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Posted: 9/17/2011 12:54:33 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/17/2011 12:56:14 PM EST by survivorman]
Ok guys here is the situation......I currently have my home set up with a transfer box and 9 circuits I had bought (2) Honda EU 3000i Handis.......this set up basically ran everything in my home except the big things(stove, dishwasher, AC) My thoughts were if it gets bad I will just buy a couple window units for AC. I then got a hair up my ass and thought it may be better to go with a home standby genny(looking at 17kw) because I have natural gas in my home........I keep changing my mind on how I want my home to be hooked up.......if I go with standby genny I am going to have to come out of pocket about another 4k and I wont be able to use the set up I currently have. Money doesnt really bother me.....just want to know what you guys think the best way to go is.


With the hondas I have flexibility....I can take them with me if I need to.....I have plenty of Jerry cans, a con is I would have to buy a shit load of gas and window units.


Standby genny....have to come out of pocket about 4k......but have the whole home powered. I am worried as If we get hit flooding may render my genny useless......my neighborhood seems to flood after a few hours of nonstop heavy rain( ground doesnt soak it up fast enough)....I dont know what would happen if it was days of downpouring.....I would hate to put in a genny and the elements that I am preparing for actually wipe it out. I know its a gamble but it worries the shit out of me.


so Hive.....what would you do........keep my set up or go standby with NG.........help me decide, again not worried about money if it has to be spent then I will do it.......I just cant decide!

Link Posted: 9/17/2011 3:48:51 PM EST
I would sell the Honda 3000's to me for $500/each and do the whole house gennie..

Honestly - I would keep your current set up.. you have a LOT of money tied up in those two units.. I am assuming you have the parallel kit for them

I have read online (but not tried it) that the EU2000 (which I have) will run a small window AC - so your units should run it one just fine..

Since you have NG available - why not try and convert them to NG?

Brian

Link Posted: 9/17/2011 4:13:55 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/17/2011 4:18:34 PM EST
I think you should decide on how comfortable you want to be when the power goes out. A standby will let you run most of the items in your home but you lose the portability. The two Hondas you already have should do fine for a fridge and a window ac unit and some lights but now you have to worry about keeping enough gas stockpiled to keep them running for an extended period of time. But you already know this. If I had the extra cash to throw around, I would do it in typical ARFCOM fashion and get both and have both for options. If my budget was tight I would get the parallel kit for the Hondas and be done with it.

If you were worried about a flood drowning your standby generator you could raise it off the ground. But of course if the flooding gets too bad, that would be one of the last things you'll worry about.
Link Posted: 9/18/2011 2:16:36 AM EST
2x2K will get you more portability + extend your gas than 2x3K. They will also run the window units.

I would get the home unit, and one 2k, if you had the money 2x2k
Link Posted: 9/18/2011 4:49:22 AM EST
I would switch the stove to a natural gas unit if you already have gas available. How big is the AC unit? How is your hot water heated? You could get by just fine with a 10kW Natty gas standby and live basically normally. The cost difference between the 10kW and 17kW is probably enough to buy you a gas stove, and you will have a better cooking experience.
Link Posted: 9/18/2011 7:52:39 AM EST
We have discussed natural gas in several generator threads so I recomend a search on natural gas and decide how reliable you think your fuel supply is for a standby home setup.

Back when the pumping stations ran on natural gas I considered natural gas a potential issue if a pipeline was damaged in an earthquake or neighbor bob hitting it while digging a trench.

In one thread it was mentioned that pumping stations that used natural gas to run the generators when the power went out with stuff tied into the grid. So if the grid has issues your natural gas may have issues. The old stations are just being replaced when it is their time to be replaired/replaced. It is not like they are taking all the old ones off line tomorrow.

I grew up on natural gas and it was reliable when the power was out but I prefer a propane tank in my yard.

Now with all that said, I would probably set up the hondas to run what you feel you need to run since that keeps you portable.

A 1k watt generator can generally run a 5k btu unit window air conditioner. It is a whole lot easier to do if you get a simple window ac unit where you can manually turn on the power, turn on the fan, and then kick it to ac. Doing it in stages gives the generator smaller loads to deal with than just kicking everything in at once.

Now I have a small window ac unit for cooling my bedroom and a larger one for the rest of the house but with fall coming I plan to pick up another of the tiny window ac units because a small generator will run it.

Even the thread on the tiny nothern tool 2 cycle generator had a guy using it for a window ac unit I think.

If I were to build a place with a heck of a setup where I would be very very very unlikely to ever bug out I could kind of see going with a big standby generator but they can use a lot of fuel.

When the power is out I don't do things like business is normal so I don't really need to take a shower, do the dishes, run the washer and dryer, and cook something all at once. I don't do that at one time anyway.

Now if it makes a huge difference to the wife unit or kids then I could see that I guess. But I don't have a wife or kids and don't worry about that.

Since I rent I do always consider portability but even if I get around to buying a cheap stick built house I would have a portable setup first and then keep it for backup and then perhaps go with a standby setup.

Just thinking about it the 2 3k watt units you have would let me have one running 2 chest freezers and my little fridge all at once I think. Need to start em up seperately and I would only run them for a few hours and then shut it down.

While it was doing that I could use a couple of the small window ac units on the other unit to cool things off.

Any extra would be used for charging the laptop and smart phone and batteries most likely.

And fuel storage is something to consider as mentioned.

The nice thing with a portable setup is that if something happens where you have to bug out you can take that stuff with you anywhere and arrive with a working setup if you need to do so.

For most things that might make me bugout it is either going to be very quick like a train wreck with nasty chemicals or it is going to be a bugout where my stuff and trailer are going because fire or something might wipe out the place I rent.

A buddy has a hunting cabin and while it is off grid it would be easy to put a window ac unit in the window and use a generator to cool it off in summer and my bug out just got down right comfy if need be.
Link Posted: 9/18/2011 9:17:27 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/18/2011 9:17:59 AM EST by survivorman]
17kw is more than enough to run my whole house, my AC unit is a 3.5 ton ....like I said the (2) hondas run my home with ease except the big stuff....AC, dishwasher, stove, dryer.......and yes I have the parallel cables for them, it really is a great set up and my electrician made it clean.....I have a transfer switch and seperate circuit box(9 circuits inside) in my garage and he ran line from garage in my attic down into my back porch with a 30 amp plug.....so all I do is plug in my 30 amp cable into one of the gennys, then into the plug on lanai, hit my transfer switch in garage and I am up and running. I started this project off with (2) honda eu2000s and I will tell you what they powered all running together.

kitchen lights
fridge
wine cooler
living room fan with lights
bedroom fans with lights(3)
60in tv
bathroom lights(2)

all running at the same time........my mind set is better to have more than not enough so I sold the 2000s and went with the 3000i handis......now I am thinking standby, when will it end!! lol
Link Posted: 9/18/2011 10:54:17 AM EST
I'd stick with your current set up for now.
Link Posted: 9/18/2011 12:39:12 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/18/2011 12:40:51 PM EST by TomHighway]
I went through the same sort of analysis you are going through now. In the end, I went with one Honda EU2000 and one Honda EU3000.

I shied away from the Generac 15kw generator for the following reasons:

1. The cost. $7,000 installed, and monthly maintenance. Also, expect to spend about $100 a day running the genny when the power is out. If your monthly electric bill is, e.g., $450, that is a normal cost of $15 per day. For the $85 in savings per day, you could just about rent a hotel room to get you through the situation.
2. Lack of portability. If a tree falls and damages your generator, or damages your house, you have spent a lot of money for nothing. The ability to load up my Hondas and head to a friend's house (who should be happy to see me) is a nice alternative if need be.
3. You are at the mercy of the gas company to keep the gas flowing. If the gas gets cut off, your whole-house genny won't do you much good.

So, at the end of the day, I thought the Generac 15kw generator would probably cost about twice as much as my two Hondas, but would not give me as much flexibility if something were to happen to my house (like a tree falling on the roof).

Good luck mate.
Link Posted: 9/18/2011 12:55:02 PM EST

Originally Posted By TomHighway:
I went through the same sort of analysis you are going through now. In the end, I went with one Honda EU2000 and one Honda EU3000.

I shied away from the Generac 15kw generator for the following reasons:

1. The cost. $7,000 installed, and monthly maintenance. Also, expect to spend about $100 a day running the genny when the power is out. If your monthly electric bill is, e.g., $450, that is a normal cost of $15 per day. For the $85 in savings per day, you could just about rent a hotel room to get you through the situation.
2. Lack of portability. If a tree falls and damages your generator, or damages your house, you have spent a lot of money for nothing. The ability to load up my Hondas and head to a friend's house (who should be happy to see me) is a nice alternative if need be.
3. You are at the mercy of the gas company to keep the gas flowing. If the gas gets cut off, your whole-house genny won't do you much good.

So, at the end of the day, I thought the Generac 15kw generator would probably cost about twice as much as my two Hondas, but would not give me as much flexibility if something were to happen to my house (like a tree falling on the roof).

Good luck mate.

Did you double check that math? That looks awfully high.
You have to figure actual gas usage/cost and not compare it to electrical costs to generate the same kw/h
Link Posted: 9/18/2011 1:41:16 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/18/2011 2:15:24 PM EST by TheGrayMan]
Link Posted: 9/18/2011 3:13:02 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/18/2011 3:19:40 PM EST by ilbob]
15kw at full load = about 52,000 BTUs/hour
@30% efficiency = 170,000 BTUs/hour
a pound of propane is about 22,500 BTUs
so you are looking at 7.6 pounds of propane per hour
180 some pounds a day

a therm is 100,000 BTUs so you are looking at about 41 therms of NG per day at full load

plug in your price.

keep in mind this is running the thing at full load, and it won't be running at full very often, and in fact on average probably won't run more then 10-20% of full load overall.

the economics of generators sucks. gasoline has about 110,000 BTUs/gallon. about 10 kw-hr worth of electricity by the time you generate it. gas is close to $4 a gallon most places, so just the fuel to run the generator is about 40 cents/kw-hr.
Link Posted: 9/18/2011 3:38:54 PM EST
I'm a licensed electrical contractor and run a portable generator instead of a standby when the power goes out.
It's just too expensive to run an emergency standby. The installation cost is a whole lot less for me than it would be for most others but
the running cost is the same for everybody.
It's too much for my tight old ass to put in a standby emergency generator.
Link Posted: 9/18/2011 6:00:53 PM EST
Originally Posted By TomHighway:
I shied away from the Generac 15kw generator for the following reasons:

1. The cost. $7,000 installed, and monthly maintenance. Also, expect to spend about $100 a day running the genny when the power is out. If your monthly electric bill is, e.g., $450, that is a normal cost of $15 per day. For the $85 in savings per day, you could just about rent a hotel room to get you through the situation.

2. Lack of portability. If a tree falls and damages your generator, or damages your house, you have spent a lot of money for nothing.

3. You are at the mercy of the gas company to keep the gas flowing. If the gas gets cut off, your whole-house genny won't do you much good.

During an actual 24 hour test last winter with a much larger 48kW Generac, I consumed 4.0 MCF of natural gas to produce 240 KWH of electricity, paying "only" an extra $9.40/day to generate my own power @ PA utility rates. As others have said, the error you made is assuming that the generator runs 24-7 at full load.

Except for motor oil level checks, maintenance is once/year. If a tree falls on the house or generator, well ... that's why you have insurance. I am dependent on a reliable natural gas supply. Anything can happen, but unlike all my other utilities, I've never experienced a natural gas supply failure in my lifetime.

Original thread with test results Here

Link Posted: 9/18/2011 6:21:17 PM EST

Without a doubt, stick with your current setup for several reasons:

1) You have two generators now. Your reliability factor is much higher than a single standby unit.

2) If you need to bug out, the Honda's can go with you. A permanent standby unit will not.

3) NG is nice, but what if there is a disruption of service? I would rather have gas on-hand then rely on it being provided to me when I need it the most. Plus you can get a tri-fuel kit for those Honda's

4) The 4K you would spend on a standby unit would buy a lot of Jerry cans, gasoline, and window A/C units.
Link Posted: 9/18/2011 6:57:41 PM EST
You mentioned money doesn't bother you. I say keep the portables and buy the whole house. Now you have it covered.
Link Posted: 9/18/2011 7:07:03 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/18/2011 8:14:11 PM EST
Tagging this one. I'm curious which route you go. I'm new to the preparedness thing and recently picked up a Honda EU2000i for emergency back up. I intend to get the companion at some point and install a transfer switch as the finances allow.

I don't know that I'd go with the whole home back up given the flooding situation you stated, but if money is no object then why not? Just make sure your home owners insurance covers your new toy!
Link Posted: 9/18/2011 8:47:32 PM EST
Originally Posted By siparo:
Tagging this one. I'm curious which route you go. I'm new to the preparedness thing and recently picked up a Honda EU2000i for emergency back up. I intend to get the companion at some point and install a transfer switch as the finances allow.

giant thread of knowledge...
http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_10_17/644329_DIY_Generator_Power_Cables_and_Install.html

ar-jedi
Link Posted: 9/26/2011 4:12:30 AM EST
Link Posted: 9/27/2011 4:33:20 AM EST
I have a 13kw Generac that runs on natural, would take about 5 minutes to convert to propane in a SHTF situation if the situation took out
the natural gas supplier. I run most of the lights in the house, frig, freezer, well, gas furnace and micrwave on it.
Link Posted: 9/27/2011 6:29:36 AM EST
A permanent standby generator is nice, but you are paying dearly for the convenience. Having one hooked up to natural gas means you don't have to store gasoline, cycle out your gasoline stores, deal with gum and varnish common to gasoline-powered engines that are run very little, or go out and hunt for an open gas station when your X gallons of gasoline run out. Of course, there's also the potential for the natural gas to be turned off. The price tag on install is quite high.

I briefly considered a standby, but the the price premium can buy a whole lot of other necessary preps. All the electricity in the world is useless if you don't have food, water, tools, medical supplies, etc.

Link Posted: 9/27/2011 3:04:32 PM EST
Sorry guys forgot to come back and tell you which way I swayed..........well I ordered another Honda EU3000i handi........they have gone up a little more since my last one but not by much.......this way I have 2 again and can parallel them.......I will tell you this.....Wise is NOT the cheapest anymore.
Link Posted: 9/27/2011 5:04:12 PM EST
I prefer to have Big and small.
A small gas sipping portable unit which is quiet and easily loaded into your vehicle is a big plus.

A big unit which will run your house is a plus.

A couple extra for fun isn't bad either........
Link Posted: 9/27/2011 6:44:16 PM EST
A standby or emergency generator are only stop gap measures for a short period.
You are trying to minimize an inconvenience at the very least, or to stay alive for a short period in an emergency.
Going to great expense or a lot of trouble isn't worth the effort.
If it's a semi-permanent situation (doing without electricity) you're better off preparing for that than for doing without electricity in the short term.
Link Posted: 9/28/2011 5:11:41 AM EST
Originally Posted By Gunwritr:
I prefer to have Big and small.
A small gas sipping portable unit which is quiet and easily loaded into your vehicle is a big plus.

A big unit which will run your house is a plus.

A couple extra for fun isn't bad either........


I figured you'd have a MEP-003 to compliment your truck.
Link Posted: 9/28/2011 4:27:54 PM EST
I went with the Honda EU3000is to begin with then stepped up to the EU6500i for my (stand-by) unit. I can travel easily with the 3000 but the 6500 requires a little more manpower even though its on wheels. Both are super quiet and easy on fuel. I'm still several grand under what I would have had with a true nat gas standby unit.
Link Posted: 9/28/2011 6:18:53 PM EST
Originally Posted By strat81:
Originally Posted By Gunwritr:
I prefer to have Big and small.
A small gas sipping portable unit which is quiet and easily loaded into your vehicle is a big plus.

A big unit which will run your house is a plus.

A couple extra for fun isn't bad either........


I figured you'd have a MEP-003 to compliment your truck.


I might have a few nice scores from GL that start with MEP......

Link Posted: 9/28/2011 6:19:56 PM EST
Originally Posted By danc46:
A standby or emergency generator are only stop gap measures for a short period.
You are trying to minimize an inconvenience at the very least, or to stay alive for a short period in an emergency.
Going to great expense or a lot of trouble isn't worth the effort.
If it's a semi-permanent situation (doing without electricity) you're better off preparing for that than for doing without electricity in the short term.


This is a good point.
You can only store so much fuel.


Link Posted: 9/29/2011 1:26:55 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/29/2011 1:28:08 AM EST by Rockyriver]
Originally Posted By danc46:
A standby or emergency generator are only stop gap measures for a short period.
You are trying to minimize an inconvenience at the very least, or to stay alive for a short period in an emergency.
Going to great expense or a lot of trouble isn't worth the effort.
If it's a semi-permanent situation (doing without electricity) you're better off preparing for that than for doing without electricity in the short term.


I have to say that you would need to use common sense and conserve your fuel if you thought the SHTF situation was going to be a long drawed out problem like a nucular or bio attack on the US, but not in your area of course (This will cause a stop too shipping of everything coming into America), , or it was just a bad storm and you will have power in a few days.
Use common sense and use your fuel to get water only out of your well, if a real SHTF situation happens. Don't be trying to take a hot bath each night and washing clothes with the washing machine being ran by the generator. You will be surprized how long 30 or 40 gallons of gas will last you if you use it for water gathering only from your well.
Link Posted: 9/29/2011 5:42:45 AM EST
Originally Posted By Gunwritr:
Originally Posted By danc46:
A standby or emergency generator are only stop gap measures for a short period.
You are trying to minimize an inconvenience at the very least, or to stay alive for a short period in an emergency.
Going to great expense or a lot of trouble isn't worth the effort.
If it's a semi-permanent situation (doing without electricity) you're better off preparing for that than for doing without electricity in the short term.


This is a good point.
You can only store so much fuel.




For a light, I have a 12v battery with solar cell and inverter set up to power a small 110v fluorescent light in the house.
It will last considerably longer than a limited supply of gasoline or propane.
It won't power a heater or refrigerator, of course, but it will give me power for light whenever I want it.
Items like that might prove a whole lot more useful than a large generator you can't fuel.

Link Posted: 9/29/2011 11:01:11 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/29/2011 11:04:35 AM EST by Rockyriver]
Originally Posted By danc46:
Originally Posted By Gunwritr:
Originally Posted By danc46:
A standby or emergency generator are only stop gap measures for a short period.
You are trying to minimize an inconvenience at the very least, or to stay alive for a short period in an emergency.
Going to great expense or a lot of trouble isn't worth the effort.
If it's a semi-permanent situation (doing without electricity) you're better off preparing for that than for doing without electricity in the short term.


This is a good point.
You can only store so much fuel.




For a light, I have a 12v battery with solar cell and inverter set up to power a small 110v fluorescent light in the house.
It will last considerably longer than a limited supply of gasoline or propane.
It won't power a heater or refrigerator, of course, but it will give me power for light whenever I want it.
Items like that might prove a whole lot more useful than a large generator you can't fuel.



.


For light I would use one of the below lanterns I own, I have many others.
I would not waste precious gas (unless it was a brief power outage) on just lighting.
Now if the real SHTF and it looks like tomorrow is going to be a bad day from here on out.
You have to use common sense and sit down and say to yourself does this task I am fixing to perform
really necessary and should I waste my fuel to do it?
Water being pumped from your well is top priority, and I need a generator for that, no solar setup is going to power my 220 volt well that I know of, at a cheap price.
However a simple generator and common sense usage will save the day.

My simple lighting


Link Posted: 9/29/2011 3:26:02 PM EST


Minor hijack -

Rocky, which of those lanterns is your favorite? I want something that will yield good battery life while having 'good' light. (Good being subjective)

Link Posted: 9/29/2011 6:25:17 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/29/2011 6:26:28 PM EST by Rockyriver]
The 3 in the middle are my favorites, the Brunton and the Primus. The batteries last a long long time on the low settings.
The big Black Diamond (Light on the right) is brighter by a little than the Primus or Bruntons, however it will go thru batteries quicker no matter the setting.
The small light on the left is good for a bathroom light only or a small tent light, it seems to be good on batteries, but it does not put out a lot of light.
The only problem with any of these LED lights is that the light they emit is a blueish light and not a natural looking white light. However you get used to it after you use them awhile.
Link Posted: 9/30/2011 2:25:01 AM EST
for what its worth the Energizer flip up storm ready lights are awesome.......has different settings and is extremely bright........wont go through batteries fast. I have rechargeables so if anything happens I will just plug them in during the day
Link Posted: 9/30/2011 6:03:37 AM EST
Thanks for the info, Rocky and survivorman.
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