Author Topic: Residential Backup Generator  (Read 1572 times)

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Offline MightyPizzaOven

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Residential Backup Generator
« on: October 29, 2012, 01:53:55 PM »
Living in Houston, I have experienced many Hurricanes over the years. I have been looking into getting a backup generator for years but the urge to buy one, rapidly fades after the storm passes. We were able to tuft it out for a week or so without power but we didn't have kids back than, with two kids now, getting a backup generatore is more justifiable than before.

Here is a link you may find useful to size your generator http://www.electricgeneratorsdirect.com/stories/46-How-to-Size-a-Home-Standby-Generator.html

I like the standbuy backup that uses natural gas like this one... not cheap ... http://www.costco.com/Honeywell-10kw-Generator.product.100009493.html

Stay safe...
Bert,


Offline pizzaneer

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Re: Residential Backup Generator
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2012, 02:52:44 PM »
It's so hard to justify the expense except in an emergency.  And when it's over... other things take priority.

You could make a hell of a profit selling some kind of contractual insurance that stipulates in the event of a loss of power lasting more than a few hours, you deliver and set up a portable generator that will power essentials like a pump, fridge, lights, etc.   Sorry, no 550-degree oven.  Seasonal monthly fee, peace of mind for homeowners who have neither the room or money to invest in a permanent standby genny. 
I'd rather eat one good meal a day than 3 squares of garbage.

Offline juniorballoon

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Re: Residential Backup Generator
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2012, 03:06:14 PM »
We bought our house 12 years ago and it came with a Gentran switch that controls 6 main circuits. It's in a rural location and we lose power couple of times a year. We have propane heat, but the fan requires electricity. For a day or two it was never an issue. In our 3rd year we had an ice storm that knocked the power out for a week. It was damn cold after one day and pipes in the house were in danger of freezing. We headed to Sears that day and bought $500, 5600KW with bursts to 8400KW, went to hardware store and had a special power cable made. Got home, quickly perused the manual, filled it with gas, plugged it into the wall, started the generator and flipped the Gentran on. Heater powered up, fridge was working and we had lights. We didn't need to burn candles, we had a warm house and we could watch DVD's. Really made a world of difference. On a few stormy times I've gone out in my robe, plugged it in, fired it up and headed into the house to make coffee. It's that simple. Very much worth it to us.

jb

Offline petef

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Re: Residential Backup Generator
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2012, 04:16:14 AM »
Living in Houston, I have experienced many Hurricanes over the years. I have been looking into getting a backup generator for years but the urge to buy one, rapidly fades after the storm passes.

At least for me, when the power fails, I need to power 4 things... Sump pump, Kitchen Refrig/Freezer, Freezer in basement, and Furnace blower. A 4,000 watt gasoline powered generator costing about $600 suits my needs.

I essentially created my own custom extension cord that connects all those appliances but I don't plug them all in at once because that may overload the generator. Sump pump is always connected. Furnace I rarely connect because I have a wood stove for heat. So it's a simple matter of alternately connecting the Kitchen Refrigerator and the basement freezer. Then i do most of my living out of a ice filled cooler to avoid having to constantly open and close the refrigerator and freezer doors.

I'm also looking to buy a new generator because mine failed just when I needed it for Hurricane Sandy. I'm not exactly sure what's wrong with it but it could be caused by stale gasoline. Now I'm considering going with a propane power generator. Seems like propane has definite advantages over gasoline.

- Gasoline begins going bad after 30 days in storage unless you add a stabilizer additive.
- Even with an additive, gasoline goes bad after 1 year.
- With gasoline, you really need to drain the tank after use. What a pain!
- If gasoline goes bad it can gunk up the carburetor and cause big problems.
- Storing gasoline can be a fire hazard.
- If a major power outage occurs, gas stations may be out of service.

+ Propane has none of the problems stated above.
+ Propane can also be used for the gas grill.


Question is, what are the disadvantages of propane or a propane powered generator?


---pete---
 

« Last Edit: November 01, 2012, 04:21:06 AM by petef »

Offline RobynB

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Re: Residential Backup Generator
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2012, 12:43:17 PM »
My husband owns an outdoor power equipment dealership, sells and services a lot of generators.  I will show this to him tonight and have him answer you.


Offline bfguilford

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Re: Residential Backup Generator
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2012, 12:57:46 PM »
Thanks, Robyn. I'm looking for a recommendation too - for a unit that would be able to power my refrigerator/freezer, furnace, a microwave, and well pump. I would prefer propane, since I already run my heat and hot water off that. Could you also ask him about brands and reliability. I'm seeing some major complaints from people on the web.

Barry
Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

Offline RobynB

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Re: Residential Backup Generator
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2012, 12:57:14 AM »
Honda is hubby's preferred brand of generator, but they do not make a propane generator.  Some can be converted to propane but Honda does not offer a conversion kit.  Kit would have to be sourced after-market.  Engines run slightly hotter on propane than gasoline, which may reduce engine life, and propane does not deliver as much wattage as gasoline. 

Gasoline does go bad quickly, as little as 30 days as it comes from the pump, as little as 90 days to a year with fuel stabilizer.  A gasoline generator can be kept reliable with regular exercise, and proper fuel storage and management. 

Stand-by generators designed to run on propane/natural gas (Briggs & Stratton, Generac, Kohler being a few) eliminate these problems but are generally a permanent installation requiring a slab, permanent wiring, and a transfer switch, all of which can be costly. 

Do NOT buy an economical generator out of China.  You will regret it.  There is some quality product coming out of China.  Some reputable manufacturers have plants in China, for example, Honda does have a plant there but it is a HONDA plant. 

If anybody has any specific questions about Honda models, which are what he sells, feel free to ask. 

Offline MightyPizzaOven

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Re: Residential Backup Generator
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2012, 08:55:03 AM »
Thank you Robin for your input.
Bert,

Offline bfguilford

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Re: Residential Backup Generator
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2012, 09:19:52 AM »
Thanks, Robyn. If it's not too much trouble, could you ask your husband what he thinks of this one? It is a tri-fuel generator run by a Honda GX390 engine. Not a problem if he doesn't have the time.

http://www.generatorsales.com/order/03369_alt.asp?page=H03369

The other ones that I'm looking at are the Honda EM5000S and EM6500S (if the EM5000S is too small).

I'd need it to run my LP furnace and LP water heater, well pump, refrigerator (energy star), and microwave (doubt that it is energy star).

Thanks.

Barry
« Last Edit: November 02, 2012, 11:43:00 AM by bfguilford »
Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

Offline Bobino414

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Re: Residential Backup Generator
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2012, 09:01:06 PM »

Power outages are not uncommon where I live so I put in a Generac standby generator; runs on propane.  It's heavy so slab had to be poured.  It is hard wired and has a transfer switch-this is required so you don't electrocute the electric company repair tech.

I can handle about 1 week of outage before I need to refill the tank.  The unit automatically starts itself weekly just to run the motor for about 15 minutes.  When the power goes out, the generator will start about 2 minutes after outage.

Honda makes a great motor but I didn't want to deal with the gasoline issues.  It's a real convenience to have the fuel delivered.

I'm everybody's best buddy when the community loses power.

Bob


Offline RobynB

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Re: Residential Backup Generator
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2012, 11:46:14 AM »
Barry:  Will have you an answer tonight. He's at work today and I just saw this.

Offline JConk007

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Re: Residential Backup Generator
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2012, 08:58:12 PM »
As the price shows the Honda 6500 will blow that away! And a lot quiter !
I Love to Flirt with Fire! www.flirtingwithfirepizza.com

Offline RobynB

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Re: Residential Backup Generator
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2012, 10:24:58 PM »
Hubby agrees with John  ;D

As to your actual question, Barry:  Hubby says he can vouch for the engine prior to modifications but he knows nothing about the rest of the unit.  He says it looks like an import (meaning probably China).  He says what you should want to know is, is it sold by a servicing dealer who will be around to provide parts, service and warranty?  If not, it could be a dead end product and therefore, a waste of money.  He said it could be as wonderful as it sounds, but a generator of that size with those features for that price has to be sacrificing something, and he reminds you that if the price is too good to be true, it probably is.  He said if you are looking for reliability long-term, go with a reputable item from a servicing dealer. 

Offline bfguilford

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Re: Residential Backup Generator
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2012, 09:43:49 AM »
Robyn:

Please thank your husband for setting me straight. I normally give other people the same advice.  :-[

John: Thanks.

Barry
Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.