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Old 07-08-2012, 10:57 AM   #31
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Kohler vs Generac standby


One company responds -

". . .a unit of at least 20kw depending on fuel type should be sufficient to start and run [my] unit."

He didn't mention hard start kits but it is not in his financial interest to do so, either.

One thing that makes this gen. question tricky as decision problem is that the HO's incentive to buy a generator increases as the time without power goes by.

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Old 07-08-2012, 11:10 AM   #32
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Kohler vs Generac standby


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One thing that makes this gen. question tricky as decision problem is that the HO's incentive to buy a generator increases as the time without power goes by.
Or frequency of outages. It's one thing to suffer 5 days straight (or 8 during Hurricane Isabel several years ago). But it's nearly as bad to have low voltage drop-outs and brief outages happening at least once a month, if not more during heavy weather incidents. This was also why I skipped going with a portable or even a manual transfer. The house already had a manual xfer panel and outside plug. The idea of hauling out the genset once a month was unacceptable.

I wasn't pleased we had to shell out $10k, but we truly value the freedom from aggravation it's provided.
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Old 07-08-2012, 11:52 AM   #33
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Kohler vs Generac standby


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Or frequency of outages. It's one thing to suffer 5 days straight (or 8 during Hurricane Isabel several years ago). But it's nearly as bad to have low voltage drop-outs and brief outages happening at least once a month, if not more during heavy weather incidents. This was also why I skipped going with a portable or even a manual transfer. The house already had a manual xfer panel and outside plug. The idea of hauling out the genset once a month was unacceptable.

I wasn't pleased we had to shell out $10k, but we truly value the freedom from aggravation it's provided.
The inconvenience of a portable generator is also what steered us towards the whole house standby.

What generator do you have? Problems? Things you would have done differently?

Thanks.
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Old 07-08-2012, 11:56 AM   #34
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Kohler vs Generac standby


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Originally Posted by Yoyizit View Post
One company responds -

". . .a unit of at least 20kw depending on fuel type should be sufficient to start and run [my] unit."

He didn't mention hard start kits but it is not in his financial interest to do so, either.

One thing that makes this gen. question tricky as decision problem is that the HO's incentive to buy a generator increases as the time without power goes by.
I asked the one guy that was out about hard start kits. He said that if they were that beneficial they would be installed at the factory. He said he used to own a mech contracting company and they only put them on as a last ditch effort to save a compressor with very limited life left.

From my reviews of HVAC forums, companies used to install hard start kits on every unit but in an effort to keep costs down to remain competitive they began to be removed from all except the higher level units.

Seems like a no lose situation with the addition of a hard start kit, especially the 5-2-1 Compressor saver at only $45.
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Old 07-08-2012, 12:28 PM   #35
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Kohler vs Generac standby


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The inconvenience of a portable generator is also what steered us towards the whole house standby. What generator do you have? Problems? Things you would have done differently?
We bought Generac 20kw with an automatic transfer switch. Starts/stops itself automatically and tests itself once a week. I don't think we'd do much differently.

Going whole house only cost us more up-front. The operational costs aren't appreciably different other than consuming more natural gas if you've got more stuff running. We really didn't have the room on the paneled wall for an interior transfer switch that would've worked with a smaller unit and only select circuits. We could've gotten by with a small unit and only selected circuits. But the cost increase on the units alone would then have to factor the added labor of rearranging the circuits in the breaker panel.

Aim for as quiet as you can get. In the summer when everyone else has to leave their windows open it's nicer to have a quieter unit. Not for you, but for your neighbor's sake. If you're not close to anyone you'd still want to factor how much noise it'd make, for you inside the house.

I didn't go with their larger, cooled units as the capacity was more than we'll need and they're a LOT more expensive (nearly double). But they are quieter.

My advice is if you've got enough room near the electrical panel and want to save some money then a smaller unit is certainly worth considering. You really can live with only certain circuits being on the generator. It requires some forethought and possibly rearranging some circuits. It all depends on how your wiring is laid out and what your consumption patterns are like.

Me, I wanted the HVAC to stay running, the hot tub to not freeze in the winter, and 2 refrigerators and 1 freezer to not spoil. Combine that with the lack of panel space, and it was worth spending the extra few grand to go with the 20kw whole house unit.

But I'd still absolutely go with an automatic unit and probably stick with the Generac brand. If only because I've heard how much louder the same sized Kohler is.
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Old 07-08-2012, 12:47 PM   #36
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Kohler vs Generac standby


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We bought Generac 20kw with an automatic transfer switch. Starts/stops itself automatically and tests itself once a week. I don't think we'd do much differently.

Going whole house only cost us more up-front. The operational costs aren't appreciably different other than consuming more natural gas if you've got more stuff running. We really didn't have the room on the paneled wall for an interior transfer switch that would've worked with a smaller unit and only select circuits. We could've gotten by with a small unit and only selected circuits. But the cost increase on the units alone would then have to factor the added labor of rearranging the circuits in the breaker panel.

Me, I wanted the HVAC to stay running, the hot tub to not freeze in the winter, and 2 refrigerators and 1 freezer to not spoil. Combine that with the lack of panel space, and it was worth spending the extra few grand to go with the 20kw whole house unit.

But I'd still absolutely go with an automatic unit and probably stick with the Generac brand. If only because I've heard how much louder the same sized Kohler is.
Thanks for the reply.

We are thinking 17 - 20kW with ATS from Generac. Originally was thinking the smaller panel with essential circuits as well to save money. But, after factoring in labor to move all the circuits figured for a couple hundred bucks more than the essential with extra labor we could have the whole house.

I noticed how much more expensive the liquid cooled units are for the benefit of running at 1800 rpm vs 3600 for the air cooled. For the limited amount we will probably use it, don't see the RPMs making a whole lot of difference.

We also are mostly concerned about the AC. Without the AC we only have about 6-7kW with all our electric appliances running at once.

I have heard that the Kohler's are loud. Although, they do seem to be more fuel efficient at the 14kW level and to a lesser amount at the 20kW. Also, the warranty is better with the Kohler's. 5 years parts, 2 years labor for Kohler vs 3 years parts, 2 years labor for Generac.

Thanks again.
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Old 07-08-2012, 02:49 PM   #37
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Kohler vs Generac standby


Sounds a lot like the decision making process I went through.

I turned every blessed thing in the house on, to it's highest power-consuming setting and we still only managed to push it to 85% load. With the AC already running, I didn't check the startup issue. But it's seriously unlikely we'd ever have the stove on broil-high, the microwave, AC, 2 fridges, 1 freezer, two hair dryers, all the computers (a 72" rack's worth), AV gear, TVs, the hot tub on high and heating, the vacuum and all lights lit, all at once. So yeah, we could probably use a 14kw and have no problems. We could pare back to just the 7kw and be really stingy with what was got used. For the added cost it was a no-brainer to go with the larger unit and avoid pretty much any complications.

We are in the process of renovating (by tearing the existing house down) and figured that into the equation also. So there's pretty much no scenario in which this unit wouldn't be suitable for us.

As for warranties, eh, maintenance goes a long way. I'm following the vendor and dealer recommendations on service intervals. I'm sure, at some point, something expensive will crap out, but I doubt it'll be within the 1st 5 years. We're already into the 3rd and it's still running fine.
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Old 07-08-2012, 03:21 PM   #38
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Kohler vs Generac standby


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Sounds a lot like the decision making process I went through.

We are in the process of renovating (by tearing the existing house down) and figured that into the equation also. So there's pretty much no scenario in which this unit wouldn't be suitable for us.

As for warranties, eh, maintenance goes a long way. I'm following the vendor and dealer recommendations on service intervals. I'm sure, at some point, something expensive will crap out, but I doubt it'll be within the 1st 5 years. We're already into the 3rd and it's still running fine.
Those are also my thoughts regarding the 20, no scenario it can't handle. For about $200 more than the 17, why not. Although, if I could get away with the 14 from Kohler it would be about $800 less. But, might still want to go with the 20 just to cover any future additions.

Figure the maintenance goes a long way as with anything. Do you change your oil throughout the year with the changing of the temperatures, if you are in such a climate. We are in Northeast Ohio and looking at the owner's manual Generac requires different viscosities above and below 40 degrees (I believe).
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Old 07-08-2012, 03:39 PM   #39
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Kohler vs Generac standby


I usually have it serviced any time it's been run for more than a few days straight, and then in spring/fall. I'm sure I'm probably wasting money doing it more often, but an oil change is a lot less expensive that bigger repairs.

We have a boat so I'm used to the spring/fall servicing. I don't know if they used a different viscosity for winter. Here we haven't gotten really cold stretches lately.
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Old 07-08-2012, 04:01 PM   #40
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Kohler vs Generac standby


My "utility function" must be different from you guys.

I'm now leaning toward a portable gen in the 5 to 6 kw range (liquid cooled for quietness if I can get it) that I can put in the back of my truck if necessary, and buying one more window AC to be put in the breakfast area or gathering place. We already have one for the bedroom.
Even if Pepco gets their act together these things are still useful.

If I got 20 kw, most of the time I'd be running substantially under capacity.
But, since the avg. US house uses 4A continuously, 98% of the capacity of most houses is not usually used anyway.
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Old 07-08-2012, 11:06 PM   #41
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Kohler vs Generac standby


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My "utility function" must be different from you guys.

I'm now leaning toward a portable gen in the 5 to 6 kw range (liquid cooled for quietness if I can get it) that I can put in the back of my truck if necessary, and buying one more window AC to be put in the breakfast area or gathering place. We already have one for the bedroom.
Even if Pepco gets their act together these things are still useful.

If I got 20 kw, most of the time I'd be running substantially under capacity.
But, since the avg. US house uses 4A continuously, 98% of the capacity of most houses is not usually used anyway.
Unfortunately, nothing utilitarian about my set-up.

Wife's main reason is AC availability. We have (3) kids 3 and under.
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Old 07-08-2012, 11:08 PM   #42
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Kohler vs Generac standby


Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoyizit View Post
One company responds -

". . .a unit of at least 20kw depending on fuel type should be sufficient to start and run [my] unit."

He didn't mention hard start kits but it is not in his financial interest to do so, either.

One thing that makes this gen. question tricky as decision problem is that the HO's incentive to buy a generator increases as the time without power goes by.
From an online generator sales company...."The 14kW (generac or kohler) will handle a 4 ton but depends on what else you want to run."

Will have to wait for the next couple sales reps to come out and give me a more detailed analysis.
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Old 07-09-2012, 10:40 AM   #43
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Kohler vs Generac standby


If you have not made a choice yet, check out the following site. Do a post and ask the question of generator experts.

www.smokstak.com and go to the generator forum also known as "sparks and arcs"

havae a great day

bernie
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Old 07-09-2012, 10:45 AM   #44
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Kohler vs Generac standby


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Originally Posted by bernie963 View Post
If you have not made a choice yet, check out the following site. Do a post and ask the question of generator experts.

www.smokstak.com and go to the generator forum also known as "sparks and arcs"

havae a great day

bernie
Thanks, appreciate the info.
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Old 07-09-2012, 08:06 PM   #45
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Kohler vs Generac standby


Two more companies have responded; one sent me to a dealer with a no-respond e-mail and the other had me go to an automated power calc. site which didn't work.

If you have trouble getting to an e-mail address on websites, go to "Press Releases". They usually have an employee address at the end of each article and so I just post my question and say "Please forward."


Let's say PoCo announced ahead of time that each year you would be without power for D consecutive days. Your choice is between a $500 gen and a $20K gen.
What value of D would be necessary for this decision to be a toss-up
(see "indifference" below
http://www.transtutors.com/homework-...-approach.aspx)
for you?

For me it might be about 14 days or longer but for my wife it's 90 days. I thought it'd be the other way around but she's not the one who will be hooking up cords and lugging gas cans.

Historically PEPCO has lost power for a max of 5 days or so, so it's $500 for me for now.


Last edited by Yoyizit; 07-09-2012 at 08:09 PM.
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