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B. YOUNG 11-24-2011 02:17 PM

Whole house generators
We are considering a whole house generator and was wondering if anyone has had any experience in having one installed? Any information would be helpful. We have already had our gas meter upgraded to accomadate the usage of a generator.

Thanks in advance for your comments.
B. Young

Gary in WA 11-24-2011 10:56 PM

Welcome to the forums!

I'll move you to "Electrical" for better response...


B. YOUNG 11-25-2011 09:15 AM

Thanks gary.

Speedy Petey 11-25-2011 09:18 AM

You need to do better than that. What you are asking is almost like asking does anyone have experience buying a car.

I (as well as many of us here) have installed a few dozen over the years. Can you be more specific as to what you want to know?

B. YOUNG 11-25-2011 01:12 PM

Well speedy petey, i find you rather rude. I am glad you have put in dozens of them, but as for me, i am not experienced in that kind of thing and was looking for some advice. I am not a contractor nor an electrician. I am new at this site and was enjoying reading ab out others experiences with their remodel or other projects. Speedy, dont respond to anymore of my posts. I guess i will just try to figure things out for myself.

hayewe farm 11-25-2011 02:13 PM

I have a neighbor that has one. it runs on propane. During a recent power outage it ran 24 hrs a day for 4 days. Unfortunately it used nearly 4 gals per hour. At $2.30 contract price that was over $220 per day. I'm not a big fan. I use a 5500 watt generator and only run it as we need power and only limited circuits. I can usually get by for 3 days on a 5 gal fill up.

DexterII 11-25-2011 02:47 PM

Just to clear the air, I have read a number of Speedy's posts, and do not believe that he inteded to be rude. In fact, being perfectly honest, after reading your original post, I was pretty much thinking the same thing, i.e. "what questions did you have?".

As for the topic, standby generators are common enough that you really do not need to know anything about them in order to get the right one for you. Just as with a furnace or other major purchase, I always recommend contating 3 local installers, meet with them, and tell them that you want a quote. If they tell you that they do not need to look at it, thank them for the time, and call another company. When they come out, they will assess your needs, and provide you with a quote that is the best fit for you. Do they all do that? Not necessarily, but that is the reason that you want to get at least 3 quotes, so that you can separate the wheat from the chaff.

Beyond that, you've already recognized the fact that it needs an energy source, and have addressed that, so the rest of it is for the contractor to determine what revisions and/or upgrades are necessary, and make it happen.

It's really that simple. With a backup generator, such as Hayewe and I use, yes, there are more considerations, such how many essential circuits you have, how much power each of them require, etc., but those are non-issues with a standby system.

AandPDan 11-25-2011 02:57 PM

Hi B. Young, welcome to the forums.

I too have a smaller unit, 5000 watt. At full load I'll only burn about 1 gallon an hour, much longer at a reduced load. I only run it up until about 10. After that, it's off. The house stays warm overnight and it saves on fuel.

FYI, you can run the smaller, portable units on natural gas.

If you want whole house, you'll need to determine what are your anticipated loads. Just because you have a 200 amp service it does not mean you need a 200 amp generator.

You can find them from about 8000 watts on up. Generac is one vendor you'll likely see in the big box stores. If you do go that route, I don't recommend buying it from them. You WILL want to have someone that services it available. Most dealers will put you ahead of the big box crowd if you buy it from the dealer. Usually the big box stores sub out the installation so it really is "you get what you pay for." Make sure all necessary permits are pulled.

A couple of things to consider. If you can find a generator that runs at 1800 rpm, they usually last longer and are much quieter. Most run at 3600 rpm. Air cooled generators are also more noisy than a water cooled version.

Usually you put the generator close to the gas supply. It's much easier, and cheaper, to run the electrical a distance (if you have to) than the fuel.

Hope it helps.

Missouri Bound 11-25-2011 03:22 PM

B. Young. I installed a Generac 8k 3 years ago. It backs up 8 critical circuits, and it is enough for what I need. Is that along the lines of what you are looking for? Unless you need to run air conditioning and/o a well pump, you may be able to use a smaller unit.

md2lgyk 11-25-2011 04:48 PM

Nobody really "needs" a whole-house generator. As long as the critial circuits are protected, you'll be fine.

Speedy Petey 11-25-2011 06:55 PM

Thank you Dexter.
No, I was not intending to be rude. I guess the OP was just looking for something to complain about since he did not get the replies he was looking for immediately. Even though we had nothing to go on and had no idea what was being asked.

B.Y., My point was that I, as well as many others on this site, are quite experienced with these units, so maybe we could help you, if we knew what you wanted. I was not bragging about it. :icon_rolleyes:

I will respond to any thread I like thank you. It is your choice whether to read them or not.

George6488 11-25-2011 10:24 PM

Speedy Petey................your questions correctly stated. The OP is uninformed and ill mannered. He was asking experts for info and failed to provide the scope of work correctly stated.

You could have REALLY helped him if his feelings weren't so fragile

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