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How much generator should I buy?

hueyville

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Called Generac and all the rep wanted to do is convince me to buy a dedicated whole house system. As for opening up this generator or load testing means I have to buy it first. Was hoping to get enough information to prevent buyers remorse. Even asked how many actual amps output at recepticals from a generator supplier and their reply was same as Generac phone rep except they claimed if it's a 50 amp receptical it should provide fifty amps.

If use Ohms Law then 17,500 watts at 240 volts maximum continuous amps are 72.91 so at what manufacturer rates it not going to get 80 amps if able to pull off both 240V outlets. My guess if I have someone hook up to this generator to test max load and it comes unglued seller will want me to buy it if doesn't require me to pay before have someone load test it. Now over two years without working and trying to fly cheap. It's manufacturer rated 8,000 watts more than generator currently using so may take a chance as seller is apparently neededing some cash and now offering to drop price more for quick sale.
 

NFADLR

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50A huh, these generac guys aint engineers, just sales monkeys.

Called Generac and all the rep wanted to do is convince me to buy a dedicated whole house system. As for opening up this generator or load testing means I have to buy it first. Was hoping to get enough information to prevent buyers remorse. Even asked how many actual amps output at recepticals from a generator supplier and their reply was same as Generac phone rep except they claimed if it's a 50 amp receptical it should provide fifty amps.

If use Ohms Law then 17,500 watts at 240 volts maximum continuous amps are 72.91 so at what manufacturer rates it not going to get 80 amps if able to pull off both 240V outlets. My guess if I have someone hook up to this generator to test max load and it comes unglued seller will want me to buy it if doesn't require me to pay before have someone load test it. Now over two years without working and trying to fly cheap. It's manufacturer rated 8,000 watts more than generator currently using so may take a chance as seller is apparently neededing some cash and now offering to drop price more for quick sale.
 

easttex

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Called Generac and all the rep wanted to do is convince me to buy a dedicated whole house system. As for opening up this generator or load testing means I have to buy it first. Was hoping to get enough information to prevent buyers remorse. Even asked how many actual amps output at recepticals from a generator supplier and their reply was same as Generac phone rep except they claimed if it's a 50 amp receptical it should provide fifty amps.

If use Ohms Law then 17,500 watts at 240 volts maximum continuous amps are 72.91 so at what manufacturer rates it not going to get 80 amps if able to pull off both 240V outlets. My guess if I have someone hook up to this generator to test max load and it comes unglued seller will want me to buy it if doesn't require me to pay before have someone load test it. Now over two years without working and trying to fly cheap. It's manufacturer rated 8,000 watts more than generator currently using so may take a chance as seller is apparently neededing some cash and now offering to drop price more for quick sale.
Here's a link to the spec sheet and owners manual:

I'll also add that it is unusual to see homeowner-grade generators with receptacles larger than 50 amps. NEMA receptacle configurations only go up to 60 amps @250VAC and the most common is 50 amp. So even if the generator put out 100 amps, you aren't going to get in one receptacle.

Bigger than 60 amps gets into industrial pin & sleeve applications and gets expensive quickly.
 

hueyville

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I hesitated due to cost and zero support if it dies and while hesitated someone snapped up the 17,500 watt "50 amp" machine so went looking and Generac wants over $2,000 for the 15,000 watt machine as factory refurb. Say eight in ten returns people bought generator at Lowes/Home Depot on credit card, used for job and returned for refund claiming defect. Two in ten buyer did something to fubar machine and if not easy fix may put engine from one return with generator of another into working machine and after intensive testing goes into refurbished sales program like the low hour returns. I am financially strapped after two years of no work but have a few spare bucks and bigger/newer machine is bigger/newer machine. They had 9,200 watt continous, 11,250 watt peak machine with two hours on meter at return with no obvious abuse and said during extended testing it turned to three hours on meter. Price was $799 delivered to my door on lift gate truck with one year warranty and $849 with three year warranty and I said wanted it but had to speak with wife, balance checkbook, etc as not pitching over $2,000 at generator now but the low amp dillema still exists.

Had my discussion about pairing kit that would tether all three Generac machines together made by Generac (gave them model and serial numbers of each machine) that would start one, two or all three machines and had a fifty amp connector to box so if it had called up enough machines for fifty amps it would carry them. Got price for custom pairing kit and was stoopid expensive but on whim asked if they had an off the shelf pairing kit for this 9,200/11,250 watt machine which they offer at fairly reasonable price.

Electrician says with me needing less than six feet of wire from machine to panel (line loss has to be considered too) is a plus, fact smaller machine does job but struggles says this machine I can afford will struggle less. He suggested when arrives he wire machine (bypass plug attach wire to terminals that go to plug as there is loss in the plug on machine, plug on my wall and wire between them. Output wired directly to my 50 amp breaker in panel and whatever machine has will get all it gives. Said can be careful so easy to put back like never touched and then next year buy another 9,200/11,250 watt machine as says they are going to send me a 15% off next purchase coupon in about ninety days. Start now selling the 5,500 watt machine to someone worried about winter and since it's been indoors since purchased, serviced regularly and fires as soon as turn on fuel and push button will likely get more than what I paid 30 years ago.

Put the money back and when get my 15% off coupon order another 9,200/11,250 watt Generac GP9200E, sit in shed then sell the 8,000/10,000 watt machine which is about fifteen years old but looks new and thinks selling off my two smaller machines over this winter they will pay for the second machine and factory ready to mount pairing box with fifty amp output. Tether the two brand new machines together with the pairing kit and if they last like all my other equipment (am a service freak) will have enough reserve power for our needs (we dont have kids or grands who need to play video games and microwave popcorn while power is out) probably for life. Odds of both machines dying same time are almost impossible so if one dies other will keep us up just have to be more conscious of what we are running till get dead machine fixed.

He says has seen less issues with Generac and other name brand refurbs than new and if they are giving three year warranty are probably reasonably sure machine is somewhat durable. Says he has installed several Generac pairing kits and to expect when power goes off and system starts one machine will fire then second and as we go around house turning off stuff that dont need say our stove and Christmas lights then one machine will power down and one will carry us until HVAC happens to start up while refrigerator and one chest freezer in basement are running and both will run for a bit then the machine that had been carrying load alone will shut down so other will carry load till entire cycle repeats. Said most better pairing kits for bigger generators (the kits for two 2,000 watt machines both run entire time till turned off or run out of fuel) he has installed talk with hour meters on the machines and over course of an eight hour to four day outage (eight days is longest we have gone and survived on single smaller machine) will try to keep run time on each machine about the same best it can.

He reminded me 9,200/11,250 watts is on gasoline so if run off natural gas or propane have 8,000/10,000 watt approximate machines. His house is powered off two portables on a pairing kit he bought from an elderly couple who wanted whole house everything and finally figured out that cost money. Says he likes fuel efficiency of only one machine running majority of time. We have a Coleman propane stove we sit on our range when power goes out and no reason we cant keep living like that. It's not uncommon for me to calculate watts a half dozen times per day as different machines spool and want to be sure am not exceeding my overhead.

We spoke about amps and he said most machines like I was looking at on Craiglist 17,000 watt with 50 amp plug do not supply 50 amps. He looked up specs on machine I am bought and he says would guess it will be in the 23 to 25 amp range going through plugs in continuous range and only chance of getting 30 amps is during that short peak load period. When add second generator and plug both into pairing box am then in the 46 amp to 50 amp range and me being really paranoid on using generator so have television, cable box, DVD player on a fairly large UPS, breathing machine, monitor and all my bedside stuff like Weather Alert/scanner/alarm clock, phone charger on a big UPS, batterey charging station chargers plugged into a fair sized UPS that takes a lot of surprise load off a generator plus helps filter the power to all those electronics if frequency wanders a bit.

Each bedroom has a 12 volt 17.7" screen portable DVD player on one nightstand if we want to watch television in bed and those have over two hour run time on internal battery and plugged into a UPS along with a lamp so have ability to turn on lamp when power goes down or just keep watching DVDs. (Cable company wants to rent us more cable boxes for each room add a television and too cheap) Counting radio shack which still runs off a rack with sixteen 100 amp hour telecom batteries in a rack plus a rack with twentyfour 28 amp hour batteries for all the peripherals like cameras, DVRs, Seismic Sensors then the surviving telecoms that were supposed to be to support a cobbled together solar system and combination of inverters I just am not seeing the need for a $7,500 whole house machine that requires factory service for warranty and dies if natural gas grid goes down, till swap it to propane and watch it suck down my propane hoard.

Can buy two of the 9,200/11,250 watt machines with three year warranty and pairing kit for half the cost of the 17,500/26,250 machine and about $700 less than 15,000/22,500 machine. Two machines sharing the load so each get less run time and not having to keep a spare generator serviced and run on occasion "just in case" is making more sense. If not told a 15% off next purchase coupon was coming after each major purchase might have bought two right now but really need to sell one of the spares first. House has emergency lighting (each fixture has an alarm battery and runs fifteen to twenty minutes when power is done including generator shack so not fooling with flashlight when in the shack in middle of night during freezing rain. That said am keeping my big military diesel machine "just in case" but it's a load, foul smelling hog but it sure makes power when asked for it.
 

Spitfire21

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Bumping this forum for no particular reason, except that someone just did the same to the Survivalist Whacko forum over on Gunboards. (Webley One,, who wrote about some old magazines he found: "I am half way through "The Backwoodsman" and "American Frontiersman" and was truly surprised by the quality of all the articles."
 

Spitfire21

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When a fire forced me to build a new garage, I took the opportunity to bury the power line to it and the home, and spent extra to get the Kohler box that turns-off the utility line and switches to the generator when the lights go out, and v/v.

Mind you, I don't have a whole-house generator, and don't know if I'll ever get one*, but the house and garage are both "generator-ready."

For end-of-the-world purposes, I'm more interested in 19th century alternatives than 21st C. Related, I'm blessed have a flowing well, so the first need is covered. After that my focus is more on wood heat (lots of trees here) and kerosene light. Is that last a contradiction? A little, but 55 gallons of kero will keep a room lit for a whole lot longer than it will keep the pipes from freezing. For the latter have an airtight woodstove that's not now connected but ready to go, plus large-and-small bow-saws.


* Whether to get a whole-house generator is not an end-of-world decision, but present-day convenience one. On the latter, if I was confident that the natural gas wouldn't also go out when or soon-after the power went out, I would install a Kohler nat-gas generator with little hesitation.
 

hueyville

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I have around two dozen kerosene/oil lamps. Keep about four to five gallons of "lamp oil" in quart bottles as smokes less than kerosene but have two five gallon buckets of kerosene to mix with lamp oil or use when lamp oil runs out. Kerosene preceded by whale oil lamps used to light the world. I also have a half dozen or more propane lanterns along with conversion kits to run them off big cylinders. Have a kitchen kit that allows running a propane stove, propane oven and two propane lanterns off a single cylinder. Take the cooking duties off generator saves whatever fuel is powering it plus allows more time running silent. While our generator shed is soundproofed can anticipate the day do not want people to hear a generator purring along. Man needs backups and backups for his backups. We can go a couple to three days running critical electrical systems totally silent on batteries if need.
 

NFADLR

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Dont know if gov liquidation is still in business but site below is where I have bought ex military generators.



Milsurp generators

All of us on this forum are shooting milsurp weapons. We like them because of their functionality and reliabilty (and looks too). So why not a milsurp generator? In most cases they are trailer mounted. The trailers are usually 3/4 ton, very stoutly constructed and are pincer hitch towed. Generators are diesel.

I've been considering a 5 kw myself, and have never seen one sell for more than $400. 10kw and 15kw models are also available. I walked past a running 10kw this week (I work at Fort Lewis), and noted that it was a very quiet. They can be purchased through government liquidators. www.govliquidation.com

http://www.govliquidation.com/auction/view?id=3860115&convertTo=USD
 
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