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House generator, thoughts.

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I'm sure this has been discussed before but, since going thru Hurricane Ian ( I'm in North Port, Florida ) and haven't had electricity from FPL since Wednesday. At least I have my Miller ( welder/generator) Big Blue 400 for a power source. Its not wired into the panel, just a couple of cords running power to refrigerators and powering up phones and laptops. What are you thoughts on "whole house" generators, gasoline, propane or diesel?
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We got a 22 kW Generac after hurricane Florence devastated our area. I love it and it provides immense peace of mind. We have a 500 gal propane bottle buried nearby (my wife would not let me get a large bottle like you see at propane suppliers or on their trucks ;)), We can get by for 10-14 days with our normal power consumption. The power was out for 10 days after Florence, but we got by with my little Briggs & Stratton portable generator.

Whole house back-up generator systems are expensive and complicated to install. We had an outstanding electrician who is a certified Generac distributor. I strongly recommend a Generac for anybody concerned about providing for their family in a natural disaster.
 

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I have a friend in North Port. I'm in NJ. I have a 9500 portable in an enclosure that I can plug in the side of the house and power everything in the house. Have to kill the main on the panel, lock it off and flip on the 50amp for the generator. Might be better for you to get the 22000 like Bill has. You need that much to initally power everything up.
 

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we wanted a 7.5 kw generac when we responded to the ad. we had a 5.5 kw gas generator but storing gas( and then not using it) was getting old. ( our cars require 93 octane, the generator used 87). I gave th e gas generator to a friend who had his circuit breaker panel wired already.

we ended up with a 22 kw generac natural gas genset. was hit with the remnants of Ida the next day-- it worked perfectly. our neighborhood lost power when it was 10 below last winter--we had heat and power. again worked perfectly.

you get whole house power without lifting a finger. you have to pay to have a monitor service( your installer monitors the system and the system tells them if there is an issue) as well as yearly oil and filter changes. still worth it !
 

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I have a friend in North Port. I'm in NJ. I have a 9500 portable in an enclosure that I can plug in the side of the house and power everything in the house. Have to kill the main on the panel, lock it off and flip on the 50amp for the generator. Might be better for you to get the 22000 like Bill has. You need that much to initally power everything up.
there are great panels out there that make it easy to switch over to agenset. I was able to pick and choose where the power went when we had only 5.5 kw. cold food, warm house and hot showers were the priority
 

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there are great panels out there that make it easy to switch over to agenset. I was able to pick and choose where the power went when we had only 5.5 kw. cold food, warm house and hot showers were the priority
I can do that. I have more generator than I need. I'll never use the heat and air conditioner at the same time but I did the math to include everything in the house so I know I'm covered.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Get a nice solar panel and a battery rack for the same cost.

At least you can use that everyday.
Thats something I didn't think about! Its only been a few times in 22 years I lost power here. I dont think a 22K generator is in my pay grade. Really just need lights and refrigerator, fans and power up devices. But going to look at Generic and Solar back up.
 

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... generators, gasoline, propane or diesel?
Post hurricane, and pre-hurricane too, gasoline can be tough to find. When you have millions of people evacuating an area, and it seems like millions of others buying gasoline for their generators the day before the hurricane hits, gas is usually at a shortage.

Post hurricane, with power down, limiting gas stations ability to pump gas, and resupply deliveries stopped or slowed by access to the stations, and the incredible high demand as it seems everybody is trying to run a gas generator 24/7, sourcing gasoline could be a problem.

Edit to add: from your own post in the "Florida is Bracing Again" thread to emphasize my point

We got more LEO's at gas stations controlling the mayhem than a Trump Rally!
 

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Have a whole house Generac and a big propane tank, a wonderful thing. Power goes down and in just 15 seconds it is back on. Had a gas generator before and you could get by with it, but there was a lot of fooling around switching from one appliance to another and positioning it where it would be hard to steal but also CO safe. Was without a generator in Y2K and lost power for nearly a week in the suburb of a major city. Never again. Still have the gas and a new dual fuel as well. Even with the whole house machine, you still have to reset all the clocks and timers.:)
 

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Get a nice solar panel and a battery rack for the same cost.

At least you can use that everyday.
Considered this for my home in Punta Gorda, FL. However, several homes in my neighborhood lost solar panels to Ian. Some kind of generator seems the better solution here.
 

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Get a nice solar panel and a battery rack for the same cost.

At least you can use that everyday.
The sun don't always shine, even here in Montana. Today is the last of 3 rainy days! And the wind blows without a hurricane. Threw a metal and glass patio dining table fifteen or so yards and shattered it. Been using this generator 5 years without an issue. Just had it overhauled, good for the next 3 at least. I'll get it serviced sooner next time, they suggest every 2-3 years.
 

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Natural gas and propane is best with all things considered. Fuel does not go bad like gasoline and diesel can. It takes a bunch of batteries and solar panels to run very much at all. Solar panel or two to keep the generator starting battery charged when not being used is a good idea. Get a name brand genset. Parts and service will then be possible. Then again, if funding is a problem, get what you can. Probably a lot of people would be happy to have a cheap generator right now.
 

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The Generac test runs and charges the battery every Monday morning. All you need to do is replace the battery when it starts to get close to end of life and you are good. No, other than as a VERY satisfied customer, no connection!
 

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I'm 1hr north of Tampa and been thinking about one with burying a propane tank under ground.
 

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I am an industrial/commercial electrician and I have installed both Koehler and Generac generators in commercial buildings. They are both fine machines but my nod would go to the Generac. They are just very, very nice machines.
I would also echo the thought that propane is the more reliable choice. Gasoline can (will) go bad over long term storage and will be hard or impossible to get after life goes sideways and natural gas leaves you dependent on the gas company.
My suggestion would be to get a Generac and have a transfer switch installed. Don't plan on running cords to save a buck, you don't want to be doing that in emergency situations. And you are healthy enough to pull out the refrigerator to get to the cord and mess with sump pump power and such today, but will you be in 10 years? If you are investing in a generator I assume you plan on keeping this house.
Here's another thought, every fuel source runs dry, even a 500lb propane tank. It wouldn't hurt to also grab a smallish Honda gas generator for when your propane runs dry so at least you can keep a refrigerator and sump pump and a few lights going a little longer. Who says power will only be out for a week?
 

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I have an 8KW Generac that is natural gas powered. It will also run on propane without modifications. I haven’t added the plumbing to use propane, but it’s a pretty simple thing. We had a EF-5 tornado come through our little town in 2011. My house wasn’t damaged, but a block away was total devastation. Looked like it has been carpet bombed. The power went off and the generator kicked off and never skipped a beat. Until, the gas company shut off the main. There must have been 1000 houses ripped off their foundations, and most of them had a gas line. Took about two weeks to get power back. Got gas back at the same time. We lost power for 28 hours last month after a severe thunderstorm. The generator kept us in lights, tv, fans etc.,but no AC. In winter, the generator will operate the gas heat. If I had it to do over, I’d have installed a bigger generator. But it was installed in 1999, in anticipation of Y2K.
 
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