How big of a generator would I need?

Al

Messages
19,272
Location
Elizabethtown, Pa
Make sure you do a consumption test. Most important. At 17% efficiency you will get 5.7 KWW per hour. Do the math. People get 6KW units and find a 5 gal gas can doesn't go very far.

I have a family room with 400 gals of Propane. I usually use 300 to 350 gal per year. I have a 1800 wat gen and a Jackery 1 KWH storage cell with a solar collector. I have a swimming pool for water and a couple months food. I planned rforthe long run vs being able to live in my usual style for a few days.
 
Messages
3,426
Location
Outer Banks, NC
I live in hurricane country, and I've had a 16kw standby generator for 14 years, fed by a 500 gallon underground LP tank. If you want to do it right and safely, get a generator dealer to come out and give you an estimate of what's needed to run the appliances and HVAC systems you want to run. Then you can size it up or down according to your needs. AND only do your own installation if you use a proper transfer switch.
 
Messages
547
Location
key largo,fl
redhat said:
..freezer, hot water tank ..

This little switch allows you to throttle 4500watts down to 1125watts by switching voltage from 240v to 120v with a simple switch.

It has no effect on your hot water heater function (assuming standard electric type) other than taking longer to heat cold water.


We use this when running whole house on a Honda 5kw inverter generator
 

redhat

Thread starter
Messages
2,288
Location
WNY
I have thought about this more -- I am really interested and considering a smaller Honda EU2200i. When it comes to brass tax, my main concerns are the pellet stove and a refrigerator. The pellet stove can easily heat the entire house and I always have enough pellets.

Plus I could also use the Honda for when I go camping. I plan in the future to get a whole-home Natural Gas Generac. But that is some years down the line.
 

redhat

Thread starter
Messages
2,288
Location
WNY
Plus I am leaning inverter for the gas savings and cleaner power for the more sensitive electronics.
 
Messages
6,756
Location
New England
How big of a generator might I need?

This would be needed in the event of a power emergency. Looking to run my furnace and a few lights at a bare minimum. Truth be told, that would be sufficient in the event of an emergency.

If power outage were to exist for a few days, I guess I would look for something that could run the furnace, few lights, one fridge, one small chest freezer, hot water tank and my pellet stove. My furnace is a new Goodman gas furnace forced air and my HWT is also gas.

Thanks.
This is a Honda Generator very few know of:
in OP case I would get that or a 3500watt / 5000 peak non inverter .
 
Messages
2,253
Location
British Columbia, Canada
I have a Champion 4500/5800 Watt generator that I've had for more than 10 years and have used only once when we had a 36 hour power outage. I park it in the garage under my workbench.

During the power outage I pulled it outside, connected it to the refrigerator and freezer using extra long heavy duty extension cords and ran it for a half hour or so every few hours. We live in a fairly mild climate so freezing pipes aren't a concern and anyway we have a woodstove for back-up heating. We cooked outside on the barbecue and went to bed when it got dark. We have several battery powered lights for emergency lighting but we don't run them for hours on end. We have a 182 liter/48 gallon hot water heater and by using our hot water sparingly we never ran out.

This system is intended to get us through an emergency and not for comfort. It was a big relief when the power came back on.

We found a few things were missing from our emergency supplies kit - extra batteries and ground coffee to use in our camp style coffee maker on the side burner of the barbecue.
 
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5,189
Location
Pittsburgh,PA U.S.A.
I have two generators. A 3600 RPM Coleman Powermate 5000 Watt / 6250 Watt starting capability with a 10 HP Tecumseh , that is big enough to power the whole house AC system, and a 2200 Generac inverter that can power the furnace and a few lights and a TV. I have a DPDT 30A contact relay with both of the NC contacts wired in parallel, and those wired in series with the hot leg between the fuse box and the plug in the kitchen for the fridge. I have a connection from the main air moving motor on the furnace feeding a switch that feeds the DPDT relay, so if there is an outage and we are using the 2200 Watt inverter to run the furnace, when the furnace main blower motor is on and the switch is thrown the DPDT NC contacts open and the fridge can not get power. When the furnace blower motor shuts off the DPDT NC contacts close and the 2200 Watt inverter powers the fridge. This repeats automatically, with the furnace getting priority, and the fridge getting power when the furnace is not running. With this set-up the small 2200 Watt inverter can run the furnace and fridge, separately, when both of them together would be more than it could handle. I also have a small 120 AC red indicator light wired to a second contact on the switch so that when this mode is selected the red light being on indicates that the switch has been thrown.

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BTW, as I have posted before, if you do have a 240 VAC resistive heated electric water heater, and you rig up a switch to temporarily run it on 110 AC when running on the generator, it will use 1/4 the rated power when running on 120 AC. This is because at 1/2 voltage it will draw 1/2 the amount of current. And because 1/2 X 1/2 = 1/4 it will use 1/4 the amount of Watts. This may allow you to use a small generator to power an electric water heater, that otherwise would require too many Watts for it to be able to run it. Of course the water heater will require 4 times longer to heat the water. So it may be that after someone uses a lot of hot water, the next person will have to wait a much longer than normal time before enough hot water is available for them whenever the water heater is running in this mode.
 
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JHZR2

Staff member
Messages
46,390
Location
New Jersey
This crossed my mind when shopping HVAC ... what’s in the really efficient units ? Maybe some insulated gate bipolar transistors ?

possibly IGBT, or else SCR to make dc then flip back to clean AC. Also allows for variable speed on the engine.
 

4WD

Messages
17,273
Location
Texas
possibly IGBT, or else SCR to make dc then flip back to clean AC. Also allows for variable speed on the engine.
Yes, the system we discussed was VFD … and once I pressed harder the technician spoke up and said a couple had gone out because of thunderstorms. Our power lines follow a tree line and lightning has hit several times. Avoided that system.
 
Messages
546
Location
VA
Plus I am leaning inverter for the gas savings and cleaner power for the more sensitive electronics.

Don't limit yourself to just Honda. Yamaha is generally a Db or 2 more quiet, has a fuel shutoff so you can run the carb dry and has a metal cam gear instead of the Honda's plastic one. Full disclosure, I have blue generators.

Although I don't know anyone who has put any serious hours on one of the champion or harbor freight inverter generators, they tend to be half the cost of the red or blue gens. The ones I have heard run are nowhere near as quiet or red or blue, but they weren't that bad.
 
Messages
6,756
Location
New England
My take is add a 220V circuit in panel panel with lockout switch or if you have an outside main shutoff upgrade to one with 220V circuit. Then this forces you to buy a size generator that have a 220V plug and you simply twist lock it in and can pick and choose your circuits you want to run without having cords running all over the place. I have this setup however also have a well pump requiring 220V anyway and no running water is downright miserable and not livable situation for more then 24hrs. My generator (6800W/8000 Peak Rigid) burns 1/2 gallon an hour. I am fortunate to live near 24 hr truck stop that has generators for fuel pumps.

Your small camping one may work for your needs. My FIL uses his F150 idling with a 3000 Watt inverter clamped to battery to power his gas boiler for heat/HW, a lamp, Fox News :) (TV/Cable), coffee pot and fridge.
 
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4WD

Messages
17,273
Location
Texas
Again … folks really need to sit down and work out what “minimum“ is during an outing. I will take watts/dollar over “clean power” and the price point where Honda invertors are. A small unit (have those too) for camping is really cheap.

For $1k I can keep my big food investment refrigerated (job 1) … and run a portable AC (on wheels) … I have 4 x 15 amp plugs and will pick and choose how to use them. Fortunately we have many things on NG, and that includes a gas fireplace, water heater, and stovetop… iPhones have data and hotspot for iPads and laptops so we don’t run TV’s

Last but not least … dual fuel and electric start are big considerations … propane or NG is not going to gum up the carbs
 
Messages
12
Location
Virginia
I got a 6500 construction type of genset. Learned the hard way between clean and dirty electricity. That genset blew my furnace's circuit board...but was able to by-pass that by going manual mode. Thank God, because power was out for a week. Turns out that the power going to that board fluctuated wildly and fried the circuits.....250 dollars later, it was fixed. Still got that genset but if I have to use it, I think I'd make sure everything was shut down, then fire up the furnace for a while. I figure that if there is nothing else pulling from the genset and when that furnace kicks in, maybe it won't pull down the rpm's that much and hence, less voltage flux. But, something to keep in mind. I surely won't be using it to power up really sensitive items like newer TV's. I got an old CRT tv for that....those things are tough as nails and just never quit.
To add to the furnace issue:

My Carrier gas furnace will not run properly when disconnected from the house wiring and connected to the generator with a plug and cord. Looks like the furnace control board is looking for the neutral and ground bond at the panel. Another possibility is my Honda EU3000iS is a floating ground and although 120V L-N at the plug is really 60V L-G and N-G.
Although likely this is only on a specific furnace board and specific generator it is good to know when operating a portable with cords rather than a transfer switch and a N-G bond.
I was able to run the furnace but setting a DIP switch to emergency mode, this bypasses the motor speed controls and runs everything at full speed rather than variable. I wouldn't to do that very often, for me I did that once, it was 20 degrees outside, power off for a day.

All that being said my EU3000iS will power everything I need with cords: computers (4), internet, TV, fridge, gas dryer, washer, microwave. I dont expect to run everything at one time so I do some load balancing.
 
Messages
6,626
Location
Scruffy City
I have thought about this more -- I am really interested and considering a smaller Honda EU2200i. When it comes to brass tax, my main concerns are the pellet stove and a refrigerator. The pellet stove can easily heat the entire house and I always have enough pellets.

Plus I could also use the Honda for when I go camping. I plan in the future to get a whole-home Natural Gas Generac. But that is some years down the line.

If you get the companion model you can parallel it to another 2200i should you need to. Not the it will be any cheaper than a larger generator to do so...
 
Messages
276
Location
MI
Many say they only want the bare minimum when purchasing. But if a major disruption in electricity occurs, these folks with the minimum realize that they really wanted more.

How many of us buy the 4 cylinder N/A vehicle when a turbo or a 6 cylinder is available at a higher cost?
I think opinions are influenced by where we live. In Michigan, I don't need to worry about air conditioning. I do, however, need to worry about running the furnace. For me and my family, we are fine with the base essentials (some lights, Internet, TV, fridge and furnace). If it gets hot, we'll use a fan to stay cool. In Florida, I'm sure having a large enough generator to run an air conditioner is essential.
 

redhat

Thread starter
Messages
2,288
Location
WNY
Update -- I picked up a Honda EU2200i generator. The newest one with Bluetooth and the CO2 Minder. I couldn't pass this deal up. Brand-new in box for $500.

Guy I bought it from had picked it up this spring for camping, but with the current events, never went camping, sold the camper and has been trying to sell the generator.

Gave it a fresh fill of Rotella Gas Truck 5W-30 last night and a drink of some non-ethanol 91 with Marine Blue Stabil. Fired right up and tested the pellet stove on it. The Pellet stove pulls only 120 watts while running! Have no doubt this thing, while it is small, will power enough items to keep us and the house safe in the event of a power outage in the winter months.

Bought 2 more VP cans also.

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