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1manWolfpack 11-02-2013 07:41 PM

Generator Recommendations
Thinking about purchasing a generator for the house when the power goes out. Mainly for the toddler and #2 on the way. Any recommendations or experience would be appreciated. Debating a small Honda type that could power a fridge and a small heater all the way to whole home power. We do have gas heat downstairs so could hook a whole house unit into the gas line. Pros/cons of both other than portability? Thanks!

4DoorCrush 11-02-2013 09:15 PM

Generac make good generators. What size gas tank do you have? And what size house do you have?

chucky cheese 11-02-2013 09:16 PM

Need more info. You can get a 17 KW whole house that will run an a/c up to 4 tons with a load management transfer switch. Or get a 6500 watt portable with an 8000 watt surge that will run on gasoline, natural gas or propane. The portable would need a manual transfer switch. That is just the basics. More info is needed to determine your power needs.

4DoorCrush 11-02-2013 09:23 PM

You could always back feed the power through the dryer outlet but I'd not recommend it

1manWolfpack 11-02-2013 09:33 PM

We are on a natural gas line so no tank. House is ~3000 sq ft with dual zone heating/cooling. Electric upstairs gas downstairs with a gas hot water heater. That being said, we can keep hot water with no power and I have plenty of camping equipment to cook with..l just trying to figure out what would be needed to do the whole house backup and if those that have it would do it over again or stick with a small one.

Thanks for the responses so far!

bluevr6 11-02-2013 09:47 PM

I grew up in Raleigh, and in the last 2 decades, south Raleigh has only had extended power outages a coupla 3 times.

Get a portable (Honda powered) to cover the fridge and a small heater and you should be good.

chucky cheese 11-02-2013 09:47 PM

A 17kw with load management will let you live comfortable. If you want to run 2 a/c's you would go to a 20kw. These would be whole house with automatic transfer switches So you would not have to do anything in the event of a power failure. They will run electric heat but would not let you run much of anything else. The whole house types can be configured with power management modules that allow you to use different appliances without overloading the generator. You would be looking at a cost of approx. $8,000.00 to $12,000.00 depending on generator location, gas location electrical location. I have installed plenty of whole house and portables.

TexasGrumpy 11-02-2013 10:10 PM

I have a 20KW natural gas Generac with auto transfer switch. Works great. Because there are lots of trees where I live, the power goes out for several hours quite often. After 12 seconds with no power, the generator comes on, the central 5 ton A/C works and everything else should, although I wouldn't try running the oven, stove top, electric dryer all at the same time with the A/C. It was $12K with 2 years of maintenance included.

I had a 5K & 3K portables and patch cord into main house panel. These were industrial contractor models and about $4,000 Worked fine, but took 5 gallons of gas every 8 hours. During the hurricane, and 14 days with no power, got to be a real pain feeding them.

daggo66 11-02-2013 10:20 PM

How often do you have outages in your area? What is the average duration? Those are important factors.

chucky cheese 11-02-2013 11:00 PM


Originally Posted by daggo66 (Post 5848554)
How often do you have outages in your area? What is the average duration? Those are important factors.

What daggo is asking is relevant. These are deciding factors on how handy you are and how much you want to spend. How is the weather in your location? Is A/C important? Do you want to have a generator come on automatically? are you capable to manually hook up a portable? Generators have come a long way. With a portable you are not dependent on gasoline anymore. We do tri-fuel conversions that allow you to run your portable on gasoline,propane or natural gas. If one source fails or runs out you have an option. A portable will serve you well with a tri-fuel conversion and a generator sub panel with a manual transfer switch. If you need to stay cool get a small 110volt window A/C. A 6500 watt with a surge of 8000 will run most of your basic needs. It will even run a 3 ton A/C unit. But you have to manually hook the generator up. And it will also need a dedicated gas line. Depending on distance from gas meter a 1" is minimum. A 6500 watt portable would run approx. $1000.00. A tri-fuel conversion approx. $350.00
Gas hose and pipe would depend on your houses set up. Allow $800.00 for that. Generator subpanel and manual transfer switch approx. $800.00 depending on your houses electrical setup and service location in regard to generator location. So it comes down to details and what you are capable and comfortable with. A whole lot of options out there. It's what I do for a living.

1manWolfpack 11-02-2013 11:07 PM

Appreciate the posts and personal experience. Don't get a lot of power outages where I am, and normally not for more than 6-8 hours when that does happen. Lived 20 mins away and never had issues. Moved 10 months ago and now it is a little more sporadic which got me thinking about this. Hell hath no fury like a 1.5 year old with no cold milk.

Just don't want to spend $4K for a portable and wish I had have went for the whole system and spend more later on. Although sounds like for my needs the portable should be just fine.

chucky cheese 11-02-2013 11:15 PM

If you are handy. A portable is dandy.

daggo66 11-02-2013 11:36 PM

A portable that could run your refrigerator and maybe one or two other appliances might be the most cost effective based on the information you have given. You will want to run the frig to prevent food from spoiling and a microwave for cooking food. Since you have gas, I would assume you also have a gas stove.

Think about what you would absolutely need to have running, add the watts, then add a little more and get one that can handle that.

The whole house generator is great, but not cost effective if outages are very rare. They also require regular maintenance. The maintenance on a portable is minimal.

4DoorCrush 11-03-2013 06:48 AM

Hell I've been weeks without power before

chucky cheese 11-03-2013 07:40 AM

A whole house is great. I have a 30kw for my all electric 3,000 sq ft home. It is not my main residence yet. So I depend on the generator to run things when I am not there and the power goes out. Which is frequent because it is out in the country with alot of trees. But it is dependent on a supply of natural gas. Sometimes a tree will get blown over and damage a supply line and the gas would be shut off. Then that 30kw generator is nothing but a big metal box. So I have a 6500 watt portable and a 5000 watt backup. They are set up with tri fuel. If the 30kw breaks down, I can fire up the 6500 run it on natural gas and it will run all of my basics along with a couple of window a/c's. I always keep 30 gallons of gasoline on hand in case the natural gas is cut off. A portable set up with a manual transfer switch, The proper male female power cord and proper plugin at the house end makes it easy. Also a flex gas line with quick connects on each end makes it fast to set up. You can also build a little generator enclosure(away from house) and leave a portable ready to go. You can get a 6500 watt 8000 surge with electric start and a built in battery charger on line at But the MAIN thing is to make sure it is always setup so the fumes cannot enter or collect around any living areas. That is the most important part of generators.

bostiguy 11-03-2013 09:52 AM

One more thought, the whole house generator would increase your homes value in case of a re-fi or sale in the future.

1jeeplvr 11-04-2013 08:29 PM

I have a 7000 watt Troy Bilt with a transfer station so I can choose what circuits get powered when I flip the switches.Here it is installed.I just plug the generator into the outlet in my garage.Its the safest way to use a portable

Vt rider 11-08-2013 09:19 PM

I live in a rural area......Log cabin..10 acres of woods, next door neighbor is 1/4 mile away...we loose power several times a year...sometimes for a few hours..sometimes 5 days. I had a Coleman portable 7kw gasoline generator that I bought for Y2K that helped me out through a couple of hurricanes and ice storms and blizzards. After tropical storm Irene, I decided to:
Get rid of the 500 gal. propane tank in the backyard and buy my own 1000 gal. propane tank and bury it in the front yard. Buy a 17kw Generac and buld a pad, and place conduit into the basement of the house and run some wiring, and place an automatic transfer switch.
Got it done, and it's worth every penny (about $7K). It does add to the resale value of the house, and now I don't even think about storms, power outages or any other kind of aggravation. I can leave my house in the middle of the winter and not worry about frozen pipes during any outages. And best of all, it gives my wife peace of mind. And if she's happy, so am I.

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