Whole Home Generator Advice

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nigel_ht
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by nigel_ht »

aburntoutcase wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 6:23 pm Also @1moreyr how loud is your portable 5kW generator? My neighbors on either side are reasonably close. Would not want to get into a tiff with them over a noisy generator going on for a couple of days. Is there a decibel rating on your unit?
If they don't have a generator you can just invite them over for food and to recharge their phones...if they do, generally a portable inverter generator at your house will be quieter to them than the one right next to their house...

If sound is an issue I'd get an electric power pack for $2-4K and run the fridge off that at night. You aren't likely running the oven or whatever while sleeping. I have an Ego Powerstation ($1000-$2000) because I have a bunch of Ego tools. A cheaper option is a Jackery or something that you can even recharge with solar if your generator wont start or runs out of fuel.

For a 3rd redundancy I have a $100 deposit down on a Ford F150 Lightning...lol. Actually, I'll probably see if I can score a used 2021 F150 hybrid.
Last edited by nigel_ht on Mon Jun 07, 2021 9:31 am, edited 3 times in total.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by TomatoTomahto »

CurlyDave wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 9:16 am
TomatoTomahto wrote: Sat Jun 05, 2021 5:02 pm ...Our new generators are going on the other side of the house, with no overhead roof to drop snow or ice.
Now wait a minute here. If you have no roof, what keeps the rain out of your living room?
Lol Curly, you might have found a grievous error in my plans. Let me get back to the solar guys. :oops:

Btw, it’s a bit of a rough joke, because over our 3 years of owning the house, we have gotten rid of more leaks than I dare to count. We hope that the remaining “mystery leak” has been fixed, but won’t know for some time as it only occurs with torrential wind driven rain (nor’easters).
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
miamivice
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by miamivice »

I'm way late to the party, but just in case anyone reading this cares:

I've looked into a whole house generator a lot, and have found that they are very expensive for marginal benefit. What I am thinking about doing at far less cost is installing a transfer switch and purchasing a 10 KW portable generator. I think we could run most of our house on a 10 KW generator (not air conditioning, but we don't need that to be powered by a backup generator). A portable backup generator might cost $1000 or so, plus a couple grand for transfer switch. Way less than the $20k to $30k for the whole house generator.
CurlyDave
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by CurlyDave »

aburntoutcase wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 6:13 pm
...I am beginning to consider this route. But could you please explain what you mean by diverting the panel from the main line? From the home inspection report I see where the inlet service wire connects to the meter panel. Would I need to run a power cable from the garage to this panel? It will be some distance as the garage is standalone away from the main house, not connected to it.
I installed a similar setup myself several years ago.

I am comfortable doing electrical work myself.

Essentially you need a spare 240V circuit breaker (or at least two slots in your breaker box to install one) and an interlock that forces you to disconnect the main power before turning this breaker on. This is some small sheet metal parts -- nothing fancy. Cost of the interlock was about $100-150. You can make this space available in your breaker box by rearranging existing circuits and possibly using half-height breakers for existing circuits.

I got my interlock on ebay. Interlocks are just as safe as transfer switches, but are far less expensive.

The output from your generator gets fed into your breaker box through the spare 240V breaker. If you need an electrician to do it it should be in the $1000 range. You need a place for the generator to be outside while it is running.

We live in a rural area and have power outages fairly frequently probably monthly. It takes about 5 minutes to get the generator set up and going which is definitely not a seamless thing like an autostart/autoswitch setup. But the cost is compelling.

We definitely do not need to act as though there is no emergency, we just need enough power to keep basic functions going.
Last edited by CurlyDave on Mon Jun 07, 2021 10:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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tomd37
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by tomd37 »

Homeowner age also plays a role in this discussion and ultimate decision of the type of generator being purchased and used. Older homeowners, like us in our mid-80s, may not be able to handle all aspects of a portable generator. For example storing and handling 5-gallon containers of gasoline. And the other aspects of a portable unit as well. Just something to think about. :idea:
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neilpilot
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by neilpilot »

HomeStretch wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 8:11 am If a whole house generator is cost-prohibitive for you, a portable generator set-up is a good lower-cost alternative to keep the heat on in the winter, take hot showers, refrigerator running and have a few lights/electronics. We used a portable generator for ~15 years (we have 3/4 outages per year, most are 1 day or less) and just recently installed a whole house generator after a 5-day outage because we don’t want to deal with the portable generator routine any more.

Some suggestions regarding a portable generator set-up:
1) first understand your town’s generator code/regulations.
2) you may not be able to hook-up your portable generator to gas (our town doesn’t allow it).
3) we are required to have a manual transfer switch and an interlock plug for the generator cable on the outside of the house. We had a licensed electrician familiar with code install ours.
4) get a long cable with appropriate connector ends. Code will specify that the generator needs to be xx feet from doors and windows to prevent CO from the exhaust from entering your house. Our town requires 25 feet. If it’s summer, be careful opening windows nearest the generator as wind can cause the fumes to drift.
5) have a good location picked out for the generator when in use and make sure plant material and flammable structures are code-required distance away. consider cementing an eye-bolt into the ground where you will put the generator so that you can secure the generator against theft. During Superstorm Sandy, there were a lot of late night generator thefts in our state.
6) portable gas generators are loud
7) in an extended outage, it may be difficult to obtain gas. Buy some extra storage containers and fill up before a storm. Store/cycle the gas properly.
8) service your generator annually and be sure to test start it and prep before the storm hits. Check your cable to make sure the connector ends are secure. You may also want to write down the steps involved (and store it with the generator and cable) with running the generator so you have a cheat sheet when you need it.
9) edit - have working COs in your house. Put an extra one in the area nearest the generator site.
While I agree with your outline, as a true Boglehead I skipped step 3. Our gas furnaces, in the attic, aren't hard wired but simply plug into standard attic outlets. If it's cold weather I run a long extension cord up to the attic. Another 1 or 2 extension cords go into the house, to the refrigerator, floor lamp(s) and misc low amperage appliances.

Regarding step 6, while this can be true our inverter generator is surprisingly quiet. In cold weather, when the furnace blower is active, windows are closed so noise is less of an issue. In the summer the only load is a fan and TV so the generator is running at low load and makes even less noise. If it's not really hot, the fan isn't needed so the generator is left off at night.
jackbeagle
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by jackbeagle »

Advice? I know nothing of cost, nor have I priced systems, so I can't answer to that. But from a functional standpoint, here's what I'd want:

A whole home generator is exactly that - a whole home generator. Don't skimp on size vs. your potential peak load. It's expensive enough to do once, don't wind up in a situation where you've got to upgrade and do it again. It should be able to run central A/C and all appliances, or central heat and all appliances. Normal daily routines and habits should not be infringed when you have a whole home unit. Ever.

Make sure it can be used without relying on any load shedding features, and provide the same current as commercial power. If you have access to natural gas, get one that runs on NG instead of having to worry about a finite supply of gas or diesel, and having a finite supply in an underground tank. Remember - in the middle of an ice storm propane delivery, or your ability to refill your own liquid fuel tank may not be as timely as you'd like.
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aburntoutcase
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by aburntoutcase »

1moreyr wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 5:45 am I provided a link below. you can buy a regular generator from Lowes/home depot but I like this site for comparison shopping as it has many to choose from and you can see the myriad of options. the decibels are listed in the specs for each one. I bought mine at Sam's club. it was a Briggs and Stratton storm responder or something like that. 5KW and 8K surge

Mine isn't much louder than a large lawn mower. You have more on propane than me so 5KW will probably do it. There are sites that help you calculate what you need for KW based on what you plan to run. There are also models listed for $999 with 10K or twice my power. if you are so inclined. The one I looked at was 67 decibles vs 90 for a lawn mower
Thanks once again for the detailed advice, much appreciated! It seems most of the 5 kW portable generator models are around 70 dB which is said to be about the sound of a vacuum cleaner which seems loud to me but perhaps the next door neighbors won't hear it as loudly given the distance. I am going to research the inverter option too as they are said to be quieter.
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aburntoutcase
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by aburntoutcase »

nigel_ht wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 9:22 am
aburntoutcase wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 6:23 pm Also @1moreyr how loud is your portable 5kW generator? My neighbors on either side are reasonably close. Would not want to get into a tiff with them over a noisy generator going on for a couple of days. Is there a decibel rating on your unit?
If they don't have a generator you can just invite them over for food and to recharge their phones...if they do, generally a portable inverter generator at your house will be quieter to them than the one right next to their house...

If sound is an issue I'd get an electric power pack for $2-4K and run the fridge off that at night. You aren't likely running the oven or whatever while sleeping. I have an Ego Powerstation ($1000-$2000) because I have a bunch of Ego tools. A cheaper option is a Jackery or something that you can even recharge with solar if your generator wont start or runs out of fuel.

For a 3rd redundancy I have a $100 deposit down on a Ford F150 Lightning...lol. Actually, I'll probably see if I can score a used 2021 F150 hybrid.
Thanks!
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aburntoutcase
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by aburntoutcase »

HomeStretch wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 8:11 am If a whole house generator is cost-prohibitive for you, a portable generator set-up is a good lower-cost alternative to keep the heat on in the winter, take hot showers, refrigerator running and have a few lights/electronics. We used a portable generator for ~15 years (we have 3/4 outages per year, most are 1 day or less) and just recently installed a whole house generator after a 5-day outage because we don’t want to deal with the portable generator routine any more.

Some suggestions regarding a portable generator set-up:
1) first understand your town’s generator code/regulations.
2) you may not be able to hook-up your portable generator to gas (our town doesn’t allow it).
3) we are required to have a manual transfer switch and an interlock plug for the generator cable on the outside of the house. We had a licensed electrician familiar with code install ours.
4) get a long cable with appropriate connector ends. Code will specify that the generator needs to be xx feet from doors and windows to prevent CO from the exhaust from entering your house. Our town requires 25 feet. If it’s summer, be careful opening windows nearest the generator as wind can cause the fumes to drift.
5) have a good location picked out for the generator when in use and make sure plant material and flammable structures are code-required distance away. consider cementing an eye-bolt into the ground where you will put the generator so that you can secure the generator against theft. During Superstorm Sandy, there were a lot of late night generator thefts in our state.
6) portable gas generators are loud
7) in an extended outage, it may be difficult to obtain gas. Buy some extra storage containers and fill up before a storm. Store/cycle the gas properly.
8) service your generator annually and be sure to test start it and prep before the storm hits. Check your cable to make sure the connector ends are secure. You may also want to write down the steps involved (and store it with the generator and cable) with running the generator so you have a cheat sheet when you need it.
9) edit - have working COs in your house. Put an extra one in the area nearest the generator site.
Thanks for the excellent and detailed advice!
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by TomatoTomahto »

jackbeagle wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 1:07 pm A whole home generator is exactly that - a whole home generator. Don't skimp on size vs. your potential peak load. It's expensive enough to do once, don't wind up in a situation where you've got to upgrade and do it again. It should be able to run central A/C and all appliances, or central heat and all appliances. Normal daily routines and habits should not be infringed when you have a whole home unit. Ever.
That’s a decent plan for a home that’s got oil/gas heat, no EV to charge, etc. But, our home is electric and has 400A service, so while we wouldn’t need an automated load shedding feature, the “habits should not be infringed” requirement is not really realistic for sizing requirements. A mental note not to charge the car and take a sauna will suffice during an outage :D
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
neilpilot
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by neilpilot »

aburntoutcase wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 2:28 pm
1moreyr wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 5:45 am I provided a link below. you can buy a regular generator from Lowes/home depot but I like this site for comparison shopping as it has many to choose from and you can see the myriad of options. the decibels are listed in the specs for each one. I bought mine at Sam's club. it was a Briggs and Stratton storm responder or something like that. 5KW and 8K surge

Mine isn't much louder than a large lawn mower. You have more on propane than me so 5KW will probably do it. There are sites that help you calculate what you need for KW based on what you plan to run. There are also models listed for $999 with 10K or twice my power. if you are so inclined. The one I looked at was 67 decibles vs 90 for a lawn mower
Thanks once again for the detailed advice, much appreciated! It seems most of the 5 kW portable generator models are around 70 dB which is said to be about the sound of a vacuum cleaner which seems loud to me but perhaps the next door neighbors won't hear it as loudly given the distance. I am going to research the inverter option too as they are said to be quieter.
Keep in mind that the sound from a generator will also vary with load. Years ago I took noise measurements on a particular 2.2 kW inverter generator at varying loads. I measure that particular generator at 58dB at close to full load but 47dB at 25-35% load, or just half the noise level. When I've use my 5 kW generator, I probably average 25-50% of full load.
jackbeagle
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by jackbeagle »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 2:44 pm
jackbeagle wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 1:07 pm A whole home generator is exactly that - a whole home generator. Don't skimp on size vs. your potential peak load. It's expensive enough to do once, don't wind up in a situation where you've got to upgrade and do it again. It should be able to run central A/C and all appliances, or central heat and all appliances. Normal daily routines and habits should not be infringed when you have a whole home unit. Ever.
That’s a decent plan for a home that’s got oil/gas heat, no EV to charge, etc. But, our home is electric and has 400A service, so while we wouldn’t need an automated load shedding feature, the “habits should not be infringed” requirement is not really realistic for sizing requirements. A mental note not to charge the car and take a sauna will suffice during an outage :D
That sounds good until not all members of the family are reading one another's minds when mindlessly doing things like opening a tap (well pump, anybody?), adjusting the thermostat, morning routine with hair dryer/iron, or using an appliance to make breakfast with high starting current.

Easy for one person to keep track of what they are doing, but communication breaks down when it's multiple people doing their own thing. It would get pretty annoying to have to keep checking before using something! Kids don't know what wattage devices use :D
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ResearchMed
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by ResearchMed »

jackbeagle wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 4:53 pm
TomatoTomahto wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 2:44 pm
jackbeagle wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 1:07 pm A whole home generator is exactly that - a whole home generator. Don't skimp on size vs. your potential peak load. It's expensive enough to do once, don't wind up in a situation where you've got to upgrade and do it again. It should be able to run central A/C and all appliances, or central heat and all appliances. Normal daily routines and habits should not be infringed when you have a whole home unit. Ever.
That’s a decent plan for a home that’s got oil/gas heat, no EV to charge, etc. But, our home is electric and has 400A service, so while we wouldn’t need an automated load shedding feature, the “habits should not be infringed” requirement is not really realistic for sizing requirements. A mental note not to charge the car and take a sauna will suffice during an outage :D
That sounds good until not all members of the family are reading one another's minds when mindlessly doing things like opening a tap (well pump, anybody?), adjusting the thermostat, morning routine with hair dryer/iron, or using an appliance to make breakfast with high starting current.

Easy for one person to keep track of what they are doing, but communication breaks down when it's multiple people doing their own thing. It would get pretty annoying to have to keep checking before using something! Kids don't know what wattage devices use :D
How much does a load-shedding setup really help in situations like this, with lack of coordination with more than one person using "things"?
Or if power goes out while most/all of the electricity hogs are running during routine use?

Now that we are less hesitant to let any service people in, we are planning to have some re-wiring done, including - hopefully - including the AC if the service people tell us it can be handled if, e.g., the electric dryer and two electric ovens are not also needed, etc.
The furnaces and hot water are nat gas, with just thermostats and ignition needed, etc.

We didn't know what we were doing, obviously, when we had the nat gas generator installed, and I'm sure that we overcompensated by including a rather minimal number of the most useful/important circuits.
I had not thought through any load-shedding because... I didn't know about it. :oops:
Our regular HVAC guy put it in, and it's all been fine. However, we have all service (a few routine maintenance/oil changes/etc.) done by a company that "does" generators, and they can do any rewiring.
So although it works well, it could no doubt be better optimized for the capacity.

RM
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pahkcah
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by pahkcah »

Installed a 20 kW Kohler 3 years ago as our new home (2750 sq ft) was being built. Air cooled and natural gas with automatic transfer switch. Cost was $12,500 (south of Boston). Maximum noise level (at full load) is 69dB. No load shedding required as it will power everything in the house. We have had several outages over the past two years, the longest lasting about two hours. Switch/generator wait 8 seconds before restoring power.

Our decision was between Kohler and Generac. Research at the time revealed that either would have been a good choice. Our choice of the Kohler was based on the quality and reputation of the company that installed and maintains the unit. At the time I found research that stated a natural gas generator is less efficient than a propane unit. Propane would provide full 20Kw, while a natural gas unit would provide 18Kw. If anyone reading this knows it is not correct, please let me know.

One other thing to consider. If you install a unit that pauses a few seconds before supplying power, make sure to install an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) for any electronic devices that you want/need to keep online. In our house the number one point of pain (if we didn’t have any instant backup) would be waiting for our router to reboot. Our daughter and son-in-law have Tesla Powerwalls and don’t have to worry about any power interruptions.
BH_RedRan
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by BH_RedRan »

For the "go big" fans, consider this. Big generators really consume a lot of fuel. Based on first-hand experience during a ~2-week outage a few years ago a 22KW generator goes through the contents of a BIG propane tank more quickly than you think. I ended up getting our 500 Gal tank topped off or we would have run out. So in the spirit of price gouging, the propane company jacked up the price of the propane by 1.7X and added a $100 "emergency" delivery charge for only giving them a 2 day warning. Needless to say I had them take their tank and I changed to another company about a week later, making them buy back the fuel at the inflated price.

I believe my average consumption was <4KW but the big engine still consumed a bunch of fuel when lightly loaded. Have a look at the specifications for the fuel consumption for these larger generators. If I remember right it was something like $210/day for almost two weeks. I just looked. A 20KW propane Kohler consumes about 82 Cubic Feet/Hour of liquid propane. That's about 2.3 gallons/Hour.

Not sure why there aren't larger inverter-type generators available. None that I could find anyway. Seems to me the lower noise, higher efficiency and likely less wear and tear on rotating parts would be worth a premium. Our 6KW honda inverter generator just purrs when under light load. I have made phone calls standing beside it. Fuel lasts a long time too. Only problem is that the well pump occasionally will trip it out.
IDinOH
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by IDinOH »

We priced out the Generac and Koehler whole home options and with our two, 200 amp service boxes and all the various load handlers 4 different quotes were between 12 and 14k. I thought that steep (we live in Ohio, have infrequent power outages but usually once a year for a day) given they told me maintenance costs would be at least 3-500 a year on top of initial costs.
Instead, I bought a 7500kw generator that runs on gas and propane at Lowe’s. $900 on sale w/ veterans discount. Bought a 10 circuit transfer switch and had electrician wire the 10 critical switches (furnace, WiFi, fridge, etc) that the generator plugs into ($1000 for switch and wiring). https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools ... _YEALw_wcB

It works really well and the only sacrifice is that I cannot run the hot water heater unless I limit the load to just the fridge and one furnace at a time (and we just turn the water on for a few hours). I can run a tv, the WiFi, two furnace blowers, a room of lights and a few lamps elsewhere and the fridge without issue.
My next upgrade ($400) will be having the propane tank we use for our pool heater piped to the back of house so I can use that much larger tank for supply. So I’ll be all in for ~20% of the cost of a whole house and couldn’t be happier given the very infrequent use.
CurlyDave
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by CurlyDave »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 2:44 pm
jackbeagle wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 1:07 pm A whole home generator is exactly that - a whole home generator. Don't skimp on size vs. your potential peak load. It's expensive enough to do once, don't wind up in a situation where you've got to upgrade and do it again. It should be able to run central A/C and all appliances, or central heat and all appliances. Normal daily routines and habits should not be infringed when you have a whole home unit. Ever.
That’s a decent plan for a home that’s got oil/gas heat, no EV to charge, etc. But, our home is electric and has 400A service, so while we wouldn’t need an automated load shedding feature, the “habits should not be infringed” requirement is not really realistic for sizing requirements. A mental note not to charge the car and take a sauna will suffice during an outage :D
My dirt simple small but "better than nothing" generator has very effective load shedding built in. Try to draw too much current and either the engine stalls and it shuts down, or the circuit breaker on it pops and power output stops. Either one requires a trip to the power shed, but no one has ever frozen to death in the 5 minutes it might take to restore power. The engine is warm and easy to start.

If i lived in the White House and had the resources of an entire country to spend on emergency power, being able to never think about conservation would be nice, but there is something old-time homey about the entire family gathering in the living room with our iPads and sharing the WiFi there while we are snowed in...
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DarthSage
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by DarthSage »

jackbeagle wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 1:07 pm Advice? I know nothing of cost, nor have I priced systems, so I can't answer to that. But from a functional standpoint, here's what I'd want:

A whole home generator is exactly that - a whole home generator. Don't skimp on size vs. your potential peak load. It's expensive enough to do once, don't wind up in a situation where you've got to upgrade and do it again. It should be able to run central A/C and all appliances, or central heat and all appliances. Normal daily routines and habits should not be infringed when you have a whole home unit. Ever.

Make sure it can be used without relying on any load shedding features, and provide the same current as commercial power. If you have access to natural gas, get one that runs on NG instead of having to worry about a finite supply of gas or diesel, and having a finite supply in an underground tank. Remember - in the middle of an ice storm propane delivery, or your ability to refill your own liquid fuel tank may not be as timely as you'd like.
I only partially agree with this. Our rep priced out both the "platinum, will run anything" generator, and a slightly smaller, cheaper one. Not only could we get down to air-cooled versus water-cooked, but we save several thousand bucks. The only thing I'm potentially "risking" is not having a clothes dryer. I will have central air (3 units), fridges (2), standing freezer, stove, oven, microwave, TVs, etc. I probably could use the dryer, but would have to mindful of usage (i.e., not when the oven's on). But I figure--I don't do laundry every day as it is. Or I could hang laundry, inside or out, depending on conditions. I don't consider it a sacrifice to be without a dryer. We're going with natural gas, which we already have coming to the house for hot water.

That said, it would be foolish, IMHO, to go through the trouble of putting in a whole-house generator, and going so skimpy that you couldn't cook or run the AC.
HomeStretch
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by HomeStretch »

BH_RedRan wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 7:09 pm … Big generators really consume a lot of fuel….
Good point. I already had an in-ground 500 gallon propane tank otherwise I would have installed a 1000 gallon tank when I installed my whole-house generator this year.
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Harry Livermore
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by Harry Livermore »

HomeStretch wrote: Tue Jun 08, 2021 7:25 am
BH_RedRan wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 7:09 pm … Big generators really consume a lot of fuel….
Good point. I already had an in-ground 500 gallon propane tank otherwise I would have installed a 1000 gallon tank when I installed my whole-house generator this year.
That's exactly why I installed a 1,000 gallon tank. However, in practice, gas usage seems lower.
In the past 10 years we have had 4 weather events that resulted in 5-6 day plus outages: Irene, The Snowtober Surprise, Winter Storm 2012, and Hurricane Sandy. 100-150-ish hours per event. Sandy was the tipping point that made me install the Generac. Since I was planning for a week without power, I wanted a big tank.
Because of compression/ expansion/ science that I can't wrap my head around, you can only "fill" a propane tank to about 80% capacity. Apparently if it's underground like mine, you can go a little higher.
Since Sandy, we have had sporadic 2- and 4-day outages, plus more of varying short duration. I only just topped it off this year, and in 8 years of weekly test runs, and perhaps 6 days total outages, we used around 140 gallons. So it feels like it's 2 gallons per hour or perhaps even less.
Another important note that may not apply universally: Generac recommends that you shut down the generator and check the oil level every 100 24 hours* of continuous use. I have not had to do so, but certainly check it after an extended outage. There is a low pressure cutoff but I assume it's best to not let it get to that point. There is a specific order to shutting down a generator manually when it's in use. First turn off the breaker on the generating unit, wait a few seconds, then turn off the engine. Reverse after the oil check. If you shut down the engine when the generator is under load it can damage things (stator? armature? Above my pay grade)
Cheers

* ETA: As noted by Ron below, it's check the oil every 24 hours, and change the oil every 100 hours.
Last edited by Harry Livermore on Tue Jun 08, 2021 2:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Ron
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by Ron »

Harry Livermore wrote: Tue Jun 08, 2021 10:19 amGenerac recommends that you shut down the generator and check the oil level every 100 hours of continuous use. I have not had to do so, but certainly check it after an extended outage. There is a low pressure cutoff but I assume it's best to not let it get to that point.
The low pressure cutoff does work 🙄 ....

We had our 20Kva Generac installed 8+ years ago, and at the time had service done (oil/filter change) done once a year. I rarely (if ever) checked the oil level, even though it does the 10 minute self-test weekly, and have had small outages time to time.

During an outage a few years after we had it installed, it shutdown 24 hours into a 45 hour outage. I checked the oil level and sure enough it was below the low fill level (duh 😨 ).

Filled it up, did a manual restart, and it continued without any problem after that.

Today, I have a different generator service contractor where they do the routine maintenance every six months. In addition, I check the oil level every couple of months (I learned my lesson).

I've had no problem with the unit at all. The only extra I've spent money on is changing the battery after six years, but then again that could be considered normal maintenance.

With our many travels over the years (being away 3-4 weeks at a time), and at our age (both 73), the idea of going back to a manual solution with a portable genset is not something we would look forward to. Sure, we did it at an earlier age (still have the portable), but those days are past.

Heck, we saved/invested for this time of our life; might as well take advantage of the technology available to us....

FWIW,

- Ron
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Harry Livermore
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by Harry Livermore »

Ron wrote: Tue Jun 08, 2021 11:04 am
I checked the oil level and sure enough it was below the low fill level (duh 😨 ).
Ron, have you ever noticed a slight usage of oil? I check ours periodically, and always after every outage. After one of the 4-day outages, we were 1/4-1/2 quart low. I was a little surprised. It has not seemed to "use" any oil since. It's been a couple of years.
I generally use Mobil 1, 5W-30 and I wondered if I had substituted 10W-40 might it have made a difference. I'm hedging my bets in that I would expect the most likely time for an outage is in the winter, with subfreezing or single digit temps. So I always think "thinner" oil.
Good to know the cutoff works though!
:sharebeer
Cheers
jackbeagle
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by jackbeagle »

DarthSage wrote: Tue Jun 08, 2021 7:04 am
jackbeagle wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 1:07 pm Advice? I know nothing of cost, nor have I priced systems, so I can't answer to that. But from a functional standpoint, here's what I'd want:

A whole home generator is exactly that - a whole home generator. Don't skimp on size vs. your potential peak load. It's expensive enough to do once, don't wind up in a situation where you've got to upgrade and do it again. It should be able to run central A/C and all appliances, or central heat and all appliances. Normal daily routines and habits should not be infringed when you have a whole home unit. Ever.

Make sure it can be used without relying on any load shedding features, and provide the same current as commercial power. If you have access to natural gas, get one that runs on NG instead of having to worry about a finite supply of gas or diesel, and having a finite supply in an underground tank. Remember - in the middle of an ice storm propane delivery, or your ability to refill your own liquid fuel tank may not be as timely as you'd like.
I only partially agree with this. Our rep priced out both the "platinum, will run anything" generator, and a slightly smaller, cheaper one. Not only could we get down to air-cooled versus water-cooked, but we save several thousand bucks. The only thing I'm potentially "risking" is not having a clothes dryer. I will have central air (3 units), fridges (2), standing freezer, stove, oven, microwave, TVs, etc. I probably could use the dryer, but would have to mindful of usage (i.e., not when the oven's on). But I figure--I don't do laundry every day as it is. Or I could hang laundry, inside or out, depending on conditions. I don't consider it a sacrifice to be without a dryer. We're going with natural gas, which we already have coming to the house for hot water.

That said, it would be foolish, IMHO, to go through the trouble of putting in a whole-house generator, and going so skimpy that you couldn't cook or run the AC.
Sounds like you'll be set! Generac's entry level "whole home" unit is either 17 kW or 22 kW (think I've seen both) but I completely forgot about people who run multiple A/C units - I was cruising along in my 1000 FT cape cod thinking I had high demand!
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by Ron »

Harry Livermore wrote: Tue Jun 08, 2021 12:15 pmRon, have you ever noticed a slight usage of oil? I check ours periodically, and always after every outage. After one of the 4-day outages, we were 1/4-1/2 quart low. I was a little surprised. It has not seemed to "use" any oil since. It's been a couple of years.

I generally use Mobil 1, 5W-30 and I wondered if I had substituted 10W-40 might it have made a difference. I'm hedging my bets in that I would expect the most likely time for an outage is in the winter, with subfreezing or single digit temps. So I always think "thinner" oil.
Good to know the cutoff works though!
:sharebeer
Cheers
The maintenance folks use the synthetic Generac branded oil (5W-30) for year-round use. I have not noticed any major reduction when I check between maintenance checks. However, for the last year or so we have not had an extended outage period other than the weekly 10-minute self-test.

The last major outage (2+ years ago?), it ran for 2+ days. That time I checked it at the 24-hour run time period and it was down just a smidge (a unit of measurement 😁 ).

BTW, Generac suggests that you check the oil level every 24-hours during an extended outage. See: https://www.generac.com/be-prepared/preserving-hsb-oil .

- Ron
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Harry Livermore
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by Harry Livermore »

Ron wrote: Tue Jun 08, 2021 12:34 pm
Harry Livermore wrote: Tue Jun 08, 2021 12:15 pmRon, have you ever noticed a slight usage of oil? I check ours periodically, and always after every outage. After one of the 4-day outages, we were 1/4-1/2 quart low. I was a little surprised. It has not seemed to "use" any oil since. It's been a couple of years.

I generally use Mobil 1, 5W-30 and I wondered if I had substituted 10W-40 might it have made a difference. I'm hedging my bets in that I would expect the most likely time for an outage is in the winter, with subfreezing or single digit temps. So I always think "thinner" oil.
Good to know the cutoff works though!
:sharebeer
Cheers
The maintenance folks use the synthetic Generac branded oil (5W-30) for year-round use. I have not noticed any major reduction when I check between maintenance checks. However, for the last year or so we have not had an extended outage period other than the weekly 10-minute self-test.

The last major outage (2+ years ago?), it ran for 2+ days. That time I checked it at the 24-hour run time period and it was down just a smidge (a unit of measurement 😁 ).

BTW, Generac suggests that you check the oil level every 24-hours during an extended outage. See: https://www.generac.com/be-prepared/preserving-hsb-oil .

- Ron
Yeah, I am sticking with the 5W-30. And you are correct on the "check every 24 hours", though I have not been that diligent. I amended my post above. For some reason I was thinking of the oil change interval...
Cheers
aquaman
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by aquaman »

BH_RedRan wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 7:09 pm For the "go big" fans, consider this. Big generators really consume a lot of fuel.
It depends on the fuel type and its pricing. From what I am seeing everywhere, a 20 kw air cooled natural gas powered generator running at full load would consume approximately 262 cu ft/hr, which translates into 2.62 therms. We pay 40 cents per therm (plus tax, plus fixed charges), so at this rate of consumption, it actually ends up being cheaper than electricity.

In reality, generators won't be running at full load 24/7, so the actual consumption costs would be even lower.

1 cubic foot of propane is approximately 0.0278 gallons of propane. At 122 cubic feet of propane per hour, you're consuming 3.3916 gallons of propane per hour. Even if you are paying $2/gallons of propane, this ends up being substantially more expensive than natural gas.
aquaman
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by aquaman »

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.
Last edited by aquaman on Wed Jun 09, 2021 5:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
hudson
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by hudson »

No advice...just what I have.
I just got a Generac 22kw installed by a Generac dealer that I know and trust....$11,442 out the door, plus $650 worth of propane.
The propane tank holds 243 gallons of propane.
There are two auto cutoffs, one for the dryer and another for the strip heat.

This purchase will guarantee that the power never goes off. :)
GAAP
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by GAAP »

aburntoutcase wrote: Fri Jun 04, 2021 3:59 pm Regarding relevant details of the home it is a 4,300 sq ft home with the first floor being approx 2,400 sq ft. Second floor has 5 bedrooms but only 3 will be occupied. The kitchen oven is gas operated, not electric. Hot water is heated using gas too, the house is heated with a gas-fired steam boiler for some rooms and a gas-fired hot air furnace for others and has 3 Central AC systems. The inspection report says the main service disconnect has a capacity of 200 amperes, 240/120 volt electric service. Circuit breakers are in the basement. The basement also has two sump pumps which we might need to work if power outage coincides with a severe storm.

What capacity generator do we need to support normal functioning of the whole home? Will a 20,000 Watt generator be sufficient? Also can we get by with a cheaper air cooled generator or should we consider a liquid cooled generator? It is also not clear to me whether to spring for a three phase or if a single phase generator is sufficient. In the past few years Northern NJ suburbs have experienced power outages of 2-3 days in some cases after major storms.

Also what should one expect in terms of installation costs?

Thanks very much for your responses!
1. You have 240/120 service, you need the same for both the generator and the ATS. Three-phase won't work.

2. You need to consider the fuel type for the generator. Are you planning LPG, diesel, or Natural Gas? If Natural Gas, you will need to verify that the service supplied to the home (both meter and gas line) is sufficient to support both the generator and any appliances that use gas. Diesel and propane will each need a fuel tank.

3. A 20KW generator may or may not be sufficient, depending upon your definition of "normal functioning". Generac publishes a Generator Sizing Guide https://www.echogroupinc.com/content/Ge ... gGuide.pdf -- use the "DIRECTIONS FOR NEC 2017, ARTICLE 220, PART IV" section to estimate your needs in rough terms. Note that the resulting load should really equal about 75% or less of the total generator capacity. IOW, if you estimate a standby load of 15KW, then a 20KW or large generator is necessary. Cat provides a nice description of generator ratings at https://www.cat.com/en_US/by-industry/e ... tings.html.

4. Air-cooled is fine, assuming it's available in the size you need. Above 24KW, that will be hard to find.

Don't expect to get this done right away -- dealers around here are quoting 6 months or more due to supply chain issues for generators, and the WFH/COVID demand build-up over the past year or more.
“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.” ― Bruce Lee
miamivice
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by miamivice »

aquaman wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 2:52 pm
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.
It sounds like you'd make a great salesman for a company that sells whole house generators.

For me, it's not purposeful I have decided.

The $20k comes in at a rough estimate for the cost of extending the gas line, potentially installing a new meter, extending electric, installing transfer switch, and purchase of generator. A 20 kw generator alone is a $5k and then there are all of the additional costs. I have not had a salesman out to look and estimate though.
aquaman
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by aquaman »

miamivice wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 12:35 pm It sounds like you'd make a great salesman for a company that sells whole house generators.
You don't need to get so defensive.

I am not one of those people who makes important decisions without looking into it in depth. Hence, the reason that in one of the prior threads I was also accused of selling pool equipment, as some people seem to think that those who've taken the time to more or less thoroughly educate themselves on a particular topic must have a financial stake in the outcome. I am also a big proponent of Vanguard and passive investing in general. Am I or should I also be on Vanguard's payroll? Most importantly, what do you disagree with in my post and why?
The $20k comes in at a rough estimate for the cost of extending the gas line, potentially installing a new meter, extending electric, installing transfer switch, and purchase of generator. A 20 kw generator alone is a $5k and then there are all of the additional costs. I have not had a salesman out to look and estimate though.
Then why are you throwing out all these $20K to $30K numbers that don't have anything to do with reality? If a person asks for advice, as the OP has done here, although you don't have to be an expert, it would probably help to know something about the subject.
smitcat
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by smitcat »

aquaman wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 2:52 pm
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.
"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)"
We do not excercise our portbale gensets - we drain them when not in use. Easily done with one valve that drains the fuel to a portable fuel can - then start the genset and let it run dry.
Ron
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by Ron »

miamivice wrote: Thu Jun 10, 2021 12:35 pmThe $20k comes in at a rough estimate for the cost of extending the gas line, potentially installing a new meter, extending electric, installing transfer switch, and purchase of generator. A 20 kw generator alone is a $5k and then there are all of the additional costs. I have not had a salesman out to look and estimate though.
Actually, the $20k price is close to what I paid ($18K) back in the spring of 2013 when I had my unit installed.

The total price for the Generac 20kVA unit I had installed consisted of three contracts. One for the unit/transfer switch, along with the electrical work (including four SMM's), one for the purchased 500gal underground propane tank along with 50' of gas line from my backyard to the unit, and one for the excavation contractor to dig the required trenches, along with landscaping to cover the "scars" with new turf.

The genset/electrical work contract was $9k. The gas tank, lines, excavation work, along with filling of the propane tank and sod replacement ran another $9K.

It would have been less expensive to go with NG; however there are no NG lines in my area. Anyway, with propane I get the full 20kVA output rather than the 18kVA which is generated using an NG supply. Spec sheet: https://www.generac.com/generaccorporat ... erac_1.pdf

- Ron
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aburntoutcase
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by aburntoutcase »

Haven't posted in a few days because was tied up with the zillion things you have to do ahead of closing (next Friday) but just wanted to update the folks who have provided such helpful advice.

We have decided against a whole house standby generator. I spoke to my SIL who has been living in Northern NJ suburbs since 2010 and other than Hurricane Sandy, the power outages are rarely more than a few hours (only 1-2 times a year), longest outage has been 1-2 days during the past decade. We are probably going to with a portable gasoline powered generator in the 5,000 to 7,000 Watt range or an Invertor. We will also look into the Tesla Powerwall because the home already has solar panels installed on the roof. Right now Tesla won't really tell me anything but I think for existing solar panel users it should be possible to order the Powerwall separately.

On the issue of inverter and Powerwall which seem preferred because they are more silent I haven't really reached a decision because if everyone on the block will start blasting their portable generators then it will hardly matter if I have a quiet generator. First order of business after moving is to get to meet the neighbors on both sides and in front of the home and understand their backup power solutions :)
jharkin
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by jharkin »

First off, you do NOT have 3 phase power in your house. Nobody does. That’s commercial factory power, typically at 440v. What you have is residential 120/240 split phase power.

I think what you are asking is do you need a 120v or 240v generator. If you can live for a day without central AC and don’t have a well pump, 120 is fine. 120 will run your steam boiler just fine. It may or may not run a gas furnace, depends on how the blower is wired.

Before you drop 5 figures on a generator you may never use, I’d access how frequent power outages are in your are..l you live in NJ!! not backwoods Alaska. I would also consider what are really “needs”.

Fwiw if you can get by just running the sump pumps (maybe 500w each), fridge (probably under 300w running), steam boiler ( probably about 5w, only draw is the igniter and gas valve solenoid) and a few lights, a 2-3kW portable generator and interlock breaker is more than enough. I used to have a 3500w gas contractor generator and just downgraded to a 2500w dual fuel inverter generator. It’s light enough to hand carry and can run for 30hr on a BBQ tank.it’s enough to keep the heat, hot water, fridge and enough lights going in my 3400sq home no problem.
hudson
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by hudson »

jharkin wrote: Fri Jun 11, 2021 6:41 pm First off, you do NOT have 3 phase power in your house. Nobody does. That’s commercial factory power, typically at 440v. What you have is residential 120/240 split phase power.

I think what you are asking is do you need a 120v or 240v generator. If you can live for a day without central AC and don’t have a well pump, 120 is fine. 120 will run your steam boiler just fine. It may or may not run a gas furnace, depends on how the blower is wired.

Before you drop 5 figures on a generator you may never use, I’d access how frequent power outages are in your are..l you live in NJ!! not backwoods Alaska. I would also consider what are really “needs”.

Fwiw if you can get by just running the sump pumps (maybe 500w each), fridge (probably under 300w running), steam boiler ( probably about 5w, only draw is the igniter and gas valve solenoid) and a few lights, a 2-3kW portable generator and interlock breaker is more than enough. I used to have a 3500w gas contractor generator and just downgraded to a 2500w dual fuel inverter generator. It’s light enough to hand carry and can run for 30hr on a BBQ tank.it’s enough to keep the heat, hot water, fridge and enough lights going in my 3400sq home no problem.
jharkin,
I agree that a portable generator can be optimal for the young and healthy....but maybe not for the older folks.
My much younger brother who lives in a hurricane prone area has a portable. He grumbles about setting it out at 2 am in the rain.
I'm 73 and could likely still roll out a portable, hook it up, and run it. I don't know if that will work at 83. There's no chance that my wife could get a portable going.
I've made it just fine for 73 years without a generator, but no more.
For my situation, I go with a whole house unit that runs automatically.
Our long time neighbor is looking for a 150 foot long drop cord.
Last edited by hudson on Fri Jun 11, 2021 7:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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snackdog
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Re: Whole Home Generator Advice

Post by snackdog »

jharkin wrote: Fri Jun 11, 2021 6:41 pm First off, you do NOT have 3 phase power in your house. Nobody does. That’s commercial factory power, typically at 440v. What you have is residential 120/240 split phase power.
I have 3 phase (and single phase) power at my residence, both utility-provided and off my generator. The previous owner had a lot of rotating equipment (wood and metal machining) and used 3 phase in the workshop and a basement room. I also have 120 and 240. The electrical panel is an entire wall of equipment akin to what one might see in a hospital.
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