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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    1

    Default Buying a whole house generator for home

    After this electric outage which lasted 61/2 days and many others through out the years we have decided to buy a generator as a backup. A day or two is fine, we have a portable gas generator that helps along with oil lamps and a space heater in the winter.

    Since we have a 500 gallon Propane gas tank we are interested in getting one that runs on that. We have looked at Generac and Kohler.

    If anyone has purchased either in the past year or two what is your review and to anyone that knows about these two manufacturers, which one uses less gas.

    Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
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    6,736

    Default Re: Buying a whole house generator for home

    Brilliant idea. Only trouble: you must keep it top operating condition 24/7, to be useful in time of need.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwet
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    1,661

    Default Re: Buying a whole house generator for home

    Another reputable brand is Cummins Onan. Despite the Cummins name being associated with diesel engines, they also make propane and natural gas powered generators.

    (Disclaimer: my brother works for Cummins so there's a natural bias. )
    Last edited by Fencepost; 09-08-2011 at 01:42 AM.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: Buying a whole house generator for home

    How much approximately would one Cummins Onan generator cost? Do we get discounts if we buy through your brother?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,836

    Default Re: Buying a whole house generator for home

    Be sure to check consumption. Have a neighbor that has one, when the electric was out for several days theirs kicked in and ran fine but used nearly 3 gals an hour. Of course it powers a very large house, but at that rate it could be a problem after a storm when propane may not be available for delivery.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    71

    Default Re: Buying a whole house generator for home

    Cost of running a generator is a real issue.

    I recently bought a portable generator to cope with hurricane Irene.

    It is 5250 watts and the manual states it will run 13 hours at half load on a full tank. Capacity is 7.5 gallons.

    With gas averaging 4 dollars a gallon, The cost to operate is nearly 60 dollars for 24 hours at half load. I can approach half load with just a few things that I would want in an outage so realistically, the cost to operate is going to be higher.


    Natural gas may be a bit cheaper but there is no way we can approach the economies of scale that the utility companies have.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    michigan
    Posts
    2

    Smile Re: Buying a whole house generator for home

    Backup power is always a good idea but whole house power is its own set of considerations. Generac usually only warranty hole house generators for about 600 hours. often they don't last that long, not because of the manufacturer but because of the type of engine. Either std gas or LP they run at high speeds and suffer from it. Pls consider a diesel generator in your planning. They are more fuel efficient and cost effective. They also don't have the electrical system to fault as a standard gasoline engine. They are more expensive to buy But worth looking at. Good luck.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: Buying a whole house generator for home

    GENERAC Guardian series generators are warranteed for 3 years . No hour limit . Not sure about their other models .

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    251

    Default Re: Buying a whole house generator for home

    Diesel more cost effective than Natural gas? Sure about that? I see fuel stability and gelling in cold weather an issue as well.

    Natural gas costs about $1.25 per therm. You et 100,000 BTU"s for that. Diesel runs around $4/gallon and delivery 147k BTU's per gallon. Even if the diesel engine is 30% more efficient thermally (not likely that much)... natural gas is still around 1/2 the cost. Less if you factor in the higher up front costs.


    Natural gas is supplied continuously and it the delivery is extremely reliable and in unaffected by most natural disasters... and even after severe tornadoes that may have levelled houses, is restored well before electricity.
    1925 Two-Story Stucco Beaux Arts Neoclassical

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Columbiana, Alabama
    Posts
    738

    Default Re: Buying a whole house generator for home

    As Jack mentioned running the generator for short periods of time is the key for long outages. Who wants or needs to listen to a 30K generator 24/7? Besides it drives the neighbors crazy.

    Chargeable flashlights (or an inverter/battery)and a some form of aux. heat allow the generator to be run for a few hours a day, to charge the batteries, watch the news. A generator will also heat the water, cool the house and cool/cook the food.

    In the future, you may have an electric car which could seve as an emergency generator, if it had the ability to charge the battery.

    Good Luck from Columbiana, Alabama
    Maurice Turgeon, http://the semi-retiredelectrician.com

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