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Old 11-10-2012, 01:56 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by Regination View Post
I'd like to hear about someone having a 600gal diesel tank installed at their house today
Actually, I have a 2000 gallon tank (in-ground); I only needed to buy 600 gallons.

No NG service where I live. For whatever reason(s), propane isn't all that popular around here (although it is an option). So its HHO, wood, or all-electric.

Highway diesel is taxed (like gasoline) while HHO is not. But they're basically the same stuff, HHO even comes in an ULS formulation these days.


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Old 11-10-2012, 03:18 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by Missouri Bound View Post
It's amazing how many of us missed the date on this 11 month old post....
Nope, I never noticed that a new member's first post dug up an almost year old thread.
Sometimes I feel like if I answer any more questions it is like someone trying to climb over a fence to jump off a bridge and me giving them a boost.
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Old 11-10-2012, 03:25 PM   #48
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To our credit, we seem to be responding to the guy who dug up this dead horse. I'm blaming him.
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Old 11-10-2012, 06:50 PM   #49
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Yeah, this thread is over a year old, but it has brought to surface some good issues that are always asked by DIY'ers making generator decisions.

When it comes to generators, the first question is "How big?" and the standard answer is always.... add up your loads, calc your motors, then add some 20%.

The size of load will determine the size of your generator backup system, thus the cost to install a properly sized system and that is what this thread is all about.

Advising people to buy as much as they can afford is just like the used car salesman asking "How much can you pay a month?". And it does not matter if its NG, LP, Gas, Diesel or Alcohol.

Why guess when there are electronic systems out there that the average homeowner can use that takes the guess work out of sizing a backup generator.

So my advice to you DIY'ers out there is to install an electricity usage monitor for a few months before entering into a generator purchase decision.

These monitoring systems work by installing Current Transformer(CT) devices that monitor electric use. They are installed in your distribution panels and provide feedback to computer applications in your home. They are not expensive and will save you a bundle by giving you accurate information about your electricity use so that you do not over size a generator.

Once you know your use and peak use, sizing a generator back up is a piece of cake. You do not have to overbuy to be protected and safe. If you are a true DIY'er then you will appreciate the information that gives you the power to make the right purchase decision.

I used the TED system, but there are many other devices large and small that do the same thing. Just Google "energy monitors".

Good luck and save yourself lots of money and know that you have made the right purchase decision based on facts rather than an educated guess.

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Old 11-10-2012, 07:28 PM   #50
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Our big mistake was getting too small a gen-set to begin with. as we added more heavy use items like pool, 1500 watt minimum, water heater, single element 1500 watt/ 19 gal from Lowe's, hot tub 1500 watt, 4 air conditioners...window models all 120 volt, space heaters 1500 watt and then smaller items like ice machine, wine cooler, freezer...small chest size; 3 big screen tv's...the smaller genset could not sustain many of these in combination esp during our hot summers. the extra capacity of subsequent gensets proved to be amply employed at the time we really needed it, oh, and I forgot the genset has to pump {240 watts] our water from 300 feet down and charge 24 6 volt batts. so you can see we have to allocate appliances running even with a 15KW genset.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:38 AM   #51
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Let's also recognize that there's a big difference between Willy's POCO substitute and what many of the posters are interested in: something to get by (maybe whole house, maybe just "essentials") until power from the grid is re-established. Do you just want to keep the furnace running and the food from spoiling, or do you want the water temp in the hot tub to be just right?
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:54 AM   #52
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Dave, you are right. Willy's responses really don't apply to the OP concerns and may actually be a bit confusing. Guess that's the issue with "hands off" help. For personal standby or emergency generators I believe the best advice is to look at your absolute needs first, then size the generator accordingly. My needs brought me to an 8kw standby which cost me a little over $2000 installed.(which I did by myself)
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:01 AM   #53
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I use a company in NJ called Walter Danley electric. I highly recommend them for a Generac install and maintenance. I'm not sure if they can arrange for the gas line, but I will tell you that 8k isVERY high for a 7kw. The unit is less than 2k. I have a 17kw and the unit was less than 4k and total installation was around 2k.

FYI - on Tuesday night, after sandy hit, walter's wife called to make sure everything was ok with the generator. I doubt HD would do that. Great service is hard to put a price on, so keep that in mind.

Good luck
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:21 AM   #54
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As a homeowner in the burbs who got a backup generator for the occassional (or frequent?) power outage I am on the opposite side of Willy. I'd say most folks in my situation get sold way too big a generator. I added up my loads, and connected up 8 circuits to my transfer panel. With that I have to try real hard to max the load on my little 4500 W peak generator. I have gas heat and hot water, no well pump, etc. Those with elec hot water or who want to power their central heat pump or ac will need a (lot!) bigger genny.

And fuel type does matter. For users like me gasoline may be adequate for a short outage. But we have had some longer ones from ice storms and the derecho where it would be hard to go out and get gas since many of the service stations were also out of power. Good idea to convert to take natural gas if you have the service and/or LP if you don't. None of the outages we have here, even the long ones of a week long, have ever taken out the nat gas service. If you are in a flood/surge zone that might not be the case.
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:16 PM   #55
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Guess I'm helping to bump up this older thread (which was recently bumped last month!), though wanted to note different needs do seem to require appropriate power generators.

For my area, a backup Honda inverter does the trick with an APC automatic transfer switch and its six circuits, only two of which are configured as "always on"; the switch balances by turning off the less critical circuits for periods of time when temporary demand in one or more other circuits is required. Thus far, that's rarely happened and our furnace, refrigerator, some lights, occasional TV (when cable isn't out) and even network+computing equipment have been running when we need them.

The only hassle is wheeling the relatively light generator to its spot on the outside wall for plugging in to a weather-resistant socket, and adding gasoline about twice a day. That process is relatively quick, though I it could have been faster if I decided to hookup the outdoor socket near our garage, but that run would have been over 90' from the switch and I was worried about too much voltage drop from the tables I was reading on the subject. This inverter goes a long way on a small tank and is extremely quiet, so I can run this overnight and not bother the nearby neighbors. So, it's great for when we really need an emergency backup.

On the other hand, we're sizing up my father's house in Bergen County, NJ for a "whole house" backup using natural gas, and trying to find prices better than what the original poster mentioned for a permanent generator installation with an automatic start, etc. We've shopped online for Kohler generators mostly, and are looking for local contractors who either sell and install models of our interest and power range, or who would be willing to primarily charge for just the install and miscellaneous parts - we already have a NG connection outside the house, which is hopefully a good spot to thread off for a generator hookup. But, we're not looking for something in a huge power-range that can emulate the power company, just a little more than enough to power his essentials and a list of nice-to-haves, assuming he'll manage to keep the rest turned off during a major outage.

- ooofest


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