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I bought a 3500w Sears generator in 2000. i used it a fair bit on the farm for non-emergent work but really haven't needed it in an emergency since the N/E blackout of 2003. I keep about 1/4 tank in it, dump the fuel and run it under a load twice a year. It starts second pull every time but other than that I haven't needed it in years. My only concern is whether it would run my new furnace but I haven't gotten around to check. Power here is pretty stable except for the odd weather-related outage of a few hours (and the odd numpty taking out a pole).
 

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That's one disadvantage of portable, they can be too portable for sticky fingers and destined for a garage sale.
The one I bought appeared to be a 'selling the ex-husband's tools' scenario.

I do know what you mean about stuff like that being too portable; I lost an air compressor, hose and nail gun that way.
 

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I figure the adverse corollary to Murphy's Law applies... if I buy one, I'll never need it. I'll wait for a bargain one to show up since we're fortunate by not having any blackouts longer than 3 hours... most get back on line under 1 hour.
 

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I figure the adverse corollary to Murphy's Law applies... if I buy one, I'll never need it
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And did ya know hail storms can be prevented in a similar way. Work ass half off moving stuff so a vehicle can be garaged because of a hail forecast. The next A. M. while having coffee you and brother in-law can boast " we dam sure stopped that hail storm "
 

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And did ya know hail storms can be prevented in a similar way. Work ass half off moving stuff so a vehicle can be garaged because of a hail forecast. The next A. M. while having coffee you and brother in-law can boast " we dam sure stopped that hail storm "
:laughing: Yep, works ever time.


And I've ruined several good things by just bragging on them! Usually I'm left standing beside the road with that "best car I ever had" the day or two before. :devil3:
 

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Harbor freight generations are worthless if they don't work when you need them. Same applies to used generators found on Craigslist.
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Same applies to Honda, Generac, and every other generator manufacturer.
 

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I was doing the calculations and for the refrigerator alone, I need a generator that can output 1392 watts but probably more like 2800 watts peak.

Not exactly small.
I bought a $300 3500W (4400W starting) generator to deal with my fridge and freezer.

Yes, its loud (non-inverter), large-ish, and made in a foreign country. Don't really care. Its cheap insurance even if it doesn't last as long as a Honda.

Maintenance is DIY... just like the rest of my vehicles and power equipment, so its no big deal.
 

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We lost power for about 18 hours because Storm Isaias.

We did not open the refrigerator the entire time. Just used gas stove to heat up canned food for meals.

If it had gone for any longer, the food in the freezer would have had to be thrown out.

I am trying to come up with a simple way to keep the frozen food frozen in another power outage.

A few years back, I bought a 800W inverter to connect to my car's battery. it can run a 21" TV, the cable modem, the wifi router, a laptop, but it cannot run the refrigerator which draws 11.6 A.

Would it make sense to buy an ice maker and run it on the inverter and fill an Igloo cooler with ice and the frozen food?
I suggest trying to run the refrigerator on what you have. Unplug everything else then try. If it will all you need to do is run it for an hour or so a few times during the day.

Most refrigerators run on about 750-800 watts at startup, then power draw drops substantially. It's that split second that the compressor starts that might overload the generator. There might be enough built in surge capacity to handle that. If there is switch for energy saving (a switch that controls door perimeter heating element that provides defrosting) turn it off.
If it doesn't handle it get a larger generator.

I have a 2000 watt inverter generator that I've used 5 days during hurricane related power outages. It handles the fridge easily. It can also run the TV, the tankless natural gas water heater, and a few lamps with LED bulbs at the same time. Though, if I want to use the electric coffee pot or the microwave, I have to unplug other things.
 

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Another option: (but I would suggest purchasing a larger generator instead)
You can run your 800w generator to continuiously charge a 12 battery. (Or, you could use solar charging)
Connect a 12vdc to 120vac inverter to that battery. The inverter must be rated to run your refrigerator. It will draw down the charge from the battery faster than the generator can replace the charge, but it should get the refrigerator started and allow you to run the refrigerator through at least one cooling cycle. Don't discharge the battery below 12v or it will damage the battery. You can do this multiple times during the day.
 

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<<snip>> I'm not endorsing Honda, but I am recommending Honda. Why? It will start when you need it and it will work when others won't.
Harbor freight generations are worthless if they don't work when you need them.<<snip>>.
I own a Honda Companion 2000 inverter generator, for almost 10 years.
I own a Harbor Freight Predator 3500 inverter generator, for over 3 years.

Both of them have been great for me.

The only time the Honda did not start first or second pull on the cord was when it was ~3 years old, when I failed to drain the fuel from the carb and it sat for 6 months unused. Some carb cleaner got it started. Not one issue since I learned this lesson.

The only time the Predator did not start was when the battery died due to age, this past spring. It started with a few pulls on the cord. This generator does require more attention to maintenance. The spark arrestor has a tendancy to have carbon buildup since the engine runs at lower rpm's. That lower rpm makes it extremly quiet and it uses less fuel than my Honda 2000. Compared side by side with the Honda, it is noticably quieter when place under equal loads.

Harbor freight has a link to a website where parts can be ordered for their Predator generators. Though I have not needed any ,,, yet.
 

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I'm sorry, but if you're happy with the "inverter off the car battery" approach, that's good enough. Just size the inverter and load properly.

- Modern fridges take ~500-2000W to start. (40-160A at 12V)
- Once the motor is spun up (<2 seconds), they draw about 120W (10A @ 12V)
- Average total draw over a day is 1 KWH or ~42 watts average. (3.5A @ 12V)
- The refrigerator light draws whatever it says on the bulb, when the door is open.
- A "Kill-a-Watt" device can give you the hard numbers for your fridge.

An inverter pulling 1500W off a battery will draw 125 amps, so you need to have SERIOUS wiring to that battery. You cannot do it off the cigarette lighter.

You can get away with hooking up the inverter to the car every 8 hours and running it (THE FRIDGE not the car) until the fridge has fully cooled back down and cycles off. Then you can unhook it until the next round. I wouldn't go longer than 8-9 hours if you can avoid it. You don't want the frozens thawing and re-freezing.

You don't want to idle a car for hours, so I'd do it for 5 minutes every hour to keep the battery from getting wacked. DON'T look up the amp-hour capacity and go thinking you can use all that, that number has a HUGE asterisk that will destroy your battery.

The leakage through the fridge and freezer's insulation will be the same rate regardless of what's in the freezer (and that's what decides how long the refrigerator must "catch up"). However, adding "thermal mass" to both fridge and freezer will increase its "coasting range" (time before it thaws/gets warm). The best thermal mass known is depleted urani-- I'm just kidding, it's actually WATER for awesome scientific reasons. So, plain ice-packs (ziploc freezer bags full of ice, even) will help a lot in the freezer, and for the fridge, just pack it full of 2-liter soda bottles full of water.
 

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My car has a 230 amp alternator. That figures out to 2760 watts. I'm not suggesting I would run the car to supply power to a 3000 watt inverter but in reality it would work like a champ. Inverters cost about as much as a generator but they end up eating more. :devil3:
 

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It is not exactly no-maintenance from what I can tell from watching the Youtube videos.
No, but a whole house generator is the next best thing. It exercises itself for about ten minutes every week. I check the oil maybe twice a year plus after every hurricane. Every couple of years I call a guy out to service it (plugs, filters, valve lash) just in case. Mine is powered by a big propane tank (300 gallons/265 gallons useable).

I hid off the island during Florence. A glass of water allowed to freeze with a dime sitting on top of the ice in the freezer still had the dime sitting on top of the ice when I returned three and a half weeks later... indicating the freezer ran without interruption the entire time. I figure the generator actually ran for roughly a week during that period and the utility supplied the rest. It used about half a tank of propane through that entire period.

I have a 17kw whole house generator. It ran two heat pumps, the hot water heater, various lights and TVs (I was careful to minimize the load), along with two refrigerators and one freezer during Isaias and afterward for a while. Not only did I not have to worry about the freezer melting, I had full use of it while sitting in my air conditioned house watching TV while most of the other houses on the street sweltered. It's always ungodly hot and humid for a couple of days after a hurricane passes.

The roughest part of getting a whole house generator is paying for it. But once you get one, the sense of confidence it gives is priceless. I have NEVER regretted buying mine.
 

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My car has a 230 amp alternator. That figures out to 2760 watts. I'm not suggesting I would run the car to supply power to a 3000 watt inverter but in reality it would work like a champ. Inverters cost about as much as a generator but they end up eating more. :devil3:
You aren't limited to 2760 watts, since your car's electrical system can borrow off the battery. However that figure is at some *idealized engine speed*; running at idle will certainly reduce that. Your fuel economy will also suck because a 100-200KW engine is wildly mismatched (much too large for) the 3KW generator.

Check your owner's manual as to whether you're *allowed* to idle the car for extended periods. Remember if it's part of your house's electrical system NEC 110.3(B) must obey instructions and labeling LOL J/K...

I would say inverters cost as much as cheap generators...
 

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The worse part is I'd have to walk to the liquor store since my Jeannie wouldn't want to do without the TV for any extended time... like anything > a couple of minutes. :vs_mad::vs_cry:
 

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No, but a whole house generator is the next best thing. It exercises itself for about ten minutes every week. I check the oil maybe twice a year plus after every hurricane. Every couple of years I call a guy out to service it (plugs, filters, valve lash) just in case. Mine is powered by a big propane tank (300 gallons/265 gallons useable).

I hid off the island during Florence. A glass of water allowed to freeze with a dime sitting on top of the ice in the freezer still had the dime sitting on top of the ice when I returned three and a half weeks later... indicating the freezer ran without interruption the entire time. I figure the generator actually ran for roughly a week during that period and the utility supplied the rest. It used about half a tank of propane through that entire period.

I have a 17kw whole house generator. It ran two heat pumps, the hot water heater, various lights and TVs (I was careful to minimize the load), along with two refrigerators and one freezer during Isaias and afterward for a while. Not only did I not have to worry about the freezer melting, I had full use of it while sitting in my air conditioned house watching TV while most of the other houses on the street sweltered. It's always ungodly hot and humid for a couple of days after a hurricane passes.

The roughest part of getting a whole house generator is paying for it. But once you get one, the sense of confidence it gives is priceless. I have NEVER regretted buying mine.
What brand?
 
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