Educate me on home generators please [Archive] - Glock Talk

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gunman_23
03-19-2012, 18:15
Hello all.

Im looking into a generator for the home incase things go sideways/SHTF.

What does the GT braintrust recommend?

Sound, fuel source, and output are considerations.


Thanks!

Contact
03-19-2012, 18:24
Subscribed to hear replies. Great question.

RED64CJ5
03-19-2012, 18:30
I recommend a 16-20kw propane/natural gas system with automatic transfer switch. If you have on-street natural gas, great. If you don't, like me, I recommend at least a 500 # propane tank and always leave it at least 30% or more full.

gimmejr
03-19-2012, 18:44
If you have the money, Honda.

cowboy1964
03-19-2012, 19:11
First thing is, what kind of capacity do you need? Do you only need to run a few lights and maybe a small TV on an extension cord or do you need to run your entire house with a tranfer switch at your main panel?

cowboy1964
03-19-2012, 19:12
First thing is, what kind of capacity do you need and what is your budget? Do you only need to run a few lights and maybe a small TV on an extension cord or do you need to run your entire house with a tranfer switch at your main panel?

ozark-tracker
03-19-2012, 19:22
check out this link, we had an electric meter transfer switch installed last fall, haven't had to use it yet, but it's very handy for hook up. it also has some generator information

http://www.generlink.com/about_generlink.cfm

cowboy1964
03-19-2012, 19:23
First thing is, what kind of capacity do you need and what is your budget? Do you only need to run a few lights and maybe a small TV on an extension cord or do you need to run your entire house with a transfer switch at your main panel?

Carry16
03-19-2012, 19:51
If you do a search of this forum you will find lots of discussion on this subject.

If the S _really_ HTF, IMHO, most will not be able to stockpile enough fuel to power a large genset for the long term. I personally like the concept of a medium and small alternator based gensets. I like Honda. They cost a lot, but I feel they are worth the cost. I have a EU6500is and hope to pick up a EU2000 in the near future. I stock around 60 gallons of gasoline for the generator. I anticipate this might last me 2 weeks of intermittent use.

IMO the problem with realy large whole house backup generators is they consume vast amounts of fuel regardless of the load. If you had two freezers and a refrigerator you could keep them up (individually) with a EU2000 and a very small amount of gasoline.

One added bonus of the Honda's - they are nearly silent.

Adjuster
03-20-2012, 11:37
What Cowboy says is important. Heck he had to say it three times!



/

kirgi08
03-20-2012, 11:59
KISS.

We use gennys for fridge and other ep needs.'08.

gunman_23
03-20-2012, 19:25
Cowboy and all others that have input so far,

Excellent questions and points. I apologize for leaving my initial post a bit bare.

I was posting from a mobile device and was on a time crunch. I apologize.

So far the expected needs would be a few lights and the refrigerator rolling if things went sideways. Nothing attracts attention like a lot of noise and a fully lit house when everyone else is blacked out in the neighbor hood.

I use honda generators at work often and understand their noise levels and fuel consumption. They are great yes. But a few things I want to avoid are; having to circulate/store gas, run extension cords into a house during the summer months/winter.

As far as heating the house, that isnt a concern due to a wood burning heater ducted into the furnace/vent system.

This would be to run basic electronic needs if power is out for an extended period of time.


Thanks all.

TangoFoxtrot
03-25-2012, 07:34
I love to have a generator myself, but I can't safely store enough fuel to make it work for me.

Contact
03-31-2012, 08:31
Can anyone who is electrically inclined educate me on the difference between watts and amps as they relate to home generators? I notice (IIRC) that some generators list similar wattage output, but different amperage output.

Im on my phone right now and cant do all the legwork, but I think I saw one that was 7k watts/25 amps, and saw another one that was 7k watts/58 amps.

Thanks!

wrenrj1
03-31-2012, 09:43
During a basement remodel I added a generator panel with an exterior hook up. The panel was about $375.00 plus install. It has 8 circuits. I divvied them up to run basement lights, outlets, furnace blower motor, and both upstairs and downstairs fridges. I figure we'll be living in the basement if a major event occurs.

I also purchased a Generac portable generator (6500w) that's power line quality (<5% harmonic distortion). This is important if you want to run sensitive electronics such as computers, you don't want power fluctuations.

douggmc
03-31-2012, 10:02
I've researched this in the past and decided against whole house for the reasons mentioned earlier in the thread. A couple lights, a pump, refrigeration .... For as long as possible is what I would want .... with as little attention drawn to me and as efficiently as possible. In a SHTF, a whole house gen is WAY overkill IMHO, and the few things that a little gen can provide for the long term would be a serious luxury enough.

While I have not done this, if I were to I would get a little tri-fuel Honda or Yamaha

http://www.generatorsales.com/triple-fuel-generators.asp

You can buy the tri-fuel kits separately if you already have the generator.

Forget gas, too impractical to store at quantity and for long periods for most of us. If you are on natural gas hookup however, it is plausible that It would remain functional in some SHTF scenarios and this fuel source for the generAtor would therefore provide virtually limitless power needs (probably limited only by durability/lifespan of the generator). If you have the space, a 500lb LP tank would also be great as a first/second fuel source ... Providing an extended source of fuel.

beatcop
03-31-2012, 15:41
Hit the FAQ on the generator sites first. That will help you get the basic trade language and such figured out.

It comes down to a "depends". I have a friend who still wants hvac, so we each have our own level of "survival".

Contact: Hit the genny sites. The ratings vary based on output voltages...whether you are using only 115v or energizing both legs of your home cb panel for 220v.

R_W
03-31-2012, 17:11
You also need to look at your local codes. Not everywhere allows manual transfer switches--some places you HAVE to do an automatic system.

I see a genny as a short-term SHTF answer--mainly storms taking out the lines for a day to a week, two weeks MAX. I know I can keep my house warm and my food cold for about 4 gallons a day. So we are talking 10 NATO cans. That is easy enough to rotate through vehicles. I figure that after that point, either I can get more fuel or I can't.

wrenrj1
03-31-2012, 18:32
You also need to look at your local codes. Not everywhere allows manual transfer switches--some places you HAVE to do an automatic system.

I see a genny as a short-term SHTF answer--mainly storms taking out the lines for a day to a week, two weeks MAX. I know I can keep my house warm and my food cold for about 4 gallons a day. So we are talking 10 NATO cans. That is easy enough to rotate through vehicles. I figure that after that point, either I can get more fuel or I can't.

Good point here in the first paragraph. Get a transfer case that switches from one to the other. For instance the panel i have will not feed into the grid. It's either on the main breaker box or the generator breaker box.

beatcop
04-01-2012, 15:55
Gunman...there are enough folks here to inform you fully, however there is more than one way to skin the cat. Some are more concerned with meeting the "codes" local/NEC etc. than others. You should read up and determine your level of comfort (some people work on cars, but won't do their own brakes).

Fuel- depends on duration of shtf. Gas is fine for most applications. Diesel may be better for northeast, since most have 200+gallons of home heating oil in the basement tank

Cost-gas genny will be cheapest. Diesel usually most expensive. Common sizes aroud 5-6k will be decent values.

Maint-gas small engine repair is pretty easy. Diesel?

output-If you have an issue in the Summer, a honda eu2000 may take care of a everything (assuming city water, etc.) If you have a well pump and oil burner, you're gonna want something 5K and larger.

Duration-if you want a storm genny, grab a gas 5.5K and run it. If you want to live like mad max, grab a lister diesel gen "kit" and enjoy good fuel economy and a long life.

Install-they can all be hacked into your house in a variety of non-compliant manners for short duration/cheap outlay. If you have the money, you can have it installed in a compliant manner which will be more forgiving to ignorance.

So, quantify you budget, intended duration, home size/load, fuel preference & maybe your tech ability and we'll focus your options.

Dirk Pitt
04-02-2012, 11:19
So far the expected needs would be a few lights and the refrigerator rolling if things went sideways. Nothing attracts attention like a lot of noise and a fully lit house when everyone else is blacked out in the neighbor hood.
Thanks all.

Strictly speaking from a ''tactical" standpoint, depending on were you live that could be "oh gunman_23 is running his gen" or "That dude is running a generator, which means he has FOOD!" It can be a big neon sign (in noise) above your house saying come and get it (or try to get it). All depends on your location. Me? I have to be very, very careful. Living in Los Angeles near a not so great neighborhood, the have nots will be out in force and I have to REALLY watch all of that stuff.

wrenrj1
04-02-2012, 19:22
Strictly speaking from a ''tactical" standpoint, depending on were you live that could be "oh gunman_23 is running his gen" or "That dude is running a generator, which means he has FOOD!" It can be a big neon sign (in noise) above your house saying come and get it (or try to get it). All depends on your location. Me? I have to be very, very careful. Living in Los Angeles near a not so great neighborhood, the have nots will be out in force and I have to REALLY watch all of that stuff.

So having a generator is not a good idea? It may also say, that guy has a generator, food, and the means to protect what he has...Granted as you stated, location is an issue, however who in those neighborhoods do you think would be seriously in to prepping.

Carry16
04-02-2012, 20:57
It has been my "experience" during extended power outages that we rise at dawn and go to bed at sunset. We do not run lights at night to draw attention. We use the genset during the day to keep refrigerators and freezers up, catch up on news and weather predictions, etc. In my opinion a genset is a MUST during short/medium term events. As time goes by the genset likely becomes less important. Two or three months after a major event you probably don't have anything in your freezer to save.

There's a big difference between surviving in a rural or metro areas. If I were unfortunate enough to live in LA, I would certainly not have any long term survival plans for that location. My son lives there, he has hopes that he can make it here if the SHTF.

gunman_23, get yourself a Honda eu2000is - you will love it....it will serve you well.

Dirk Pitt
04-05-2012, 11:52
So having a generator is not a good idea? It may also say, that guy has a generator, food, and the means to protect what he has...Granted as you stated, location is an issue, however who in those neighborhoods do you think would be seriously in to prepping.

I believe it is a good idea to have one, I mean I have one! You just have to be aware of what it can do as far as drawing attention. I did a remodel on my house and had to run a new service, the power was out all day. I ran the generator to keep the fridge going for about 12 hours without incident, but then again all the regular power was still on!

To your second point, people preparing around me? HA! They can barely take care of themselves during regular time, I shudder at what they would become under adverse circumstances.

Commenting on another post, long term survival in Los Angeles is a fairy tale and I know it. The only place I might be able to bug too would be in AZ (a friend). And that in itself would be problematic with chances of success not real good. I have a couple of years left here and hope to get out ASAP. All due to work. Nothing much else I can do but prepare the best I can in place here.

Bushflyr
04-05-2012, 12:07
Search, this has been covered many times.

Cliff notes: We used to have a larger generator 5kW IIRC. It was loud, burned a ton of gas, and we didn't need all the output. Typically used it a few times a winter during ice storms to keep the freezer going and run the pellet stove.

Switched to an EU2000i and couldn't be happier. It's nearly silent, sips fuel, and provides enough power to run tools, the fridge, and a light or 10. Unless you have a VERY SPECIFIC need (like you're in an iron lung or something) get the Honda and be done with it.

quake
04-05-2012, 17:39
...expected needs would be a few lights and the refrigerator
2000 watts may or may not be fine for that; 3000 almost cetainly would. Check your fridge for it's wattage requirements. Odds are very good that 2000 (like the honda) would be fine.

......a few things I want to avoid are; having to circulate/store gas, run extension cords into a house during the summer months/winter.
Don't know how to get around storing/rotating fuel unless you go with a natural-gas generator. I've never seen a small one of those though; not sure how small they can be had.

Don't know how to avoid extension cords without either putting the generator inside the house with you - bad idea; or else permanently installing "built-in" cabling from the house to the generator location to serve the same purpose but not being just strung out on the ground.

bdcochran
04-05-2012, 19:36
I live in LA.

I have a generator, although I have no plans to use it with a refrigerator, television, or a freezer. It is to recharge battery operated tools after shtf.

There is no way that I could store gasoline to power a refrigerator for a week.

The reality is that if the electricity goes off for a day I will have serious problems. Everything is dependent on it - from the stove to the oven to the dishwasher and clothes washer.

If you have a house in an urban area and safe storage, your priority might be to put aside filled propane tanks before considering a generator. :wavey:

douggmc
04-05-2012, 20:26
...
Don't know how to get around storing/rotating fuel unless you go with a natural-gas generator. I've never seen a small one of those though; not sure how small they can be had.
....

Your choice ... tri-fuel (gas, CNG, and LP):
http://www.generatorsales.com/triple-fuel-generators.asp

crnama
04-05-2012, 20:41
We had a major power outage last year during the April tornadoes. Our whole county (300,000pop) was without power for a week. I had a generator at the time 5kW that was complete overkill. It sucks down gas even when all I was powering was a refrigerator. I bought a Honda eu2000 instead. I can keep 10 gallons of gas on hand for it and figure that will last me almost a week. It is much quieter and does not draw attention either.

We had dusk till dawn curfews in place and for the most part things were very civil but any longer than a week and people would have been getting very restless.

quake
04-06-2012, 06:56
Your choice ... tri-fuel (gas, CNG, and LP):
http://www.generatorsales.com/triple-fuel-generators.asp

Thanks; I'd not seen those before. We have a family member who might make use of one of those.

beatcop
04-06-2012, 07:13
There is no way that I could store gasoline to power a refrigerator for a week.


Run fridge/generator every few hours to prolong fuel supply. Should be "good enough.

cowboy1964
04-06-2012, 11:50
Tri-fuel is the way to go for sure. Even the little Hondas and Yamahas can be made to be tri-fueled.

AK_Stick
04-06-2012, 12:38
If you can, while more expensive, a natural gas generator, is probably the best. As almost everyone will have a gas line available, and it takes a hell of alot to interrupt gas service.



I'm getting a diesel generator, specifically the Norther Lights NL673L3, which produces 6 KW (enough to run just about anyones house) and uses about 1/2 gallon per hour under a full load, .32 gph at a half load. Coupled with a 100 gallon diesel tank, that gives me 200 hrs of operation at full capacty. Figuring 3 hrs per day during a "event" to keep the fridge/freezers cooled down, and run the well/whatever else I absolutely need, that gives me roughly two months of operational capacity. Even figuring 5 hrs a day that gives me over a month of power. And thats not including the wind turbine, or any of the other diesel fuel I have on hand. Just the generators supply tank.


Lastly, I have a smaller Honda EU that could be used in a pinch, but realistically, they're so small, you'd need to have a couple if you wanted to power much of anything. They are handy, and quiet though.


As far as noise, most generators can be dampened, its just how much thought you are willing to put into it.

Mine will be bolted into the slab in the shop, covered with a insulated cover, and the exhaust is run through a hose, and out the wall of the shop, and directed upward, so its not very oppressive. And when the shop's doors are shut, and its running with the cover installed, you don't get much noise outside.