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#3202634 - 12/01/13 07:14 AM Re: suggestions for a home primary/standby generator [Re: sifan]
tig1 Offline


Registered: 01/03/09
Posts: 9805
Loc: Illinois
I have a 5KW 6250 start Coleman Powermate with the Subaru Robin engine. I backfeed through my welder outlet and all works well.
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#3202725 - 12/01/13 09:53 AM Re: suggestions for a home primary/standby generator [Re: sifan]
lzr Offline


Registered: 11/30/13
Posts: 1
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: sifan
Should I contact another standby generator contractor for a second opinion? Or go for a standby/primary diesel generator? Or other alternatives?


Simon,
You certainly should get several quotes/opinions, but first do your own research. First of all you need to figure out how many watts do you need (see for example http://www.generatorguide.net/wattage.html ). You don't necessarily need to power everything in an emergency- standby generator's transfer switch normally comes with a subpanel, which you can wire to the essentials.
As for the fuel choice, if you don't have gas line, I would go for propane- it can be stored indefinetely and propage generators are cheaper than diesel ( http://www.smps.us/home-generators.html ). As for portables, Honda is so expensive because they make sinewave generators- hardly you would need this type. A regular 10kW portable would cost $1-2K.

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#3203050 - 12/01/13 03:32 PM Re: suggestions for a home primary/standby generator [Re: lzr]
sifan Offline


Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 883
Loc: Maryland, USA
I just talked to a contractor face to face and agreed to the installation of a 20 kW LP standby generator with a full house automatic transfer switch plus an underground 1000 gallon tank in my backyard. After following this thread with long consideration I decide to go with this route to ensure that my wife will be taken care of during a blackout when I am not around to set up the portable generator and keep it running for 24 hours. Also this eliminates the hassle of fuel storage issue. I hope it will also increase the property value. The LP generator will run for 3 minutes every week automatically for self-diagnostic. I will have the LP supplier to top off the tank once a year. The contractor also suggested future replacement of electric water heater and furnace when the time comes since LP is cheaper than electricity. I am not sure if LP is a cheaper energy source than electricity, but worry about gas explosion or poisoning inside the home.

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#3203056 - 12/01/13 03:36 PM Re: suggestions for a home primary/standby generator [Re: lzr]
itguy08 Offline


Registered: 09/15/11
Posts: 1546
Loc: Central PA
Originally Posted By: lzr
As for the fuel choice, if you don't have gas line, I would go for propane- it can be stored indefinetely and propage generators are cheaper than diesel ( http://www.smps.us/home-generators.html ). As for portables, Honda is so expensive because they make sinewave generators- hardly you would need this type. A regular 10kW portable would cost $1-2K.


Only problem with propane is you need a considerable amount to run your generator for long periods of time and it tends to de-rate the generator as it has less BTU's than gasoline or Diesel. Availability can also be an issue - if you are running 20lb bottles you will be competing with people that are trying to get it for grills and such. Even the big tanks may be an issue as you will be competing with all the other people in the area looking for it for heat and such. From what I remember in Sandy, propane was in as short of a supply as gasoline.

Honda - you are paying for "the name" (IMHO Everything Honda is vastly overrated). All regular generators are sine wave - it's a byproduct of the generator head design. The inverter designs are the ones that may not be "pure sine" but even if it is close 99% of today's electronics will be fine - they are all designed for places where electricity is pretty poor and almost all them (TV, computer, etc) convert AC to DC anyway. Heck they run fine off a square wave inverter in the car.

We've got a Harbor Freight 5500w special that has not let us down. At the $500 I paid for it, I can buy 2 for the price of the Honda EU 2k.
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#3203058 - 12/01/13 03:39 PM Re: suggestions for a home primary/standby generator [Re: sifan]
itguy08 Offline


Registered: 09/15/11
Posts: 1546
Loc: Central PA
Originally Posted By: sifan
The contractor also suggested future replacement of electric water heater and furnace when the time comes since LP is cheaper than electricity. I am not sure if LP is a cheaper energy source than electricity, but worry about gas explosion or poisoning inside the home.


Definitely cheaper than electricity. Electricity is the most expensive way to heat things, be it water, food, or your home.

There is no fear with gas - you are far more likely to die in a car accident or even get struck by lightning than you are to have an issue with natural gas or LP. The most important thing to do is keep alert for the smell of it and if you smell it, go out and call the fire dept. to investigate.

I grew up with natural gas and wouldn't have anything else. It is cheap, plentiful, and efficient.
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#3203076 - 12/01/13 03:57 PM Re: suggestions for a home primary/standby generator [Re: sifan]
sifan Offline


Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 883
Loc: Maryland, USA
Since my townhouse is very small, the contractor estimated that 1000 gallons of LP will power the standby generator for two months non-stop. I will be careful in electricity consumption during a blackout. The longest blackout in my area was about a week. So, I won't worry about LP shortage.

My snow blower and lawn mower are Honda made. They always start with couple pulls after coming out of long storage. I had a 6500 Watt Honda generator (given by my dad and now donated to my church) which was dormant for a year with a full tank of gas. It came alive with 2nd pull that really surprised me. Honda products are expensive, but they always start when needed which is very important to me.

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#3203233 - 12/01/13 06:37 PM Re: suggestions for a home primary/standby generator [Re: sifan]
itguy08 Offline


Registered: 09/15/11
Posts: 1546
Loc: Central PA
Not sure about the LP usage rate - I know with the smaler generators it's about 1.5x the gas rate. But I'd defer to the guy who does this for a living vs me, the random Internet guy. smile

I get your point on Honda and can't argue with your experiences. My Briggs stuff also starts 1st or 2nd pull after storage - that is more a function of the storage practices than anything else. Even out 13HP Chonda on the generator, while won't pull start easily (I don't think pull starting a 13 HP engine is a good idea), it will fire up with the electric start. It can be a bear sometimes but I think that's due to the POS auto choke system. Never been let down with Briggs and they have been building engines way longer than Honda and parts are plentiful and everywhere.

Anyway, sounds like you should be all set for the winter.
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#3203323 - 12/01/13 08:41 PM Re: suggestions for a home primary/standby generator [Re: itguy08]
montr Offline


Registered: 11/16/13
Posts: 6
Loc: Georgia
I have a Honda eu6500is 6500W inverter generator. At full load, you get about 6.8 KW of electricity per gallon of gasoline. At 1/4 load, it is less efficient, you get about 5.0 KW per gallon.

One gallon of propane has 80% of BTU of gasoline. Using the efficiency of the Honda generator at 1/4 load, a propane generator should produce about 4 KW per gallon of propane.

Note: The units of energy per gallons are KW, not KW/hours.

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#3205388 - 12/03/13 07:13 PM Re: suggestions for a home primary/standby generator [Re: sifan]
wvrailroader Offline


Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 80
Loc: West Virginia
I know this sounds simplistic, but if you are concerned about your water freezing, crack a few of the faucets open slightly and let them drip. I used to have to do this when I lived in a very poorly insulated and very drafty house with only baseboard heat. When the power would go out, the temperature in the house would drop to whatever the outside temperature was in just a few hours. I would let the faucets drip and the pipes never did freeze. Sure it raises the water bill a bit, but it saves a lot of work crawling under the house later to repair water lines.

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#3205466 - 12/03/13 08:43 PM Re: suggestions for a home primary/standby generator [Re: itguy08]
AandPDan Offline


Registered: 02/01/11
Posts: 620
Loc: MA
Originally Posted By: itguy08
Not sure about the LP usage rate - I know with the smaler generators it's about 1.5x the gas rate. But I'd defer to the guy who does this for a living vs me, the random Internet guy. smile


My experience, converting several generators from gas to propane (Briggs and Tecumseh powered) is that there is no significant difference between the two fuels. The likely reason, the generators run so much smoother on propane.

I've found that most OPE runs fairly rich on gas.

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#3206000 - 12/04/13 11:52 AM Re: suggestions for a home primary/standby generator [Re: sifan]
meep Offline


Registered: 02/20/07
Posts: 2488
Loc: Southeast
45kw would run the whole unit, like all 5 of them.

using a gas gennie to run heat when it's that cold outside is kinda hard. if you are running the heatpump, it won't cope at 20F and will move to heat strips, which will slam the genset unless you keep the t-stat at something like 45F. using space heaters, they pull a lot of juice.... so you are limited to triage--- heat the bottom floor and let whatever can rise do so. other fuel sources may work better. I know that our burn rate on my 3kw gets pretty thirsty when running a space heater.

you can start with a portable and maybe a custom extension cord---- heavy gauge, provide power strategically where you want it... a quad box in the kitchen, a quad in the basement, and maybe the end goes to the top floor for lights. It'd be a long run so you'd want to size the gauge properly. maybe use 2 to manage your loads/ratings properly.

or have a nice transfer or isolation switch (cheaper) professionally installed with the outdoor hookup.

also consider the logistics of maintaining fuel storage and seasonal rotation.

When I lived in MD I started to build a genset--- at my townhome. was doing it under the stairs where the HOA wouldn't see it. smile. Never finished it, but I knew the HOA would be concerned about things being visible.

I would also suggest looking at inverter units. they are significantly more efficient when the loads are smaller, and much more quiet. If you run a jackhammer all night long to keep your home warm, your very close neighbors will be listening to it all night, both cold and annoyed. A 3k will comfortably power one space heater on high, or two on low.


Edited by meep (12/04/13 11:56 AM)
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#3208107 - 12/06/13 02:09 AM Re: suggestions for a home primary/standby generator [Re: sifan]
RF Overlord Online   content


Registered: 11/08/03
Posts: 3122
Loc: Cape Cod, MA
Originally Posted By: sifan
I am not sure if LP is a cheaper energy source than electricity, but worry about gas explosion or poisoning inside the home.
Have no fear. I've lived in houses with gas heat and appliances for the last 44 years and only twice have I ever smelled a gas leak and both times they were at the meter, not inside the home.
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