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#4688051 - 03/07/18 08:17 PM Generator Recommendations
coopns Offline


Registered: 02/16/05
Posts: 786
Loc: Scituate MA
After the recent storm here, thinking about a generator.

Talked to one guy was running a Honda gen. and it ran his whole house, didn't see the specs on it. Some quiet too. Other guy had a Wally World special, said it ran great too.

I would like to run the essesntials as well. Sump, heat, lights (wifi blush) I just don't want to spend $600. Like the $300 - $400 range.
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#4688063 - 03/07/18 08:30 PM Re: Generator Recommendations [Re: coopns]
JohnnyJohnson Offline


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 2384
Loc: Wet side WA
A hint save yourself some grief buy a good one or just forget it.
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#4688071 - 03/07/18 08:37 PM Re: Generator Recommendations [Re: coopns]
PiperOne Offline


Registered: 10/25/17
Posts: 163
Loc: A Highway Near You
Step 1....add up all the wattage of the stuff you want to run.
Step 2....take that number and add 30%
Step 3....shop for generator that has a RUNNING watts number equal to or greater than step 2.

You get what you pay for with generators but if it's only a standby unit you can sometimes cheap out.

Generac units are good, quiet usually, and made in America. Hondas are also very good but a bit pricey sometimes.
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#4688085 - 03/07/18 08:45 PM Re: Generator Recommendations [Re: coopns]
Snagglefoot Offline


Registered: 12/31/17
Posts: 1301
Loc: Alberta
i agree with Johnny. Do it properly. Hire an electrician and have him install an outdoor generator panel that feeds to a proper switch in your utility room that will isolate the grid and will feed through to your fuse box. Iíve see guys make a homemade cord and illegally feed power into a socket. Fun and games until you electrocute a loved one.

The generator should be at least 6,000 Watts and possibly a lot more depending how many appliances you want to run.


Edited by Snagglefoot (03/07/18 08:46 PM)

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#4688122 - 03/07/18 09:26 PM Re: Generator Recommendations [Re: coopns]
Donald Offline


Registered: 03/21/04
Posts: 20244
Loc: Upstate NY
You will need at least 5000 watts, maybe 7500. For anything with a electric motor you need starting current draw in addition to running. Sometimes a clamp-on AC ammeter with peak hold can be helpful. I assume you have a submersible well pump? How many power wires excluding ground? 2 or 3? Pumps with 3 mean the starting capacitor is in the house vs in the well and have less current draw for same HP.

If you have natural gas or propane I suggest a generator that can run with natural gas or propane.

A CO detector is a good idea in the house to make sure no CO is getting back in when the generator is running.

If you go with gasoline, keep in mind it will go through lots of gas. Twenty gallons would be a minimum.

Depending upon the neighborhood, a big chain is sometimes a good idea.

Get the generator connected properly with a transfer switch. Don't backfeed. Its dangerous and illegal. If you fry a power worker you will never get your power back on.
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#4688129 - 03/07/18 09:37 PM Re: Generator Recommendations [Re: coopns]
dakota99 Offline


Registered: 09/27/09
Posts: 463
Loc: indiana
If youíre a Costco shopper they have a 7kw / 9kw champion brand dual fuel model but itís around $799 (propane and gasoline). $300 - $400 is only going to get you around 5kw but if thatís okay champion has some smaller models too. If you have all led lighting and donít care to run the entire house 5kw should be fine.

Sump pump and heat are the two biggest users I see there. Furnace fan is probably 600 - 800 watts and sump pump probably 200 - 400. Fridge and freezer would come next at a couple hundred each. This is all just estimating though with values that are similar to what is in my house.

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#4688183 - 03/07/18 10:46 PM Re: Generator Recommendations [Re: PiperOne]
Linctex Offline


Registered: 12/31/16
Posts: 5714
Loc: Waco, TX
Originally Posted By: PiperOne
Step 1....add up all the wattage of the stuff you want to run.
Step 2....take that number and add 30%
Step 3....shop for generator that has a RUNNING watts number equal to or greater than step 2.
You get what you pay for with generators ............


Yes, but you can get away with a smaller unit
if you make sure to power off stuff you do NOT need while other things are going.

Saves more fuel this way, also.
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#4688186 - 03/07/18 10:49 PM Re: Generator Recommendations [Re: coopns]
fozzdesy2001 Offline


Registered: 11/22/13
Posts: 54
Loc: York, Pa
Originally Posted By: coopns
After the recent storm here, thinking about a generator.

Talked to one guy was running a Honda gen. and it ran his whole house, didn't see the specs on it. Some quiet too. Other guy had a Wally World special, said it ran great too.

I would like to run the essesntials as well. Sump, heat, lights (wifi blush) I just don't want to spend $600. Like the $300 - $400 range.


I do not think you are going to find much of anything new in your 300 to 400 price range that will run all the things you have listed. You might get lucky with a used one but you also are taking a chance. I agree with all others who said to do it right with the hookup, fuel, and size. I have a Tsurumi 5000 watt generator that I love but it will only run the frig, freezer, sump, some personal accessories and limited lights meaning no hot water or water ( must get a 240-volt hookup! ) but then I will have to leave some things off when running the pump and furnace. My genney has gotten me through many 24 hour running days while guzzling gas during some horrific weather but my food stayed fresh and my life was much better having it than not having it. I am starting to look for a more powerful unit and the $2500 dollar 7000 watt Tsurumi Generator is at the top of the list only because of the service and reliability of my smaller unit.


Edited by fozzdesy2001 (03/07/18 10:59 PM)
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#4688239 - 03/08/18 12:06 AM Re: Generator Recommendations [Re: coopns]
bubbatime Offline


Registered: 03/18/08
Posts: 5456
Loc: South Florida
Generators SUCK fuel. An incredible amount that will knock your socks off. I like the idea of running smaller generators and only turning on the circuits you need. Id rather spend $20 a day on fuel than $60 a day. Maybe even a space heater or electric blanket for your bedroom, rather than running the heat pump.

Refilling with gasoline is a pain in the neck. Even more so, trying to keep your 15-30 gallon stash of fuel cans refilled daily is another pain in the neck. If you have natural gas or propane fed to the house that might be a good way to go.
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#4688342 - 03/08/18 06:12 AM Re: Generator Recommendations [Re: coopns]
dnewton3 Online   content



Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 7360
Loc: Indianapolis, IN
Originally Posted By: coopns
After the recent storm here, thinking about a generator.

Talked to one guy was running a Honda gen. and it ran his whole house, didn't see the specs on it. Some quiet too. Other guy had a Wally World special, said it ran great too.

I would like to run the essesntials as well. Sump, heat, lights (wifi blush) I just don't want to spend $600. Like the $300 - $400 range.




You will not be able to get a new genny for that money, in the power range you express. Even the cheap junk (which I would stay away from) is "iffy" at that price.

Shop used. Let the panic pass and start watching for stuff on Ebay or CL in your area.

Also, do you want to survive decently or live in luxury?
A "whole house generator" can help you run a lot of stuff, but unless you have propane or NG at the house, it's moot. And they are EXPENSIVE.

A portable is easily doable. But you need long term gas storage plans. And some way to manipulate power distribution to the "necessary" items.


Most of the websites (Powermate, Generac, etc) have a model select feature which will help you choose the right power for your desires.


- Risk of under-buying is that you'll either get a piece of used junk, or not have enough power.
- Risk of over-buying is spending money on something that is a unused annoyance in the garage 99.9999% of the time, and if too large, will consume more fuel than you want in the very time you want max conservation.




One note about buying used. Be very cautious of older gennys that have sat idle a long time. While engines can be easily resurrected from dormant mode, the power-head (magnets inside the stator) will essentially go bad by not seeing a revolving field effect. While they can be "jump started" by tapping a low volt across the field post, they will lose that charge upon the next shut down cycle. What you want to find is either a used generator that is only a few years old, or have a good indication that the guy selling it actually started it and ran it several times a year WITH AN ELECTRICAL LOAD ON BOTH LEGS OF THE CIRCUIT in order to keep the power-head alive.

I run my two gennies every 3 months, hooking upon a 500w halogen lamp to the circuits for about 15 minutes. That's part of the long term ownership commitment. If you want it to work when you NEED it, you have to work it when you don't need it.


Edited by dnewton3 (03/08/18 06:18 AM)
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- over maintaining something has never been proven to be anything but a waste of time and money

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#4688377 - 03/08/18 06:58 AM Re: Generator Recommendations [Re: coopns]
eljefino Offline


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 32383
Loc: ME
Ever see "Apollo 13" where they boot the computers up and try to keep everything under 20 amps?

That's my generator philosophy. I have a 2500 watt running/ 3250 peak model.

My shallow well has a 120V/15A breaker so I kick that on first. Once that motor starts I can start the fridge etc.

I have a kill-a-watt meter and have noticed that my fridge takes way less than the 7 Amps its data plate suggests. Often 280 watts or so. The defrost cycle takes the most.

Don't oversize-- the gas consumption is absurd and the price about 10-15x what you pay the power company. Any "first generator" you get will have you so much happier than the darkness, and if it's portable, you'll get most of your money back selling it if you're disappointed.

I have a "chonda" engine that starts first pull. Got a propane carb conversion kit which works, but the priming is iffy. So I start on gasoline and flip over. If I had to repeat I'd get factory propane capability. I have a few 20 lb tanks, refill at BJs... 20 lbs = 4.3 gallons = $10.75/fill. About the same as gasoline, but lasts forever and the containers are sturdier. Heavy loads might draw down the tanks so fast they'll freeze though.

I have a four-circuit "sidecar" fusebox/ switchbox so I can run my furnace, well pump, kitchen, and bathroom. I then run an extra extension cord to my basement "utility center" to get my internet up and running.

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#4688463 - 03/08/18 08:51 AM Re: Generator Recommendations [Re: coopns]
Jooksing Offline


Registered: 03/05/18
Posts: 163
Loc: Chicago
While I like having the idea of having circuit s fully power(even just a few circuits) all day and night. I find it very inefficient for emergency management. Rarely you will use the potential energy of the generator as most items on the circuit sits idle. I have a 4000w (on LPG) and a 100w. Plan to run as needed for an hour or two max. Run the house furnace as hot and long as I can to raise the ambient temperature, chill the fridge, charge items. Then shut it off. I see burning +8 gals gas or 20lb propane a day is not good. Getting more/storage of that much fuel is harder than good management.

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#4688479 - 03/08/18 09:06 AM Re: Generator Recommendations [Re: coopns]
HemiHawk Offline


Registered: 03/09/16
Posts: 762
Loc: PA,US
Like some one else mentioned, the champion costco sells is pretty nice
https://www.costco.com/Champion-7000W-Ru....100220385.html

I've had this for a couple of years, but only needed to use it for a couple hours last week during the power outage caused by high winds. The home I moved into a couple years ago already had a hookup and proper switch to switch off the grid.

I didn't really add up the power I was going to draw, but I ran water pump/sump, lights and heat. Heat was furnace heat. Once the house was back up to temp I shut the heat off and then powered the fridge. I also ran a toaster oven and stove to cook dinner. Ran the geny for about 3 hours and used 2 gallons of fuel. The neat thing about the "dual fuel" is that worst case I can use a propane tank. I test ran it with a tank and it seemed to run fine. But I always have it topped off with gas and a couple 5 gallon cans ready.

I really wish this thing had a "draw" meter. If anyone has a suggestion for something like that I'd love to hear about it.
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#4688503 - 03/08/18 09:16 AM Re: Generator Recommendations [Re: coopns]
Schmoe Offline


Registered: 05/12/03
Posts: 7174
Loc: Oklahoma
One thing no one else has mentioned here is the quality of power. You got with a cheap unit, your sine wave will look like fuzzy curves and will not be pure 60Hz. What's going to happen is your sensitive electronics...wifi, computers, new TV's (that's why I keep an old CRT around)and even these new LED bulbs, must have clean power. These cheap generators do not. For that, an inverter is your best bet and I'm willing to wager that the folks that have two generators probably have one cheap generator and then a high dollar smaller one to run various electronics only. The last time I checked, for clean power, figure 1K per kilowatt.
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#4688507 - 03/08/18 09:19 AM Re: Generator Recommendations [Re: coopns]
Cujet Offline


Registered: 02/15/03
Posts: 6976
Loc: Jupiter, Florida
As the resident generator expert, as a minimum, I'd suggest an open frame unit with a Honda 390cc engine. Reasons: Stone reliable engine, enough power to run most anything including multiple heaters, reasonable efficiency, reasonably portable and very easy to service (such as when oil needs to be changed or the carb needs cleaning)

Store it in the garage.

Many people have good luck with the Chinese made "Champion" brand.

What ever you choose, remember to store it without fuel in the carb, or even easier, use a fuel that cannot go bad, like VP-C9 storage fuel.

EDIT: Published watt ratings are often inaccurate. Make sure to understand that a 9HP (270cc engine) cannot make 5500 watts, regardless of the claim. But an 11HP, 340cc engine can.

6.5HP = 3500w 190-220cc
9 HP = 4500W 270cc
11 HP = 5500W 340cc
13 HP = 6500W 390cc

Plus or minus a little.


Edited by Cujet (03/08/18 09:22 AM)
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