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Posted: 9/4/2010 7:34:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/6/2010 1:13:41 PM EDT by moose-hunter]
Here's the deal... I found a Generac GP3250 at an estate sale. From what I'm told, it was bought quite recently (It was not even dusty!) and started only to test it, then stuck in the garage. It is spotless!! I smelled the gas and it's definately fresh. I'm not sure how long it's been sitting, but it fired up on the thrid pull for me and ran GREAT!! It's not "Honda quiet", but not too loud at all.

I did a bit of "snooping" and found there was a inlet box mounted to the house and the 10ft or so cable that was wound up and sitting on the handle, must be for that connection. How the gen power was distributed is unknown. IS it possible to power the whole house? I noticed that the house (roughly 2000 sq. ft.) has forced air heat and he had a 10ft (?) freezer in the basement near the furnace.

Specs on the generator say it has a 3750 watt surge, and 3250 watts running (?).

I'm a complete generator rookie so forgive the newbie question.... Does a generator of this size have the ability to run a forced air furnace and minimual house systems (fridge, tv and a couple lights)?

I can pick this up for $400 with a "transferable warranty".... So basically $75 or so under retail.

So what says the hive? Is 3250 watts enough or do I look for a larger genny?
Link Posted: 9/4/2010 8:38:23 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/4/2010 8:39:36 PM EDT by blacksuit]
Just depends on what you are wanting to run with it. I think that size gennie is great for an all purpose gennie. I have got a 6750 running watt generator that I bought during a ice storm that knocked my power out for about 2 weeks. I didnt have a choice, I was totally unprepared and that is what home depot had to sell. It will power my whole house but it sucks down the gas. Of course during those 2 weeks I just used it for about 6 hours a day or so... so it wasnt too bad. I have since purchased a little buddy heater and several kerosene heaters which was my main concern at the time... my house got damn cold. I also bought a harbor freight 800 running watt generator which I plan on using for lights, fans and fridge... If I go through another extended power outage I probally wont use the big generator near as much. But it sure is nice to have it to use the big stuff when I need too. I would say go for it.
Link Posted: 9/4/2010 9:03:57 PM EDT
Originally Posted By moose-hunter:
I can pick this up for $400 with a "transferable warranty".... So basically $75 or so under retail.


That doesn't sound like much of a deal.

Generators rarely go for full retail price anyway, so you might actually be able to pick one up brand-new for less.

Personally, if they were asking more than $200, I wouldn't be interested. Craig's List has no shortage of "nearly new" generators selling for 40 cents on the dollar.
Link Posted: 9/4/2010 9:16:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/4/2010 9:17:27 PM EDT by mylt1]
you can buy them new from amazon for less than $400. not a deal from where im sitting. and to answer your question, no, it would not power your(or his) whole house.

edited to add LINK and it even has free shipping.
Link Posted: 9/4/2010 9:21:00 PM EDT
The fridge is the potential dealbreaker. Items like fridges, A/C units and pumps draw much more current on startup, than when they're running. This is where the surge rating comes in. A fridge might pull 800 watts when running, but it'll pull 2000 watts for a few seconds when it starts up. Ditto with a well pump or your A/C unit.

That price sounds a bit high for what I would call a "small" generator. As said previously, check out Craigslist.

Mine is 5000/6250 surge, and I feel like that's the bare minimum to run my house. I paid $500 for it from Home Depot in 2000, but that might have been skewed from an oversupply situation after Y2K. It's got a 10-hp Briggs engine, is louder than hell, but it gets the job done.
Link Posted: 9/4/2010 10:15:21 PM EDT
As I said in my original post... I am a generator rookie and your wisdom/advice is very much appreciated!! Thank you!!!

Sounds like this specific unit may be a bit small for my needs as well as a bit high on price. (Thanks for that link!!) The folks setting up this sale are kind of known for high initial pricing. At least that's what I've seen in the past. (I'm related to one of the employees.)

What I would like to do is be able to power my "most" of my house in the event of a power outage. Equipment like a compressor, mill, lathe, clothes dryer and other HUGE draw pieces would have to wait until the grid was restored. But other items... fridge, furnace, A/C, freezer, sump... and the sat tv system for my 13 year old, would be on the "must have" list. Oh yeah... Can't forget my coffee machine!

I just searched craigslist and have found the pickin's quite slim. Plenty of small (1000w to 2000w) units and a few antique machines in the 10kw+ range. But nothing really to compare apples to apples unless I wanted to drive 3+ hours.

While this gennie may be enough for deer camp, it seems shy of what I'll need for my house. If I can get it for $200 or so, maybe I'll pull the trigger and have this one ready while looking for a larger unit.

What's the old saying? Two is one, one is none...
Link Posted: 9/4/2010 11:36:16 PM EDT
Originally Posted By moose-hunter:
What I would like to do is be able to power my "most" of my house in the event of a power outage. Equipment like a compressor, mill, lathe, clothes dryer and other HUGE draw pieces would have to wait until the grid was restored. But other items... fridge, furnace, A/C, freezer, sump... and the sat tv system for my 13 year old, would be on the "must have" list. Oh yeah... Can't forget my coffee machine!


Sounds like you've got a good handle on what size generator you need - and that's a very sensible generator size, BTW. 3.5 KW will handle a tremendous variety of loads, without being a fuel pig.

If you've got a Lowe's in your area, you might want to also look at the Champion 40026 - Pretty hard to beat for under $300.
Link Posted: 9/5/2010 9:34:09 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/5/2010 9:34:54 AM EDT by MidwestJ]
Tractor Supply Company

Picked up the Chamption 41115 for $449.00.
5000 running watts/6000 startup watts with wheel kit.
Advertises 72 decibles but I haven't fired it up yet to know how that registers.
Check em out online
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 12:55:14 PM EDT
Thanks for all the advice/comments thus far!

I did a little math this morning and found that around 5kw-run (a bit less actually), and 6kw to 6.5kw-surge will work for my "whole house" application. That figure includes roughly 90% of the essential home systems and a couple smaller non-essentials as well. The large shop tools have been excluded but are "do-able" IF I ran the JUST the shop and nothing else. If I need them, and this seems like a long shot, I'll just remove the house from "my grid" for the short time I'd be using the bigger power hogs. Then just go though all the "start up" procedures for the house a second time. Again... "do-able" , but that feels like it would be more hassle than it would be worth. Depending on the project, I suppose.

I talked to a buddy of mine and he has a different (larger) Generac unit that he absolutely swears by. It's has a 5500w (run) with a 6875w (surge). Not "whisper" quiet but he does use it to power his big fish house in the winter with no ill effects. He brings home fish so it can't be THAT loud. I'll be able to hear it first hand this week.

He has his set up like I'd like mine. One switch to eliminate the regular service, fire up the generator and go... He runs his whole house on this and has never had a problem with not having enough juice. Except for the shop and and my extra freezer, his house and mine are almost identical in power needs. I'll just have to fire up freezer #2 after all other high draw systems are running.

This model (or these specs) seems like a good fit to me!! It's already rated for a bit more than I really need. A little cushion is good I figure... AND... he can "hook me up" through his company's supplier!! He got his for around $500 this last spring WITH a 20' cable included!. We'll see just how good of a deal I can get, or if my buddy is blowin' smoke, later this week.

As for the smaller unit mentioned in the OP... I'm going to offer them $200 tomorrow and see what happens. If they take it... GREAT!!! If not... No big loss.

And the saga continues...
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 2:28:01 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Skibane:
Originally Posted By moose-hunter:
What I would like to do is be able to power my "most" of my house in the event of a power outage. Equipment like a compressor, mill, lathe, clothes dryer and other HUGE draw pieces would have to wait until the grid was restored. But other items... fridge, furnace, A/C, freezer, sump... and the sat tv system for my 13 year old, would be on the "must have" list. Oh yeah... Can't forget my coffee machine!


Sounds like you've got a good handle on what size generator you need - and that's a very sensible generator size, BTW. 3.5 KW will handle a tremendous variety of loads, without being a fuel pig.

If you've got a Lowe's in your area, you might want to also look at the Champion 40026 - Pretty hard to beat for under $300.


I just bought that Champion generator for the RV and for general use during power outages. However, I don't plan on running the whole house on it, just necessary items like the fridge and freezer, maybe some lights and what not. I didn't want to stock up the huge fuel reserves it will take to run a genny that will power the whole house.

I did my homework before I bought it, and I don't remember seeing one bad review on it. OP, if you go this route, be sure to get a Lowes 10% off coupon from the post office before buying.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 2:44:46 PM EDT
With my 4400 watt Homelite generator I can power my frig, freezer, a fan, several lights and even a TV and VCR. However, starting the frig and freezer on the generator must be done with some care since they draw the most load.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 2:51:05 PM EDT
I have check my local Lowes store, as well as the next 5 closest to me... no joy. This specific Champion model is not available anywhere near me.

The added fuel reserves of a bigger generator is a concern of mine as well. I'm still weighing my options and would like to find a happy medium in there someplace. A whole house unit "may" not be the best choice, but it sure would be nice. I'll re-evaluate my "wants and needs" list and possibly eliminate a few non-essential circuits. Then, I'll see where I stand...

This purchase has turned out a bit more complicated than I originaly thought.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 4:48:42 PM EDT
Originally Posted By moose-hunter:
The added fuel reserves of a bigger generator is a concern of mine as well.


To a certain extent, the amount of fuel your generator actually uses will depend on how much electrical power you're consuming. For example, running a 5KW generator with a 2 KW load might be just as fuel-efficient as running a 3.5 KW generator with a 2 KW load - In both cases, the generator is powering a load that's relatively large for the generator's size, allowing it to run efficiently. The problem comes when you're powering a load which is very small for the size of the generator (i.e., using a 5KW generator to power 250 watts of load) - A large percentage of the fuel consumed goes just to keeping the engine hot and spinning. That's where having a smaller generator can be handy - It allows you to power smaller loads efficiently.

Regarding looking for a Champion locally, you might also try Tractor Supply Co. Also, there are several sellers on ebay that offer reasonable delivered prices.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 8:35:08 AM EDT
My 10,000 wont run my entire house. If i want to turn on the A/C, i have to power off the water pump aned water heater. After the A/C starts, i can turn them back on.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 4:52:52 PM EDT
Skibane posted the following in another thread. I thought it was very helpful and consistent with my experience:

Originally Posted By Skibane:
As a very rough rule of thumb, a small-to-medium-sized gasoline generator (i.e., 1KW to 7.5 KW) will burn around 0.2 gallons per hour, per 1,000 watts of load. As an example, if you're powering a 3,000 watt load, your generator might consume around 0.6 gallons per hour (or around 14.4 gallons over a 24 hour period).

Note that this rule of thumb only applies when the generator is moderately loaded - At very light loads, the gallons-per-KWH figure increases drastically. For example, if you're using a 7,500 watt generator to only power 500 watts of load, your actual fuel consumption would probably be a lot higher than 0.1 gallons per hour, because 500 watts isn't a "moderate" load to a 7,500 watt generator.

This is one reason why small generators are popular - Even a load of several hundred watts is a "moderate" load to a 1KW generator, and thus will result in good fuel economy for the amount of power produced.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 6:55:25 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/7/2010 7:00:26 PM EDT by Canoer]
Originally Posted By Skibane:
Originally Posted By moose-hunter:
The added fuel reserves of a bigger generator is a concern of mine as well.


To a certain extent, the amount of fuel your generator actually uses will depend on how much electrical power you're consuming. For example, running a 5KW generator with a 2 KW load might be just as fuel-efficient as running a 3.5 KW generator with a 2 KW load - In both cases, the generator is powering a load that's relatively large for the generator's size, allowing it to run efficiently. The problem comes when you're powering a load which is very small for the size of the generator (i.e., using a 5KW generator to power 250 watts of load) - A large percentage of the fuel consumed goes just to keeping the engine hot and spinning. That's where having a smaller generator can be handy - It allows you to power smaller loads efficiently.

Regarding looking for a Champion locally, you might also try Tractor Supply Co. Also, there are several sellers on ebay that offer reasonable delivered prices.


After doing some research, and some good advice from Skibane and others on this board, I bought the Champion 40026 from Lowe's (with the 10% off coupon from the post office, making the total price $269 + tax), and the Harbor Freight 800w generator. Two is one, one is none kind of thing. I figure the Champion generator will be used in an outage to power the fridges/freezer a few hours/day, and the HF generator (much quieter) will be used more continuously for lights and other small loads.

Neither of these is large enough of course to power the A/C if I lose power in the summer, but either could power some fans. The Champion could also power the furnace blower if I lose power in the winter. And, if something like a hurricane happened, I wouldn't feel bad about loaning the small one out to family while using the big one. Total combined cost, when coupons/sales are used, was $349 plus tax. All this, and these things sip gas compared to the generators you would need to "mostly" run a whole-house setup.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 7:37:21 PM EDT
Originally Posted By moose-hunter:
As I said in my original post... I am a generator rookie and your wisdom/advice is very much appreciated!! Thank you!!!

Sounds like this specific unit may be a bit small for my needs as well as a bit high on price. (Thanks for that link!!) The folks setting up this sale are kind of known for high initial pricing. At least that's what I've seen in the past. (I'm related to one of the employees.)

What I would like to do is be able to power my "most" of my house in the event of a power outage. Equipment like a compressor, mill, lathe, clothes dryer and other HUGE draw pieces would have to wait until the grid was restored. But other items... fridge, furnace, A/C, freezer, sump... and the sat tv system for my 13 year old, would be on the "must have" list. Oh yeah... Can't forget my coffee machine!

I just searched craigslist and have found the pickin's quite slim. Plenty of small (1000w to 2000w) units and a few antique machines in the 10kw+ range. But nothing really to compare apples to apples unless I wanted to drive 3+ hours.

While this gennie may be enough for deer camp, it seems shy of what I'll need for my house. If I can get it for $200 or so, maybe I'll pull the trigger and have this one ready while looking for a larger unit.

What's the old saying? Two is one, one is none...
The problem is now is not the time to look for gennies. It would be after hurricane season.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 7:41:52 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Canoer:
Neither of these is large enough of course to power the A/C if I lose power in the summer


True, but the bigger unit could easily power a 120 volt window A/C (see Halffast's thread).
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 8:01:16 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Robby9:
This is one reason why small generators are popular - Even a load of several hundred watts is a "moderate" load to a 1KW generator, and thus will result in good fuel economy for the amount of power produced.

many smaller generators (e.g. Honda EU1000 and EU2000) are inverter types, and not mechanically coupled. this not only drastically lowers fuel consumption when the generator is only partially loaded, but also dramatically lowers acoustic output as well. yes, the initial cost is higher –– but you get it back over the long haul in fuel savings.

ar-jedi
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 4:33:44 AM EDT
Originally Posted By ar-jedi:
Originally Posted By Robby9:
This is one reason why small generators are popular - Even a load of several hundred watts is a "moderate" load to a 1KW generator, and thus will result in good fuel economy for the amount of power produced.

many smaller generators (e.g. Honda EU1000 and EU2000) are inverter types, and not mechanically coupled. this not only drastically lowers fuel consumption when the generator is only partially loaded, but also dramatically lowers acoustic output as well. yes, the initial cost is higher –– but you get it back over the long haul in fuel savings.

ar-jedi



I agree but there it depends on how much you use it. I REALLY WANT to get a Honda eu2000i to go with my 5250 Continuous/6500 Watt Startup Brigs but I keep putting it off year after year as the few times I need a generator is almost always no more then a few hours or it doesn't matter if I take the big one (say if I am going a project where I have no electric).

I think the 1000 watt generators are OK for camping or tail gating type events but if you are going to run it for lights, fans, and even small appliances I think the 2000 watt size is worth the extra investment and at least with the Honda you get just about the same fuel economy running the bigger eu2000i as compared to running the eu1000i.

I swear, one of these days I am going to bite the bullet and buy myself a nice Honda eu2000i to go with the bigger Brigs but tough to justify when I have other areas that could use attention more.
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 7:11:02 PM EDT
Estate sale AAR:

I stopped by afer the sale and ended and there sat the generator... They never dropped the price even for the third day of the sale. $200 later and the lil' Generac was headed home with me!! As a test (of sorts) I ran 3000 watts of work lighting from it and it never skipped a beat! Under it's max rating by a little bit, but it didn't seem to labor at all! Granted this one will not run my whole house. However, if needed, it will run my furnace and a few lights in case of "problems" this winter.

My search still continues for a "whole house" unit.... IF I can afford it.
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 7:59:04 PM EDT
When looking at anything with a briggs motor, look for the model/type/code stamping on either the recoil starter housing or the "OHV" rocker arm cover. The first two digits of the "code" are the year of production.

Example of OHV cover stamping, this one is an 2002 model:


And on the recoil starter housing, this one is a 1980 model(Note, the stamping may be on the side or the flat end):
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 9:46:08 PM EDT
Originally Posted By moose-hunter:
$200 later and the lil' Generac was headed home with me!!


S-C-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-R-E!!!
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 7:27:45 AM EDT
I think the smaller one you got is really a smart way to go for a true emergency generator as long as it is big enough to allow you to keep the stuff going that you can not afford to go bad. Rotate plugging in your refrigerator, freezer, etc and you will be fine. Nice thing is if you do buy a bigger unit later you can keep this smaller one as a backup or sell it for what you have into it.
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