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Thread: Standby Generators

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Liz321 View Post
    After the blizzard and Irene I need to investigate.
    My generator and installation was under $4000 but I got 7K generator cheap because the original buyer decided not to take it and it was laying around at the heating/ac place. My little Briggs and Stratton however is noisier than I like - if I had to do it over I would probably get a Generac. If you go too big w generator you might have to change natural gas feed to house, so investigate and have installer check out your natural gas or propane feed when you get estimates. If you live in a heavy snow area have generator wired so you can shut it off somewhere you can always get to it. A generator may need to provide electric for days at a time - if this is the case I would advise shutting it down to cool off for maybe 1/2 hour a couple of times daily. Ideally, you should check oil levels when you shut down, however, I have never done this and never had problems. I have mine serviced by professional 2xs per year to make sure it is in tip top working order. My generator also exercises itself under no load conditions once per week. I have a warning light inside the house which provides info about any malfunction.

  2. #12
    Senior Member brucec's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Virginia Beach, Va
    Quote Originally Posted by forestranger52 View Post
    My generator information says that it burns approximately 1.5 gallons of propane an hour depending on load. I turn off everything that I do not need.

    The 50 amp was about 2 grand and had a one cylinder motor. Since I was going to have that much invested anyways, I upgraded to 100 amp service and a two cylinder motor for about 5 or 6 hundred more.

    Like almost everything that I purchase, with a small percentage increase in spending over the required expense, many more options and much better equipment, become available.
    thanks for the info, that sounds do-able
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  3. #13
    I have a pretty good size one (17 KW) to handle my central AC if necessary and had a fair amount of site prep for the location (concrete cutting, sloping ground), but my whole cost, including plumbing to run the gas line to the unit the length of the house, upgraded meter (I think it's a free service), generator and all inside work was 8K. I could have gone smaller if I wanted to run a small window AC unit in an emergency.

    Comes with a remote monitor for all functions (start/stop/error codes).

    It's a Generac. Installer comes out 2X year to change oil/filters/clean/test/inspect/etc. Contract is $300.00, regardless of times needed.

    I treat my unit like a religious shrine, washing and waxing it regularly.

  4. #14
    We had a Briggs & Stratton installed about 4 years ago and given the number of outages we have had, it has been worth every penny of the $10k cost that included installation. The unit is 18 kilowatts and enough to run our whole 3 bedroom ranch house, including AC. AC is a must for me and the primary reason we got it. Ours runs on natural gas. It would crank out 20 kilowatts running on propane (more BTUs) but then you have to mess with a propane tank. Do not get too hung up on the brand. Rather a reliable dealer/installer/maintenance service is more important. B & S actually makes most of the engines for Generac and others. We have an annual service contract for about $300, and to date the unit has not had any problems.
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  5. #15
    Senior Member forestranger52's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
    From a small cabin in the big woods of The Allegheny National Forest, PA
    Engines that run on propane or natural gas burn very clean. When we changed the oil the last time, according to manufacturers recommendations, the oil appeared unused. These motors should last a very long time.

    In Alaska I had a 30 KW diesel generator that ran a NPS visitor center that I operated. That was one noisy, stinky, dirty beast.

    When they built the new center, the electricity is being generated by running water. All season I measured the water running in a nearby spring run. We put a board across the width with a 1 foot square cut out of the middle. The engineer told me that if we could maintain 4 inches of water in the hole, that would be sufficient to generate electricity.

    I would have loved to return and see the new system. The earth sure appreciates the new one.
    Last edited by forestranger52; 09-02-2011 at 08:12 PM.
    C 5/6 Comp.
    No Tri's or hand function.

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  6. #16
    We had a 27 KW natural gas Generac installed 2 years ago. It cost $19,000, we have a 4800 square ft. house. It was definitely worth it, we live in a heavily wooded area and have frequent power outages.

    We've had several power outages recently. I'm on a Clinitron bed, have well water and 100 degree Texas weather so it has been a lifesaver!

  7. #17
    I don't know what I would have done if I did not have the generator during the recent hurricane in New York. It ran for seven days straight, though I shut it down once a day to let it cool down and check the oil. I spent the entire week quite comfortably and the noise level was quite reasonable. However, it is just as unnerving knowing that your only lifeline is the generator and if that goes you got a major problem.

    I made it through the hurricane okay only to have the power line to my house get torn off during the nor'easter and have a shower of electrical sparks raining down on my house. I thought something was wrong when the breakers were going off in a manner which sounded like it was going to explode. My neighbor, witnessing the electrical arcing tried to reach me by phone and then came banging on the door. Fire department came by and recommended evacuating the house until the line can be stabilized. They were afraid of a house or electrical fire. Together with my parents we had to drive to their home at midnight in whiteout conditions with trees and power lines down all over the road.

    Thankfully, electrician was able to repair the service to my home and I was able to return the next day.

    I would highly recommend that everyone who has a private home have an electrical contractor inspect their electrical service drop, the route from the point where the line from the pole attaches to your house all the way down into your breaker box is in good working order, with no signs of wear, decay, corrosion, or other weaknesses. It should be inspected probably once every 10 years and you can keep an eye on it yourself with a good set of binoculars.

  8. #18
    Senior Member IsMaisin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Just outside Fort Bragg, NC USA
    When I was younger, I spent 10 years living on ships. I was in Newport Beach Harbor during the '94 Northridge earthquake. Having the ability to make my own electricity and fresh water was incredibly helpful.

    I am in the planning stages for a house I intend to spend the rest of my pre-retirement home life. I consider a generator to be a necessity.

    The generacs are nice machines. I have used some of their large industrial diesel power plants. I particularly like, for a residential backup, the 6Kw ecogen running off propane. I have found that I don't need much electricity to keep the fridge going as long as my heat is coming from another source. And I've lived through enough natural disasters to really want to be able to go 10-14 days without services.

    A very interesting product available in Europe is the whispergen stirling-cycle generator. It is only rated for 1Kw, but it also puts out hot water. If you tie it into your radiators or underfloor heating, you don't need a wood stove for heat.

    Some may consider my caution to border on paranoia, but with my limited ability to go out in a disaster and fix things, combined with my inability to transport myself away from one, I'm insistent on building in redundancy.

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