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Advice on emergency generators?

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by 9MilMan, Nov 17, 2009.

  1. 9MilMan

    9MilMan Milwaukie Active Member

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    I am thinking about a backup generator for the house in the case of storms or other emergencies where we may loose power. What brands and power ratings are recommended to provide at least the ability to provided basic heat and lights. If this has been covered before, could someone direct me to the link? Thanks.
     
  2. SOG165

    SOG165 Cent. Or. Member

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  3. ron22250

    ron22250 Newberg Member

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    SOG165 is correct for sure !
    I bought a Honda 5kw for the house and freezers. Lots of info online.
     
  4. doobee8

    doobee8 Salem, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I've seen four in two days being bought at Costco 7Kw Honda generators for 900 something. I'm thinking this might be a better investment than a TV this year. Honda has a great rep in generators. You can run quite a bit with 7Kw
     
  5. OFADAN

    OFADAN Brownsville, OR Well-Known Member

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    I'm no expert so take it for what it is worth...but the research I've done shows the Honda is an excellent choice for a generator. It is my understanding all their product lines are good. They have a residential line and commerical line. Obviously the commerical is going to be more expensive. Think through your real and perceived needs and determine within your budget which is the best route to go and why.

    There is a tradeoff between power and fuel consumption. So just like building something...measure twice-cut once! Decided ahead of time your real power consumption needs and then buy to match or above your needs a bit. Because bigger = more fuel you'll need on hand.

    Depending upon how many times you open the door and the efficiency of your freezers & refrigs you'll need to run up to 2 hours at a time for several times throughout the day to preserve your cold food storage. A 2000w Honda Gen set (hunter type model that is super quiet) will go 15 hours on 1.5 gal whereas a 4000w will need 5 gal + in the same period of time (roughly). Check with a reputable gen set dealer for this info...they'll be able to help you match you needs to a model within your budget.

    Also security and safety are an issue and something you need to consider...you'll need to keep your gen set well away from the house and down wind to avoid gassing your family. The article SOG recommended gives a mininium distance. This is always a real concern. The larger the gen set the larger footprint you'll have - meaning the more obvious you'll be to the whole world that you have a generator during a power outage. Generators are one of many "high theft" items. And if the entire neighborhood is dead quiet with the exception of this obvious gen set running in your back yard - you become a higher risk target for theft and other crimes. So make sure you use a cable to lock your gen set down to a secure structure and think through where you're going to run this gen set to protect your family from fumes and crime - including how can you reduce your noise footprint during an emergency.

    Again, everything is a tradeoff and running a gen set does set oneself up to be more vulnerable.

    Finally, you'll need to fire up your gen set at least monthly and run it. Letting them sit around isn't good on them...then there is the fuel in the tank. You'll want to use "real" gasoline and steer away from ethanol. Finding "real" gasoline is quite a challenge these days. You'll want to treat the fuel with Stabil so it will not break down as quickly. Storage of gasoline is always a gut wrenching thing...very combustible so you'll want to think through how and where you're going to store spare fuel and how much? Those plastic gas cans burp fumes especially during temp changes from cold to hot. So think through gas storage and consumption needs. You'll want to invest in a high quality, approved gas container for your fuel storage. And they are not cheap...so that needs to be part of your budgetary consideration and equation.

    Food for thought...some things to ponder.
     
  6. PDXGS

    PDXGS Aloha... yes, Aloha, Oregon Member

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    Everything he said and I'll add that it's wise to invest in an electrician to install the power cut-off/transfer switch and circuit....I believe that theyre required by law but I'm not certain about this. You basically install a seperate power distribution panel inline wiht the existing panel but it has a switch that prevents you from feeding power back into the grid. Our panel allows me to monitor the power drain from the 5 circuits we have set up so that I can regulate the draw on the generator. I'll second the Honda. I dont own one yet but I'm considering it; otherwise I'm about to put our 10 year old generic-brand unit on wheels and improve it's muffler.
     
  7. twoclones

    twoclones Tri-Cities, WA Well-Known Member

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    I have a Honda EU3000 which costs more than some but is very quiet. You can literally have a normal conversation while standing next to it. GeneratorSales.com sells a tri-fuel version [or conversion kit] allowing use of gasoline, natural gas, or propane. It is a bit heavy for one guy to lift into a truck... With the proper sync cable, two of these can be used together for double the power.
     
  8. Riot

    Riot Benton County, Washington Well-Known Member

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    FYI, unless you live away from other people I would get something that doesn't make noise (i.e. run on fossil fuels). Do you really want every neighbor knocking on your door to ask you to plug something in for them?

    "Hey bro, can I charge my cell phone at your house?" *sniff, sniff* "Hey, watcha cookin? Oh, and I don't have hot water, mind if I take a shower here?"

    Look up stories during Katrina...people going door-to-door with machetes trying to steal generators...I'd just throw up some solar panels on the side of your roof that you can't see from the road...but that's just me.
     
  9. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    A generator is great when a storm knocks out the power for a couple of days. Just remember that gas stations can't pump without power... Have your gas ahead of time. "Rotate" it periodically to keep it fresh by using it in your car or something.

    If the SHTF for a long period, forget the generator imho. You won't have gas for it and they are gas hogs if they are big enough to do you any good.

    We used a 7500w to build our house out here in the sticks because the power company was slow in getting real power to our site. We had to buy about ten gallons of gas per day to run it. They do idle down when there's no load demand - at least ours did.

    Also, I never saw a bigger theft magnet. You have to run them outside so you tend to want to leave them there during times when you need them, running or not. Their noise gives them away.

    $.02
     
  10. whphel

    whphel Lake Stevens Member

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    Go whisper quiet diesel and you use half the fuel and run for the same period of time or longer.

    Also you can build an isulated box (look up plans) it has to breath and will greatly reduce the DB level to a point where you would have to walk up on top of it to hear it.
     
  11. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    OK, so you only need 5 gallons per day. That's 150 gallons per month or 1,800 gallons per year. That's also about $5,000 per year in diesel fuel if it's available. I don't think that's a great position to be in if TSHF and you have to hunker down for an extended period. I'd prefer other arrangements for heat, light and food storage.

    OK, so you don't run it too much, just a few hours per day and save half of that. Still no good?

    $.02

    They really are great for temporary emergency use or for portable use. :thumbup:
     
  12. whphel

    whphel Lake Stevens Member

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    I was not talking SHTF just for if the power goes out. **** SHTF I got a wood stove and plenty of wood and trees. I can cook, heat water my home and be cozy. Still a good generator is nice to have on hand.
     
  13. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    :thumbup: :thumbup:
     
  14. OFADAN

    OFADAN Brownsville, OR Well-Known Member

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    Right on! That is why I suggested one alternative is to get the smaller 2000w quiet unit...if you stay at home you're reducing your noise footprint on the neighborhood....and if you need to leave for whatever reason you can throw it in the car/pick up or whatever and take it with you. More options with the smaller unit but less power - EVERYTHING is a tradeoff...including firearms and thus that is why there is no such thing as a perfect firearm, caliber etc.
     
  15. aslinged

    aslinged Southern Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Onan diesel 4.5 will do it. Look for low hours if you buy used. Check Backwoods Home Magazine for their article on the subject. Though they recommend the 6.5 version.
     
  16. 9MilMan

    9MilMan Milwaukie Active Member

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    Your replies have been most informative. Really just looking for storm situation for three days or so. I can heat and cook in a wood burning fireplace. Lot's to research. Thanks, again for your replies.
     
  17. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    A 2,000 watt unit will run one refrigerator or freezer IIRC. That's for the starting circuit. In new construction or remodel, I think code would call for a home run circuit of 20 amps for each such appliance. That's about 2,000+ watts each @ 110v. Since that would have some leeway built in, 2,000 watts would run one.

    You could run one for awhile to get it cold and then plug in the other. No need to rewire the house for that if you just have some good extension cords for temp emergency use.

    Obviously a 4,000 watt would run the refrig and freezer at the same time. No way you're going to run a whole house on a portable.

    The Onan suggested by Aslinged would do the fridge and freezer.
     
  18. isher

    isher Clallam County Member

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    Actually, running on genny right now.

    Got our butts kicked on the OP last night.

    Power is out, and nobody is fessing up for how long.

    So I have both fireplaces running,

    Coleman lanterns and stove,

    And a little 7kw Honda genny

    Keeping the freezers and refer cold.

    Plus a few household circuits.


    isher
     
  19. Riot

    Riot Benton County, Washington Well-Known Member

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    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,168509,00.html

    Think, plan, then prepare...not prepare then plan then think.
     
  20. ZeroRing

    ZeroRing 26th District, WA Active Member

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    Good article... and sobering reminder that TSHF can happen on a local level and still be every bit as bad as a larger scale event.