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When I built my new house a few years ago I put in a modest battery backup system, which kept me running through a couple of outages, but a couple of years ago I decided to add a genset and have ended up with a rebuilt c.1960 6kW Onan MDJE; originally a marine diesel which the rebuilder fitted with a rad and fan. It's gravity-fed from a 100L (20 g) tank. Built like the proverbial brick outhouse. Nothing automatic about it but it always starts. It is in the covered basement entrance so I built a sound-reducing box for it and have a small ceramic heat lamp and fan inside to keep it slightly warm (50ºF) in the winter to make starting easier. It's pretty quiet -about 38 dBA up in the house - you can barely hear it. Power seems to be pretty clean, too. I don't have an oscilloscope to check it but the voltage is very steady. The computers and surveillance system are on a circuit fed from a small Tripplite UPS/filter unit.

I made the mistake (IMHO) of not putting all the 120 VAC circuits on the battery panel , so there are a few circuits that the battery/genset don't supply, but all the critical stuff, like the well pump, HW boiler for baseboards and washing, most of the kitchen outlets and lights and security camera system, are covered. The batteries (4 Trojan L16 435 AH) will run the house on reduced circuits for several hours, then I can recharge/run the house with the genny.

I'm in the Pacific Northwest (southern coastal BC) so we don't have a lot of outages (or brutally cold temps.) but we were out for 80 hours a couple of winters ago due to an ice storm and I was VERY glad I was able to function. If we get "the big one", who knows? My areas is described as possibly sustaining "moderate" damage, whatever that means. As long as I can get diesel I should be OK if the house is. I have 2 diesel jerry cans for my tractor & small excavator in addition to the tank but am thinking of getting a couple more. I add Stanadyne to the fuel tank and refill the jerry cans from it, then refill the tank.
 

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I got myself a CAT XQ-60 with an internal 176 gallon tank, plus an external 500 gallon tank. May be a little over-the-top, but it wouldn't be the first time I've been accused of that.
 

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This sounds like a good plan to me.

I got myself a CAT XQ-60 with an internal 176 gallon tank, plus an external 500 gallon tank. May be a little over-the-top, but it wouldn't be the first time I've been accused of that.
What is your KW rating and fuel consumption?
 

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At my old house, I had a Generac natural gas generator and it was flawless. I got it after a big ice storm when we were out of power for 8 days. The whole area was devastated. I serviced it for many years and then moved to a new location. The first thing my wife wanted was a whole house backup generator. I had a local dealer put in a 16K Generac whole house natural gas generator and have had him do the yearly maintenance. When they installed it, they showed up with plumbers, electricians and generator people. They took most of the day installing the machine and did a great job. It has been flawless too and never have to worry about fuel.
 

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Kohler and ASCO transfer switch

Just had a 20KW Kohler standby generator and ASCO transfer switch installed in my new home. Runs on propane. Also, had a surge suppressor installed. It is more expensive than a Generac but commercial standard and better components.
 

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I built my house 12 years ago and specified an 15KW generator. Had a choice between
Generac and Briggs & Stratton. Went with the Briggs running off of NG. I have absolutely no problems.

There are some important things to decide. First is do you want it to carry the entire house or just essential parts. For us living in the South AC is essential at our age. In addition to that don't forget to add the garage door opener. We also have both furnaces, microwave, refrigerator, lights, outlets for TV, computer, etc.

For whole house installations I can't imagine not having an automatic transfer switch to transfer the power. Nothing is quite as nice as having the power go off at 2:00 in the morning, laying in bed for the 60 seconds for the generator to come on and then pickup the load.

I've had Zero problems with my unit in the 12 years I've had it. The oil gets changed once a year, and I had to replace the battery once. It has been on-line for up to a couple of days during aftermath of storms.
 

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One thing to keep in mind.
If shiOt truly hits the fan or the electrical grid is disabled, natural gas won’t be available for long. The compressors will stop operating in short order. One or more, propane tanks might be a better option.
 

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One thing to keep in mind.
If shiOt truly hits the fan or the electrical grid is disabled, natural gas won’t be available for long. The compressors will stop operating in short order. One or more, propane tanks might be a better option.
True, but not necessarily truthful. Some compressor stations in our area run on their own power. It is cheaper to use their natural gas than to purchase electricity.
 

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Most of the newer generators will run on either NG or LPG. Most can be changed by turning a screw someplace in the intake system.
 

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True, but not necessarily truthful. Some compressor stations in our area run on their own power. It is cheaper to use their natural gas than to purchase electricity.
Where I grew up, the statement is 100% factual.
Keep in mind, every compressor station must rely on the previous compressor station to be operating.

Dad spent 35 years in the business, in the Midwest, it doesn’t always work as planned. A smart man will have a closed system and will not rely on an outside pump station to save his arse.
 

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Loss of natural gas service may be true in some places but where I live it hasn't happened in the 60+ years I've been alive and unfortunately I've been out of electricity for days at a time.
 

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Does anyone have experience with solar panels?
Might be a good option to augment generator use for long term outages.
Lots of issues around this option. Enough solar panels. Solar panels would require some sort of battery storage system which leads to sophisticated monitors and some pretty expensive deep cycle storage batteries. Inverters to convert the stored electricity back to 110 ac unless you wired a dc voltage system in your house with all of the dc appliances and lighting.

Additional issues: Outages often occur in the winter with no sun and colder temperatures which greatly reduces the efficiency of the solar panels. Shorter days limit the effective sunlight when it is available. You would probably still run the genset for extended periods of time.

If you built your home from the ground up as an off the grid home with all of the concomitant systems and appliances, you would stand a chance. A retrofit to off the grid may be quite expensive.

We lived and cruised on a 47' sailboat for over twenty years and were pretty much self sufficient with a 12v generator, storage batteries, inverter, water maker, refrigeration/freezer etc but I am not sure I would want to try it for a whole house unless it was designed as an off the grid home.
 

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Thanks Cruise.....wouldn’t mind heating more about the water maker.
Maybe a thread about it?
Mine was a 12v, 3.5 gph (rated - not in practice) reverse osmosis deal. Very modest by big power boat standards but then we could make 150 gals of water last for about two weeks if we had to. We would rather not be that frugal! It ran mostly when we were underway by engine power as the electrical consumption was more than I wanted to 'spend' on a regular basis. We sometimes ran off 12v battery power or genset while at anchor.
 

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If I was going for a whole house gen over 12KW, I’d go with a diesel powered.
And a relatively low rpm diesel engine if you can get one!

Do not forget that diesel fuel will support microbial growth on the meniscus of any water that collects at the bottom of the tank so for long term fuel storage a sump drain, anti-fungal and flow additives if you live in a cold climate are necessary.

I like the tractor idea, I may need to look into that-the power can be shut down for a bit to drag a tree off if required. Probably going to have to work on any tree with the chain saw for a bit before it can be shoved out of the way anyhow...
 

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I have a 8KW Generac natural gas unit. It will run the essential circuits. That includes the gas furnace for heat, but won’t even start to power the ac. Keeping a charged battery to start it has been an issue. The built in battery charger is junk. Kept frying batteries. I installed a small battery charger or maintainer on a circuit powered by the generator several years ago. That charger died and I just replaced it. As long as the battery issue is ok, it has been pretty reliable.
If I had it to do over, I’d have gotten a larger unit. Something big enough to run at least the downstairs ac unit.
The one time I really, really needed it, a tornado came thru town and just about destroyed everything. The generator fired right up and we were the envy of the neighborhood. Didn’t last long. Not too far away there were hundreds of houses ripped off their foundations and at least a thousand gas leaks. Needless to say, the gas main got shut off.
 

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When I bought my house in 2013, part of the selling point was the 13k General Guardian already installed, in 2008. It’s on natural gas. I’ve had a batter go dead (two years ago) and more recently (last fall) the 12v charging circuit from the transfer switch to the battery quit. I can’t figure it out (no surprise there) and the Generac Certified electrician can’t figure it out. Over winter, I’ve had a trickle charger in it. I’ll probably just put a solar panel on it, like I have on my dump trailer.

I need to do the maintenance, again, this year, but it isn’t hard.


Funny story, I have some family that lives in very, very rural Oklahoma. One of the brothers works sun up to sun down, away from the house, during the week. While at work, they got a big generator put in. He talked to the guys and decided he wanted one, for his house. He bought and paid for a Generac 12kw unit. While he was at work, they went to his house and built the pad and hooked everything up. His wife was there, but didn’t know what he had bought. He came home to find they had installed a 32kw unit with a V8, instead of the twin cylinder he paid for. He still has it. Even though the unit costs several times what he paid, it would cost them too much to come switch it, if he wasn’t fine keeping the bigger unit. He kept it, even though it uses more fuel than he planned.
 

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The most dependable are those that frequency is regulated by engine speed. Go old school. No real electronics. The older Kohlers, Onans, Kubotas. On my onan turn the governor till you get 62hz on a freq meter and you have 120 volts. That is 1800 RPM on a tachimeter the other way of achieving the correct voltage. Electronic voltage regulators may be nice but good luck fixing one in a natural disaster or shtf.


Onan 12.5JC Manuf. 9/73 and runs like a top. To simple to fail. Unless you run it out of oil or overload it

Sent from my PH-1 using Tapatalk
 
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