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OT? Whole House and Shop Back-Up Generator

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  • #16
    If you can do with switching the the higher amp loads, well pump, elec water heater, ACs, etc you can get a smaller generator, less money, less fuel. Easily done by switching on only the circuit breakers for what you want to run at the time.

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    • #17
      The Generacs do seem cheaply made. With that said, mine is 10 years old and the only thing I had to do was adjust the choke, and replace the start battery. The whole house one I have will not power the whole house. The model I have can shed loads if there is to much draw. These can be set up in a priority fashion. In addition I bought a few of their separate load shedding modules which are 50 amp, if I remember correctly. If there is to much draw these loads drop out so the generator is not overloaded. The transfer switch electronics wait a period of time and then try to bring the modules etc back in.

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      • #18
        If I didn't already have a 20Kw Onan, I'd buy a used rental unit from one of the companies that provide power for film shoots like Cinelease. A genset capable of an indefinitely long run, double soundproof enclosed and motion picture quite with a 5/6ths pitch alternation delivering clean power. The only downside, being Diesel.
        https://www.multiquip.com/multiquip/studio.htm
        Or Crawford or Aggreko.

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        • #19
          I have a interesting dissertation on my father 3 kw koler( rope start) my mother wanted sewing machine a side of beef and chest freezer on sale at Sears
          will tell you everything you need to know about home standby generators.
          my Standby generators now go from 15 kw to 3 Meg plus prime power.
          So.... Get the smalles generator you can.my brother put in a whole house Gen a crap ...and he lives in the Wilderness of Connecticut
          was great last outage till he had to refill the propane tank.......

          Keep rodents out keep some moth balls inclousers as mice love to chew on the wiring squirrels been known to make nest in the windings

          A stand by generator is like a box of tampons in a single mans apt they just take up space till that Hotti drops by
          you make a good impression if your prepared........



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          • #20
            I have a Generac, 8kw. I purchased mine because my house has a sump pump and at times of heavy rain the water flows into the sump pit quite heavily. When the house was built they installed a 12 volt back-up pump which wouldn't last an hour with heavy rain.Although the installation, both gas and electric, were pretty straightforward I opted to hire a plumber and electrician to do the install for warranty purposes.. For placement I dug off the topsoil and built a frame from pressure treated lumber. I laid a sheet of heavy plastic sheet down and drilled holes through the front of the frame into which I placed short pieces of PVC for drainage. I then filled the frame with fine gravel.
            I have had it in place for 7 years and it has only had to work a couple ot times, once for an hour and once for 4 hours. It's set up for an exercise period of 15 minutes once a week.
            This past December, I was watching TV and the power went out. I counted to 10 and the generator didn't come on. Naturally it was cold with 4 inches of snow on the ground. I went out to check on it and the alarm message was 'overstart error'. I switched the the selector switch to manual and the starter turned it over but it wouldn't start. After an hour the power cam back on so I waited till morning to further investigate. To operate the choke mechanism is a stepper motor with a link to the choke lever. It had come apart. I rigged something but it still wouldn't work so I called a repair company. They send a technician out and he said the stepper motor went bad and he would have to order one. I asked about the link and he said when the new stepper is installed it will be taken care of. I waited 2 weeks and it finally came in so the tech came back out and installed it (15 minutes) He pressed the ball link back into the choke and cycled the unit. As soon as the stepper arm moved it popped the ball link out of the choke arm. Long story short he used a zip tie to hold it together. I asked if he could get a new choke arm and he said that I would have to buy a whole new airbox. ($220.00 plus install) for a plastic box. I told him that I was a machinist and I would fix it. He said this was a common problem on the units from that time (only 7 years old) and that on the newer units they spot welded the ball post to the choke arm. Mine had been pressed together and peened but only by a hair so it pulled out.
            I contacted Generac to see what they could do as according to the tech this was a common problem with those units. The answer was short and sweet. "Your past your warranty period so there's nothing we can do!" Great customer service. A factory defective part and they wouldn't stand behind it. The warranty is 5 years but this was a defective part.
            My personal feelings are find someone other than Generac.
            As an aside I saved the old stepper motor and the ball link was the same as the one on the choke arm except it was threaded with a nut securing it. Dimensionally it was the same so I removed it from the stepper and bolted it to the choke arm. Problem solved.
            The tech said that the stepper motor fail was quite common so I ordered a new one. Like I said 15 minute install. I paid $115 plus shipping. The service company charged me $175.00 for the stepper plus $121 for the install.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by projectnut View Post
              A question for those of you that have natural gas powered generators. How dependable is the gas supply during times of power failure? It seems to me that if power is down in the area that could include pumping stations.
              Natural gas supply is extremely dependable. I have never seen it go down personally but will relay a story a friend told me. A relative of his lives in Virginia not far from washington, new house. Several years back a major storm (hurricane?) hit the area and the power went out. Their finished basement flooded fairly soon destroying everything down there. They vowed this would never happen again and bought a natural gas whole house backup generator. A few years later, another storm and power out. This time the generator ran, for just a couple hours and quit, the natural gas supply went down ! They later found it was due to a valve at a facility freezing due to a faulty heat tape or similar. They lost everything in the basement the second time also, with the backup generator sitting quietly beside the house.

              Now, let me be clear, natural gas going down is extremely rare, the episode I described was the first time I ever heard of it during storm conditions. Sure they may shut it off for repairs but you would be notified in advance and it would not be during a storm.

              Dual fuel capability is real nice, that is what I have. Propane is what I normally use but also can run on gasoline if need be.

              Don't worry about the natural gas going off and your generator not working, your odds of getting hit by lightning are much higher.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by projectnut View Post
                A question for those of you that have natural gas powered generators. How dependable is the gas supply during times of power failure? It seems to me that if power is down in the area that could include pumping stations.........
                Actually, natural gas is very dependable during a power outage. When the power is off, the only draw on the gas system are the pilot lights and the lines act as one big pressurized reservoir. The real problem can occur when the power comes back on and the regulators that feed the branches don't have the capacity required when EVERY gas fired thermostatically controlled appliance fires up at exactly the same time since they have an auto shut off when the pressure drops too low. I know this from my experience as a Lineman and learning about it from the people who looked after the gas system. On a big outage they wanted to be notified so they could go out and make sure the auto shut off didn't happen when we re-energized the power lines so they didn't have to go house to house and relight pilot lights.
                Last edited by Arcane; 02-05-2021, 03:11 PM.
                Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

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                • #23
                  Paul: Seven years ago, I bought a 8000/12000 portable Generac at Lowes. The gelpac battery didn't last very long, I contacted generac and they basically told me to get lost when they learned that it came from a big box store. They told me to go to the store where I bought it and not to bother them again. Nastiest bastards I ever dealt with. It never failed me, but it is obvious the it is made cheap. It has a 30 amp breaker and when the load get close to 28 or so, it starts tripping out. I only needed it once for about 4 1/2 days. I installed it in my shop, about 80 feet from the house, still could hear it screaming, even with the shop closed up (an insulated building). If you are going to run a whole house AC, you will need more than 30 amps at 240 volts. Good luck.
                  Sarge41
                  Last edited by sarge41; 02-05-2021, 03:00 PM.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by projectnut View Post
                    A question for those of you that have natural gas powered generators. How dependable is the gas supply during times of power failure? It seems to me that if power is down in the area that could include pumping stations.

                    Most major cities are plumbed with natural gas. Pretty much my entire little town has gas running down the street. I've never heard of a gas interruption during a power outage. Much to the dislike of the fire departments, lots of people use their gas stove for a little extra heat during power outages. Although I never use it (not even hooked up) my kitchen stove has the old heat log in it. Old units have pilot flames. No electricity needed to get things going.

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                    • #25
                      And now my Genercrap rant then I'll shut up. Besides their less than stellar build and reliability reputation, this is two pronged from a technical perspective and corporate.
                      Living 20 miles from the factory I know many good people that were hired and fired from the place. It's known as Waukesha's revolving door. To understand generac you have to consider their marketing philosophy. They exist for the hurricane market. They'll hire tons of people and hammer out the portables that fill several 200-400,000 sq foot rented warehouses and pack them to the ceilings with units. Then poof the people are gone. From sales to engineering and production they vapourise. Next spring they have huge hiring fairs to refill their stock of expendables as they call them.

                      They'll design units often with made to spec components then order enough for a production run with a few percentage held for spares. When these parts are used up the vendor of the parts raises the price of the parts as they blindly accepted generacs lowball offer banking on future business. It rarely happens. So your three year old machine with 13 hours on it is suddenly obsolete and inoperable because you can't get some parts. And they don't care with their PT Barnum attitude. So to any of us here with a genercrap, consider ordering a spare something that is proprietary. Control boards are of particular concern.

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                      • #26
                        Realistically how much are you going to use a backup Genny ?
                        I have 2 Hondas , 6500 and 2500. We just lost power the other day for 16 hours. I have a generator panel in the basement, just for essentials.
                        Water, and a few plugs for fridge and freezer, I have a wood stove so Im not concerned about heat.
                        Buy a https://www.riversidehonda.com/new-m...i-es-27778929b and it will outlive you.
                        Yes you can get a Nat Gas and Propane conversion for them.

                        If your going the whole house way then a good standby is expensive but worth paying extra for.
                        Last edited by redlee; 02-05-2021, 07:02 PM.
                        Beaver County Alberta Canada

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                        • #27
                          If your main concern is A/C just get a couple window units for the rooms you need, and a 5 kW or so genset should be sufficient. Maybe get a couple of them as well so you have spares.
                          http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
                          Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
                          USA Maryland 21030

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                          • #28
                            Gas pumping stations run of the gas they are pumping... reliable...

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                            • #29
                              I'm with Sparky.

                              I suggest you buy an older used unit. I prefer diesel but each to his own. In my opinion a whole house unit is unnecessary unless you have special needs which should be evaluated on merit. The simpler the installation the more reliable it will be generally speaking. When an emergency of any kind happens you want the things you need to be for lack of a better term, bullet proof. Keep it simple and economical, a small older generator fueled with gas, propane or diesel, Stay away from printed circuit boards, solid state controllers inverters and digital controllers. Have critical spare parts on hand, run the generator with a load a couple times a years even if you don't have an emergency.

                              Ron

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                              • #30
                                I just got a 1980 11hp Briggs running... perfect.. No electronics. Does anyone think in 41 years time you can find parts for any cpu board?... Ok, extreme....

                                My 1993 Generac - no electronics either. Runs perfect.

                                Don't get me wrong, I'm all for whizz-bang stuff, but some things need to be basic and simple.

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