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Discussion Starter #1
Any of you folks have any experience with a residential stand-alone generator. I'm considering one for my home, but I'm not sure about what size I need, what brand is good, etc.... I'd just like to have an idea of what I need before I contact a dealer/installer for whatever brand as I don't want to be over or under sold.

Any insight for info is appreciated!!
 

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Medium Pimpin!
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You need to figure out how many things you want to run if the power is out and then buy a unit to suit your needs. There are power consumption charts to help you figure out what you need plus surge. Also buy a transfer switch because it makes things alot easier and safer. Generac makes decent units that are affordable.
 

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A. K. A. Maddox
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I have a Generac 12kw. Works great! My house is about 3200 sq. ft. It wont run everything at once, but damn near it. It was with the house when I bought it...I have all of the receipts and it was about 5k total (installed in 2003).
 

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I have a Generac 12kw. Works great! My house is about 3200 sq. ft. It wont run everything at once, but damn near it. It was with the house when I bought it...I have all of the receipts and it was about 5k total (installed in 2003).
Same here... less sq. footage but I run the A/C,Fridg,Freezer,lights,alarm,ect.. Never an issue!!! DO NOT GET THE AUTO TRANFER SWITCH!!! I seen 3 houses burn to the ground after the 2 hurricans in Florida because of the auto transfer switch... Get the manual plate that goes inside the breaker panel.... Very safe,even the wife can use it....
 

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time to go racing yet ?
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been looking at them also , deff go with a manuel switch , the only thing that sucks about them is if you not home it wont turn on . but o well atleast my shit wont be in ashes !
 

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I have installed one and worked on ( routine oil changes etc.) Generacs and unless you really have a lot of money to throw around or have a whole lot of outages and are a light sleeper the Generacs are hard to beat.

As far as sizing, the main load will be A/C and the condition of the unit makes a huge difference, for a given size A/C unit, a new high efficiency unit will pull about 1/3 rd the amps on start up as an old unit in bad shape. Although if you do have an old unit installing a hard start capacitor on it will help protect your investment. And of course common sense goes a long way try not to preheat the electric oven to 450° while the A/C is running......

Now where I live I am talking about a house with gas fired heat and water heater, if you have resistive heating or a heat pump using resistive backup the deal changes as both of these are absoulute pigs but I have no experience with them.

And I would try to keep from running the Miller Syncrowave 350 on any 1" plate till the power comes back on :rolleyes:
 

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i would suggest getting a propane or natural gas unit. taking care of gasoline or diesel will get old after 2 or 3 years. large propane tank wont go stale on you.
 

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I have 16kw generac, ( got a deal on it) on propane, as in an emergency, where do you get natural gas or gasoline?
thru a manual switch, it will run everything in the house.
last power outage, was so dark, yet my house was lit up like a xmas tree, ( yea, I did it on purpose)
I could see neighbors out and about, looking at my house , I wonder what they were saying? LOL ( probably said look at that asshole!)
its not very loud, and and I service it once a yr, it has weekly run cycle , I seldom hear it come on.
 

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RED ROCKET
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normally the ones that run on nat gas will run on propane as well..thats what they say when you read about them..i plan to get a 17kw for my house and its all electric..they said it will run the whole house no problem.
 

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SASQUATCH RACE TEAM
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normally the ones that run on nat gas will run on propane as well..thats what they say when you read about them..

be careful some are some are not. there is a different setup for each type of gas. also tank size and supply line size are very critical to the unit ability to carry full load.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
how much money do you want to spend?
what can't you live with out?
Yeah, this seems to get right down to it. Frankly, here in Houston in the summertime........AIR CONDITIONING is what I can't live without. :-D I have 3 central units. 5,4,&3 ton units, so looks like I'll need a fairly sizable unit, unless I want everybody caged-up in my bedroom.

I'd like to hear more about the problem with the automatic transfer switches. I like the idea of having an automatic transfer, but really don't want to burn down my house.
 

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all motor
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I test ASCO automatic trasfer switch's at work, and have not had any major issues with them. THis is commercial, but I would install one at my place if I wanted to.
 

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We had a couple of the cheaper ones and they're really crappy for electronics, with the voltage varying wildly. UPSs on computers would beep and go crazy, some things would even shut down. Had them repaired, adjusted, whatever.

Went to a Kohler with electronic controls and it is night-and-day. Everything works perfectly, hard to tell if you're on the generator. We have it tied into our natural gas line, with an automatic transfer switch. Power goes out, and within a minute, it's like nothing even happened. While our neighbors are wheeling out something and trying to find the gas, and connecting the line, and making a racket that could wake the dead, we're watching satellite TV... One Christmas eve we came home to find the power was out, and the only house in the neighborhood with power was ours, outside lights and all. Pissed off the neighbors something awful :)
 

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The fire issues were reported as power surge or faulty auto transfer switch which caused power to backfeed... the backfeed is when power leaves the house back to the power pole killing the linemen working the outage.. In the case of the house next to me the fire dept. said there was a hot iron press left on a bed but the power switch was OFF when it was found??? Fire dept. said a power surge to the iron caused the fire.. I have a hard time beleaving that but I'm not a fire inspector!!! By the way 3 A/C units of that size??? You sir should not be worried about how much that generator is going to cost... you live in a Hotel with that square footage!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
By the way 3 A/C units of that size??? You sir should not be worried about how much that generator is going to cost... you live in a Hotel with that square footage!!!

LOL. Yeah, not so much worried about the cost, just want a better idea of what I need, what's good, what's junk, etc..... This will give me peace of mind knowing that I'm getting what I'm paying for vs just signing a blank check.
 

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X3 on the natural gas or propane... We have a few houses on the block that have gasoline ones the ethanol is killing them and when they run at a load they use more fuel than toterhome...You can't get any fuel here when there is a hurricane ...The propane ones use 1/2 the fuel....
 

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Yeah, this seems to get right down to it. Frankly, here in Houston in the summertime........AIR CONDITIONING is what I can't live without. :-D I have 3 central units. 5,4,&3 ton units, so looks like I'll need a fairly sizable unit, unless I want everybody caged-up in my bedroom.

I'd like to hear more about the problem with the automatic transfer switches. I like the idea of having an automatic transfer, but really don't want to burn down my house.
ok. your going to need a bigger unit than most. with out know what size feeder you have i will assume you have a 250 amp service. you will need about 60 kw worth. this should be enough to run every thing. with 3 ac units you will need a good size generator because of the skva(starting amps).

as far as ats burning down houses. i have seen 480 switches blow up and not burn down any thing. i would bet money the fires were due to improper installation or over loading of the load cables. as far as ats's go you get what you pay for. same goes for generators. you want to buy some thing you can get fixed in a reasonable amount of time.

my personal recommendation for a ats is a asco 300 series. they very reliable easy to get parts and most areas have field service tech that can repair it in site. generators are pricey when you get this big. look for a low hr used unit. cat/kholer/onan/multiquip are the major players.

you will go though natural gas and propane like it going out of style with this size unit. diesel is a better fuel but most home owner do not want to deal with the hassle of getting fuel delivered.
 

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SASQUATCH RACE TEAM
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The fire issues were reported as power surge or faulty auto transfer switch which caused power to backfeed... the backfeed is when power leaves the house back to the power pole killing the linemen working the outage.. In the case of the house next to me the fire dept. said there was a hot iron press left on a bed but the power switch was OFF when it was found??? Fire dept. said a power surge to the iron caused the fire.. I have a hard time beleaving that but I'm not a fire inspector!!! By the way 3 A/C units of that size??? You sir should not be worried about how much that generator is going to cost... you live in a Hotel with that square footage!!!

there is only a few ways for a ats to back feed the grid.
1. improper installation.
2. mechanical failure.(unlikely)

most of the problems come from a breaker type of connections. were the customer opens the utility main breaker before closing the generator main breaker. i would bet money most of them forget to open the utility breaker. when the utility comes back the generator is going to be on the loosing end of that deal.
 
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