generator/transfer switch

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by ajoys, Jul 26, 2004.

  1. ajoys

    ajoys Well-Known Member

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    Any words of wisdom about buying a generator and installing a manual transfer switch for my house?

    I am planning on using it to run the well pump, furnace (propane, so only needs to run the fan/thermostat), refrigerator and maybe one more circuit for a couple of lights/microwave. Water heater is on propane with a standing pilot so no electricity needed there.

    I haven't purchased anything yet, so any advice on brands or sizes of generators or brands of transfer switchs would be great.

    Thanks
     
  2. Oregonsparkie

    Oregonsparkie Well-Known Member

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    A generator is fine and all but usually very expensive to run. If you are off-grid then it may be something to consider.
     

  3. Ajoys is right. You don't want to get JUST a generator. Assuming you are off-grid, the generator is a good way to go but is inefficient to run all the time, since it will have to run when only a small fraction of its capacity can be used. You should invest in a generator, charger/inverter & battery system, reducing your generator run time to perhaps an hour or two per day.

    The idea is that when the generator is running it will run at full capacity to charge batteries, which will give you the maximum watts/$ possible. When the batteries are charged the generator can stop running. I know that there is someone selling a howto book about this at ebay for around $30, but I have no idea if that book is worthwhile or not.

    This is a good place to post questions about specific equipment and sizing for such a system.
     
  4. ajoys

    ajoys Well-Known Member

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    The generator is just for back up power. I am hooked up to the grid, but during winter there are times power goes down.

    Last year they had a huge storm and some people didn't have power for 5 days.

    I am looking for something to just run the basics, well pump, refrigerator, furnace.
     
  5. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    A refrigerator pulls a lot of power. If this is just backup to the grid you might want to just put in a battery system with charger and inverter so the batteries are all charged up if power goes off. If it is in the winter you can prob keep food cold without needing to run the refrigerator.
     
  6. boxwoods

    boxwoods Well-Known Member

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    My suggestion is a 5500 to 7500 generic electric start. I know the 7500 is about $1200. A transfer switch is about $300 . But you could do all you want to do with a 5000 to 6000 watt

    A pull start is not the way to go in winter. Esp if you do not use it often.
     
  7. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Since you are going to run a well pump I suggest that you opt for at least 6000 watts for the generator. The manual transfer switch is a necessary expense to be safe. I know that many people do not use the transfer switch but if they kill someone then a stranger may be living in their place after the settlement.
     
  8. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ................I see three factors you need to evaluate......(1) Since I don't know at what elevation you are living I'll generalize...for every 1,000 feet above say 2,000 msl you are going to Lose ~~ 5% of the rated hp of the gas engine that is powering your genset...therefore you need to but MORE capacity than you would if you lived at Sea level. (2) forget about powering your furnace if your referring to the "strip heat" that requires BIG AMPS to function . If you're referring to running the fan motor because you have Gas heat then you're OK. (3)...Quality of Generated Power....A home depot genset will produce power that will run the fridge , ceiling fans , water well , lights , Tv, etc. BUT, if you want Clean, stable, sinewave power with a constant 60 cycle wave then you're going to have to buy a genset that is designed to produce that kind of quality of output . This is typically the type of genset they utilize for computers, medical instrumentation , etc. All generators are NOT equal.....contrary to what alot of people think...........fordy..... :eek: :)
     
  9. ajoys

    ajoys Well-Known Member

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    I am at 8,000ft so I will take that in to account.

    The furnace just needs power for the fan.


     
  10. Oregonsparkie

    Oregonsparkie Well-Known Member

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    Everything could easily be run off of several deep cycles batteries and an inverter. Since your on-grid then all you need is a trickle charge on the batteries, you wont even need solar panels. Refergerator is no problem since that time of year your things could easily be kept in a cooler outside where is will be cold anyways. you could get a small generator just to run the well pump, it nothing else just to fill up containers to get past the outage.
     
  11. desdawg

    desdawg Well-Known Member

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    There are propane powered generators available that come with an automatic transfer switch. When the power goes out the generator will start automatically. I believe they automatically run once a week or so just for test purposes as well. Go to E-bay or a search engine and type in "propane generators". Since you already have propane that is what I would check into 'twere me.