emergency generator

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Paul Wheaton, Jun 2, 2004.

  1. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    So far we have never been without power long enough to be a problem. But a few years ago (before we moved here) and ice storm knocked out the neighborhood power for a week.

    So it seems it would be good to have a small generator to give a little backup power to the fridge, the freezers, the water pump ... Just plug them in once in a while as needed. Not to run all the house power full time.

    How big of a unit should I look at?

    Would this be big enough? http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.gsp?product_id=2515439&sourceid=0100000030660805002498
     
  2. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    .............I, would NOT buy THAT genset!!....You want to buy a genset with MORE watts than you will need. Home depot has some very good choices. I, would buy the 8 kw model with the auto idle down fearure and an electric starter. .About 11oo bucks but well wirth it. Plus, it has the screw on\off oil filter that you can change to add extra longivity to your engine. The next smaller model I would buy is the 4 kw model. same features as the 8 kw model but it runs about 735 or so. The most important piece of info that you NEED is.....How much is your LOAD going to be?????i.e. how many watts is the genset going to have to PUT OUT to supply power to fulfill your needs.....fordy... :eek: :)
     

  3. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    A fridge or freezer is probably the biggest pig. 1500 watts?

    The plan is that if the power goes out, I'll plug the fridge in for a while. Then I'll plug a freezer in for a while. I might pop down to the pumphouse and plug the pump in for a while.

    2500 watts seems like plenty. Especially for $325. 8000 watts at $1100 makes me think of storing food out in the cold and using a bucket to get water.

    However, if this particular generator is crappy ... well, maybe there is another that could be had for a wee bit more.
     
  4. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Before you power any power generation equipment you need to know how much power you need. You can just guess so say its a freezer so it draws this much power. YOU need to look at the back and see how much power it uses Then for motorized units multiply by 4 for starting power needs.
     
  5. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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  6. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Your well pump will probably be the most difficult item to get started. Also realize the rating on most gen sets are optimistic (overstated)
     
  7. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    .......................Paul, there is a very Important idea here you Haven't taken into account.....If...your fridge needs 1500 watts to run , it probably needs 2500 watts to start the motor. So, if you want to run fridge(1500) , well motor ...probably (240 volts x 10 amps = 2400 watts to run and probably 3000 for a fraction of a second to get the motor going.......That's WHY...you need MORE watts to get things going than just to keep them running. I, don't know how tight your budget is right now so I'm making suggestions based upon what you SHOULD HAVE. You can be Penny wise...and.... Watt Foolish.!!...The 4 kw model at home depot would be an excellent choice in my opinion and I would check at lowes as well........fordy... :eek: :)
     
  8. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    I previously had a 4000 watt and it just would start my submersible pump with everything else off. It takes about 3 to 4 times the wattage to start the device than to run it.
     
  9. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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  10. mary,tx

    mary,tx Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you can afford it, I would suggest considering a welder/generator. I got one large enough to run the well pump to keep the livestock watered since there would be no way to store enough water for an extended power outage (we now have a place with ponds) and of course, to run fridge and freezer, etc. I have rarely used the generator as backup during an outage (actually only once or maybe twice in about 5 years) since the power is pretty reliable here and does not go off for long, though every several years you may get the ice storm that shuts everything down for a few days--none since I bought the generator.

    However, I love the welder function and use it frequently for making gates, building fence corners & H-frames, a goat/chicken barn, a loading chute and steel pipe pen for a very stubborn heifer, and even a bike rack not to mention numerous other uses. I often use the generator 'in the field' to run power tools such as a chop saw and hand grinder which has been far more useful than simply having a rarely-used generator for backup.

    It takes a little practice to learn to weld, but it is great to be able to 'stick' metal together. This has made my investment pay off as a very useful tool, though a bit expensive, a worthwhile buy.

    The larger models 8000 - 10,000 watts or so are about $2,500 new, but you can get a small one that will run the fridge in the $1000 range I think. Check Tractor Supply (farm supply stores) and your local welding supply stores. Some decent brands are Lincoln, Hobart, and Miller.
    Dale (DH of Mary, TX)
     
  11. mary,tx

    mary,tx Well-Known Member Supporter

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    One more thing about a backup generator....
    Don't forget a plan to safely store fuel for your generator and ensure it does not go 'stale'.
     
  12. Jolly

    Jolly Well-Known Member

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    A few years ago, we were without juice for a little over a week, thanks to a hurricane.

    My father-in-law had a 6000 watter, and we swapped it out between us - mostly to keep the stuff in the freezers and refigerators from going bad. It was enough for us.
     
  13. Ed

    Ed Member

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    Last year I bought a slightly used 8,000 watt genset with a nice Honda engine, electric start, etc. from a friend who upgraded to a very much larger system.

    My original idea was to use the genset for emergency backup power during outages and it still serves that purpose. However, this genset is very heavy and too much for one person to wrestle around alone even though the engine, generator, battery, gas tank, etc. are all mounted in a frame.

    So, I bought one of those cheap 48" road legal utility trailers from Northern Tool, then I went to Lowe's and bought a sheet of 3/4" pressure treated plywood (boy that stuff is expensive). I assembled the trailer, bolted on the pt plywood deck and then bolted the genset onto the deck.

    It turns out that I use the genset much more than I originally thought I would. I can tote it around with my garden tractor, an ATV, my pickup, or my farm tractor. Usually I just use the garden tractor. What I found out was that I can now have stand alone electrical power anywhere on the farm. I built seven gates this spring to finish off the installation of a new board fence and being able to use an electric saw and drill out in the field really speeded up the job. And while I do own a complete set of cordless 19.5 volt power tools, they just simply poop out when you're building 16' wooden gates. Also, its been my experience that cordless tools simply don't have the same amount of torque as electric or air tools. My cordless drill is no match for my DeWalt drill when it comes to extended hard work.

    If I need to work on a piece of equipment in the field or away from the barn or shop, having a stand alone source of electrical power is very nice. Usually, I just park the trailer near the work site and leave it there until the job is finished then take it back and park it in the gear shed. I recently took it over to help my neighbor repair his rake in the field. He was very grateful to have electrical power available in the middle of his hay field. And, if I need to have the genset itself worked on, for example if the engine or generator needs repair, I can hook it up to my pickup and pull it to the local mechanic's shop. Of course then I'd have to put some "Farm Use" tags on it or go get some plates for it. Incidentally, if you buy one of the utility trailers from Northern Tool, or anybody else, make certain you get the title paperwork completed that comes with the trailer at the time you purchase the trailer.

    Some guys mount a genset in the bed of their trucks, but unless its being used commercially that arrangement limits the use of the truck. Also, lifting heavy gensets on and off of trucks is not my idea of a good time. If you simply set a genset out someplace next to your house you limit your ability to use the genset for things other than backup power, which may turn out to be an infrequent use of the genset. My arrangement allows the genset to get some exercise throughout the year and makes my work a whole lot easier.

    When winter comes I can pull the trailer up behind the house when necessary or anyplace else where electricity is needed. I find it to be a very convenient way to handle a genset.

    Ed
     
  14. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Guys we ran the chest freezer in our basement off and on for 11 days of ice storm on a Honda 800 watt camping gen so do check out the loading. Furnaces need a good chunk so do wanter pumps. We bought a used Honda 5000 watt during the Ice strom from my cousin in Toronto. I picked up two "crappy" 2500 watt Italian made things last year that were just too cheap to leave behind and will act as a back up to the big Honda. We do have two houses to run here plus the kennels needs heat too and 2500 watts will crank up an oil furnace if not the well pump.