss?

Voltage Drop percentage 0.27%
Voltage at the end 219.4


Thanks for the voltage drop refresher course!
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willthrill81
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by willthrill81 »

hudson wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:55 pm So if I use Willthrill81's voltage drop calculator on lazydavid's 40 foot cable...

Here's what I put in....I guessed at some of the numbers...

wire material = copper
wire size 10AWG
Voltage: 220
Phase: AC single phase
Number of conductors: 4 conductors per phase in parallel
Distance 40 feet
Load Current 30 amps

The result....is this right? What did I miss?

Voltage Drop percentage 0.27%
Voltage at the end 219.4
That sounds about right. 40 ft. is not far at all, and 10 gauge copper wire can handle a lot of current without much voltage drop.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
egrets
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by egrets »

There are pictures on the web of noise baffling enclosures like that for Generacs, so I asked Generac about them and the guy had a cow right over the phone. I forget what bothers them, lack of air or what. (There were no tops on the enclosures.)

Here's one. It's pretty big, though and would take up too much room in my yard anyway.

https://www.acoustiblok.com/2018/04/30/ ... enclosure/
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willthrill81
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by willthrill81 »

egrets wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 4:45 pm There are pictures on the web of noise baffling enclosures like that for Generacs, so I asked Generac about them and the guy had a cow right over the phone. I forget what bothers them, lack of air or what. (There were no tops on the enclosures.)
Relatively small engines cannot handle much back pressure on the exhaust at all. A 20 kW Generac has 1 liter of displacement, and running at 2500 rpm, it will displace about 1500 liters or 53 cubic feet of air per minute. Anything that restricts that airflow, whether on the intake or the exhaust, could easily lead to problems that probably won't be covered by the warranty.

It's difficult, though possible, to build an aftermarket noise baffling enclosure for a gas engine with adequate air flow. Doing it correctly almost requires the use of fans in the enclosure to assist the engine in moving all that air and to ensure that the exhaust doesn't get recirculated. This is a big part of the reason why inverter generators have become so popular.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by jdb »

Interesting discussion. We were without power for several
weeks after Hurricane Andrew, running portable generator with wires all over house with two young children with over 90 degrees outside temperatures. Said never again. Installed 27KW Generac with 1000 gallon underground propane tank a few years later, generator located on 4 foot high concrete pedestal above ground, easily run whole house through several hurricanes since, including most recently Irma where power was out for almost week. Our 1000 gallon tank will run generator for at least two weeks, hope we never have to test full capacity. We have manual transfer switch, know too many people whose automatic switches didn’t work after bad hurricanes. But we spend well over $1K per year on monthly maintenance checks, so not inexpensive. We consider it a good house investment in our area. Good luck. Quick edit: found out that generator electricity will not power Tesla vehicles, apparently not consistent enough electrical power. So we keep our pick up truck with full gas tank during hurricane season each year.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by ResearchMed »

willthrill81 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 6:19 pm
egrets wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 4:45 pm There are pictures on the web of noise baffling enclosures like that for Generacs, so I asked Generac about them and the guy had a cow right over the phone. I forget what bothers them, lack of air or what. (There were no tops on the enclosures.)
Relatively small engines cannot handle much back pressure on the exhaust at all. A 20 kW Generac has 1 liter of displacement, and running at 2500 rpm, it will displace about 1500 liters or 53 cubic feet of air per minute. Anything that restricts that airflow, whether on the intake or the exhaust, could easily lead to problems that probably won't be covered by the warranty.

It's difficult, though possible, to build an aftermarket noise baffling enclosure for a gas engine with adequate air flow. Doing it correctly almost requires the use of fans in the enclosure to assist the engine in moving all that air and to ensure that the exhaust doesn't get recirculated. This is a big part of the reason why inverter generators have become so popular.
Thanks for emphasizing the need for exhaust. I knew it was important, but probably not quite how much exhaust needed to be accommodated.

One concern I had from the start, once we finally had our nat gas generator installed was... what happens with deep snow?
If it gets buried, and then suddenly runs, there may not be proper exhaust possible.
So we arranged with our snowplow person to spend some extra time for every snowfall (in case there are consecutive storms), to clear a path the the side of the house, and then also clear space around the generator.
At least it's along a side, but closer to the front of the house, not the back.

But I've also wondered/worried about what if there is a big snow storm, and the winds are swirling... would that just cause the snow to re-bury the generator? Our "guy" would be back as needed, but he's not going to be camping out in our side yard, obviously!

Should we build a little shed over it, leaving the vented sides open?
We did plant a row of short boxwoods along the outer side, more as a visual than a sound or snow buffer, but it does catch snow rather than have it fall in a heavy heap right there.
In a really heavy storm, that still might not be enough, if the snow is deep/heavy. And that's the kind of storm that's more likely to lead to power outages.
And worse, snow can - and will - slide right off our steep roof, and some will land on the generator area.

How much of a problem is this?
Are we tempting fate by *not* having a sort of shed with open sides built? Or maybe something removable in warmer weather?
We see some neighbors who had special plants/bushes/small trees, and they tend to arrange to have "A" frame protection over them, probably with very large pieces of plywood.
But they are trying to keep snow off the upper, more fragile part of plantings. Our problem is closer to the bottom, where snow would still accumulad, blocking exhaust.

Fortunately, these past several years, we just haven't had any of the really deep snows that we had here the first few years, when we even had trouble figuring out where to have the plowed snow put.

And no, we have not (yet!?) had a problem during the weekly self test. But I'm not sure that ever occurred just when there was really heavy snow on the ground near (or even on) the generator.

Note: We are NOT "handy" or strong enough these days to build anything ourselves, so we'd need to find someone to figure out what to build, and then build it for us.

:confused

Thanks.

RM
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by willthrill81 »

ResearchMed wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 7:21 pm
willthrill81 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 6:19 pm
egrets wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 4:45 pm There are pictures on the web of noise baffling enclosures like that for Generacs, so I asked Generac about them and the guy had a cow right over the phone. I forget what bothers them, lack of air or what. (There were no tops on the enclosures.)
Relatively small engines cannot handle much back pressure on the exhaust at all. A 20 kW Generac has 1 liter of displacement, and running at 2500 rpm, it will displace about 1500 liters or 53 cubic feet of air per minute. Anything that restricts that airflow, whether on the intake or the exhaust, could easily lead to problems that probably won't be covered by the warranty.

It's difficult, though possible, to build an aftermarket noise baffling enclosure for a gas engine with adequate air flow. Doing it correctly almost requires the use of fans in the enclosure to assist the engine in moving all that air and to ensure that the exhaust doesn't get recirculated. This is a big part of the reason why inverter generators have become so popular.
Thanks for emphasizing the need for exhaust. I knew it was important, but probably not quite how much exhaust needed to be accommodated.

One concern I had from the start, once we finally had our nat gas generator installed was... what happens with deep snow?
If it gets buried, and then suddenly runs, there may not be proper exhaust possible.
So we arranged with our snowplow person to spend some extra time for every snowfall (in case there are consecutive storms), to clear a path the the side of the house, and then also clear space around the generator.
At least it's along a side, but closer to the front of the house, not the back.

But I've also wondered/worried about what if there is a big snow storm, and the winds are swirling... would that just cause the snow to re-bury the generator? Our "guy" would be back as needed, but he's not going to be camping out in our side yard, obviously!

Should we build a little shed over it, leaving the vented sides open?
We did plant a row of short boxwoods along the outer side, more as a visual than a sound or snow buffer, but it does catch snow rather than have it fall in a heavy heap right there.
In a really heavy storm, that still might not be enough, if the snow is deep/heavy. And that's the kind of storm that's more likely to lead to power outages.
And worse, snow can - and will - slide right off our steep roof, and some will land on the generator area.

How much of a problem is this?
Are we tempting fate by *not* having a sort of shed with open sides built? Or maybe something removable in warmer weather?
We see some neighbors who had special plants/bushes/small trees, and they tend to arrange to have "A" frame protection over them, probably with very large pieces of plywood.
But they are trying to keep snow off the upper, more fragile part of plantings. Our problem is closer to the bottom, where snow would still accumulad, blocking exhaust.

Fortunately, these past several years, we just haven't had any of the really deep snows that we had here the first few years, when we even had trouble figuring out where to have the plowed snow put.

And no, we have not (yet!?) had a problem during the weekly self test. But I'm not sure that ever occurred just when there was really heavy snow on the ground near (or even on) the generator.

Note: We are NOT "handy" or strong enough these days to build anything ourselves, so we'd need to find someone to figure out what to build, and then build it for us.

:confused

Thanks.

RM
Your concerns about deep snow inhibiting air flow are very justified. Once the generator is running, the hot exhaust should pretty quickly melt the snow around it, but if it's already buried in it, it might have issues starting. And of course that doesn't address the intake side at all. I'd say that your idea to build a shed with open sides is a good one. It can be pretty low since the intake and exhaust are on the sides. It could even have a removable roof, one that would just slide down on the corner posts. Any handyman should be able to readily build one without substantial expense.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by abuss368 »

ResearchMed wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 7:21 pm
willthrill81 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 6:19 pm
egrets wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 4:45 pm There are pictures on the web of noise baffling enclosures like that for Generacs, so I asked Generac about them and the guy had a cow right over the phone. I forget what bothers them, lack of air or what. (There were no tops on the enclosures.)
Relatively small engines cannot handle much back pressure on the exhaust at all. A 20 kW Generac has 1 liter of displacement, and running at 2500 rpm, it will displace about 1500 liters or 53 cubic feet of air per minute. Anything that restricts that airflow, whether on the intake or the exhaust, could easily lead to problems that probably won't be covered by the warranty.

It's difficult, though possible, to build an aftermarket noise baffling enclosure for a gas engine with adequate air flow. Doing it correctly almost requires the use of fans in the enclosure to assist the engine in moving all that air and to ensure that the exhaust doesn't get recirculated. This is a big part of the reason why inverter generators have become so popular.
Thanks for emphasizing the need for exhaust. I knew it was important, but probably not quite how much exhaust needed to be accommodated.

One concern I had from the start, once we finally had our nat gas generator installed was... what happens with deep snow?
If it gets buried, and then suddenly runs, there may not be proper exhaust possible.
So we arranged with our snowplow person to spend some extra time for every snowfall (in case there are consecutive storms), to clear a path the the side of the house, and then also clear space around the generator.
At least it's along a side, but closer to the front of the house, not the back.

But I've also wondered/worried about what if there is a big snow storm, and the winds are swirling... would that just cause the snow to re-bury the generator? Our "guy" would be back as needed, but he's not going to be camping out in our side yard, obviously!

Should we build a little shed over it, leaving the vented sides open?
We did plant a row of short boxwoods along the outer side, more as a visual than a sound or snow buffer, but it does catch snow rather than have it fall in a heavy heap right there.
In a really heavy storm, that still might not be enough, if the snow is deep/heavy. And that's the kind of storm that's more likely to lead to power outages.
And worse, snow can - and will - slide right off our steep roof, and some will land on the generator area.

How much of a problem is this?
Are we tempting fate by *not* having a sort of shed with open sides built? Or maybe something removable in warmer weather?
We see some neighbors who had special plants/bushes/small trees, and they tend to arrange to have "A" frame protection over them, probably with very large pieces of plywood.
But they are trying to keep snow off the upper, more fragile part of plantings. Our problem is closer to the bottom, where snow would still accumulad, blocking exhaust.

Fortunately, these past several years, we just haven't had any of the really deep snows that we had here the first few years, when we even had trouble figuring out where to have the plowed snow put.

And no, we have not (yet!?) had a problem during the weekly self test. But I'm not sure that ever occurred just when there was really heavy snow on the ground near (or even on) the generator.

Note: We are NOT "handy" or strong enough these days to build anything ourselves, so we'd need to find someone to figure out what to build, and then build it for us.

:confused

Thanks.

RM
This appears to be a reasonable plan. I would look for a simple handyman and for a low cost you should have a solution.
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by 2tall4economy »

miamivice wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 5:23 pm We love power at our house around 5 times per year. It's annoying. If it happens in the early morning, I oversleep and don't get to work on time. Sometimes the power is out for 12 hours and then things start to go bad in the fridges. We're not sure why power is not more reliable (we are in a suburban community with all underground power) but it's life. Sometimes power goes out for days if we have a storm.

So, I am thinking about purchasing a whole house generator. OK, we don't really need one. I sort of just want one. I just called one place and professional turnkey installation is around $11,000 plus tax. Ouch! However I have found big whole house generators on Craigslist etc for not much money, and am contemplating DIY installation.

Questions:

1. How much value, if any, does a whole house generator add to one's house?

2. Beyond the generator, what are the expenses for a DIY installation? I assume gas plumbing (we have natural gas), wiring, transfer switch, and pad.

3. Has anyone here done a DIY installation of a generator? How did it go? Pitfalls?

4. Again, can I make this project pencil out financially? I clearly cannot make professional installation pencil out so looking for other options to consider.

5. One option is the 20kw generator from Costco. Out of stock at the moment but runs about $4400 plus installation. $4400 isn't too bad if I could DIY the installation.
As someone who bought a house in a fairly rural area with a beast of a generator (seriously, it had a Ford V8 that powered it) and lived with it for 3 years, and about 10 outages:

1) None, even for this generator which I think cost $60k new not including installation and it's own dedicated little shed and gas line out in the woods). I didn't even know it was there until I was all ready to close and I didn't know what it did until after the sale.
2) A few thousand depending. Likely < $5k.
3) Really bad idea unless your day job is contracting, and even then. it's explosive gas, a hot flame (pipe torch) and electricity all mixed together with tight tolerances...
4) It never will. You'll always lose money (it costs more to burn gas to make electricity than the city charges you for it), and you only use it a few hours per year. You'd have to value your time EXTREMELY high, so if you're not Bill Gates, it won't make sense
5) make sure that's enough peak wattage for your appliances

And let me leave you with this. Each year, the first power outage of the season, the generator NEVER worked. I had to call a guy to fix it.

If was to live in a place with spotty electricity again, and you're going in for $10k anyway, I'd buy a whole house battery set up like a tesla powerwall.

The financials will never make sense anyway, the cost is in the same ballpark (depending on how long your power typically goes out for, of course -- if it's long periods this gets expensive quickly), you're not dependent on a fuel source (gas), and it's a 1 time cost vs installation, utility consumption while it's running, and the annual maintenance and repair cost.

And if you ever get solar panels or an electric car (which some would argue is an inevitability) you'll have even more options.
You can do anything you want in life. The rub is that there are consequences.
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

If anyone was considering a portable propane generator, I just discovered that in MA anyway, code requires a permanent installation of a propane generator (even one using bottles of propane). Dang, I thought that would work well for one of our outbuildings (garage) that has a freezer and air sourced heat pump.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by lazydavid »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 9:43 am If anyone was considering a portable propane generator, I just discovered that in MA anyway, code requires a permanent installation of a propane generator (even one using bottles of propane). Dang, I thought that would work well for one of our outbuildings (garage) that has a freezer and air sourced heat pump.
Wonder if you could get away with a Dual-fuel. Depends on how the law is worded, but it's not a propane generator, it's a gasoline generator that's also capable of using propane.
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

lazydavid wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 9:58 am
TomatoTomahto wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 9:43 am If anyone was considering a portable propane generator, I just discovered that in MA anyway, code requires a permanent installation of a propane generator (even one using bottles of propane). Dang, I thought that would work well for one of our outbuildings (garage) that has a freezer and air sourced heat pump.
Wonder if you could get away with a Dual-fuel. Depends on how the law is worded, but it's not a propane generator, it's a gasoline generator that's also capable of using propane.
I could probably never be discovered (it’s pretty rural), unless we have an insurance claim, and then Chubb will get nasty.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by willthrill81 »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 10:02 am
lazydavid wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 9:58 am
TomatoTomahto wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 9:43 am If anyone was considering a portable propane generator, I just discovered that in MA anyway, code requires a permanent installation of a propane generator (even one using bottles of propane). Dang, I thought that would work well for one of our outbuildings (garage) that has a freezer and air sourced heat pump.
Wonder if you could get away with a Dual-fuel. Depends on how the law is worded, but it's not a propane generator, it's a gasoline generator that's also capable of using propane.
I could probably never be discovered (it’s pretty rural), unless we have an insurance claim, and then Chubb will get nasty.
As lazydavid pointed out, it's still a gasoline generator, though I'd recommend speaking with your insurance agent first anyway.

What's your aversion to using gasoline? Some generators, especially the Honda inverter generators, can have an after market external fuel tank added to them that will enable it to run for over 24 hours easily without refueling. And contrary to what many believe, gasoline can be stored very safely for at least a year; I know because I've done it.

Another option is diesel, which lasts about forever when stored properly (i.e. in an appropriate, airtight container with something like PRI-D added to it to prevent the growth of a fungus that will clog up the diesel injectors). The only rubs there are that no inverter generators run on diesel, and portable generators that do run on diesel are much more expensive. For instance, a 4.5 kW diesel generator on Central Maine Diesel is about $2,400, while a similar non-inverter gasoline generator could be bought for no more than $500, though the diesel generator will last a lifetime with proper care.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by lazydavid »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 10:02 am I could probably never be discovered (it’s pretty rural), unless we have an insurance claim, and then Chubb will get nasty.
Yeah that's why I would read the code carefully before deciding.
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

willthrill81 wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 10:25 am What's your aversion to using gasoline? Some generators, especially the Honda inverter generators, can have an after market external fuel tank added to them that will enable it to run for over 24 hours easily without refueling. And contrary to what many believe, gasoline can be stored very safely for at least a year; I know because I've done it.
Right now, the only things that use gasoline are our snowblower and my wife’s car, but it’s going to be a PITA to fill. Since I let the landscaper use our snowblower, maybe he can fill up the generator.

OTOH, it’s unlikely I will need a generator for the garage often, and maybe I should just wait for batteries to get cheaper.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by willthrill81 »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 10:38 am
willthrill81 wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 10:25 am What's your aversion to using gasoline? Some generators, especially the Honda inverter generators, can have an after market external fuel tank added to them that will enable it to run for over 24 hours easily without refueling. And contrary to what many believe, gasoline can be stored very safely for at least a year; I know because I've done it.
Right now, the only things that use gasoline are our snowblower and my wife’s car, but it’s going to be a PITA to fill. Since I let the landscaper use our snowblower, maybe he can fill up the generator.

OTOH, it’s unlikely I will need a generator for the garage often, and maybe I should just wait for batteries to get cheaper.
It may be many years before battery systems like the Tesla Powerwall drop in price much.

Do you know if your local regs require permanent installation for a generator to run on natural gas? If you have it at your property, that's the ultimate 'never refill' solution.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by tyrion »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 10:38 am
willthrill81 wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 10:25 am What's your aversion to using gasoline? Some generators, especially the Honda inverter generators, can have an after market external fuel tank added to them that will enable it to run for over 24 hours easily without refueling. And contrary to what many believe, gasoline can be stored very safely for at least a year; I know because I've done it.
Right now, the only things that use gasoline are our snowblower and my wife’s car, but it’s going to be a PITA to fill. Since I let the landscaper use our snowblower, maybe he can fill up the generator.

OTOH, it’s unlikely I will need a generator for the garage often, and maybe I should just wait for batteries to get cheaper.
I thought you already had a solar/battery system (Sonnen)? Is this garage not part of your backup loads? Couldn't you just run a heavy duty extension cord to power the freezer if the outage lasts more than 48 hours?
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

tyrion wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 11:22 am
TomatoTomahto wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 10:38 am
willthrill81 wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 10:25 am What's your aversion to using gasoline? Some generators, especially the Honda inverter generators, can have an after market external fuel tank added to them that will enable it to run for over 24 hours easily without refueling. And contrary to what many believe, gasoline can be stored very safely for at least a year; I know because I've done it.
Right now, the only things that use gasoline are our snowblower and my wife’s car, but it’s going to be a PITA to fill. Since I let the landscaper use our snowblower, maybe he can fill up the generator.

OTOH, it’s unlikely I will need a generator for the garage often, and maybe I should just wait for batteries to get cheaper.
I thought you already had a solar/battery system (Sonnen)? Is this garage not part of your backup loads? Couldn't you just run a heavy duty extension cord to power the freezer if the outage lasts more than 48 hours?
Yes, Sonnen, but it doesn’t cover the outbuildings (garage and cabana). The freezer could work on a long extension cord (the garage is 100ft or so from the house). The heat pump would also be down, and that’s more than I want to run on an extension cord, but I could always drain the pipes :( to keep them from freezing if necessary.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

willthrill81 wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 10:51 am Do you know if your local regs require permanent installation for a generator to run on natural gas? If you have it at your property, that's the ultimate 'never refill' solution.
We had natural gas in NJ, and I loved it, but heck, we don’t even have town water and sewage here in MA :D :oops:
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by willthrill81 »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 12:03 pm
willthrill81 wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 10:51 am Do you know if your local regs require permanent installation for a generator to run on natural gas? If you have it at your property, that's the ultimate 'never refill' solution.
We had natural gas in NJ, and I loved it, but heck, we don’t even have town water and sewage here in MA :D :oops:
Well there's your problem! :wink:

I wonder whether a 'permanent' installation of a 'portable' generator is possible within your local regs. Taking the wheels off and having a simple bracket screwing it down to the surface underneath might be enough, but the generator could still be moved without much difficulty if desired.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by n8healer »

Finances aside, a whole house generator represents peace of mind There could be a situation where electricity is not available for days or possibly weeks. If you have enough money, this seems like a wonderful insurance policy. As a home improvement, this might well become increasingly more valuable as the weather keeps getting more intense and the likelihood of outages seems to be increasing.
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by hudson »

I don't care about an automatic setup.
I want something that'll run a couple of refrigerators a small chest freezer, lights, and electronics.
I like the idea of using a long drop cord that runs 220V and 4 conductors to an exterior wall....maybe 50 to 60 feet away.
I don't want to build an enclosure.
I want something that is designed to sit out in the weather without an enclosure....like a heat pump.
Gasoline is preferred; we don't have natural gas. I speculate that a setup like this would run propane.
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by A440 »

I used an outdoor compost bin like this https://www.amazon.com/Redmon-Green-Cul ... 7a9c0027d0 as an enclosure for our little 2000W inverter generator. It kept out the rain and had plenty of ventilation for the heat and exhaust.
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by willthrill81 »

hudson wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 1:24 pm I don't care about an automatic setup.
I want something that'll run a couple of refrigerators a small chest freezer, lights, and electronics.
I like the idea of using a long drop cord that runs 220V and 4 conductors to an exterior wall....maybe 50 to 60 feet away.
I don't want to build an enclosure.
I want something that is designed to sit out in the weather without an enclosure....like a heat pump.
Gasoline is preferred; we don't have natural gas. I speculate that a setup like this would run propane.
You don't need 220 volts to run the items you listed; all run on 120 volts. Any of the ~2 kW inverter generators will run all of that with no problem. Depending on which brand you choose, you'll spend $500-$1,100. It shouldn't weigh more than about 50 lbs or so, meaning that you can move it around if you're reasonably fit.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by smitcat »

willthrill81 wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 3:56 pm
hudson wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 1:24 pm I don't care about an automatic setup.
I want something that'll run a couple of refrigerators a small chest freezer, lights, and electronics.
I like the idea of using a long drop cord that runs 220V and 4 conductors to an exterior wall....maybe 50 to 60 feet away.
I don't want to build an enclosure.
I want something that is designed to sit out in the weather without an enclosure....like a heat pump.
Gasoline is preferred; we don't have natural gas. I speculate that a setup like this would run propane.
You don't need 220 volts to run the items you listed; all run on 120 volts. Any of the ~2 kW inverter generators will run all of that with no problem. Depending on which brand you choose, you'll spend $500-$1,100. It shouldn't weigh more than about 50 lbs or so, meaning that you can move it around if you're reasonably fit.
And if you want to - you can also use these portable gensets in other ways such as:
- tailgating at pro games
- remote camping or working on a boat/RV
- used at college games for DD or DS
- buisiness or hobby related fairs and activities
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by Chuck107 »

.....
Last edited by Chuck107 on Mon Oct 05, 2020 7:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
Alas, I find moderation of this forum too restrictive for my tastes, farewell.
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by hudson »

Many thanks A440, willthrill81, smitcat, and Chuck107!

Useful information!
Is there a non-portable generator that I could just place somewhere in the back yard permanently...that comes enclosed?
Maybe something like this? https://www.lowes.com/pd/Generac-PowerP ... 1000815538

I could roll around a portable generator no problem...but I don't want to store it. I could even build an enclosure, but I'd rather go hiking or mountain biking.
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by willthrill81 »

Chuck107 wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 6:06 pm
willthrill81 wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 3:56 pm
hudson wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 1:24 pm I don't care about an automatic setup.
I want something that'll run a couple of refrigerators a small chest freezer, lights, and electronics.
I like the idea of using a long drop cord that runs 220V and 4 conductors to an exterior wall....maybe 50 to 60 feet away.
I don't want to build an enclosure.
I want something that is designed to sit out in the weather without an enclosure....like a heat pump.
Gasoline is preferred; we don't have natural gas. I speculate that a setup like this would run propane.
You don't need 220 volts to run the items you listed; all run on 120 volts. Any of the ~2 kW inverter generators will run all of that with no problem. Depending on which brand you choose, you'll spend $500-$1,100. It shouldn't weigh more than about 50 lbs or so, meaning that you can move it around if you're reasonably fit.
And if you aren't reasonably fit put it in one of these... I put my 3500 watt propane run unit in it.
Easy to pull, tow with mower, a few bricks to block the wheels when it gets where it's going.
Easy to move around garage or basement when it gets in the way.

Image
That's a great idea!
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by willthrill81 »

hudson wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 6:28 pm Many thanks A440, willthrill81, smitcat, and Chuck107!

Useful information!
Is there a non-portable generator that I could just place somewhere in the back yard permanently...that comes enclosed?
Maybe something like this? https://www.lowes.com/pd/Generac-PowerP ... 1000815538

I could roll around a portable generator no problem...but I don't want to store it. I could even build an enclosure, but I'd rather go hiking or mountain biking.
Yes, you could still buy something like that and run it off of natural gas or propane, whichever you prefer.

However, you can buy a watertight cover for a portable generator that would allow you to store it outdoors. By doing so, you would save yourself over $1k, easily.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by neilpilot »

willthrill81 wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 8:49 pm
hudson wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 6:28 pm Many thanks A440, willthrill81, smitcat, and Chuck107!

Useful information!
Is there a non-portable generator that I could just place somewhere in the back yard permanently...that comes enclosed?
Maybe something like this? https://www.lowes.com/pd/Generac-PowerP ... 1000815538

I could roll around a portable generator no problem...but I don't want to store it. I could even build an enclosure, but I'd rather go hiking or mountain biking.
Yes, you could still buy something like that and run it off of natural gas or propane, whichever you prefer.

However, you can buy a watertight cover for a portable generator that would allow you to store it outdoors. By doing so, you would save yourself over $1k, easily.
You would save much more than $1k, since that Generac would likely cost another $2k+ to install.
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by willthrill81 »

neilpilot wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 8:51 pm
willthrill81 wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 8:49 pm
hudson wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 6:28 pm Many thanks A440, willthrill81, smitcat, and Chuck107!

Useful information!
Is there a non-portable generator that I could just place somewhere in the back yard permanently...that comes enclosed?
Maybe something like this? https://www.lowes.com/pd/Generac-PowerP ... 1000815538

I could roll around a portable generator no problem...but I don't want to store it. I could even build an enclosure, but I'd rather go hiking or mountain biking.
Yes, you could still buy something like that and run it off of natural gas or propane, whichever you prefer.

However, you can buy a watertight cover for a portable generator that would allow you to store it outdoors. By doing so, you would save yourself over $1k, easily.
You would save much more than $1k, since that Generac would likely cost another $2k+ to install.
True. I was thinking of just equipment costs.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by Luke Duke »

willthrill81 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:29 pm I've never really understood the appeal of parallel kits with inverter generators. They were designed with only one real application in mind, TMK: enabling the RV crowd to easily run a 13,500 BTU air conditioner with dual 2 kW inverter generators. But that's not necessary any more since several manufacturers now make inverter generators larger than 2 kW (like my Yamaha 2,400) that can do it with no problem and at lower total cost than two 2 kW units.

That said, I agree that there's a lot to be said for redundancy, and having two quality inverter generators is basically a guarantee that at least one will always be operational.
I've owned multiple Honda EU2000i generators and I now own the Yamaha 2400 that you mention. The Yamaha is much heavier and bulkier to carry than the Honda 2000 (~46lbs vs 75lbs). However this point may be moot since Honda came out with a 2200 Watt inverter generator.
smitcat
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by smitcat »

Luke Duke wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:41 am
willthrill81 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:29 pm I've never really understood the appeal of parallel kits with inverter generators. They were designed with only one real application in mind, TMK: enabling the RV crowd to easily run a 13,500 BTU air conditioner with dual 2 kW inverter generators. But that's not necessary any more since several manufacturers now make inverter generators larger than 2 kW (like my Yamaha 2,400) that can do it with no problem and at lower total cost than two 2 kW units.

That said, I agree that there's a lot to be said for redundancy, and having two quality inverter generators is basically a guarantee that at least one will always be operational.
I've owned multiple Honda EU2000i generators and I now own the Yamaha 2400 that you mention. The Yamaha is much heavier and bulkier to carry than the Honda 2000 (~46lbs vs 75lbs). However this point may be moot since Honda came out with a 2200 Watt inverter generator.
Really much different units depending upon what you need. We have a Honda EU2000 and a Yamaha ef2800i and use the Yamaha for most all applications;
Honda is 45# / 1600 watts / just under 1 gal fuel.
Yamaha is 64# / 2500 watts / just under 3 gal fuel.
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willthrill81
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by willthrill81 »

smitcat wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 11:35 am
Luke Duke wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:41 am
willthrill81 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:29 pm I've never really understood the appeal of parallel kits with inverter generators. They were designed with only one real application in mind, TMK: enabling the RV crowd to easily run a 13,500 BTU air conditioner with dual 2 kW inverter generators. But that's not necessary any more since several manufacturers now make inverter generators larger than 2 kW (like my Yamaha 2,400) that can do it with no problem and at lower total cost than two 2 kW units.

That said, I agree that there's a lot to be said for redundancy, and having two quality inverter generators is basically a guarantee that at least one will always be operational.
I've owned multiple Honda EU2000i generators and I now own the Yamaha 2400 that you mention. The Yamaha is much heavier and bulkier to carry than the Honda 2000 (~46lbs vs 75lbs). However this point may be moot since Honda came out with a 2200 Watt inverter generator.
Really much different units depending upon what you need. We have a Honda EU2000 and a Yamaha ef2800i and use the Yamaha for most all applications;
Honda is 45# / 1600 watts / just under 1 gal fuel.
Yamaha is 64# / 2500 watts / just under 3 gal fuel.
That comes back to the point I tried to make earlier: there doesn't seem to be much real use for parallel kits outside of running an RV air conditioner, and there are many single inverter generators out there that can do that easily now.

I've heard that those with a lot more understanding of electricity than me can possibly wire a parallel kit to provide 240 volt power without the use of a transformer, but we have no real need for 240 volt power in an emergency situation, which is why we still have a generator.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
hudson
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by hudson »

willthrill81 wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 8:49 pm
hudson wrote: Thu Aug 13, 2020 6:28 pm Many thanks A440, willthrill81, smitcat, and Chuck107!

Useful information!
Is there a non-portable generator that I could just place somewhere in the back yard permanently...that comes enclosed?
Maybe something like this? https://www.lowes.com/pd/Generac-PowerP ... 1000815538

I could roll around a portable generator no problem...but I don't want to store it. I could even build an enclosure, but I'd rather go hiking or mountain biking.
Yes, you could still buy something like that and run it off of natural gas or propane, whichever you prefer.

However, you can buy a watertight cover for a portable generator that would allow you to store it outdoors. By doing so, you would save yourself over $1k, easily.
Thanks willthrill81! OK, now I'm leaning towards some kind of lightweight watertight cover for an inverter generator.
smitcat
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Re: Should I purchase a whole house generator?

Post by smitcat »

willthrill81 wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 2:56 pm
smitcat wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 11:35 am
Luke Duke wrote: Fri Aug 14, 2020 9:41 am
willthrill81 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:29 pm I've never really understood the appeal of parallel kits with inverter generators. They were designed with only one real application in mind, TMK: enabling the RV crowd to easily run a 13,500 BTU air conditioner with dual 2 kW inverter generators. But that's not necessary any more since several manufacturers now make inverter generators larger than 2 kW (like my Yamaha 2,400) that can do it with no problem and at lower total cost than two 2 kW units.

That said, I agree that there's a lot to be said for redundancy, and having two quality inverter generators is basically a guarantee that at least one will always be operational.
I've owned multiple Honda EU2000i generators and I now own the Yamaha 2400 that you mention. The Yamaha is much heavier and bulkier to carry than the Honda 2000 (~46lbs vs 75lbs). However this point may be moot since Honda came out with a 2200 Watt inverter generator.
Really much different units depending upon what you need. We have a Honda EU2000 and a Yamaha ef2800i and use the Yamaha for most all applications;
Honda is 45# / 1600 watts / just under 1 gal fuel.
Yamaha is 64# / 2500 watts / just under 3 gal fuel.
That comes back to the point I tried to make earlier: there doesn't seem to be much real use for parallel kits outside of running an RV air conditioner, and there are many single inverter generators out there that can do that easily now.

I've heard that those with a lot more understanding of electricity than me can possibly wire a parallel kit to provide 240 volt power without the use of a transformer, but we have no real need for 240 volt power in an emergency situation, which is why we still have a generator.
Yes - I have seen that the parrallel setups are most common in some RV and boating applications where size and/or weight become a large application issue. There are ways to get around that in most situations but I guess there are always some who feel it is the best fit for them.
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