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Emergency Generator

Post in 'The Gear' started by jensent, Sep 19, 2013.

  1. jensent

    jensent Member

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    central Ill
    Anyone having good luck with a portable generator over any period of time. We seem to be having more power outages than we used to. Outages seem to come with heavy storms and as a result our sump pumps don't function. Looks like we need about 5000 running watts and 7000 starting watts. Lets hear what works for you.
    Thanks
    Tom

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  2. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    That is a pretty good sized generator Tom. One thing we have done is to not try to run everything at once. We'll hook up refrigerators and freezers for a while. Then water pump, etc. Most times our power is not out for a long time but we did have it out 3 days a year ago. We got along fine with a 3500.
  3. thetooth

    thetooth Member

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  4. jensent

    jensent Member

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    Hi Dennis
    Actually the size of the generator that I show is just a little less than needed to run our 3 sump pumps. I have yet to need 3 at the same time but this spring ran 2 pumps for 16 hours continuously. We had 7in of rain that morning which is unusual. What generator are you using? Two smaller generators might be better than one larger one.
    Hope everyone is well.
    Tom
  5. shawn6596

    shawn6596 New Member

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    I have an old coleman 10 hp, 5000 watts I believe. The trick is when you power up the house you have to bring it up slowly. I shut off all the breakers in the house including the main, you don't want to back feed the power lines. Then I fire up the generator and plug it into the 220 in the shop. After its warmed up I go in the house and turn on the garage breaker(that powers the up panel). then I turn on the well pump and let it cycle. then I turn on the breakers one at a time in order to slowly load the generator. once everything is on I can run the house like I am hooked to the pole. it is just big enough. If I remember right the last time the power was out It was summer and we ran the house for 7 days on 15 gallons of gas, AC and all. The way I see it, it is better to have too much power than not enough. Generators now a days seem to be way overrated. 3500 watts is not even big enough to run a compressor and a curricular saw at the same time. One of the things I like to do to keep it fresh and running is use it in the yard. I have an electric pole saw, so I throw the generator in the gator and go trim limbs. last year I went to the neighbors and trimmed, she was ecstatic. Sometimes I fire it up and leave it run for 1/2 hour or so just to let it run. There's nothing worse than the powers out and trying to clean out a carb in the dark with a flashlight. If you watch CL there are always generators on there for pretty cheap. Here's one for $175
  6. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I have a whole house power monitor so I know that without the well pump or water heater running the joint uses .07 KWH, 700 watts continuous, per hour with all of the comforts on. So the genny shack has two 3500/2500 generators in case one craps out or if I need an extra kick for something like cooking in the kitchen in the microwave or duel hot plate. Sitting next to them is the 5,000 watt puppy I have had for years. It is only fired to kick the well pump or water heater.

    We have done seven day outages three times in the last eight years. So the little ones save me a ton of money in gas for normal usage. That bigger one drinks gas like a hog. And in most of the extended outages we can't get out of our 900 foot snow buried driveway to drop into a gas station.

    A 3500/2500 will get you through most outages with lights, fridge, computers and TV. And sip gas.

    (And before the sine wave crowed steps in I ain't wrecked a TV, computer, fridge or server yet running them for seven days at a time.)
    MrWhoopee and flhpi like this.
  7. flhpi

    flhpi Burning Hunk

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    Lots of people I know bought the large generators that suck fuel, are heavy are loud. I bought a small one that I can team with another one if needed and it sips gas.

    Right now I just dont need more generator. In summer it has run a small AC at night and I can keep the fridge chilled by running it every so often.

    The portability of the small gen is great when its dark, raining and the gf is home alone. Once again, I don't need a big genny but your needs may vary.

    Best of luck with your search.
    MrWhoopee likes this.
  8. Retired Guy

    Retired Guy Feeling the Heat

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    We has a 4000 watt portable unit that ran the refrigerator, well pump (1/2 hp), gas furnace, couple of lights and tv. It worked well. Keeping fuel fresh and in enough quantity was the problem. Installed a NG whole house unit a couple years ago.
  9. Fi-Q

    Fi-Q Feeling the Heat

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    I have a 3000/4000 watt champion generator. Thy are pretry cheap and have good review. I cannot run my well pump with it ( tht is anotehr project). It will run everyrhing in the house to keep us comfortable and is not too hard on gas. If you go around the webs there is hundreds of generator threads. Its all up too you, your need, ect..... But its true tht a big genny can be an issue with sucking hughe quantity of gas. Having 2 can be a good deal. Lot of people are also leaning towards diesel, but it in a diffeent range budget.
  10. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    I have a cheap 3250 (3750 starting) generac that I bought at the blue box, wired to the house through a 240 inlet box and transfer panel.

    Its been more than enough to run the 1/3hp sump pump on one leg with house lights and even occasional use of the toaster or microwave on the other.
  11. MrWhoopee

    MrWhoopee Minister of Fire

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    This is the basic process I use to power-up my house. I have a Honda EU3000is (2800 continuous watts), which provides very smooth, stable power for the electronics, is extremely quiet and economical to operate. Not a cheap generator by any means, but very high quality with easy, electric starting. It will run my refrigerator, freezer, TV, etc. Heidi's hair-dryer is another matter.!!! It will not, however, run my well or my water heater. For that I have an old 5000 watt Generac. It is hard to start (10 hp B&S, pull start), noisy, thirsty and produces low quality power (the microwave and stove blowers sound like they're running at half speed). I exercise them every month or two and shut them down by turning off the fuel supply valve, allowing the carb to run dry. This eliminates the problems related to fuel evaporating in the carb. I don't leave much gas in my generators, I put fresh gas in them when the power goes out. They do make portable propane generators that eliminate the problems associated with gas.

    http://www.northerntool.com/shop/to...erator&mkwid=sfwm1UeKz&pcrid=18901096151&mt=b
  12. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Tom, I can't tell you without going to the barn to see what it is. ;lol But I can tell you I bought it at Home Depot. We've had it several years and got a great buy on it. We'd been in the market for a while and one day we walked into HD and they were putting out some new ones. I casually mentioned something about the price and the guy perked right up. Said they had one left of the previous year's model I could have for $150 less than the new ones. I grabbed it.

    I wasn't thinking about the sump pumps when I originally posted. We don't have them here so it just didn't register with my feeble mind.
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    jensent, do you have heavy loads that need a big genset like a well pump, sewer pump system? If not consider a smaller genset and manage the loads. We run our house on less than 2000 watts on the generator. The main reason for this is runtime per gallon of fuel. Our outages can last many days and there is a good chance that the gas stations will be out of power too. For that reason we have switched to a 2.4kw propane generator. The fuel doesn't get stale and the generator is miserly.
  14. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    I tried and tried to convince myself to buy a Honda 5 or 6 years ago and just couldn't do it for a generator. For something I use 3 or 4 times a year I couldn't justify it.

    So I ended up with a Coleman Powermate (I think?) with a Subaru motor. 5500 watts, I think 6500 peak. I run a gen panel in the house that powers the well pump, sump pump, fridge, furnace, some lights, etc. Plenty of juice in mine to handle the load. The well pump being the biggest hit of anything in my house.

    For the $500 or so I paid I'm very pleased with the purchase and have had...knock on wood....zero problems in 5+ years. I picked mine up at the Home Depot.
  15. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Problem with a generator is you have to run it on a regular basis to keep the fuel fresh or it will gum up the works and wont run.(unless its a propane model) Which is what happened to mine. So instead i bought a water powered sump pump. Darn thing pumps more water than the electric ones.
    Even when the power goes out the water remains on. Problem solved.
  16. shawn6596

    shawn6596 New Member

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    Water powered sump pump??????? I need details
  17. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Pump is powered by your municipal water supply. Got it from amazon ,about $160.
  18. shawn6596

    shawn6596 New Member

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    I found a this old house video of them explaining one. It would be awesome if you lived in town. I have never lived in town. I feel for a lot of us it is no power no well. That is why I sized my generator large enough to run the whole house.
  19. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    But remember that the water powered one adds a lot of volume to the discharge water, make sure it has someplace to go.

    Here we have town wells. In a short outage water stays on. In a long one effecting the entire town water could be effected.
  20. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Run it every 3 months for 30min, close the fuel shutoff, let it run dry and drain the tank into the mower. Problem solved.
    MrWhoopee likes this.
  21. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    I dont have to do any kind of maintainence with the Water pump at all. Its a simple no-hassle solution for me. ITs my backup sump pump. My back up heat is the wood stove.
  22. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    It pump 3-4 gallons of water out for every gallon it uses. A fair trade off.
  23. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    5+ years and mine gets run every 3-6 months, max. In the summer it may run more frequently depending on the storms. I've never added fuel treatment, never drained the tank. Haven't had any problems yet...knock on wood.
  24. simple.serf

    simple.serf Feeling the Heat

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    If you just want to run a pump, the water powered units are great...unless you are dependent on a well.

    I have an MEP-002a military diesel that will run the whole house without any problems, and I don't have to worry about the fuel going bad. I think I paid $3500 for it. That was load tested on a M116a2 trailer. Yes, it's loud, and you need some knowledge of both diesel engines and generators to keep it going, but it's fairly cheap for what it will do. The other option is one of the Yanmar converted mil surplus units.

    We loose power quite a bit here, so it makes sense for me to use this type of generator. You may not need something so large/heavy duty if you only need a genset once a year or so. In the last year, I put 30 hrs on mine, most of which was in use time, not testing.
  25. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Diesel can get stuff growing in it as well, I believe. I put some biocide additive in my fuel oil tank just in case, since we don't use that much anymore.

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