miamivice wrote: ↑Mon Jun 07, 2021 9:33 am
I've looked into a whole house generator a lot, and have found that they are very expensive for marginal benefit.
Whether the cost is justified or not depends a lot on the individual circumstances.
If your area only experiences power outages once or twice a year, they tend to only last a few hours and, while inconvenient, they aren't really that big of a deal, you may not need any generator, portable or otherwise. On the other hand, as I've previously mentioned, we know a lot of people who travel, or at least used to before Covid, and whose elderly parents live there or routinely stay there. Elderly parents may not be in a position to roll out a portable, connect it and power it up, particularly during inclement weather. The same may be true if you've got a wife with young kids, or people with disabilities, etc... Lots of people work from home and need to keep multiple a/c's and other systems going, which can't be easily accomplished with a portable generator, and in terms of lost productivity, the downtime can be quite expensive.
Likewise, when you have one or more sump pumps, what would happen if there's a power outage and the space that you're trying to protect floods? Are we talking about a high end, nicely finished basement where a flood would cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage or a tiny unfinished area where a flood wouldn't damage anything and can be easily and inexpensively cleaned up? With sump pumps that protect important areas, a portable generator isn't a great option, as you need to be there to start it up and keep it going, which would be a problem if, for instance, you are out of town, if there are supply disruptions, etc... You can install battery backups, but those only work for relatively short outages and, depending on the exact solution that you decide to implement, can be very expensive, especially for multiple sump pumps.
From a cost standpoint, where I live, standby generators are a sought after high end feature, such that at resale you typically get back about half of what you had paid to put it in.
If you do decide to go with a gas powered portable, which is the vast majority of them, make sure that you have a good plan in place for exercising and storing it. Exercising it from time to time won't get rid of all the gas in it, and for infrequently used ones, you should plan on completely draining it (not just the tank, but the entire portable generator, which can take a while). You'll also need a plan for keeping gasoline on hand, stabilizing it, cycling through it, etc...
In general, for relatively infrequent outages, low energy needs and non-critical usage, portable generators can definitely represent a nice and cost effective middle ground. Standby generators are a significantly more robust, convenient and reliable option, but they're also significantly more expensive, at least up front.
Way less than the $20k to $30k for the whole house generator.
Where did the $20K to $30K figure come from? It'll depend on the size of the generator, the location and installation complexity, but if you review this and many other threads on this subject, you'll see that in many cases putting in a 20Kw standby generator costs roughly $8K to $10K with everything.