Pellet Stove power backup? What do you use?

bigeclipse Posted By bigeclipse, Apr 9, 2018 at 10:17 AM

  1. bigeclipse

    bigeclipse
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    I have a Harman absolute63. It has been fantastic. However, we recently lost power for 8 hours during a windstorm and the house got down to 55degrees. We typically only lose power a few times a year (mostly during summer) and this is the first time it was during cold weather (20F outside). I have decided to invest in some sort of backup to run our pellet stove. unfortunately our budget is not very large ~$500. We can typically find decently used generators in the 5000watt range for 200-400$ locally. I have read there could be issues with using generators with Harman pellet stoves but I have no idea what these issues are. I have heard of using some sort of battery backup but I am not sure what that means and how expensive it is. The plus of using a generator would be we can then also run some other things such as some lights and maybe the refrigerator. I welcome all ideas on this subject. Thanks!
     
  2. kenora

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    Having an battery back-up is a great idea however.... your power outage was 8 hours...I know around here they can be 48 hrs (or more) and there is no battery that can sustain the stove for that long...

    I am going to buy (haven't got it yet....looking for a deal)...a Yamaha or Honda pure sine wave inverter genset (I'm thinking I would like the 2000 watt one but the 1000 watt would run the stove without sweating)... the good thing is they are useful for a variety of things..whereas the battery backup is and expense that may never be used and if used may not be sufficiently large enough..

    and do not use a standard (dirty power ...square wave..) genset...

    I can get a new Honda 1000 inverter gen set for about $800 CDN so you should be able to do better (US prices are ALWAYS better than here in Canukistan)...
     
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  3. bigeclipse

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    Can you explain to me why you need to pay attention to the sine wave detail?
     
  4. kenora

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    I'm not an electrical engineer ... but I did sleep at a Holiday Inn Express (once)...

    as I understand it.

    Any electronic device.. like the control panel in a wood stove... is sensitive to the wave form.. the power that comes from your wall socket is a pure some wave 120v a.c..... the power from many if not all cheap generators is 120ish v but most importantly not a some wave.. rather a square wave which electronics... tv... computer... pellet stove... do not tolerate well.. I'm sure a real explanation is forthcoming bit I'm confidant is suggesting that you don't go cheap on the generator... get a quality pure sine wave set

    Btw.. look for that wording.
    .


    Sent from my SM-G920W8 using Tapatalk
     
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  5. Harmanizer

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  6. tlc1976

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    I happen to have a Generac 8kw that came with the house, runs off LP. Power comes back within 10 seconds, and the stove has resumed operation every single time, so the board must have a little memory.

    The only drawback to this is how much LP it uses, regardless of how much you're using in the house. For the occasional outages of a couple hours maybe every month or two, it's fine, barely notice. But for a long outage, I did the math based on the specs, and it would suck down around $100 of LP a day, and last maybe 7-8 days on a full tank. That's a LOT more expensive than just a small gasoline generator powering the essentials, it could be enough to put me in the red. Thankfully our electric company is always very good about getting power back up and running.
     
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  7. ABusWrench

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    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Ryobi-2-200-Watt-Green-Gasoline-Powered-Digital-Inverter-Generator-RYI2200/203617901 225617-2e4ffba9af580b0a7da3510d604c1066.jpg [/QUOTE]
    I too have a Ryobi digital inverter generator. Previous two-tone gray model. Love it! Have had it two years and finally got to use it with our P-61A. Our power was out for 8 hrs last week. Stove and generator got along just fine! Scored the generator from Home Depot online for $429. ::-) Have a Gentron 10,000 watt generator for the rest of the all electric house. Can't have enough watts!
     
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  8. gfreek

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  9. jackman

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  10. Zeus

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    I have used a champion 3400 watt inverter gen several times on my harman longest about 12 hours. No problems at all. I wanted to get a Honda but to pay over double for use a few times a year when the power goes out,didn't make sense to me if I used a gen every day I would definitely get the Honda.
     
  11. bigeclipse

    bigeclipse
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    I too have a Ryobi digital inverter generator. Previous two-tone gray model. Love it! Have had it two years and finally got to use it with our P-61A. Our power was out for 8 hrs last week. Stove and generator got along just fine! Scored the generator from Home Depot online for $429. ::-) Have a Gentron 10,000 watt generator for the rest of the all electric house. Can't have enough watts![/QUOTE]
    Why not get a regular larger generator (something in the 5500 watt category) and then get a power conditioner to clean the power up for the pellet stove? This way you can use it for the pellet stove and still have reserve power for something like a smaller air conditioner?
     
  12. alternativeheat

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    I have two different generators, both portable, one a 5500 and the other 6250.I run those to power the essentials in the house plus an outlet or two and some lights. I run and extension cord from a bathroom outlet to the P61a and it runs fine on a large gauge extension cord. It won't auto light on a finer gauge cord ( too long a run). My oil fired boiler, the hot water heater ( lp gas) have digital controls and all items with digital boards that run off either generator work fine, including the stove. The generators themselves have digital voltage regulators today and in fact the 6250 has a digital control panel on it.

    From what I have read is in the newer Harmans and I think mine is new enough, if the power is too dirty they sense it and just won't run. This winter we had three outages, one short. The other two were days long, the first almost 4 days the second 48 hours. I had the stove going through most of that on one generator or the other with no issues other than the manual start up when I had the skinny cord attached.. I have the house wired into a transfer switch.

    Tony Ray ( forum member) does the same thing with a 7200 watt Generac but with more circuits, neither of us has had a problem and there are a few others in the forums as well who use standard modern portables with no issue. My two are one Briggs and Stratton ( the newer of the two and 6250 watts) and a Troybilt ( the older 5500 I use the most because I have the 6 circuit limit in the basement anyway and this one uses a little bit less gas, it's about 10 years old). Both run a little short of 120 volts, more like 118 but with very little fluctuation.. I run the cord into the surge protector but don't see much surge, we got some wicked spikes from the electric company actually before the power went out both of the two serious times. Enough to prompt me to shut the stove down myself and not wait for the power to go out even though it's on a surge protector. I think the power company ended up chopping the power to most of Cape Cod actually , everything was dark everywhere you looked but my house and a house here or there who had a generator LOL. Two gas stations here have back up power so I can generally get gas.

    So do as you wish but I'm just here to say that a few of us in the forum run on regular modern portable generators without issue. We or I do, charge our phones, hook in the wifi, charge computers, run digital display kitchen appliances, the stove. In my case I power two refrigerators, a freezer, downstairs lights, apartment light a couple of wall outlets, one here , one in the apartment. A basement light, the boiler and hot water heater and I've never seen the 5500 go over 50%. Just hit one switch at a time and let the circuit come up to speed , hit the next etc, till all six are isolated from the street and on in the house. When the power comes back on you know it because anything not gen powered comes back on, so I just go down and flip all the switches back to street power ( they call it Line) and go out and shut down the gen.
     
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  13. bigeclipse

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    Thanks for the info. I am mechanically inclined and have basic knowledge of electrical equipment. That being said, how exactly are you running the generator to things in your house? Individual power cords? Straight to your circuit breaker box? Something else? Thanks
     
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  14. alternativeheat

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    It was a long post, I think I mentioned a transfer switch but maybe not. What I did not say though is that I have not used this with a 63. Anyway, I'm doing it the legal way, using house circuits via a transfer switch.It's also legal to run extension cords to each component but a pain in the butt and it doesn't power your central heat that way, in my case oil hot water..

    If you go the web site for Alliance Controls and look up transfer switches, they have videos on how to install them,. It's very easy to do if you have basic electrical skills. I'm using a six circuit panel, it installs next to the main circuit box for your house. And I run a cord from the generator in and plug it into the box in the basement ( it's a heavy cord that you run off the 30 amp four prong connector off a generator with that socket on it, not to be confused with low output generators with a three prong socket but heavy duty, all 5000 and greater output have that push twist lock connector as far as I know). You can also wire the box to the outside of the house and have box out there to plug your generator into.

    here is one video to get you started, or the link to it if it doesn't self initiate:
     
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  15. Pelleting In NJ

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    All mechanical generators (an engine driving a generator) put out pretty pure sinewaves, due to the way a mechanical generator works. It is the cheaper UPS and power inverters (12VDC to 120VAC) that output a "stepped squarewave" approximation of a sinewave, that may not be compatible with all 120VAC items.

    For my Ecoteck stove, I use a Cyperpower 850PFCLCD "Pure Sinewave" battery powered UPS to power the stove long enough for it to shutdown and cool off, as I added a circuit in series with the auger motor to automatically cut off the fuel feed if the AC power drops out. This way the stove will shut down if nobody is around, preventing smoke backdraft into the house. The UPS keeps the combustion blower running longer than it takes for the flame to extinguish.

    I have a Generac 8000W back-up generator for longer outages.
     
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  16. bigeclipse

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    thanks excellent info. I did research yesterday and I am confident I can wire in a transfer switch. My question is I see most transfer switches I have looked at are rated for up to 7500watts. Does this mean the running watts of the generator OR the start up watts? I was hoping to get a generator which runs at about 7500 watts but these generators typically have a startup rating which is a good deal higher such as 9000 watts.
     
  17. alternativeheat

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    I'm pretty sure they take into account start up surge, But you won't ever max it out anyway. So you must be looking at a 10 circuit transfer switch, just flip the circuits on one or two at a time and you will never get a whole house start up impact on the generator or transfer switch.

    You could always contact the company if you are really concerned about this .

    Also, if you go to the Briggs and Stratton web site under generators they have charts of what you need in a generator compared to the circuits you want to run. I think Champion might as well.
     
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  18. maple1

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    From info in the OP, I would just get an inverter generator in the 1000-3000w range. For just the stove, the small size will work. For a few other things, 2-3000 depending how many other things you're talking. So a big part of deciding, is what you mean or are thinking about the extra things. Maybe also paired with a UPS that will run the stove long enough for you to get the generator out & fired up, if you don't want the stove shutting down in between.

    I would not get anything bigger - it would be a waste of gas. I also would not get a non-inverter. Partly because of the cleanliness of the power, but mainly also for gas consumption reasons. They idle down/up to match the load - considerably less fuel used. And in an outage of any length, it is fuel consumption that is more important than amount of watts it puts out. Most folks have way more gennie than they need. I use a 3000w inverter - does all we need and more.

    From info in the last post - now you're talking way beyond the first post. You could run something like 10 stoves with 7500-9000 watts. And seriously blowing your $500 budget, especially with transfer switch talk. So you need to settle on what you need or want. First step should be accurately assessing exactly how much power you need or want in an outage. Right now my energy monitor is telling me I'm using 350 watts. So my 3000 covers things. The biggest draw would likely be a water pump starting up, depending on what you have for a water pump. If I had a deep well 240v pump, I would get a cheap genny large enough for that, and only use it for that. And my current genny would be the main one used. But, we can go a day or so without needing to run a well pump.

    So - you need to balance needs with $$. For me, a big honking whole house generator would be a waste of up front $$ and fuel. Since you were only at first talking about just the stove plus maybe a few minor things - that has me thinking you have been getting by without any generator at all OK so far, so you likely don't need much.
     
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  19. alternativeheat

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    The one item that gives my generator the biggest hit is our big double door refrigerator. Those have double the start up watts vs running watts. A microwave gives it a heck of a jolt too but we tend not to do that, we used to over in the apartment but I cut that circuit off the gen.

    This house with the 6 circuit transfer switch would do nicely with a 5000 wt. ( most of the charts I look at put us between 4500 and 5000 if I added a few more light circuits, so we have reserve right there) when I bought the 6250 it's because that was on sale at the time. But if I'm going to run a generator anyway, I might as well have a comfortable house at the same time. For emergency use and 4 days off grid, it's pretty danged nice to come home to heat, hot water, at least some lights and most appliances running. Our tenant says just to have heat and hot water and a light on is a big deal to him, plus an outlet where he can charge his phone etc.. we have had that tenant for 7 years now, with no sign of him moving. Hope we never lose him, he is a great tenant.

    The difference between running the 6250 24/7 vs the 5500 24/7 is about 2/3 of a gallon a day more gas for the larger unit and on chassis conveniences ( it's newer so has little niceties gauges and stuff ). But it does use a little bit more gas. The engine is bigger on the 6250, over 400cc and the the 5500 is 305cc.
     
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  20. Tonyray

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    one reason i went with a 7500 genny and a 10 circuit reliance was outtages don't always happen in winter.
    i wanted to be able to run our 220 AC, 2 window units, and most of the house... the one AC took up 2 of the breakers[ 20 amp] right off the bat so i decided on the 10 breaker unit.
    i listen to the genny when i kick the microwave on and i can hear the surge.. [your right about that alternateheat].
    even the coffee maker pulls a nice load when it kicks on. for that matter, any heating unit.
    also, we have no gas in the area so would have had to get a propane tank and go that route including the much larger $$$ of a whole house unit.
    hotel living at our house during an outtage for the total of 900.00 for the generac and 350.00 for the transfer box.
    i did the install after watching a video about 50x before i attempted it.!!!
     
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  21. gfreek

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    Expand on my prior post, I use my Champion inverter generator for my pellet stove, my propane boiler/ domestic hot water which has a circuit board, computers/modems when needed, and periodically my Samsung refrigerator that also has a circuit board ( because my first Samsung board got fried due to a power grid surge).. I also have a 5000 watt Briggs Generator for my 220 volt well pump, sewage pump..Everyone has different needs and wants so you need to figure what you need to run, surge starting wattage,,run wattage, and how much to spend....
     
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  22. maple1

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    Ya, we don't need to worry about AC here in the summer. I have a window unit but it hasn't been used for a couple years now. We have a 120v well pump, the 3000w will run it OK. But I make sure nothing else of any size is running at the same time - especially the microwave, they do draw some. But that's the only thing I need to watch, and the well pump only needs run maybe a couple times a day for 5 minutes or so. So this works for us. All about matching your source to your needed loads.
     
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  23. kenora

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    I know in my neck of the frozen woods the primary goals in cold Wx are..

    1-not freezing to death
    2-not freezing to death
    3-keep the beer cold
    4-not freezing to death

    As I understand it, like the OP, I can accomplish all the above with an inexpensive (and in my case probably used..kijiji find) inverter generator..I'm hoping for a Yamaha since the has a choke, which few gen sets have and that makes cold weather starting a LOT easier...

    anyway the ONLY thing I need to accomplish goals 1/2/4 is a 1000 watt inverter generator...

    Goal 3 is easily dealt with in short power outages by keeping the fridge door closed...or in longer power outages but putting the food into insulated coolers and then outside (remember its winter)... as long as the passing wolves and polar bears don't smell the food I good for the duration of the power outage !!!
     
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  24. Tonyray

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    yep..
    used to put our food in insulated coolers back then.
    reason#1 we went with our setup..
     
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  25. alternativeheat

    alternativeheat
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    My generators both have chokes, I never heard of a generator with no choke unless maybe if it was LP fueled, but what ever.. Somebody says they have one with no choke, I'll just have to assume that I wouldn't want what ever unit that is, he must know his generator well enough to be correct.
     
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