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Old 07-11-2012, 11:40 AM   #141
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Or, you could install a transfer switch or transfer panel to power more of the house. The hardware isn't expensive (this simple manual transfer switch allows you to safely energize all your home's circuits from your generator: cost is $100). With this system there's no danger you'll electrocute your neighbors or the power crews by energizing the main lines with your generator. All you'd need in addition is the receptacle for the 30 amp cord from the generator.
PROS: Flexibility- you can run your wood stove blower or gas heater blower, provide power to your fridge or freezer, turn on lights in a room just like normal, etc.
CONS: Flexibility-allows users to turn on too many things at once and overwhelm the generator. Also, this is a heavy-duty wiring project that most folks (or insurance companies/code authorities) would prefer that a licensed electrician perform.

For more bucks you can install a more sophisticated panel that has separate breakers/circuits powered by the generator. rather than powering the whole house.
+1
Back in the 80s we had lost power in our CT home during the winter for 3 days. I bought a Honda generator and installed a transfer switch to power my heating system, water pump, fridge and a few lights. I kept the generator in the garage and ran power from the generator to the opposite end of the house (in the basement) where my electrical panel was located.
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Old 07-12-2012, 05:30 PM   #142
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Just a comment on generators. Undoubtedly, the Honda and Yamaha inverter generators are the highest quality, but they are kind of a mismatch for home emergency use. They are many times as expensive as garden grade generators because they are designed for thousands of hours of continuous use like powering a carnival booth or similar application, whereas a home backup generator will sit for months or even years and then may only run a few hours or days at most. Also, inverter generators have lower surge capacity, which is often the limiting factor when sizing a generator to start home electric motors.

IMHO, a bigger bang for the buck is 4000 - 5000 watt 3600 rpm generator and maybe an inexpensive transfer switch like this Gentran Vintage.
Gentran Corporation: Generator Transfer switches for home & business

I've noticed that Craigslist is full of generators for sale that are virtually new and some even come with a transfer switch where an upgrade has been done to an automatic system.
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Old 07-13-2012, 07:02 AM   #143
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Just a thought:
Don't automatically assume you won't get a good deal from your local Honda dealer.

When I was looking for a home generator about three years ago, I scouted prices all over the internet, and found the absolute best price by far at my local Honda (car) dealer.

Got the EU6500isa (6,500 watts) for about $3,200. Current list price is $4,500.

Fantastic generator. Extremely quiet and reliable.
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Old 07-20-2012, 01:26 PM   #144
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I am not really in the market for a backup genset, but happened to see this smaller 7KW unit that runs off NG or a propane tank.

For less than $2K, it comes with an auto transfer switch and will turn itself on/off in the case you are not home during a power interruption. I have read a report from a user who said the installation cost was less than $500. It will turn itself on weekly (why not monthly?) to exercise itself. It burns 1 gal/hr, and weights near 400 lbs.

Some users say it's quiet, while others say it's loud. I guess it all depends on how far you install it from the house. If I lived full-time up in my 2nd home where we might get trapped in by a snowstorm, I would have considered it. I could install this far from the house and hidden among trees (the wiring might cost as much or more than the genset!), but then some thieves could haul it away without me knowing for a long time.

Thought I would mention this.



And here is a competing unit, of about the same price.
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Old 07-20-2012, 04:59 PM   #145
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Got the EU6500isa (6,500 watts)
After nearly three years, we finally had the opportunity to use this Honda generator for real the other day.
Power was off for about four hours, from 4:30 pm to 8:30, meaning suppertime and getting dark.

Running in the attached garage (exhaust vented outside), we pretty much couldn't hear it, and it used around half a gallon per hour to handle the refrigerator, microwave, a couple of fans and a couple of lamps.

Very glad to have had it handy.
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Old 07-24-2012, 04:29 PM   #146
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I forgot that Costco has been selling a Champion 2000W inverter generator for $500. Two of these can be paired up for more power, just like the inverter generators by Honda or Yamaha. Reviews found on the Web were generally favorable. Also, Costco does not usually sell lousy stuff. Half the price of the Honda, so is worthwhile to check out.

By the way, if you buy this from CampingWorld or Cabelas, it will be yellow in color and costs something like $700. Or you can buy it in red color at Costco for $500.

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Old 07-25-2012, 06:20 PM   #147
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Uh Oh! Here comes another derecho...

Severe Storms, Derecho Possible in Northeast Tomorrow - Bloomberg
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Old 07-25-2012, 08:00 PM   #148
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I forgot that Costco has been selling a Champion 2000W inverter generator for $500. Two of these can be paired up for more power, just like the inverter generators by Honda or Yamaha. Reviews found on the Web were generally favorable. Also, Costco does not usually sell lousy stuff. Half the price of the Honda, so is worthwhile to check out.

By the way, if you buy this from CampingWorld or Cabelas, it will be yellow in color and costs something like $700. Or you can buy it in red color at Costco for $500.
I read an indepth article on an RV forum about Champion and though a Chinese manufacturer, they seem to have an excellent reputation for engineering and quality control. The Honda inverter generators are outstanding, but the price is commensurate.
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Old 06-06-2013, 01:57 PM   #149
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I realize this is super late for a reply, but the answer is yes. There are a few "tri-fuel" (i.e., gasoline, NG and LP) generators by default, including, for example this one at Home Depot.

There are also conversion kits for popular gasoline inverter units (Yamaha and Honda) and you can buy them pre-converted as well.

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Regarding the stale gas and storage issue - does anyone make a smaller size generator like this that runs on natural gas? I would prefer that to keeping all that gasoline around and having to dump it in the cars once/year and refill the cans to keep it fresh.

The only NG units I see are the big whole-house models. I've got gas piped for the grill now, so that would be convenient, if the line is big enough.

-ERD50
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Old 06-06-2013, 06:32 PM   #150
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How strange it is that this thread was just revived today. It caught my eye since we had some bad thunderstorms pass through our area earlier today and lost power. We've been on our generator for about 3 hours now. It's the first time I had to run it this year, which is pretty good around here.
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Old 06-06-2013, 06:54 PM   #151
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I am not really in the market for a backup genset, but happened to see this smaller 7KW unit that runs off NG or a propane tank.

For less than $2K, it comes with an auto transfer switch and will turn itself on/off in the case you are not home during a power interruption. I have read a report from a user who said the installation cost was less than $500. It will turn itself on weekly (why not monthly?) to exercise itself. It burns 1 gal/hr, and weights near 400 lbs.

Some users say it's quiet, while others say it's loud. I guess it all depends on how far you install it from the house. If I lived full-time up in my 2nd home where we might get trapped in by a snowstorm, I would have considered it. I could install this far from the house and hidden among trees (the wiring might cost as much or more than the genset!), but then some thieves could haul it away without me knowing for a long time.

Thought I would mention this.

And here is a competing unit, of about the same price.
I had the 7kw Generac unit mentioned in this 2011 post and happy I did. After spending a considerable amount of time shopping, it ran me about $3800 (unit- $2300, installation- $1500). It resides on the side of my house farthest away from bedrooms -- closer to the kitchen and formal dining room (the latter is rarely used but is pretty )

Saturday, we had an outage and after 10-15 seconds of silence, it kicked on with the hum of a lawn mower and I had power in strategic places in my house. Internet, TV, phone, refrigerator, fans, and other important facilities kept running. When the outage was over, there was a short blip when the generator switch off and normal electricity took over. It was nearly transparent. I suspect there have been outages that went undetected.

This one is highly recommended.
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