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Old 02-08-2010, 09:44 PM   #1
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Recommend me a portable emergency generator


Just spent the last 3 days with no electric, no forced air heat, and of course no refridgeration.

The thought of a standby generator sounds great but is out of my budget. I'm thinking of getting a 5000-6500 watt portable gasoline generator to use in emergencies. My main concerns would be powering a 100k btu forced air natural gas furnace and an energy star effient LG refridgerator. A couple of low watttage lights would be nice too.

I've been told I should look for a generator that has copper windings rather than aluminum. I've heard Generac are pretty good along with Honeywell and Honda.

My questions are, is 5k-6k watts enough for what I'm trying to do? Also, what manufactures are recommended? Should it have a Honda or Subaru engine? I'd like to stay under $500 if possible.

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Old 02-09-2010, 06:44 AM   #2
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You also need an automatic switching box to switch to the circuits that will be on the generator. To not have one can very dangerous. 5-6K will easily handle the heater and frig., you could also add some lighting circuits.

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Old 02-09-2010, 09:15 AM   #3
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Recommend me a portable emergency generator


Thanks. I plan on installing a transfer switch when I update my current electrical box. In the meantime could I just extension cords? Any recommendations on brands? ETQ? Generac? POwermate?, etc
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Old 02-09-2010, 10:31 AM   #4
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Recommend me a portable emergency generator


Quote:
Originally Posted by speedster1 View Post
Thanks. I plan on installing a transfer switch when I update my current electrical box. In the meantime could I just extension cords? Any recommendations on brands? ETQ? Generac? POwermate?, etc
You will need to shut off the main breaker if you don't install a transfer switch, otherwise the current will leave the house and endanger the power company linesman who are repairing the lines.
Ron
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Old 02-09-2010, 11:15 AM   #5
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Recommend me a portable emergency generator


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Originally Posted by Ron6519 View Post
You will need to shut off the main breaker if you don't install a transfer switch, otherwise the current will leave the house and endanger the power company linesman who are repairing the lines.
Ron
Indeed. I wouldn't want to backfeed the system.
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Old 02-09-2010, 03:40 PM   #6
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Recommend me a portable emergency generator


Powermate with the Subaru engine. Check with your power company about a standby generator. Ours offers them installed with a transfer switch 20-30 KW for $3-4000. They offer where you pay x amount a month added to your electric bill instead of all at once. They also service it for you at no additional cost.
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Old 02-09-2010, 05:10 PM   #7
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The last time I checked, the TRANSFER SWITCH cost almost twice what I paid for my 5K generator.
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Old 02-09-2010, 06:55 PM   #8
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Mine is a Honda 10hp engine, 15kw and I'm very happy with it. It has worked flawlessly for the 8 years I've had it.
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:10 PM   #9
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Honda...

don't forget to check the oil on whatever brand you get.
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Old 02-09-2010, 09:27 PM   #10
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http://www.schneider-electric.us/pro...umber=HOMRBGK2
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Old 02-11-2010, 09:06 AM   #11
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The last time I checked, the TRANSFER SWITCH cost almost twice what I paid for my 5K generator.
A transfer switch for a 5K generator should run between $250.00-$500.00. A 5K generator new starts out around $550.00 and goes up from there. I think you should try shopping at a different store.
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Old 02-11-2010, 02:35 PM   #12
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Recommend me a portable emergency generator


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A transfer switch for a 5K generator should run between $250.00-$500.00. A 5K generator new starts out around $550.00 and goes up from there. I think you should try shopping at a different store.
Why pay that when you can just shut off the main breaker?
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Old 02-11-2010, 04:36 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Brak View Post
Why pay that when you can just shut off the main breaker?
Some form of positive interlock to ensure power is not backfed to the utility to protect workmen is a must - either a transfer switch or panel lockout. This has been debated and covered here multiple times - please use search feature for more information.
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Old 05-07-2010, 05:23 PM   #14
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Before you go spending a ton on a brand new generator, check out some pawn shops if they are in your area. Pawn shops are great for buying things like tools and engines, that is, if you're handy with small repairs and tune ups. You'll be able to find a larger used generator for less money. I bought a used Generac 7500 EXL from a pawn shop for $250. It's a 7500W, 13,500W Peak that has a 50amp 4 prong dryer plug (14-50). There'd be no way I could afford a new generator of this size. And it works just fine.

As for running the house with it... yes, backfeeding is dangerous. If you don't know what you're doing, you could accidentally leave the main breaker on and energize the utility wires.. or you could be stupid and touch the energized prongs on a double male plug... But those are stupid mistakes. You'll get a lot of people that will lecture you on how dangerous and illegal it is, and how it should never be done, but they won't actually explain how it actually works in comparison to a transfer switch. It works the same way as a transfer switch, except it energizes the whole panel and you need to make sure the main is shut off.

I'm in the market for a transfer switch, but I've backfed my panel before with a double male cable with two 14-50 plugs on it I made. I just made sure to shut off the main breaker outside, and to shut off all the breakers and have the cable plugged in before it was energized. I then turned on each individual breaker on the sub panel. It worked great, and ran everything in the house. When the utilities came back on, I just shut off the generator.. all the lights shut off when I turned off the generator. I then shut off all the breakers, and unplugged the cable. Then, I turned everything back on from the utilities. Worked fine if you know what you're doing. But it's still illegal.
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Old 05-07-2010, 11:51 PM   #15
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Pawn shops and Craigslist can be a good source of generators.

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