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Old 03-01-2010, 07:06 AM
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Default Electricity - back up generator

After Rita and several other hurricanes hit us and it seems that our electricity goes out when mother nature sneezes, we decided to put a stand-by generator on the mancave when we built it. It was part of what I used to convince my wife that we needed the mancave. With our friends in the Northeast losing power from the winter storms, what are you guys feelings on a generator?
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Old 03-01-2010, 12:40 PM
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Default Re: Electricity - back up generator

When the zombie apocalypse comes, I for one will welcome having my own source of electricity. At least until I can no longer siphon gas out of cars, underground tanks, etc.

But since I live in an apartment, I'm at the mercy of mother nature.
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Old 03-01-2010, 02:16 PM
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Default Re: Electricity - back up generator

I've had one since before Y2k
$500 or so is cheap insurance against losing power
I have a transfer switch installed

When I ran my 100a sub I moved everything I wanted to run off the Gen to the 100a sub

In 10+ years of having a Gen I've only had to run one 2x for a few hours



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Old 03-01-2010, 07:25 PM
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Default Re: Electricity - back up generator

Don't have one here in Ca. but the Outlaws have one in Mi.
Last Christmas / New Years, power outtage. Longer one, not just a few minutes, but a day or so. He wheeled out the genny, plugged it into the transfer switch, and the house was as bright as a tree. It's money very well spent if you are in the climate where power is essential. (Michigan, no power usually = no heat. Michigan Winter = balls frozen)

IMO, it's money well spent.

All the houses we are looking at in Mi. either have them, or will have one installed once we move in. Auto switching / sensing, so it kicks on when the power is out, and switches back to city power when the power comes back on.
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Old 03-01-2010, 07:35 PM
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Default Re: Electricity - back up generator

Buddy has a house with one of these. runs on natural gas, self tests every week.

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/...45&marketID=34
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Old 03-01-2010, 08:39 PM
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Default Re: Electricity - back up generator

Inlaws have one of those up north. Not a 45K, but a nice one. Runs on propane with the rest of the house. Down south he has a wheelie type that plugs in to the panel / manual switch mode.
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Old 03-02-2010, 06:46 PM
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Default Re: Electricity - back up generator

It feels good to have the back-up for the family when I am out of town as well. Being rural, our water is from a well, so we need power for the water pump as well. As long as we don't run out of gas!
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Old 03-02-2010, 07:01 PM
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Default Re: Electricity - back up generator

Quote:
Originally Posted by JCinPA View Post
Buddy has a house with one of these. runs on natural gas, self tests every week.

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/...45&marketID=34
The company i work for is a Generac dealer. I dont have a 45 but i have a couple of 48's in the yard. A 45 is overkill for 99% of homes. A 20KW air cooled is more than enough for most residential settings unless you want to be able to turn on every electrical device you have. If so you have more money than sense.

I recommend an ATS switch. Automatic Transfer Switch. Most homes would be fine with a 100a unit but if you can afford it its nice to have the extra room in case of future home upgrades.

A liquid cooled unit has it benefits but it also has the extra problems that come along with a more sophisticated system. You have the extra upkeep expense as well.

If you buy one have a factory certified installer do it. I can not tell you how many jack legs there are out there in the generator business. It will also void your warranty if not started up by someone who is certified to do it.

I have seen the damage an improperly installed unit will cause in a home. Every electrical device in the home back fed and burned up. TV's, computers ,appliances, everything. Its not pretty.

You also have to factor in the electrician, plumber and in some cases inspectors into your estimate.
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Old 03-02-2010, 07:52 PM
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Default Re: Electricity - back up generator

You are correct. I had to set a new meter this summer because the one serving the house could not get enough gas to my unit which would cut it's output back. The A/C would not turn on. Mine is a generac 16kw with an ATS.
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Old 03-03-2010, 01:49 PM
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Default Re: Electricity - back up generator

I had the power company install this gizmo to the meter. It's a whole-house transfer switch. There's an outlet (well actually an inlet) by the meter that I plug a portable generator into. The generator is about 7kw (13kw serge) and can run everything we have except the air conditioner. After three or four years I FINALLY got to use it during the blizzards last month.

The first day of the blizzard our power went out around midnight. The power remained off for the next three and a half days. At the crack of dawn I dug a hole in the snow and set up the generator. We more or less left it on all day and shut it down while we slept. It kicked ass. While 200,000 other people went without heat, water and food, it was business as usual inside our home. Wife kept cooking good food. We were even playing ping-pong and watching the Super Bowl.

I started off with about 17 gallons of gas for the generator and was using about 10 gallons a day. After day number one we were left with around 24" to 30" of snow and stranded, but all was well.

On day number two I ran into a bit of a snag. I planned to siphon gas out of our cars, but my siphon set up was a POS and wasn't really working as I had hoped. I began to somewhat ration generator usage.

By day three we were dug out. I could simply make a gas run once per day so the generator was back to continuous use.

I made another gas run on day four, but then the power came back on later that afternoon.

In conclusion, it kicks ass to be able to independently maintain a state of semi-normalcy when the rest of "society" grinds to a halt.

As usual the farmers did a better job of plowing the neighborhood that any public municipality could ever hope to do. They kept at it day and night. We were down to dry pavement within hours of the end of the blizzard. On day three we started digging our way up our driveway. Near the end of our driveway the snow drifts to several feet. Along comes a farmer in his monster tractor with 6' duel wheels at all four corners and an 12' plow. He backed down our driveway, dropped the plow and with one swipe cleared a path wide enough for two-way traffic.

Blizzard number 2 hit on day five. We were lucky. The power stayed on and we only got about another 8" (although surrounding areas got another couple of feet). But the wind hit us hard and the snow drifted to several feet again. Nevertheless, the farmers had everything knocked down again by the next day. I love living in the country!

The only thing I need to do different next time is figure out a better way to pump gas out of the cars.
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