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Home generators

Old 01-16-2007, 11:21 PM
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Default Home generators

My parents have decided they want to have installed a permanant generator for their home. One that is totally automatic and kicks in the moment electric power is interrupted.
Have looked at the Guardian brand and they seem to be pretty good.
Anyone have any feedback on this brand or others we should look at?
My feeling is a 10KW should be more than enough for their needs.
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Old 01-16-2007, 11:25 PM
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Default Re: Home generators

get a load analysis done on the home - I think 10KW is light for an entire house...remember the biggest drain is when A/C/freezers, etc start up - the drain is many times what you think...any good generator installer can help you with this..get a few done....
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Old 01-16-2007, 11:39 PM
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No question we will look at everything but there really is no need to be able to run everything at once. If they lived in an area with frequent and long lasting power outages, I agree to get one big enough to run most of the house at once. With a 10KW unit and some power management, they could live quite comfortably for more than several days at a time.
They are both in their 80's, and live in a modest brick rancher.
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Old 01-17-2007, 12:06 AM
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Default RE: Home generators

The 10kw should come close to running whole house minus the a/c or heat pump. May have to take some of the load of to run certain appliances. Baldor also makes a good standby unit. With the gaurdian you can pick which circuits you want to run in the house and leave the A/C out of the circuit. I think there is a 15kw that may better serve you. Automatic is the way to go.
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Old 01-17-2007, 12:09 AM
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Default Re: Home generators

If they have an electric water heater that will also require a load of kw.
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Old 01-17-2007, 07:05 AM
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Default Re: Home generators

10KW should be fine if no HVAC is necessary. If HVAC is a consideration, look at a 15KW or larger unit.

The Guardian gen is aimed at the consumer market & definitely not high-end. Other units like Kohler & Onan are commercial grade. I have a 12KW Briggs & Stratton that I am very happy with and comes with a 3 year warranty

Check the warranty on any unit that you look at, and dealer service/support in the area. The gen will require oil changes on a regular basis so make sure you get a service contract or make arrangements to have it done. It is not difficult & should not be expensive

In addition to the obvious items (refrigerator, sump pump, well pump, waste pump) include some circuits for lighting, receptacles (must have TV), & the microwave. Consider any special needs that your parents may have in choosing circuits (garage door opener, med equipment, lift, etc).





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Old 01-17-2007, 09:23 AM
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Default Re: Home generators

I have a 5kw for my house that runs the important stuff only.
Refrig
2 chest freezers
Hot water heat and water supplied by oil burner.
TV
Well pump
A couple lights on each floor.
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Old 01-17-2007, 09:36 AM
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Default Re: Home generators

Have them look at Propane powered units and have the tank burried so all anybody sees is the dome for the fill/vent!!!


John
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Old 01-17-2007, 10:01 AM
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I have a LP fired 12kw Kohler air cooled model in our second home. It will start a 5 ton compressor per the book. How much else would it support at the same time is a different story. I recall a 12 water cooled also. The rest of the line is water cooled so they clearly will be more quiet.

I'm very happy with it. I was urged to install it away from the house so we opted to place it on the back side of the detached garage. Total run of #4 copper was about 125' from the genny to the auto xfer switch. Total waste of money, materials, and labor. The unit makes little noise. It's more quiet than any lawnmower I've ever heard and nearly as quiet as a household vac cleaner. That's no BS. Needless to say I should have placed it right next to the house by the AC compressor. It would of been just fine.

The nice thing about the Kohler line is that the network of dealers and repair is coast to coast. They also have a combo Xfer/breaker box unit so everything is nice and neat. I did not go that route. I have 2, 200 amp panels, one fused with a disconnect, the other straight off the meter, the Xfer switch and the 50 amp gen panel. It's crowded when you add all the other things around the panels but I had the space. If I did it again I would rethink the job and probably use the Kohler panel.

It auto tests itself weekly. I shut that feature off in the warmer months to save running hours. I manually test it when I'm there. It can be tested under load or idle. Your choice. There is also a optional control board that you can customize all the features and then some. The only option I did get is a newer control that ties into the alarm system. It tells the alarm company that it's running or (if ever) it failed to start. Just a little peace of mind having it more than 250 miles from here.

Yesterday I needed to fire up a 15kw Briggs unit thanks to the ice storm. WHAT DID YOU SAY???
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Old 01-17-2007, 03:39 PM
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Default Re: Home generators

Guys, I appreciate all the feedback.
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Old 01-17-2007, 05:31 PM
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Default Re: Home generators

As mentioned before, if you already have a gas water heater, gas heater, etc. this will drastically change your gen size.

Call your power company and ask them for the peak demand over the last year or more (what ever their records have) and size the gen so that it runs at aobut 80% capacity.

And if you opt for a duel fuel unit that will run off of Natural Gas then specifically ask for the power rating on Natural Gas, it will be lower than the diesel output. Get an automatic transfer switch so your parents do not have to worry about messing with it when needed.

Mist is correct, if you move the unit any distance from the house then wiring cost can be very high!

If you live were it is cold ask about battery warmer and charger, block heater, etc.

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Old 01-17-2007, 06:05 PM
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Default Re: Home generators

Rob,

What does a propane unit like that cost? I am thinking of getting one next year. My buddy has one and he put a dog house over it (plenty of ventilation) so you would never know there is a generator unless you looked closely.
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Old 01-17-2007, 06:50 PM
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Joe,

Check your mail

Rob
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Old 01-17-2007, 07:21 PM
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Spoke with my folks a few minutes ago and they spent 45 minutes today with the guy I'm sure they are going to have install the unit. The price for a 13kw was only $300 more than the 10kw. For that little bit of money, I suggested they get the 13kw and I'm pretty sure that is the way they are going to go.
Again, thanks for all the feedback.
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Old 01-17-2007, 09:02 PM
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Default Re: Home generators

[QUOTE]Mist-Rest - 1/17/2007 10:01 AM

I have a LP fired 12kw Kohler air cooled model in our second home. It will start a 5 ton compressor per the book. How much else would it support at the same time is a different story. I recall a 12 water cooled also. The rest of the line is water cooled so they clearly will be more quiet.

QUOTE]

I have been looking at changing my portable 10kw to a stand alone unit. I keep hesitating from pulling the trigger. How long have you had the Kohler? Is it a brushless model (less maintenance is my understanding)?
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Old 01-17-2007, 11:36 PM
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Tireless, The unit was put in service last winter. This fall it had 40 hours on it when I changed the oil and filter. It now has full synthetic in the case due to the very cold season up there. (it was -13 this morning) 2 weekends ago it had about 50 hours on it. I'm quite sure it's brushless but don't quote me. It's computer safe so it must be. Take a look at the web site to be 100%. I'd look it up but all of the books for everything we installed in the house are in a 3 ring binder up there. Sorry.

Would I do it again? In a second. Will I do it here? No. It's rare when the power goes out for any length of time down here. If it's storm related I need to be here anyway or have many in town who could hook it up and start it if I'm on my way. In Maine that's a little more difficult being more remote with harsh winters and the winds year round, loosing power is much more common.

The bride was unhappy yesterday not having everything automatic. I did all the work. I have no idea what see was complaining about. Sometimes I wonder.
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Old 01-18-2007, 07:05 PM
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Power outages are a way of life around here in Kutztown, PA I run my house on 7500 kW and do like most do. I shut down anything not needed to stay warm, keep thing from spoiling and pump water ok maybe a light or two. Make sure you have a main disconect switch or you'll be backfeeding the main line feeding the house. Why is that important you say... those guys working out there trying to restore power don't need to be light up buy your generator back feed.
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Old 01-18-2007, 07:08 PM
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Mist-Rest Moosehead ME. what a nice part of the world!!!!
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Old 01-18-2007, 07:55 PM
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Default RE: Home generators

Thanks for the thread. Wife & I are currently home shopping, and there are a couple of builders here who are now adding 15kw natural gas (Guardian brand) auto switching gennies to their new builds. I'm not overly keen on Guardian's, and was looking at others, Kohler among them. 15 kw might not handle the full load either......
I did not think about the brushless angle (thanks Tireless).

If the house is still standing after the next hurricane, I want to be able to power the whole SOB and get the extended family into some AC comfort.

Big Al
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Old 01-18-2007, 08:34 PM
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geoman2008 - 1/18/2007 7:08 PM

Mist-Rest Moosehead ME. what a nice part of the world!!!!
Don't tell too many. It's away from the rat race but I wonder for how long. I still pounded in a few stakes in my corner.....


Thanks. You need to know the area to understand.



You must do the snow or hunt thing being from PA.? ? ? Flatlanders, Moosehead Motel, Rockwood, Kokadjo, Rt 66, NE Carry, Golden Road, West Branch? Where's your area.



Snapper, 15kw list for near that MSRP. Steep price for backup power.
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