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Old 01-29-2016, 06:18 AM   #21
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During a power outage a few years ago, I tried to find a Honda portable generator after hearing that they were the best. They were all sold out in our area. I got an off brand, connected the well pump, water heater, and refrigerator. Worked ok, but lots of work on my part when the power goes out. Adding fuel. Running wires.

I then bought a generac and automated transfer switch. Had to get a bigger gas meter for the increased gas flow. Plumber hooked up the gas. I rewired my panel, hooked up the transfer switch and all is well. I should have gone with the automatic system the first power outage, but I needed a fast solution.


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If the well pump runs on 220 volts, the quiet inverter generators don't help as they are only 110 volts.
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Old 01-29-2016, 06:33 AM   #22
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I rewired my furnace so it had a short cord that plugged into a standard outlet. If the power went out, all I had to do was unplug it from the wall and plug it into the generator.
This is what I have done also. Inexpensive and effective. This way, you don't have to turn off your main breaker, and when power is restored, you know it immediately.
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Old 01-29-2016, 06:39 AM   #23
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The Honda 2000 is definitely a little work horse. And relatively quiet in Eco mode. I bought one back in the summer of 2000 to use on my cabin cruiser when I didn't want to run the larger generator and around the lake property when an extension cord couldn't reach a project. That thing would start on the second or third pull for many years regardless of the last time it was used. I did have to replace the carb once because I left some gas in it for almost a year and it gummed it all up, but $90 later it was back to like new.

I sold it just a couple of years ago for $600. Paid $1050 in 2000.
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Honda 2kW inverter-type portable generator
Old 01-29-2016, 08:54 AM   #24
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Honda 2kW inverter-type portable generator

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If the well pump runs on 220 volts, the quiet inverter generators don't help as they are only 110 volts.

That's good to know. It figures that there is a sacrifice on the 220 in exchange for the quiet inverter. The off brand generator I bought had only 1 - 220 outlet that I had to alternate between the water heater and well pump, and it was very noisy.


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Old 01-29-2016, 11:17 AM   #25
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That's good to know. It figures that there is a sacrifice on the 220 in exchange for the quiet inverter. The off brand generator I bought had only 1 - 220 outlet that I had to alternate between the water heater and well pump, and it was very noisy.
Well pumps really have a high surge current, too. My 5000 watt cheapie generator really struggles when the 100 foot deep well pump kicks in. Water heaters are also power gluttons, that generally have two heating elements. Some people add a switch to one of the elements to allow it to be temporarily turned off. This makes it easier to maintain hot water, but sacrifices a speedy recovery.
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Old 01-29-2016, 05:28 PM   #26
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I bought this Honda EX4500 after four days without electricity in 1999 when we were living in MD. We could get by with it because the house had natural gas heat, stove, and water heater. I read a lot about the need for load shedding, turning off stuff so as not to overload the generator. Even with this one at 4k watts continuous, if DW was using the coffeemaker and hair dryer at the same time everything else except maybe a couple small light bulbs had to be off. The cabinet is lined in foam and it has what looks like a small car muffler on it. Very quiet.

And my father was a power company lineman for a time so yes I did have a transfer switch!

DW was chiding me a bit about spending the money on it (~$2,500 I think) until one February day she came home from work just after dark. I asked "Did you notice anything unusual?"

"No."

"Did you notice that we're the only house on the block that has any lights on? And that the furnace is running?"

Then her light bulb came on.

I drained ALL the fuel from it, carburetor bowl included, and keep it in the basement with a battery maintainer on the battery. It is electric start only, no cord, which I wish it did have for a backup.

The only time we've used it since moving to WV is when her father's power was off. But I just KNOW that if I sell it we'll have a power failure the next day.
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Old 01-29-2016, 05:36 PM   #27
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In the 40 years I have lived in Phoenix, I never had power outage for more than an hour or two, and the times that it happened could be counted on the fingers of one hand.

Else, I would find a way to plug my home to my RV. Its 4kW Onan genset is nowhere as quiet as the Honda generator, but certainly more quiet than the "contractor grade" genset that one can buy for a few hundred bucks. And as it feeds off the 55-gal tank of the RV it can run for quite a while.
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Old 01-29-2016, 06:02 PM   #28
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.........."Did you notice that we're the only house on the block that has any lights on? And that the furnace is running?"........
When I bought mine 25 years ago, home generators were rare. I felt guilty when after a several day outage, I was sitting inside, warm, with my Christmas lights blinking, and I saw my neighbors carrying water from the creek to flush their toilets.

Since then, just about everyone on the street has had an automatic generator installed - except me.
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Old 01-29-2016, 06:18 PM   #29
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I've got a Honda 2000 generator and I love it. Best tip is to get a spare fuel cap, modify it to accept a fuel line and connect a plastic 6 gallon boat gas tank. The run time in eco mode is great. Always run the fuel empty, and drain the carb. There is a screw on the carb bowl and 1 or 2 turns ccw and it will drain the bowl. I had to clean the jet on the carb last fall, not hard, but kinda of a PITA.
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Old 01-31-2016, 09:06 AM   #30
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Back in the 1980s living in the Northeast, we lost power for about 5 days during and after a big snow storm. Since I didn't want to go through an event like that again, bought a large Honda generator which I kept in the garage, and wired it to a transfer box on the other end of the house which was enough to power our boiler, refrigerator, water pump, and some lights. Also, added a Lopi wood burning stove. We were cozy after that during power failures.
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Old 01-31-2016, 09:54 AM   #31
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We get more than our share of power failures here. I don't keep count, but I'm sure we get 5 or 6 a year that last from 2 to 4 hours each on the average. Longest in the past few years was about 24 hours. Lot's of "power flickers" too. So many flickers, that I put UPS's on things like the big TV, DVD player, Direct TV receiver, computers, Internet connections, etc. Most everything else has surge protectors.

I have two 8550/5500 generators but have only needed one at a time. When in use, the generator(s) sit about 50 feet away from the back of the house on an open air porch that extends from my barn and feeds the house through separate under ground power cables to separate electrical outlets. (I wanted to keep all my backup wiring 100% separate from my primary wiring)

When the power goes out, it takes me less than 10 minutes to have everything I want connected and up and running on the backup generator(s). Since I can't run my central air on these generators, I keep a separate 10k BTU 110vac AC window unit for summer outages. (It get's hot here in Texas during the summer)

A good friend on mine down the road has a very similar setup and it's worked well for both of us.

Glad this post came up, it reminds me, it's time for my annual generator oil change.
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Old 01-31-2016, 10:35 AM   #32
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Yes, I think if you live out in the country that having backup power is critical... the utilities prioritize who get power back first... hospitals and other critical buildings... then businesses and then where the most population lives...

Back when our electricity was cut during Ike, we were out for about a week... but there was one guy who lived on a street with 5 houses that was out for two weeks... he was the last one to get it where I worked...

But, it is rare for us to lose electricity for any extended time and when we do it is usually a short time... maybe 4 to 8 hours... not enough time for me to worry and buy something.... Sure, we get the blips every now and then which is why I have UPS on some things, but not enough time for those to even get the gen set out....
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Old 01-31-2016, 10:36 AM   #33
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..........Glad this post came up, it reminds me, it's time for my annual generator oil change.
By far, the biggest problem with generators is that they sit around with old gas in them and gas with ethanol in it, is even worse. Then when the lights go out they won't start or won't run properly. It helps to run the carburetor dry but some carburetors have gaskets that dry out and shrink and cause additional problems. The easiest solution is to add a gasoline stabilizer like this: Robot Check
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Old 01-31-2016, 10:46 AM   #34
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By far, the biggest problem with generators is that they sit around with old gas in them and gas with ethanol in it, is even worse. Then when the lights go out they won't start or won't run properly. It helps to run the carburetor dry but some carburetors have gaskets that dry out and shrink and cause additional problems. The easiest solution is to add a gasoline stabilizer like this: Robot Check
For many people, that's probably true but I run mine often enough that's not a problem for us. Even as often as I run mine, I still use Sta-Bil with each re-fill since "sometimes" it might sit a few months between starts.
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Old 01-31-2016, 10:58 AM   #35
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Yes, I think if you live out in the country that having backup power is critical... the utilities prioritize who get power back first... hospitals and other critical buildings... then businesses and then where the most population lives...
Plus I suspect there is a lot more redundancy built in the power systems in the cities. Based on how often we lose power, we must be near the last on the list for restorations.

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Back when our electricity was cut during Ike, we were out for about a week...
We were in Houston for IKE too. We only were out for about a day but the folks "just across the street" were out for almost 2 weeks. Some folks were running extension cords across some residential the streets for a few hours each day. Not safe to do.

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Sure, we get the blips every now and then which is why I have UPS on some things, but not enough time for those to even get the gen set out....
UPS's have been some of my best (useful) investments. I replace them every 4 to 5 years but even then, it's been useful and cheap insurance for me.
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Old 01-31-2016, 11:12 AM   #36
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For many people, that's probably true but I run mine often enough that's not a problem for us. Even as often as I run mine, I still use Sta-Bil with each re-fill since "sometimes" it might sit a few months between starts.
Right, my comment was for the general audience that might not realize that gas goes bad and causes all kinds of problems.
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Old 01-31-2016, 11:22 AM   #37
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The Yamaha 2KW inverter generators also get good reviews. They are very well made, as quiet as the Hondas, and usually cost less than the Honda 2KW units. They have two advantages according to those who have reviewed them both-the engine has a head that can be taken off for easy cleaning of the combustion chamber (the Honda doesn't--the cylinder is integral with the head) and Yamaha has a valve on the gas line that allows it to be easily run dry (to get the fuel out of the carb). The Honda doesn't have this separate fuel shutoff valve--when you turn off the engine both the ignition and fuel valve are turned off at the same time, so you have to manually drain the carb bowl before storage. One more thing to forget . . .

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Old 01-31-2016, 11:27 AM   #38
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Right, my comment was for the general audience that might not realize that gas goes bad and causes all kinds of problems.
Sure does. I start and run it dry twice yearly. Refill with gas and Stabil.

In February 2002 we were in a all electric home and lost power for two weeks from an ice storm. We had a wood stove that kept it almost 60. More fun was DW had a salt water aquarium with a bunch of expensive corals and fish. She managed to lose nothing during the outage. Lot of hard work and a little dumb luck.
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Old 01-31-2016, 11:30 AM   #39
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The Yamaha 2KW inverter generators also get good reviews. ......
Yamaha also makes a slightly larger inverter generator with an innovative feature - it uses the starter battery to provide a temporary boost via the inverter to start large loads. If not for starting loads, a lot of us could get along with a 1000 watt generator.
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Old 01-31-2016, 01:44 PM   #40
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Yamaha also makes a slightly larger inverter generator with an innovative feature - it uses the starter battery to provide a temporary boost via the inverter to start large loads. If not for starting loads, a lot of us could get along with a 1000 watt generator.
Link did not work for me...
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