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Posted: 12/22/2008 1:52:37 PM EST
Guys,

This forum has convinced me I need a generator. So, I Googled a few things, called my friend the electrician, and he said I should not go small. He wants me to get at least a 10K or 12K watt generator.

Because I'm seriously considering switching my house over to natural gas, he also said that the gen I get should be one that runs on natural gas.

He is a friend who has tried to work for me for less money than he should have...and I made him take the right $.....so I know he's not out to get me.
Link Posted: 12/22/2008 1:57:45 PM EST
I didn't because i just don't have the need for a gen that big we don't have winters that are that bad/long..

If i was going with a large genset it would either be propane or diesel something I could store not something i had to depend on utilities to supply that defeats the purpose imo.

If you have a natural gas well on your property that’s a different story….
Link Posted: 12/22/2008 2:06:46 PM EST
to me the idea behind a generator is flexibility. flexibility in fuel usage and flexibility to move the generator around. i don't see how a large genny will give you either.
Link Posted: 12/22/2008 2:07:30 PM EST
If you've got propane or natural gas at your location already and can afford the higher cost of a standby generator I think it is a good choice. When the power gos out you can't guarantee you'll be able to find gasoline or diesel.

10 or 12kilowatt however is probably overkill. I'd go 8kw unlss you want to keep on running everything when the power goes out.
Link Posted: 12/22/2008 2:29:09 PM EST
try to get one with wheels, a small one around 7000w then you can use it for home or anything that needs temp power , unless you live in very cold areas where power goes down alot. Remember get a good transfer switch , dont backfeed into a dryer outlet.
Link Posted: 12/22/2008 2:35:39 PM EST
Big gens take big amounts of fuel. And NG is not as efficient as gas or propane so it will use even more. For a short duration power outage with your NG line still intact and functioning a large standby NG generator would be awesome. That much power would provide all the comforts of regular line svc. even though you would burn alot of fuel. In an event when your NG line is not intact you would be in a SOL. Thats why many on here have tri fuel generators. It gives you options. As a personal pref I like smaller, quieter more fuel efficient generators. I would rather power less for longer and quieter and have the option of moving the genny to a different location if needed. I like to have options. I can heat with wood or propane or electric. I can run my gen on propane, gas or NG. Etc. That said, probably the easiest to use system is the built in large genny like your electrician suggests. Set it up and just minimal maintenance and you are set for most situations. The question is if you are comfortable with being set up only for most situations.
Link Posted: 12/22/2008 2:39:25 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/22/2008 2:40:12 PM EST by Hawk_308]
I love my Lincoln 5000 watt welder generator . Bought it in 98 , and have run the ever loving mess out of it . Rebuilt the carb once ,replaced the muffler , thats the only things I ever did to it. portable and the right size to run whats needed . Would I like a big 10K geeny yes but it wouldnt get used a 1/10th what Ive run this one.



Link Posted: 12/22/2008 2:49:29 PM EST
After being through a real world outage for several days I think get enough to run the basics to avoid huge fuel costs/inconvenience of refueling. If you are not using it to its rated capacity then you are just burning fuel.

Mine is a 4500 watt genny BTW and I was very happy. I couldn't use elec stove or dryer, but this is SF so what man would anyway
Link Posted: 12/22/2008 3:16:15 PM EST
Link Posted: 12/22/2008 3:17:36 PM EST
Your electrician is trying to run everythign in the house off the generator. If you can afford it, and have ioil heat, a 10 or 15kW generator is great for short term outages.

I run a 15kW Winco with a Kubota diesel tractor, runs just over 3 qts of diesel fuel per hour under normal load.


Sure is nice to have power to run the AC when summer storms cause outages.

Ops
Link Posted: 12/22/2008 3:30:43 PM EST
5.5KW runs everything I need here: well pump, septic pump, oil burner (heat and hot water), fridge, lights, and misc small appliances.

Running the genny intermittently during during last week's ice storm my fuel usage was about 2.5gal day.
Link Posted: 12/22/2008 5:10:34 PM EST
I hve a trailer mounted 12K Diesel unit. Does it all, and it's portable. Just drop it on the Reese hitch and roll.
Link Posted: 12/22/2008 5:13:40 PM EST
This is what I did with a free 7000w gen, made a outside enclosure and put in a transfer switch. Its electric start which could be bad but I have a 1 yr old new battery on a float charger so it always starts, and its in the back yard with a long cord to reach the transfer switch. Runs everything within reason even window ac. Its not the best looking but it works. Pics
Link Posted: 12/23/2008 7:11:39 AM EST
It takes one dummy digging with equipment to kill your natural gas so I really don't like the idea of relying on it by itself. I admit I don't hear about this much but murphy would love me if I had natural gas and only natural gas.

A lot of generators can be set up to run on propane or change the gas jet and run it on natural gas. So plumbing for both might be possable. Not sure what it would take to change over and not sure if you would want to bother doing that.

Depending on what all you want to run you can figure out if you need something that size. I don't plan to run much stuff so a small generator does what I need to have done.

Some people go with a permanent install that automatically tests itself each month or so and that would be nice but I like portability first and then a permanent install with a 2nd or 3rd generator.

I would buy a high quality generator and size it for your needs. Your friend may know some good places where you can get a fair price on a generator. I would ask him why he thinks you need one that big and just learn some more about your options before making a choice.

Link Posted: 12/23/2008 7:50:16 AM EST
Het Veracity:

I recogize you from the NY/NJ HTF - I just got a Honda EU3000i. I plan on buying the honda transfer switch and having my electrician install it. Its a gas genset and I plan on running just outside my basement window and running a cord thru it to the panel +/- 5ft. I thought about getting a NG or tri-fuel unit but the price ($0.00) on the honda was too good to pass up...
Link Posted: 12/23/2008 7:54:26 AM EST
Originally Posted By Veracity:
Guys,

This forum has convinced me I need a generator. So, I Googled a few things, called my friend the electrician, and he said I should not go small. He wants me to get at least a 10K or 12K watt generator.

Because I'm seriously considering switching my house over to natural gas, he also said that the gen I get should be one that runs on natural gas.

He is a friend who has tried to work for me for less money than he should have...and I made him take the right $.....so I know he's not out to get me.


Your friend means well, but clearly does not understand SHTF or worse TEOTWAWKI v. a short term power outage. With SHTF you had best assume that natural gas will be unavailable when the power goes out and that your fuel supply has to last a long time. No police so you don't want lots of lights that say "rob and rape me." to all the goblins wandering about.

Stick to a generator that is just be enough to handle the surge startup of your largest electrical item. Diesel would be ideal for fuel storage, but gas is cheaper. Use what you save (vs 15K unit) for food, weapons, training, etc.

Link Posted: 12/23/2008 7:55:33 AM EST
Most people I know with them in Houston have 20kW models. They love them. And when the gas bill comes they look like they are sucking lemons for a week or two.

One of the reasons that I am being so anal with my home design is to be able to run off of a lot less power.
Link Posted: 12/23/2008 8:26:46 AM EST
in true arfcom fashion, get both.

what do you want the genset to do? do you want it to run your house during the times when you lose power for a few hours or a day or two? or do you want something that you can use in a SHTF or TEOTWAWKI to maintain a modicum of civility? these are not mutually exclusive. for example, a large genset can function well during a SHTF event. you just need to plan for it's short comings (e.g., it burns a lot of fuel). you overcome this by getting a genset that automatically adjusts the throttle based upon load, you get a tri-fuel setup and you store a lot of fuel. in all likelihood during a long term SHTF event you won't be running your genset 24/7, it'll just attract too much attention. you also wouldn't likely be able to store the hundreds of gallons of fuel that you'd need.

Link Posted: 12/23/2008 8:30:32 AM EST
Living in north central Florida, there is not a huge need for a generator. I have a 5K TroyBilt that I bought in Miami a few years back. It handles all I need, and during the 2005 hurricane season down in Miami, it kept me going through katrina and Wilma, when Miami was totally out of power for about two weeks.
Link Posted: 12/23/2008 8:34:45 AM EST
+1 with Cacinok. If you've got the money for the hardware and big gas bills get a 10-20kW model with the gas feed, 240V, transfer switch- the whole deal–– and also get a small 120V 1kW or 2kW inverter unit (Honda or Yamaha) for portability, back-up and for when your gas feed goes south.

I'd start off the inverter first- it will only add a small amount to your total outlay if you get a quality big unit.
Link Posted: 12/23/2008 8:52:50 AM EST
Link Posted: 12/23/2008 12:15:54 PM EST
Guys,

Fantastic replies so far.

Help me figure out a bit more here.....

The consensus here seems to be that NG is not a viable SHTF method. Ok, I can see that. However, in those same situations, you can't get more gasoline or deisel either, right?

You'd better be stocked up beforehand, right?
Link Posted: 12/23/2008 12:23:59 PM EST
Originally Posted By Veracity:
Guys,

Fantastic replies so far.

Help me figure out a bit more here.....

The consensus here seems to be that NG is not a viable SHTF method. Ok, I can see that. However, in those same situations, you can't get more gasoline or deisel either, right?

You'd better be stocked up beforehand, right?


Yes. problem w/ NG is that you don't know how long the supply will last. whereas w/ propane and gas, you can get a large tank, or numerous small ones and you'll at least know how much you have left and use it accordingly. there are a few guys here w/ large tanks, but most have a bunch of smaller cans.
Link Posted: 12/23/2008 12:25:13 PM EST


I went with a small one for a couple of reasons:

1) I really only "Need" the essentially like running the fridge, freezer, and heaters or fans
2) It is big enough to run my entire camper, to include A/C
3) If I should have to evacuate (rail lines nearby that transport some nasty stuff) it is easy to grab and go.
Link Posted: 12/23/2008 1:32:30 PM EST
Originally Posted By Veracity:
Guys,

This forum has convinced me I need a generator. So, I Googled a few things, called my friend the electrician, and he said I should not go small. He wants me to get at least a 10K or 12K watt generator.

Because I'm seriously considering switching my house over to natural gas, he also said that the gen I get should be one that runs on natural gas.

He is a friend who has tried to work for me for less money than he should have...and I made him take the right $.....so I know he's not out to get me.




That's the size I have and it will run on natural gas , propane or gas

It will run my whole house if needed.
Link Posted: 12/23/2008 1:44:37 PM EST
Originally Posted By EdB:
Het Veracity:

I recogize you from the NY/NJ HTF - I just got a Honda EU3000i. I plan on buying the honda transfer switch and having my electrician install it. Its a gas genset and I plan on running just outside my basement window and running a cord thru it to the panel +/- 5ft. I thought about getting a NG or tri-fuel unit but the price ($0.00) on the honda was too good to pass up...



You can upgrade your EU3000i if you wish.


http://www.propane-generators.com/eu3000i_kits.htm
Link Posted: 12/23/2008 1:45:44 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/23/2008 1:56:50 PM EST by jeffers_mz]
14kW Generac here, propane fired, have a 500 gallon propane tank that will run dry in January, and the propane company will swap it out for a 1000 gallon tank for $100, as long as I buy the propane for it from them. They have the best prices in the state, have for 12 years now, so I'm going that route.

I have a 5kW Sears unit at my dad's house, so the flexibility and portability is available if needed. Out here in the sticks, we lose power two or more times a year, and with the whole house generator, it hopefully won't be near the hassle it has been in the past.

The 8kW Generac runs flat out all the time, regardless of load, and consumes 2 gallons of propane per hour. The 14kW unit is the smallest Generac that has a load sensing throttle, which will also run my AC, and it will sense the electrical load and run at 1/4 rpm, 1/2 rpm, 3/4 rpm, or flat out, depending on what the house mains are drawing. At 1/4 and 1/2 rpm, it's supposed to use less fuel than the 8kW unit.

Link Posted: 12/23/2008 4:37:08 PM EST
Originally Posted By Cacinok:
Originally Posted By Veracity:
Guys,

Fantastic replies so far.

Help me figure out a bit more here.....

The consensus here seems to be that NG is not a viable SHTF method. Ok, I can see that. However, in those same situations, you can't get more gasoline or deisel either, right?

You'd better be stocked up beforehand, right?


Yes. problem w/ NG is that you don't know how long the supply will last. whereas w/ propane and gas, you can get a large tank, or numerous small ones and you'll at least know how much you have left and use it accordingly. there are a few guys here w/ large tanks, but most have a bunch of smaller cans.


They will really, really try not to let the gas lines lose pressure for a variety of pipeline corrosion related issues. I am worried about a lot of things, but that isn't really one of them (in Houston, at least).
Link Posted: 12/23/2008 4:45:06 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/23/2008 4:59:04 PM EST by KEA]
And you will store your natural gas for SHTF where?

Go diesel which will store for more than 5 years if kept cool and no light internal to the tank.
Link Posted: 12/23/2008 9:01:56 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/23/2008 9:03:12 PM EST by FS_653]
And you will store your natural gas for SHTF where?

Go diesel which will store for more than 5 years if kept cool and no light internal to the tank.


+100

Reliance on a utility for power when the power is out???

I went with a 15KW Diesel. It recently took us through a 24 hour outage easily, running the house like normal (except for the dryer). With only the partial load the generator only used a touch over three gallons the whole time that we ran it for power (approx 10 hours combined across the two days).

When it comes to electricity, better to have the extra capacity and not need it rather than not having it and needing it..

c0
____________________________
Failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.
http://Tpass.org
Link Posted: 12/23/2008 9:25:57 PM EST
If you have the means, certainly get yourself a unit that runs of natural gas or propane that can support your entire house. Mind you, this is a bit of overkill since I was able to take my 4700 watt Homlite to run my frig, freezer, fans, several lights and even a small TV to entertain the kids. My only problem would be refueling after an extended period of time of electricity loss.
Link Posted: 12/23/2008 9:56:44 PM EST
... Get both
Link Posted: 12/24/2008 2:55:17 AM EST


Depends. This was the right answer for me. I can run *everything.* I don't have to power any equipment away from the house. I live in a subdivision. Storing gasoline or diesel would be problematic. I can count the times the gas line has gone down on zero fingers. It switches on / off automatically. I don't even need to be here.

It's like having money in the bank, food in the pantry, and a pile of ammo all at the same time.
Link Posted: 12/24/2008 3:51:00 AM EST
SevenMaryThree,

Way to be the party pooper about the gas lines going down.

Where we live NG is not an option. In our last ice storm, propane companies were telling customers to not even call for delivery unless they were OUT. We have gas so I did have to drive around a bit to get gas, but I was able to drive.

I keep 40 gallons on hand but as soon as I dumped 5 gallons in I wanted to fill the can again.

Does anyone know where I could find an enclosure like7M3's for my existing 4500w genny? I was planning on making one but was worried about heat and the fact that it would probably look like shit. The genny is on wheels and I am worried that it might get wheeled away.
Link Posted: 12/24/2008 4:02:41 AM EST
Originally Posted By baldbull:
SevenMaryThree,

Way to be the party pooper about the gas lines going down.

Where we live NG is not an option. In our last ice storm, propane companies were telling customers to not even call for delivery unless they were OUT. We have gas so I did have to drive around a bit to get gas, but I was able to drive.

I keep 40 gallons on hand but as soon as I dumped 5 gallons in I wanted to fill the can again.

Does anyone know where I could find an enclosure like7M3's for my existing 4500w genny? I was planning on making one but was worried about heat and the fact that it would probably look like shit. The genny is on wheels and I am worried that it might get wheeled away.


Did you see mine, its made from metal studs and siding, but it may look like shit compared to the professional type. pics
Link Posted: 12/24/2008 4:04:55 AM EST


That's what I have. 12RES model from Kohler.

For a localized/regional SHTF (where electricity being out is a major concern), it's really hard to beat a built-in NG generator with an automatic transfer switch. Mine puts out 12kW (a little less on NG... you have to derate the genset a little bit for NG), and runs the entire house. It's also very clean power, and none of my computer equipment complains (unlike my neighbor's Generac units, where you can see the flickering in their house lights).

Yes, it makes you less mobile... but unless the world really comes to an end, I'm bugging in, not out. My neighbors are solid people (many veterans, like myself), and I'm not worried about them.

Link Posted: 12/24/2008 4:21:00 AM EST
I use a 8500 surge generator with a tri fuel kit on it.
I can run everything (including window units) but my 7.5 ton AC.
Our light bulbs are all CF.
We have natural gas tankless water heater and stove.
I believe most people over buy in the generator department. Big genny takes big fuel.
Link Posted: 12/24/2008 5:09:12 PM EST
Chunky,

I like what you have done. I was planning on building it so I could roll it out for maintenance etc, but my metal skills are non-existant. If I could pick up an enclosure that wouldn't overheat the genny and looked legit I'd be way ahead.

As I have posted in a couple other genny threads, I love the genny I have, 4500w and see no reason in my current situation to go bigger. There are folks in my area that have been without power for a couple weeks now, a big genny running for a couple weeks equals big money. I was out for several days and it did everything I needed.
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