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I live in NC and we have experienced a few lengthy power outages, from hurricanes and ice storms. I got a quote from Generac for whole-home back-up generator system. It would be a 22 KW connected to our natural gas service, with grid protection, etc. We’re on a well, so when we loose power, we got nuthin’. We have gas heat, gas cook top, and tankless gas hot water. I am very inclined to do this particularly since I expect tropical storm activity to get worse. I’d be interested in your thoughts and perspectives. Thanks. 

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We use our RV like a portable power station in case of emergency. A manual transfer switch and 30A plug from the genny runs what we need, up to 4.5 kw. 

The Ford F150 is available with a 7.5 kw genny built in, there is a lot to be said for that as a stand alone system when combined with a transfer switch.

I just finished this little power station made from stuff I had, I just had to purchase a beefy 1300kwh LIfepo battery. I put it together with a 2000w true sine inverter, 100w panel, 10a AC charger and 20a solar charger in a craftsman box. It will run all the sensitive electronics that would be at risk with the rv genny.

 

IMG_2504.thumb.jpeg.728d73bfb09a44624c794fecb18392b3.jpeg

 

 

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We have a Champion 7500-9374 gas-propane portable generator, as discussed in my thread from last year.  We had a smaller Generac that I sold, to buy this bigger one, that is inverter technology for more even power delivery, with fewer surges or lulls.  I have not run a propane line yet from the propane tank 25 feet away, but the 4-5 gallon gas tank will run from morning, until we turn in for the night and shut it down.   The smaller Generac worked fine when we lost power for 4-5 days, a year ago.  House was already wired with transfer switch, and subpanel, powering everything except wall oven and clothes dryer. We don't lose power often enough, or long enough to consider your proposed solution, but should that change, we might go to permanent automatic unit, like you describe....

 

EDIT - Sure wish we had nat-gas in the street like you do!!  Way cheaper than propane, but we are up a rural, wooded, dead end hill, with few homes served by utilities.  Doubt we will ever get gas here...

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Sorry I don't have anything positive or suggestions, just a personal experience.  After Hurricane Ike salt water storm surge in Galveston, all the utilities were shut down for a period.  First to come back was the electricity, after about 2-3 weeks.  Last, after 2-3 months was natural gas.  Apparently after the salt water level rose over the gas meters and lines, the utility company felt it necessary to replace every fitting that went under water before restoring service.  If the sequelae of your tropical storms is salt water surge, natural gas might not be best energy source.

 

I've often debated if roof top solar would be a good option for backup, even used every day to pay for itself faster.

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Retired contractor. 22 kW is a bit on the heavy side unless you are not listing everything. AC would be your biggest draw. I believe the 22 is the largest they go before the unit is water cooled. Generac has become the standard around here. They seem to have all the bases covered. The maintenance contract will be your next decision   

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34 minutes ago, woudaboy said:

If the sequelae of your tropical storms is salt water surge, natural gas might not be best energy source.

We are a hundred or so miles inland where everything is at least 100+ feet above sea level. 

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9 minutes ago, dyslexic dog said:

The maintenance contract will be your next decision   

Do you have an opinion on the maintenance contract? I didn't use to get them but nowadays nothing lasts 5 years anymore 

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11 minutes ago, dyslexic dog said:

Retired contractor. 22 kW is a bit on the heavy side unless you are not listing everything. AC would be your biggest draw. I believe the 22 is the largest they go before the unit is water cooled. Generac has become the standard around here. They seem to have all the bases covered. The maintenance contract will be your next decision   

I did not list everything. 22 KW was their calculation. We have about 2900 sf. 2 hvac systems, 2 fridges, 1 freezer, electric wall oven, electric washer & dryer, dishwasher, in other words, the complete disaster. 

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You have a choice to run the "whole house" or power a few essential circuits.  

The house my wife and I bought has a power vent on the gas water heater so no electric, no hot water.  The basement waste water goes through a sump and is pumped up into the sanitary sewer so again, no electric, not water use in the basement.  Additional things to think about.

Cummins also offers a line of home back up generators.  Think they are generally priced a bit higher than comparable Generac units.  

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We would have to make some adjustments to get by on 4.5 kw, like no ac or dryer, but I would hope any interruption would be temporary.

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5 minutes ago, LakeBoy said:

You have a choice to run the "whole house" or power a few essential circuits.  

I have a 2.5 KW gasoline powered generator and a Mickey Mouse panel to run some essentials, but I don’t think it meets code. Plus I  don’t want to be dependent on gasoline supplies during an extended outage. I would prefer comfort and a dry martini. 

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14 minutes ago, Bull City said:

My main concern is weather related outages over 12 hours. Are we in for more?

I think that's a safe bet.

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9 minutes ago, Bull City said:

My main concern is weather related outages over 12 hours. Are we in for more?

We're here in the Sierra foothills of California,  I don't know if you have the prospect of similar conditions,  but due to the dry conditions and heavy wind events we've had major fires, which have sometimes been sparked by power transmission lines, which have resulted in public safety power outages which can last multiple days during wind "events."

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1 hour ago, Latadjust said:

Do you have an opinion on the maintenance contract? I didn't use to get them but nowadays nothing lasts 5 years anymore 

 

Bought a new 43 inch flat screen 8 months ago.  I never keep receipts, but Best Buy emailed a receipt copy, and I was pleasantly shocked to see that I had paid 54 bucks for a 5 year protection plan??  I NEVER to that, it;'s  extra free money for the vendor....

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1 hour ago, longy said:

Cummins owns Onan

Obviously Not Polish companies

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2 hours ago, Bull City said:

I did not list everything. 22 KW was their calculation. We have about 2900 sf. 2 hvac systems, 2 fridges, 1 freezer, electric wall oven, electric washer & dryer, dishwasher, in other words, the complete disaster. 

22kW will be fine. If you are on emergency power and have everything running you might trip the main but it is easy to fix. Shut off what you don't need and restart. 

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We’re not power hogs, so economizing a bit during an outage would not be a problem. Running and refilling a gasoline generator and switching circuits on and off would get old in a hurry. 

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3 hours ago, Latadjust said:

We're here in the Sierra foothills of California,  I don't know if you have the prospect of similar conditions,  but due to the dry conditions and heavy wind events we've had major fires, which have sometimes been sparked by power transmission lines, which have resulted in public safety power outages which can last multiple days during wind "events."

Thankfully, I don’t think we are facing those conditions. 

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5 hours ago, See Level said:

22kw seems like a lot considering the amount of gas service

That was my first thought.  Oil heat and hot water.  A 7.5 is champion dual fuel should power my home for days.  Haven't bought the Genny yet but it is on my list.  When I had the electric redone last year I had a manual whole panel switch installed with the outlet run out back.  Just need a Genny now.  

 

My plan is a dual fuel champion and to get 2 30 pound propane tanks. Each of which should last 10 hours.  I will then it one of the 30 on our grill and use it that way.  That way I am constantly using and refilling the tanks to keep them in shape.(at least inspected)

 

Typical outage for me is 2 hours.   Advantage of being next to the town hall, a fire station and main water supply for the village.  

 

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We have a 15kw water cooled Onan that runs on propane. Well and geo-thermal HVAC. It was worth the cost.

22kw sounds about right for your situation.

Our service contract is about $350 per year, covers oil changes and most repairs are just cost of parts if done on a scheduled visit.

Again, worth the cost for the piece of mind.

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3 hours ago, billy backstay said:

 

Bought a new 43 inch flat screen 8 months ago.  I never keep receipts, but Best Buy emailed a receipt copy, and I was pleasantly shocked to see that I had paid 54 bucks for a 5 year protection plan??  I NEVER to that, it;'s  extra free money for the vendor....

Ya, me too. The super cool flatscreen we got at Best Buy 4 years ago MELTED. Literally the corner of the screen melted. Since I never give in to buying the protection plan, I headed to the drawer that I don't religiously throw the receipts from these sorts of purchases in, dug through with due pessimism,  found the receipt. I HAD paid for the plan, that model no longer available,  upgraded to a smart tv that also makes a valiant attempt at turning everything into 3D. No charge, but I was able to pay a modest fee for 5 more years of protection plan - insert smiley face emoji here.

 

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I like my Generac 19K. It doesn't do everything I'd like, but it does the important things. I think a 22K would have been better, but this is what came with the house.

 The automatic choke has gone bad a couple of times in the last few years, which seems to be a common problem.

 The nice thing is that (when the choke is working) the thing starts up at 2AM if a tree falls on the power lines, and you don't wake up to a puddle of chicken blood and chocolate ice cream out the bottom of your freezer door.

 

(Propane)

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We have a manual xfer 8KW gas generator which pretty much all of my local (meaning old school, cheap ass, that's not the way we do things around here in Maine) neighbors consider excessive. So far I'm perfectly happy with it considering we frequently have 2-3 day winter outages here. House, waterheater and cookstove are all gas heat. We have a 200 amp service panel.

That said, we don't do laundry nor load any un-essential circuits when on genny power. While we can hear the genny load up when the well pump kicks in, it has never failed, even on initial startup.

Our neighbors on either side have auto gensets, which means they come on even if the outage is in the middle of the night and stay on regardless of demand. We don't appreciate hearing their loud assed gens running needlessly. It's actually a blessing to shut that mofo down after a long day and go to bed in silence, although you may find the lack of LEDS you've become accustomed to illuminating your house to be disturbing.

ETA, it's wise to know which local gas stations have generator back ups when you are out of power for extended periods and need to buy gas. Just a little local knowledge.

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8 hours ago, Bull City said:

I live in NC and we have experienced a few lengthy power outages, from hurricanes and ice storms. I got a quote from Generac for whole-home back-up generator system. It would be a 22 KW connected to our natural gas service, with grid protection, etc. We’re on a well, so when we loose power, we got nuthin’. We have gas heat, gas cook top, and tankless gas hot water. I am very inclined to do this particularly since I expect tropical storm activity to get worse. I’d be interested in your thoughts and perspectives. Thanks. 

you may use gas to heat the water but still needs electricity to run the circuit board..  so no power , no hot water..

Quote

I did not list everything. 22 KW was their calculation. We have about 2900 sf. 2 hvac systems, 2 fridges, 1 freezer, electric wall oven, electric washer & dryer, dishwasher, in other words, the complete disaster. 

you can go without the oven and electric cooktop if you have a propane grill..

 

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8 hours ago, Willin' said:

We have a manual xfer 8KW gas generator which pretty much all of my local (meaning old school, cheap ass, that's not the way we do things around here in Maine) neighbors consider excessive. So far I'm perfectly happy with it considering we frequently have 2-3 day winter outages here. House, waterheater and cookstove are all gas heat. We have a 200 amp service panel.

That said, we don't do laundry nor load any un-essential circuits when on genny power. While we can hear the genny load up when the well pump kicks in, it has never failed, even on initial startup.

Our neighbors on either side have auto gensets, which means they come on even if the outage is in the middle of the night and stay on regardless of demand. We don't appreciate hearing their loud assed gens running needlessly. It's actually a blessing to shut that mofo down after a long day and go to bed in silence, although you may find the lack of LEDS you've become accustomed to illuminating your house to be disturbing.

ETA, it's wise to know which local gas stations have generator back ups when you are out of power for extended periods and need to buy gas. Just a little local knowledge.

 

Yes it's great to turn off the noisy genset at bedtime, and I just make sure that all bedside tables have a working flashlight in them, in case our kids or a guest, unfamiliar with the floor plan, needs to get up for a pee in the middle of the night, with no working lights.....  Neighbors 24/7 automatic gensets are far enough away that their nonstop noise is but a minor nuisance..  Missus BB can't stand any LED or other lights on at night, and will cover them with tape if necessary...

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As a X outage repair worker , Not matter what type of system you get or use , make sure it's installed property , If we ever heard a generator running we would get all the Line men down off the poles, and get the home owner to shut the generator down,

WHY ? A generator could back feed from your house at 120v and then up to a transformer which would then step up ( going reverse ) to 480 or higher and have been known to electrocute a line men which could kill him 

NEVER use a male to male in an outlet and always have your main breaker OFF when using the generator

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4 minutes ago, Not for nothing said:

As a X outage repair worker , Not matter what type of system you get or use , make sure it's installed property , If we ever heard a generator running we would get all the Line men down off the poles, and get the home owner to shut the generator down,

WHY ? A generator could back feed from your house at 120v and then up to a transformer which would then step up ( going reverse ) to 480 or higher and have been known to electrocute a line men which could kill him 

NEVER use a male to male in an outlet and always have your main breaker OFF when using the generator

 

I remember years ago, a local lineman was electrocuted by someone back-feeding the Genset's power into their 220 volt dryer plug, without disconnecting from street hookup first. 

It's odd though that the basement lights in our house are only hooked up to street, and not genset.  I came down one morning to restart the genset, and the basement lights were on from street power, even though the transfer switch was set to Gen, not street?  I switched transfer switch to street, and everything else came on.   Must query the electrician about that. Guy who installed the system is local, and has done work for us before, on our previous home, or our rental units....

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28 minutes ago, ropetrick said:

The basement lights are not metered. Free from the hot feed.

 

Not sure what you mean? The are not getting power through the meter?  How is that possible?  I will call the electrician today, need him to install a couple of coach light on the back deck, anyway. 

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1 hour ago, Not for nothing said:

As a X outage repair worker , Not matter what type of system you get or use , make sure it's installed property , If we ever heard a generator running we would get all the Line men down off the poles, and get the home owner to shut the generator down,

WHY ? A generator could back feed from your house at 120v and then up to a transformer which would then step up ( going reverse ) to 480 or higher and have been known to electrocute a line men which could kill him 

NEVER use a male to male in an outlet and always have your main breaker OFF when using the generator

What? you don't like suicide cords? And what's a little 12470v going to do anyway?..........

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I've read about and seen a few videos of people packing a generator and gasoline in their electric cars for cross country road trips, but have to admit I'm somewhat impressed at this.  Modern problems require modern solutions.

610.jpeg

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1 hour ago, RedTuna said:

I've read about and seen a few videos of people packing a generator and gasoline in their electric cars for cross country road trips, but have to admit I'm somewhat impressed at this.  Modern problems require modern solutions.

610.jpeg

 

 

Redneck engineering!!  

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Bull City,  If you are in NC and have power lines above ground, it WILL happen again.

I am in Charlotte and we looked into the optional Natural gas generator - Numbers went north of $20K all in.

If you have the dosh and can roll it into refinancing, it might be a sound option.

 

Sail safe! 

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22 hours ago, LakeBoy said:

You have a choice to run the "whole house" or power a few essential circuits.

This. In a natural disaster you don't need to run the TV at the same time as the dishwasher and washing machine. Use each in turn. 

Air conditioning is a convenience although Americans seem to think otherwise. My wife and I were walking to a grocery store in Miami in middle June. (About 1-2 miles from the anchorage). Had at least 2 or 3 cars stop and ask us if were OK. When we said we were walking to the grocery stores we got dumfounded looks.  People would go from air conditioned house to air conditioned car to air conditioned store. Never spend any time inside.  I recall walking around Dubai in the morning hours before a meeting (jet lag). Yeah, you sweat a lot but it's not going to kill you. Drink lots of cold drinks.

If you really "need" A/C then decide to keep just a few rooms cool and run it on reduced capacity.?

Heck you can figure out your required capacity with a very simple spreadsheet.

2 x Fridge/1 x Freezer: read the nameplate and assume each operates only 50% of the time. Add up these
Washer/Dryer/Dishwasher: Each one operates one at a time. So add the load of the biggest (dryer)
lights - if you haven't fit LED do so.

HVAC - if you can turn up the thermostat to around 80 it will be warmer than you like but you will be fine. Turn thermostat down a bit more at night when you are not using washer/dryer/dishwasher.

I'm sure you can get the generator size cut by 50% or more. No need to switch off circuit breakers; just don't try to run everything at once like normal times.

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Maybe get the Feds to kick in a few bucks and go with a Solar system, enough capacity to provide enough AH for your home for 24 hours and enough storage to hold 3x that.

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We have power outages a lot, longest are in the week range.  I have a honda 2kw inverter "suitcase" repurposed from years of tire warmer duty.  It runs the fridge, a light and a fan.  I make sure to fill a bunch of water jugs (on well) before the storm and let the canoe fill during the storm for bathing. At least it is quiet and it will run a long time on a gallon of gas.  There is probably a reason I am single.  

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49 minutes ago, Zonker said:

This. In a natural disaster you don't need to run the TV at the same time as the dishwasher and washing machine. Use each in turn. 

Air conditioning is a convenience although Americans seem to think otherwise. My wife and I were walking to a grocery store in Miami in middle June. (About 1-2 miles from the anchorage). Had at least 2 or 3 cars stop and ask us if were OK. When we said we were walking to the grocery stores we got dumfounded looks.  People would go from air conditioned house to air conditioned car to air conditioned store. Never spend any time inside.  I recall walking around Dubai in the morning hours before a meeting (jet lag). Yeah, you sweat a lot but it's not going to kill you. Drink lots of cold drinks.

If you really "need" A/C then decide to keep just a few rooms cool and run it on reduced capacity.?

Heck you can figure out your required capacity with a very simple spreadsheet.

2 x Fridge/1 x Freezer: read the nameplate and assume each operates only 50% of the time. Add up these
Washer/Dryer/Dishwasher: Each one operates one at a time. So add the load of the biggest (dryer)
lights - if you haven't fit LED do so.

HVAC - if you can turn up the thermostat to around 80 it will be warmer than you like but you will be fine. Turn thermostat down a bit more at night when you are not using washer/dryer/dishwasher.

I'm sure you can get the generator size cut by 50% or more. No need to switch off circuit breakers; just don't try to run everything at once like normal times.

Zonk, you are spot on in the common sense reality of it. I would add that if you are sailing to Bermuda and your power goes out at home, you do not want the main to trip. You pay for what you get and how you use it.  

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21 minutes ago, Raz'r said:

Maybe get the Feds to kick in a few bucks and go with a Solar system, enough capacity to provide enough AH for your home for 24 hours and enough storage to hold 3x that.

Lots of money even with a subsidy. A couple of Tesla batteries on the wall and enough solar to charge it you can last about 36 hrs minimal if you are careful. Think inverter on batteries on your boat. Light? Great. Cooking? Heat? Well? 

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40 minutes ago, dyslexic dog said:

Lots of money even with a subsidy. A couple of Tesla batteries on the wall and enough solar to charge it you can last about 36 hrs minimal if you are careful. Think inverter on batteries on your boat. Light? Great. Cooking? Heat? Well? 

A full solar package (meaning, AH Output > AH usage) + the couple day powerwall capacity (they say 3 days, probably wouldn't include aircon) was about $21k after tax benefits for our place. We haven't done it yet. May do it, may not, but compared to the numbers on this thread, looks comparable.

 

Which is odd, since I also was told would be about $8500 for a diesel genset.  My idiot neighbor who whines when my dog barks at her (dog is smart) would lose her mind if I put in a genset.

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We got the 22 kw Generac. Actually, are getting because the county inspection isn't done yet. It allegedly is all connected and ready to rumble though. 

We have electric heatpump/AC, gas furnace, gas cooking and hotwater, everything else electric. 

What is important is getting an installer you have confidence in and speedy DIRECT communication with. "BECAUSE COVID" IS AN EXCUSE EVERYONE USES FOR EVERYTHING.  Like why it takes a month to get an inspection. Do not pay in full until the job is done. Done is inspected. 

The other big delay was getting the gas company come to upgrade the meter to higher capacity.

I think we will be pleased next time the power goes put here. 

You need to get it serviced, see if the installer does that or they fob you to a  third party. Maybe that third party also installs. One guy we talked to was real demanding, turns out he installer and you're on your own. Uh, no. 

 

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forget gensets, or solar for that matter, look at small wind turbines are the wave of the future: Invest in Halcium Energy: Safe, effective small wind turbines for homes and businesses. | Wefunder 

Safe, effective small wind turbines for homes and businesses

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3 hours ago, Raz'r said:

Maybe get the Feds to kick in a few bucks and go with a Solar system, enough capacity to provide enough AH for your home for 24 hours and enough storage to hold 3x that.

 

I still keep getting calls from the solar sales people.  One of the first ones was smarter than the rest; he looked at our house on Google maps, and said we would have to cut down a shit load of trees that shade the house from the southern summer sun. I told him, no way is that happening, in my lifetime.  We love the trees (in spite of all the fucking twigs and sticks in the lawn), and love the birds even more.  The same guy Jason, was calling me every week.  I finally said, "Jason, I have told you a dozen times that we are not taking down our trees, no way, no how, so stop calling me, please?  He finally culled me from his sales call list...

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4 hours ago, Zonker said:

This. In a natural disaster you don't need to run the TV at the same time as the dishwasher and washing machine. Use each in turn. 

Air conditioning is a convenience although Americans seem to think otherwise. My wife and I were walking to a grocery store in Miami in middle June. (About 1-2 miles from the anchorage). Had at least 2 or 3 cars stop and ask us if were OK. When we said we were walking to the grocery stores we got dumfounded looks.  People would go from air conditioned house to air conditioned car to air conditioned store. Never spend any time inside.  I recall walking around Dubai in the morning hours before a meeting (jet lag). Yeah, you sweat a lot but it's not going to kill you. Drink lots of cold drinks.

If you really "need" A/C then decide to keep just a few rooms cool and run it on reduced capacity.?

Heck you can figure out your required capacity with a very simple spreadsheet.

2 x Fridge/1 x Freezer: ad the nameplate and assume each operates only 50% of the time. Add up these
Washer/Dryer/Dishwasher: Each one operates one at a time. So add the load of the biggest (dryer)
lights - if you haven't fit LED do so.

HVAC - if you can turn up the thermostat to around 80 it will be warmer than you like but you will be fine. Turn thermostat down a bit more at night when you are not using washer/dryer/dishwasher.

I'm sure you can get the generator size cut by 50% or more. No need to switch off circuit breakers; just don't try to run everything at once like normal times.

 

I'm sure you can get the generator size cut by 50% or more. No need to switch off circuit breakers; just don't try to run everything at once like normal times.

 

Absolutely true!  Even if we lost power for a week the 7.5 KW portable gas-propane genset will run everything, including the 700 sq. ft. garage loft apartment, except both ovens and dryers, and the 3 ton Mitsubishi split AC system added since the genset wiring. Toaster ovens and microwaves still work.   Turn if off at night, sleep in the quiet night, fill the 5 gallon tank in the morning, and we are good to go...Start the genset, pull the transfer switch lever from street to gen, and all is well....

 

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3 hours ago, Raz'r said:

Maybe get the Feds to kick in a few bucks and go with a Solar system, enough capacity to provide enough AH for your home for 24 hours and enough storage to hold 3x that.

Uncle Duke (energy) doesn't like that. Any state that they own (Like Florida) severely restricts rebates, and buy backs.

We're still on the plus side of the coin, but nothing at all like the salesman promised us.

The sad thing is, solar doesn't work as well in hot climates as it does in cooler zones. The other thing is that the months with the best solar hour potential, also happen to be the cloudiest/rainiest. This June, so far we have had one (1) "Mostly sunny" day. The rest have all been "Cloudy/rain" or "Rain", and the 10 day forecast has one (1) day with "Partly sunny"..... The rest are all "Cloudy/ thunderstorms".

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On 6/20/2021 at 3:01 PM, Bull City said:

I live in NC and we have experienced a few lengthy power outages, from hurricanes and ice storms. I got a quote from Generac for whole-home back-up generator system. It would be a 22 KW connected to our natural gas service, with grid protection, etc. We’re on a well, so when we loose power, we got nuthin’. We have gas heat, gas cook top, and tankless gas hot water. I am very inclined to do this particularly since I expect tropical storm activity to get worse. I’d be interested in your thoughts and perspectives. Thanks. 

sounds similar to my environment just north of you.    Have my own well, tankless water heater etc.

House came with a 12 KW automatic generac tied into a 300 gallon propane tank.  Gas company automatically tops off the tank if a storms is due to whack us.

Fricking piker builder used his buddies 60 miles away to build the house.

Did not understand he would be paying a couple extra hours of travel time each day. So he cheaped out on the generator to try and get his margin back up on P.O.  for less than a grand, he could have installed a larger system that would have run the whole house without issue.

 

I can run almost everything in the house except the heat pump (aka ac) and oven.

For hurricane season, I always have 2 handles of Cuevo Gold and a dozen bottles of margarita mix on hand.  The fridge makes tons of ice cubes and can hold lots of beer.

For winter, we have a full fireplace that can handle warming the house with ease.

 

Plan is to upgrade to a 18-22k system in next 2 years and give the current system to the daughter when she buys her first house.

So 22k will get the job done for you.

One thing you need to remember your load is not just your big items.  It is when the system first fires up.  Induction motors need a ton more power at startup. So if the water pump comes on the same time the furnace fan kicks on, and fridge and freezer want power, well you have a momentary spike.  WIth a whole house generator, the odds of this happening are slim, but it is nice to have a bit more power.

4 kw is not a lot to worry about if the prices are close.  It is the insane systems you want to steer away from. My neighbor bolted up a 35KW system powered by a big diesel motor.   I asked him if he was expecting to do welding during the outage..

 

So you are in the right ballpark..

 

One question I have for you is have you contacted the gas company about what are the odds they will leave gas flowing if you are in a strike zone. I would think they would shut down the lines if houses have been tore up to protect against gas leaks.  If they do cut the gas, you are SOL no matter what size generator you buy.  May make sense to run it on Propane and have a tank installed at the house.   I had them plumb in a feed for the grill so they get to sell me some gas every month and NEVER have to dick around with a tank anymore.

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Just did the math.

22 kW = 22000 watts

22000 watts / 120 V = 183 A.

isn't a typical older house maybe 100A service? maybe 200A in newer houses with lots of A/C?

(You can cook a lot with a 20lb tank of propane for your BBQ. Like weeks worth of cooking.)

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My math was wrong on home main breaker. Forgot you get 240V from the pole. So 22 kW = ~100A breaker @ 240V.

Start up loads? Washing machine/dryer are around 1/2 HP; maybe 3/4. Fridge and freezer are smaller. Hmmm A/C compressor start up loads are going to be higher. But maybe you get soft start capacitors added to them and a much smaller genset.

Still think less than half that size is needed.

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2 minutes ago, Zonker said:

My math was wrong on home main breaker. Forgot you get 240V from the pole. So 22 kW = ~100A breaker @ 240V.

Start up loads? Washing machine/dryer are around 1/2 HP; maybe 3/4. Fridge and freezer are smaller. Hmmm A/C compressor start up loads are going to be higher. But maybe you get soft start capacitors added to them and a much smaller genset.

Still think less than half that size is needed.

Don't forget the 3/4 or 1 horse well pump. No soft start there, at least not on mine.

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Washer and dryer can wait. Leave them off the list. Fridge, freezer, well pump, lights and wall outlets. The AC would be nice.... I think I had it added to the panel last year, but I'll have to check. The hottest, muggiest days of the year are always right after a hurricane.

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Necessary vs optional circuits can be sorted at the breaker box when the generator is installed to reduce the peak loads. Our backup is 10kW for freezer, frig,  heat/hot water (propane), lights/garage door and well. No dryer or electric oven, gas stovetop is hand lit. 

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I've had portable 6500 or thereabouts gas gensets since I've lived in southern MD. on a well... manual crossover. 

in one house I had  switchover panel with necessary circuits on it for house systems, kitchen outlets, fridge, freezer living room and downstairs br outlets and all bathroom outlets. That house had oil heat, which worked just fine on the genset. 

if it was really hot and muggy, we could sleep on the porch and run a wall unit AC off a 2nd 2k honda. 

 

in a different house now and current strategy is to just walk over to the RV and fire up the gen on it for major comforts.. can use 4g tablet as hotspot for interwebs and streaming....

planning to move in a couple months and next house will have pretty much the system the OP is talking about. Thanks to those who suggested talking to gas company about likely hood of gas shutdown.. hadn't thought of that, so weighing propane options.. not worried about winter outages as much as storm/hurricane problems in the summer/fall

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On 6/20/2021 at 3:01 PM, Bull City said:

I live in NC and we have experienced a few lengthy power outages, from hurricanes and ice storms. I got a quote from Generac for whole-home back-up generator system. It would be a 22 KW connected to our natural gas service, with grid protection, etc. We’re on a well, so when we loose power, we got nuthin’. We have gas heat, gas cook top, and tankless gas hot water. I am very inclined to do this particularly since I expect tropical storm activity to get worse. I’d be interested in your thoughts and perspectives. Thanks. 

Not hearing anything good about Generac's Customer Service.  Kohler is generally considered to be the best for Home Back-Up.

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23 minutes ago, Charlie Foxtrot said:

 

Not hearing anything good about Generac's Customer Service.  Kohler is generally considered to be the best for Home Back-Up.

I second that. We went with Onan because of Generac's reputation.  I believe Onan has exited the home market.

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1 hour ago, Charlie Foxtrot said:

 

Not hearing anything good about Generac's Customer Service.  Kohler is generally considered to be the best for Home Back-Up.

 

I was happy with the Generac we bought and used during the last 3-4 day outage a year or two ago.  Then, I talked to some smart people at work that explained that Champion Gensets are inverter technology that are far superior, so that's what we switched to.  Some way smarter than me poster, gave a detailed explanation why they are better, on the thread I posted last year, and linked somewhere above, if anyone cares to get more edumacated about Gensets....

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3 hours ago, ropetrick said:

Don't forget the 3/4 or 1 horse well pump. No soft start there, at least not on mine.

 

Yes!!  The 4 or 5 KW Generac we briefly owned was laboring when the well pump came on, so I sold it and bought a bigger Champion inverter 

genset.....

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My Generac has a Kawasaki motor. It says "Generac" on it, but it's a Kawasaki.

Onan doesn't do anything anymore as far as I know. I think they got bought out by someone, who deep sixed the brand. Kohler's are good, loud, and expensive to maintain, but fairly rugged.

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13 hours ago, Mrleft8 said:

Onan doesn't do anything anymore as far as I know. I think they got bought out by someone, who deep sixed the brand. 

Onan has been a Cummins brand for years and you can still get their home generators although I think they are mostly branded as Cummins now. I haven't dealt with the smaller home generators in some time, but their commercial stuff has stayed high quality. It looks like they still have several Cummins "Onan" models on their website though.  

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I put Cummins in the same category as 3M in that they charge top dollar but you generally get what you pay for with them. I'd be surprised if it was any different with Onan. 

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On 6/22/2021 at 3:50 PM, Zonker said:

My math was wrong on home main breaker. Forgot you get 240V from the pole. So 22 kW = ~100A breaker @ 240V.

Start up loads? Washing machine/dryer are around 1/2 HP; maybe 3/4. Fridge and freezer are smaller. Hmmm A/C compressor start up loads are going to be higher. But maybe you get soft start capacitors added to them and a much smaller genset.

Still think less than half that size is needed.

I have run well pp fridges oil furnace on 5500 watt being conservative.  However what you are forgetting is longetivity and maintenance.  100 amp main breaker a fail 50% more often after 20 years than 200 amp breakers.  Why?  Because running at 75% of max capacity shortens the life that much. By over sizing you reduce electrical "wear and tear" which increases your equipments life.

For electrical issues heat from resistance causes wire to temper and harden. Which in tern makes them brittle.  Cpus are a great example the hotter the cou gets the more likely the metal distorts this destroying it.  

 

Always oversize electrical connections and gear 

 

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Our Generac came on last night for its self test. Scared the crap out of us, lol. Runs for about 5 min then turned off. Will see how to change it to a more convenient time when the installers come back for inspections and to set up the wifi monitoring. Not sure that will work, if the router will reach out there. Not important. 

I looked back. Difference in price 18k to 22k was only about 1,000 dollars for the generator itself. Our installation was expensive because we wanted it 40 feet from the meters. They trenches. 

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10 hours ago, NeedAClew said:

Our Generac came on last night for its self test. Scared the crap out of us, lol. Runs for about 5 min then turned off. Will see how to change it to a more convenient time when the installers come back for inspections and to set up the wifi monitoring. Not sure that will work, if the router will reach out there. Not important. 

I looked back. Difference in price 18k to 22k was only about 1,000 dollars for the generator itself. Our installation was expensive because we wanted it 40 feet from the meters. They trenches. 

generac manuals are online on their web site

https://www.generac.com/service-support/product-support-lookup

 

They have how to reset the day and time of weekly fire up to something you like.

I do suggest you run it when you are home.

Nothing would suck more than to need the unit and does not kick in because it has not run in 15 weeks and the battery is dead, but you never noticed it not run since your fire up time is when you are at work.. 

 

Good to learn how to manually fire it up and how to manually ensure you can lock it  in the off position so as the change the oil.

 

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Thanks will take a look, probably set it when the installer is here. Not even sure at this point how to unlock the lid. Had not expected the delay in finishing the job. We're getting the ripoff maintenance plan. I don’t do engines.

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I have a relative who lives in an older urban area with frequent outages (lots of trees) and has had a Kohler unit for over ten years and very satisfied. Just bringing that up as Generac seems to have all the marketing and always good to have a choice.

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I like my Generac to do it's weekly test run in the early evening on Wednesday. (5:30 PM) it runs for 15 minutes. I rarely hear it unless I'm in here in my closet, that I call my office.

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Last Thursday we lost power.

Was I sat in the kitchen I started a 30 second count when the 13kw Generac generator would fire up knowing the loss was not just a hickup of the grid.

26,27, 28, 2.BOOM!    frigging explosion that the neighbors even heard.  WTF??   No generator fire up.

 

Thought the starter or the Bendix had shit the bed, but a bit of investigation found the 5 year low maintenance battery had exploded busting off 3 of the cells.  Battery was in its 3rd year

Removed the remnants and washed the unit down with baking soda and water a couple times to neutralize the battery acid.

Bolted in a new battery and the unit fired right up.

 

In chasing this down, I found out Generac expects you to replace the starter battery every 3 years no matter how good a battery you have installed.

Evidently the trickle battery charger built into the unit is not really intelligent and can overcharge and boil off the electrolyte.  Some folks have rewired their units to remove the Generac battery changer and use a quality unit like a 4 amp Battery Tender. You need to ensure the unit is plugged into a circuit that is on the generator's circuits, else you will lose all battery power after 12 hours of running the generator.

Also check your electrolyte every year even with a low maintenance battery

Would also suggest a battery box to contain the battery and electrolyte should it explode.

 

YMMV

 

Forever

PS as I am typing this, a line of storms hitting the east coast just knocked out the  power.  That Generac did its job!!!!

The Admiral thinks I am a genius....    Boy have I got her bullshitted.....

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@Foreverslow Fantastic story. Thank you very much for posting it. How long was your outage? When was your unit installed?

I think I'm going to pull the trigger on the Generac, and will definitely ask about this.

On 6/21/2021 at 10:29 PM, Foreverslow said:

My neighbor bolted up a 35KW system powered by a big diesel motor.   I asked him if he was expecting to do welding during the outage..

This was very funny, BTW.

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On 6/20/2021 at 2:24 PM, chum said:

Ford F150 is available with a 7.5 kw genny built in

That is somewhat misleading as the 7.5 KW output is via an inverter and the prime motive power is just the gas engine. A good amount of power but not if you have to keep a 300+ HP engine running if you need more than a few minutes from the inverter. 35 hours runtime with a full tank of gas that could otherwise carry the F150 700 miles in the hybrid version. 

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The outage today lasted 4 minutes.

We are blessed in that Dominion Power has lines coming down the northern and middle peninsulas from different power stations.  That redundancy has really made our grid more stable in the past couple of years.

Unless a idiot hits the switching station (has happened when some farmer clipped the power lines outside the station with his combine) they usually can restore power within an hour or 3.  But I am set up for 30 days off the grid should we get hammered in hurricane that tears up the power lines.

my current unit came with the house.  It is ~ 15 years old.

As I said, plans are to upgrade to a 22kw in a year or 2 so we can run the heat pump and have heat and ac.

 

Nothing is perfect.  But it is better to have and not need it than need it and not have it.

Which reminds me to go check the chain saws are ready for any hurricanes that wander into these here parts...

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i've heard that when many generators are connected to a utility natural gas line, and they all go on at pretty much exactly the same time in an outage.., that the gas pressure drop is very large and it does damage to the generators.

is that true?

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42 minutes ago, us7070 said:

i've heard that when many generators are connected to a utility natural gas line, and they all go on at pretty much exactly the same time in an outage.., that the gas pressure drop is very large and it does damage to the generators.

is that true?

not sure how it could hurt them. They either have enough fuel to run or they will shut down.

Understand that the pressure to run the modified carb is pretty low compared to what is out on the street.

There is a regulator on the inlet pipe be it Natural Gas or Propane.

 

My BIL told me the DPW in Auckland used to have grief when the All Blacks played, as at halftime, EVERYONE used the loo and the water pressure would drop drastically.

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1 hour ago, us7070 said:

i've heard that when many generators are connected to a utility natural gas line, and they all go on at pretty much exactly the same time in an outage.., that the gas pressure drop is very large and it does damage to the generators.

is that true?

I read back in February that a lot of the natural gas pumping stations are now powered by electric motors versus the old natural gas reciprocating engine or gas turbine powered pumps.  If they lose power, no one gets gas.

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2 minutes ago, RedTuna said:

I read back in February that a lot of the natural gas pumping stations are now powered by electric motors versus the old natural gas reciprocating engine or gas turbine powered pumps.  If they lose power, no one gets gas.

Where did you read that?

I just got an email from out gas provider, Dominion, that said, " If you are not required to evacuate your home or business, your natural gas service should operate uninterrupted throughout the storm." We have always had gas during power outages, however, electric igniters on appliances will not work without electricity.

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16 minutes ago, Bull City said:

Where did you read that?

I don't recall, should be easy to search.  Major factor in Texas' deep freeze fuck up last winter when our electrical grid began to collapse and the failures cascaded.  The only reason it stuck with me is because decades ago, I worked in a natural gas processing facility.  Every few weeks we'd road trip out to a couple pumping stations for maintenance check ups. Absolutely hated it.  The recips were gigantic and painfully loud, even with the double hearing protection.  And the pump houses had rattlesnakes keeping warm right where one needed to work.  Not sure which was worse.

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27 minutes ago, Bull City said:

Where did you read that?

I just got an email from out gas provider, Dominion, that said, " If you are not required to evacuate your home or business, your natural gas service should operate uninterrupted throughout the storm." We have always had gas during power outages, however, electric igniters on appliances will not work without electricity.

 

Always handy to have working flashlights, and wand lighters on hand during a power outage!!

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27 minutes ago, billy backstay said:

Always handy to have working flashlights, and wand lighters on hand during a power outage!!

And matches! And cans of Dinty Moore Beef Stew!

image.png.ad12e0111659a0697b9284be6044b987.png

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1 hour ago, RedTuna said:

I don't recall, should be easy to search.  Major factor in Texas' deep freeze fuck up last winter when our electrical grid began to collapse and the failures cascaded.  The only reason it stuck with me is because decades ago, I worked in a natural gas processing facility.  Every few weeks we'd road trip out to a couple pumping stations for maintenance check ups. Absolutely hated it.  The recips were gigantic and painfully loud, even with the double hearing protection.  And the pump houses had rattlesnakes keeping warm right where one needed to work.  Not sure which was worse.

Sorry, I missed the Texas part. Totally fucked up place from a public utility standpoint (and others) - sorry podna.  My state, Nawf Cackalacky, is still sane from a public utility standpoint - for the moment - despite a GOP legislature, which is held in check by a Demo guvna. Livin' on the edge as it were.

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Power outages are too common around Naptown.  Our little Honda EU2200i easily powers 28CF fridge, wifi, a few lights, etc. Still looking for a hard wired setup to run the 2 AC/heat pumps.

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