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Emergency Generator

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

  1. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    A lot depends on how often you lose power. Iv lived in the same house for 25 years and never been out for more than a few hours. And even that is rarely. Even in the dead of winter a few hours is no problem. So no need for me to spend thousands on a large generator. Worst case scenario for me is no power in a flooding situation so hence the water powered sump pump.

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  2. KaptJaq

    KaptJaq Minister of Fire

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    In 2011 we had Hurricane Irene and were out for 7 days. In 2012 Sandy followed by a Northeaster knocked the lights out for 11 days. Other than those we get one or two short outages a year, a couple of days or less.

    I have a Honda 6500em. I don't touch it the first day the lights are out. Enough hot water in the insulated tank & the stove provides heat. Candle light is fun the first day. If by the second day there is no light at the end of the tunnel I roll it out, fuel it up, plug it into the house, and start it. Runs everything except the AC and has a pretty good fuel management & response to load program.

    When the lights come back on I drain the tank, run it dry, mist it, change the oil, and put it away. It has never failed to start and run smooth.

    I have 2 full five gallon gas cans in the shed. Between the outboard on the runabout and other "toys" I usually refill at least one a month. If I haven't used them recently I dump them in the pick-up and refill them. Fresh gas is important...

    KaptJaq
    MrWhoopee likes this.
  3. simple.serf

    simple.serf Feeling the Heat

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    That's true, although I haven't had many issues with this in the past. I usually dump a can of anti-gel/biocide in my tank right before I have It filled. If you don't treat your tank, the trick is to watch for moisture contamination. The bacteria likes to grow right at the line between the water and the diesel. I have an untreated farm tank right now with moisture in it that I am trying to deal with. Lots of Diesel 911 and biocide in that tank right now, with none of it going into any diesel engine.
  4. DuckDog

    DuckDog Burning Hunk

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    Eastern Ontario
    Back in 98 (I was still living with mom and dad) we were nailed hard by the ice storm. We were out of power for 17 days.
    Just months before I'd bought a generator for a hunt camp I was a part of. Honda EZ5000. The 5000 would have provided everything we needed but since we were not set up with a backfeed panel we were only able to run what ran on a standard extension cord. No deep well pump, no hot water. That was the only thing we missed.

    The 5000 has more than enough to run everything but not all at once. They now have the correct panel that allows them to feed the main panel by the generator. The only things they are careful of would be the deep well pump and hot water. They flip the breaker on one when running the other. They always use stabilized gas in it and every 6 months run the system for a full tank. 24-48 hour power outages are not uncommon.
  5. rowerwet

    rowerwet Minister of Fire

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    if you have a Prius, and most likely most other hybrid cars also, you have a great power source for average small house hold demands. Toyota dealers can sell and install an inverter that will give you a good supply of 110v electricity. You turn the car on, and plug in the extension cord. the charging system will start the engine and recharg the battery banks as needed. I don't know if Ford or Chevy offer this also, but anybody with a good knowledge of the car and electricity could use a multimeter to find the best place to hook up an inverter that would do the same thing on any hybrid car.
    I have a Homlite with the Subaru engine, from what I know the Subaru engines are more reliable and quieter than B&S or any china made stuff. I wouldn't spring for a honda powered unit unless I planned on weekly or daily use.
    The homelite powered us for about a week during the big ice storm a few years ago, when I lived in Maine I used the generator almost monthly for power failures. since then I've moved and haven't touched the generator since.
  6. Halligan

    Halligan Feeling the Heat

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    I've been using a 2000 watt Honda for the last 4 years and it sips fuel. However, I recently moved into a new house with a well pump and the Honda will not run it. Also, my job dictates that during severe weather events I may be gone for a day or two. Therefore I just installed a 20kw propane powered standby generator with automatic transfer switch. Now I don't have to worry about the wife and kids if I'm not home. If I'm home though the Honda will be used during the day to power the fridge. In the evening I'll use the big one for shower needs and to run the AC before bed.
  7. seige101

    seige101 Minister of Fire

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    You might want to test that plan out. The propane generators usually have a block/carb heater that runs on utility power until an outtage occurs. If you shut the generator off for several hours in the cold you might now be able to restart it.
    Halligan likes this.
  8. Jaugust124

    Jaugust124 Feeling the Heat

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    Mid-Hudson Valley, NY
    I bought the Troy-Bilt from Lowes about a year and a half ago. 7000 running watts and 10,500 starting watts. Consumer Reports rates it #1 if that means anything. Only had to use it once since I purchased it for about an hour. Wired it into the breaker box with a transfer switch and bought one of those plastic deck boxes to keep it out of the weather. Probably have about $1500 invested. Still way cheaper than one of the standby generators.
  9. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    I'll vote for the Harbor Freight, rated at 800W after run in. I think it actually doesn't trip until 1000W Ran all my loads for 5+ days after Sandy, on 7 gals of fuel. Ran Fridge, sump, insert blower, wifi router, handheld electronics, laptops, and numerous cfl lights, with 'load management'. Have 2 propane camp stoves for cooking. $100 delivered.
  10. simple.serf

    simple.serf Feeling the Heat

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    Those little things are awesome! I had one that saw use when I didn't need the big boy or the 2500W medium boy. I ran all of the lights at our wedding with one, and it ran for 3 days straight stopping only for gas for setup, during the wedding, and teardown. It was easy to throw in the truck for lighting when working in parking lots and when using small tools. Mine did throw a rod, however, but this was after at least 500 hrs of runtime, which isn't too bad for something made out of Chinesium. BTW, use 40:1, not 50:1.
  11. Halligan

    Halligan Feeling the Heat

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    Good point. It does have a carb heater as you described. The heater has a regular plug on it that plugs into an outlet within the generator housing. I suppose I could run an extension cord from the Honda and plug it in.
  12. shawn6596

    shawn6596 New Member

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    Not that I would ever own a prius, but thats an awesome fact. Now they need to make a hybrid silverado.
  13. rowerwet

    rowerwet Minister of Fire

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    I believe GM is working on it or already sells a full size SUV with the hybrid tech, it actually gives a better return on the mileage for a big heavy truck than a smaller car.
    Hybrid doesn't intrest me, computers and anything I want to rely on for years = a bad idea. I work on airplanes for a living, we take care of the big passenger jets for the whole airport, 95% of the calls for maintenance are a computer error... shut it down, reload, and everything is good.. until next time...
  14. G6 at Snook TX

    G6 at Snook TX Member

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    If you like to weld, double up and get a Miller Bobcat or Lincoln Ranger. Or if you can find a Lincoln Weldanpower from the 1980s (get the Briggs motor, not the Onan--parts availability) you ca get them for not much more than a smaller generator, and you have more power. About $750. For a standalone generator, I am satisfied with my HF knockoff that I keep treated gas in and run dry to store. It is 3500 size and has treated me right. When buying from Harbor Freight, always look for the coupons.
  15. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    They already do,but it dont sell well is very expensive and has that annoying stop -start feature. That would just drive me crazy that the engine shuts off at every stop sign. Ill pass.
    GIve me an electric truck with a small diesel generator range extender and ill be happy. Yea i know, they dont exist.
  16. mass_burner

    mass_burner Minister of Fire

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    I got the Prius 2004 generator. I have a hidden plug behind the tail light that plugs into an inverter I keep under the rear deck. I have a dedicated cord going from my garage door up to behind my fridge. I pull out the fridge, swap plugs, plug in the inverter at the car, turn on the car. I get 1500 quiet watts which enough for fridge, DVD player, stove fan. I am also getting an APC or battery pack for that I can plug in and move around the house as needed for lights etc (it can also be recharged by the Prius).

    There is an additional way to tie into the 3000W HV battery, but I haven't tried that yet.
  17. slindo

    slindo Member

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    Maine
    I've got a 3500 watt Champion from TSC. If you stack a sale with a coupon you can get them as low as $250. Typical Chinese genset, but a better quality one (Champion supposedly has their own factory in China but it is hard to know what that means) and full parts and reachable technical support. Motor is a really sweet Honda GX clone that so far has been excellent Starts so easy it often fires when I am just pulling out the rope slowly to get the gas moving so I have never regretted not having electric start. I greatly prefer a good quality GX clone to the old flattie Briggs a lot of low end American made generators come with, it starts much easier and burns less gas.

    Nice thing about cheap import gens is you an afford to keep some spares. Probably the most likely thing to give trouble is the voltage regulator. A new one for our Champion costs about $25. We had a friend who has to replace the VR on his Generac, it has a two board regulator, and the boards are about $200 each! If I was less fanatical about gas issues I'd probably keep a spare carb on hand too for another $25 or so.
  18. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    I think I've gone full circle in my generator thinking.

    I had (still have it) a cheap Chinese 3500 watt one from Walmart (needed one in a hurry, ugggh). It was OK, does my well pump but kinda barely - but I didn't want to have to string extension cords when the power went out. So I got a 6500 Craftsman that could do the whole house. But I soon found out it is very thirsty (and noisy) with the B&S that runs full honk all the time, and gas comsumption in a power outage can be a problem when you live in the middle of nowhere. Plus its a bear to move around & takes up space. And, I now don't feel comfortable plugging computer & electronic stuff into either one - I don't want to have to go big-screen shopping again for a long time. So now I think I will sell the big one & get an inverter gen in the 2000 range to go with the 3500 one I still have. After thinking more, I don't have anything that needs 240 when the power is out, and could get by with no issues with both once in a while & likely just the 2000 most of the time - and the power has not gone out much the last 2-3 years (knock on wood).

    So, I think another Honda is in my future....
  19. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I might lean towards keeping the larger one; don't have to run the well pump that much, nice to have some extra capacity, maybe lose more money trying to sell.
  20. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    I've got a 6500w portable generator with a transfer switch. One thing to think about is whether or not a generator has a bonded neutral, and a lot of other little things if you're going to do it right. This size is enough for my boiler and well pump to work simultaneously. We use it about 8-12hrs/day when the power is out and it comes to about 5-6 gal, more than some but micromanaging my women with the lights out is a calculated risk I'm not willing to make.

    My generator does not have permanent magnets. Most portables don't. It needs to be under UNDER LOAD to charge the dew-hickies, or so I've read.
  21. rowerwet

    rowerwet Minister of Fire

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    look for a large gas tank on any portable generator, the kind that act as a cover for the motor and generator, little lawn mower type tanks will leave you in the dark every few hours, my generator will run 10+ hrs on a tank
  22. shawn6596

    shawn6596 New Member

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    Just my opinion Mine runs for 2-3 hours on 1 tank. Then I shut it down and let it cool off. I like it that way. It keeps me from running it to death. If it was liquid cooled I would agree with you.
  23. OutdoorGuy

    OutdoorGuy New Member

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    A generator of that size is going to be fairly expensive. I agree to look into running things separately to reduce the amount of power required. I would recommend looking into a mid-sized portable generator for your needs.
  24. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    It doesn't take many $35 half days of running to get ya looking at one that will run 10 hours on half the gas. And appreciate electric rates.
    MrWhoopee likes this.
  25. rowerwet

    rowerwet Minister of Fire

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    I've heard the cheaper engines in the cheaper generators need a cool down, the subaru engine in mine ran for about a week, it was only shut off during refueling due to fire danger. of course this was in december in Maine, August down south could be a different issue.

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