Recommendations on generators?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by snoozy, Dec 23, 2006.

  1. snoozy

    snoozy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Okay, the recent power outtages in the Pacific NW have convinced me that having a generator is not a bad thing. Certainly better than losing a year's worth of homestead-raised meat in the freezer. (We had a freak "snowdump" just drop 3 inches of heavy wet snow on our hill early this morning, and the power was out AGAIN, but only for 6 hours. Still that is the 6th time since the end of October!)

    So weigh in and tell us what's a good generator and what's a bad generator?
     
  2. hunter63

    hunter63 Well-Known Member

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    If for short term, Honda, extended run Generac.
    Figure what you "need" to run, a lot of sites have wattage usage for different appliances, add them up and that will give you a "size" (Kw's) to look for and price.
    Remember you get what you pay for.
     

  3. e.alleg

    e.alleg Well-Known Member

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    in the winter just put the meat outside in the snow or hang it in bags from a tree if bears are a problem, it will keep. Generators are good for running the water pumpo though.
     
  4. hoofinitnorth

    hoofinitnorth Well-Known Member

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    I thought I had posted it but don't see it here. Costco is now carrying a diesel gennie for $1100 (I think 6KW) in my neck of the woods. Not sure of the quality though.

    I bought a Northern Lights diesel 6KW for a LOT more than that but it is proven for quality & durability at heavy use (I am off grid) and Costco wasn't selling theirs then.
     
  5. AngieM2

    AngieM2 Big Front Porch advocate

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    my son-in-law sells about 6 brands of generators, those at the box stores will have a full rating for about 20 minutes then need the load lower.... might want to check that out.

    Angie
     
  6. mayfair

    mayfair a yard full of chickens

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    Not in the PNW-daytime highs can go into the low 50s and snow rarely lingers long.
     
  7. KCM

    KCM Well-Known Member

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    Compare the costs of the perishables against the cost of the generator (include generator operating costs). Factor in how many days the power would have to be out to lose the entire contents of a freezer. If the generator costs more than the cost of the perishables then you might reconsider and think about putting that money into some sort of interest bearing fund. Running a generator for several days straight might require a better quality than the cheaper shelf models.
    Also consider what kind of fuel you want to use. Gasoline and Propane are options, not sure whether they make diesel or not. Remember if gasoline that you might need to keep a supply of fresh gasoline on hand. Propane is easier to store and it stays fresh far longer. Another thing to consider is whether it is a portable or a fixed generator, and whether it triggers on automatically when there is a power outage. And most important, what are the connection codes where you live. You can seriously injure or kill somebody if it is improperly connected.
     
  8. hoofinitnorth

    hoofinitnorth Well-Known Member

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    KCM - in climates where it gets uncomfortably cool (too cold for sleeping even) or where it freezes, it's also important to consider the cost of frozen pipes and a flood and/or thaw with repairs. Many home owner policies do not cover any floods, including one from a burst pipe and we all know how expensive and so-not-worth-it it USUALLY is to make a claim even if the insurance does pay - would have to be several tens of thousands of dollars to be worth the future harm of having a claim on your record.
     
  9. javabrain

    javabrain Active Member

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    We experience a lot of power outages each year, at least 30 where we live. We had a 5000 w Coleman generator. I had to get it fixed twice while it was still under warranty and once more afterwards. Vibration caused the metal housing to break. The repairman told us that he thinks Coleman should just stick to camping equipment. He was an authorized repair shop and saw a lot of the same problem. We had it for about 4 years then sold it. It worked well and put out the power but had to be watched closely. I like pretty much everything else Coleman makes.
     
  10. papaw

    papaw Well-Known Member

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    So, in a 4KW to 6KW size, what make would he recomend?
     
  11. snoozy

    snoozy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My chest freezer kept things frozen for at least 5 days, at which time I borrowed a 2K watt Honda generator to "recharge" the freezer. I've since lowered the temp of the freezer (so it is even colder than before. ) I didn't try to see how much I could run off the 2K. I ran the computer for a bit, and the TV for a bit, and a lamp. I'm not looking to run the entire house on it or to keep it going for days on end -- just to re-up the freezer as needed during extended power outtages and have some readable light. It would be nice to have one big enough to kick start the well pump and refill the pressure tank. I'm not sure how big that has to be -- 5 or 6K, I think. After the pump is started, I understand it takes less juice to maintain it.
     
  12. zant

    zant Well-Known Member

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    first of all-CHEAP CRAP is CHEAP CRAP and will cost you far more in the long run than spending the money for Quality....That means NO CHINESE crap...small cheap gas gennies will not produce proper voltage above 10amps.I was off grid for 8yrs and my Trace showed the voltage and hertz-we hooked up many different gennys to see what they would do-most produced poor power.As far as gas gennys go -use 6500watt min in order to run a home...my 5000watt Honda would not produce over 56hz past 10amps of power used,neither would my 5000watt Generac...I had a POS Hardy Chinese crap gen that cost 3995 and used 5000 worth of parts to go 6000hrs-my neighbors 9kw Isuzu went 10,000hrs before a 1000$ rebuild....I bought a 12.5kw Isuzu from centralmainediesel.com-free shipping to S.Al and 5yr/5000hr 100% warranty,what a great piece of machinery...At full 50amp(240v)output it is giving 60hz-QUALITY SHOWS...
     
  13. RedneckPete

    RedneckPete Well-Known Member

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    I just bought a bunch of these Coleman generators at the equipment auction. 5000 continuous, 6250 peak watts, brand new. $410 bucks, 10% buyers premium and 14% sales tax in.

    Two serious power failures and it's paid for. They were for others however. I have a genuine Honda for myself. It didn't cost $410 bucks though.

    Pete
     
  14. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ...........Honda has just comeout with two larger inverter type gensets , a 5kw and a 7kw unit . They produce the "grid quality" power so if you're running power sensitive computers or other type equipment you might want to price them and vist with a retailer about their attributes vs the regular gensets . fordy... :)
     
  15. logbuilder

    logbuilder Well-Known Member

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    Just picked up a 5500 watt (6800 surge) Champion generator at Schucks Auto parts. It was on sale for $449 and then there was a coupon for 33% off that. That brought it down to $300. Pretty good for a $600 generator.

    BTW, if you are thinking of powering your house with a generator, please read up on the proper way to hook it up. Improper hookup could be unsafe for the repair teams working to restore power in an outage. Overview here ->

    http://www.baproducts.com/generato.htm

    Robert
     
  16. peahigirl

    peahigirl Well-Known Member

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    You get what you pay for usually. I am off the grid and have done the gauntlet of generators. My experience has been Coleman, Generac, and Troy are good for the short term. If you don't need them much, they should work fine for you as long as you have a generator sized that can meet your load.

    Onan was over rated for me, broke down and servicing was lousy. I loved my old Honda...what a workhorse, but when I bought a new, larger model, it was a real lemon. Seemed that corners were cut in quality while maintaining the high price. I can't tell you how many times it was in the shop while under warranty. It was only 3 years old and by that time, I told the shop to keep it for parts.

    I now have a Yamaha and love it. It is quiet and reliable. Another reason I went with Yamaha, is that I go to those fix it forumns (ha, out of necesssity!)
    and check out how to fix your generator problems. Saw all the brands I've had
    before, but I never saw one for the Yamaha. Not saying it doesn't happen though.

    Have heard that military diesels are the way to go, but I have no experience with them yet. Give me time. :D
     
  17. cornbread

    cornbread cornbread

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    A Honda EU-2000iu will keep everything cool I no.
     
  18. halfpint

    halfpint Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We've had a Honda (I believe 5500kw) since 93, and it still runs great. We've had to use it for several weeks - often after hurricanes have knocked out power for a week to 10 days, and occasionally after a snow or ice storm. We usually run it 2-3 hours in the morning for the refrigerator and freezer - and a few lights and such and have even run the washer (but not dryer). Then again in the evening for 2-3 hours for the freezers, lights and maybe TV. Power to our area is run in through a wet - almost marshy area, and often when we get heavy rains trees will fall on the lines and our power will be out for days as we seem to be the last area serviced, and this seems to happen at least once per year.

    One of the things we've done to keep it running well is to run the gas out of it when we're through, so that it doesn't gunk up in the engine.

    We've looked at the diesel one at Costco, and considered it, but it's only 5KW, so has no more power output than ours. The benefit to the diesel is that we've considered making our own biodiesel for our 2 diesel vehicles and tractor, and with a diesel generator could make some for that also, plus storing diesel fuel is not as dangerous as gasoline.

    Another option we had considered is a pto generator to run off of our tractor, might be something you want to consider if you have a tractor (or maybe a good reason to buy one;) Since our tractor is only a 12 hp, it was a little small for the generators we could find at the time. The 7kw generators required a 14 hp tractor, and ours is a bit small for that.
    Dawn
     
  19. Pink_Carnation

    Pink_Carnation Well-Known Member

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    It is true that it would take alot of meat to pay for a full blown generator but if you get a smaller one just to run the freezer it might be worth it.

    If you want a bigger one think of the other things it would be nice for...septic pressure mound, well pump, heat, lights, hot water etc. The usefullness and size you would need depend on what you are going to run.

    Things I would consider...noise, reliablity, storage for the fuel, and capacity.
     
  20. MWG

    MWG Well-Known Member

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    I have three. A Generac 4K, Homelite 4.2K and my favorite is a Troy 7800 with a starter. It really sucks when you have a power outage dragging them out and having to pull start them. Plus the starter is nice when I am not home and the wife has to start it.

    If you have the money I would reccomend one with a starter. I got two of mine after a hurricane when everybody was bringing them back to the stores. Got them at 50% off AND with a tank of gas!

    Not sure if you have an RV, but the 7800 will run everything on my RV except the AC so if we had a house fire we could move to the RV...