12 V sump pump, or AC generator

I'm looking to avert any problems in the future with power failures in my house. Besides the recent power outage, we've had multiple winters where ice has collected, power lines have fallen and we've lost power. I live in the country in W.N.Y. State and winters are often harsh. My breaker box was installed with a 220V connection so that a generator could be connected in case of a power outage. I'd like to buy one, but I don't know how large a generator I need. At the minimum it would need to run a small refrigerator, a small chest freezer, a sump pump and maybe a few lights. Ideally I'd like it to power the whole house, but I'm sure I'd need a huge generator costing mega-dollars and I want to avoid that. It would be nice to run the T.V. too. Would a 5000W continuous "contractors" style generator work? Has anyone else done this, and can you tell me what size generator I need? My other alternative,(if this is too costly), is to buy a battery backup sump pump so that at least my basement doesn't flood. The water table is very high where I live. Thanks
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This may not help on what type to purchase, but couldn't you just put the stuff to remain cold outside in the winter? Just put a couple of coolers in the shade and put your perishables inside; this would free up some valuable energy to be used on more important things, like a TV or an electric water heater.
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We've done that during the winter, but it doesn't help in the summer, or keep our basement from flooding because the sump pump has no power. What we need is an AC generator to power:
1 small refrigerator, (full height, one door) 1 small chest freezer, (1/2 height) 1 electric water heater 1 sump pump a couple of lights, TV, and whatever else we can power from a small 5000W+ generator

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I would suggest a generator. No battery powered unit is going to last through a long outage in a home that has a high water table issue.
If you get a lot of outages, consider a professionally installed system to take care of your needs. If you have gas heat, that same gas can fuel the generator.
Remember that any generator is going to need fuel and maybe lots of it. Gasoline has a life of only about a year, maybe less. If a major outage, you will not find gasoline easy to buy.
A 5,000 W unit may be enough for what you need (as long as you are not expecting it to heat your home with electric heat or run the AC, but you need to rotate uses, that is unplug it from the frig, to run the TV etc.
Good Luck
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Joseph E. Meehan

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Hi, Thanks for the reply. I think I'm gonna "spring" for a generator. We don't get a lot of outages, but we've had 2 in the 2 years I've lived here here, one due to an ice storm, and the one a week or so ago that knocked out power in the NE USA. I bought this house 2 years ago, and it's wired to run a generator at the circuit breaker box. There is a plug for the generator and I had spoken to the previous owners about the breaker box and he has used it in the past with his generator, so I know it was professionally installed. He apparently has had problems in the past with outages. We are located out in the country in a "snow belt". As far as fuel goes, I usually have at least 12 gallons on hand all the time, in the summer to mow my 2.5 acre lawn, in the winter to plow my driveway with my garden tractor, so fuel isn't a problem. Thanks again for the help, Snydley

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First off, forget about the electric water heater. Either put gas in or live without, cause a generator that big is impractical.
Second, during an outage, gasoline can be difficult to buy. It is also difficult to store, so it behooves you to buy the smallest generator you can, so you do not need much gas. I am also in upstate NY, and have gotten through 4 outages in last 5 years without losing any food in my fridge or freezer, or getting cold, with 1600kw. (but I don't have to hook up my sump pump)
Third, your sump pump solutions depends on how much water you get. Does your 3/4hp pump run continuously, or does your 1/3hp run every once in a while. In the first instance you need a generator (and possibly a battery back up as well), in the latter you can easily use just a battery backup. The battery can recharge off the generator without much load.
Finally, you must measure the starting and running amperages of your various essentials, and see what you actually need, and what you can afford. For instance, my old fridge needed 23a to start, but my new one is happy with 13a. (Well, the real final thing is how much do you want to annoy your neighbors. Some guy a quarter mile away from me has a hugh cheap generator that is actually louder in my house than my own generator in my garage. If I lived nearer to him I would probably sabotage it.)
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1st off, forgetting about an electric water heater is not an option, this is what was in this house when I bought it 2 years ago, we have very economic electric bills each month, and I won't pay the expense of replacing my electric appliances and having a propane tank installed. If I were building a new house I would have propane for a water heater fuel, and for my stove and dryer. If I find that I can't run an electric water heater along with the rest of the things I need in my house with a 5000W -7500W generator, then I'll just throw that breaker off when I start the generator up, and use what hot water is in the tank and do without until the power is restored.
2nd, I always have plenty of gas on hand for my garden tractor to mow my 2.5 acres lawn in the summer, and to plow my driveway in the winter. Gasoline is not a problem.
You say you have a 1600kw generator, but you previously said that "a generator that big is impractical" when I mentioned running an electric water heater from a generator. Your 1600kw= 1,600 x 1000W or 1,600,000W, or did you mean to say you get by with a 1600W, or 1.6kW generator.
My sump pump problem varies during the year. In the spring when the winter thaw starts the pump runs almost continuously,(with breaks once it's pumped the "sump" dry). In the summer through winter it's every once in awhile depending on how much rain we've had. One good thing though is that my well will never go dry, (knock wood), I have an abundant supply of good clean fresh water all year long.
I'll have to check the "startup draw" of all of my appliances and figure out what I need. I'll end up starting one at a time to avoid overloading the generator. My neighbors live several hundred yards away, and behind me. If noise is a problem I'll move the generator to the opposite side of the house than the side they're on.
Thanks, Snydley

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If
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<snip>
It does sound like you could probably get by with a ~1500W generator, rather than 5000W. (You'd need more like 12Kw (guess) to run an electric water heater)
One thing you've got to watch for is that the generator can manage the startup surges of randomly timed appliances, such as fridges and pumps. Sooner or later, your fridge and pump will decide to start up at the same time, the generator may stall, and it all goes downhill from there.
If you can arrange the water heater so that it can be connected to 110, rather than 220, then it'll run at a quarter of its nominal power.
If you could arrange some way of recovering the exhaust heat (hard to do safely) then you could use that to heat water ad-hoc on a large boiler.
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http://inquisitor.i.am/ | mailto: snipped-for-privacy@i.am | Ian Stirling.
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Thanks, I'm gonna buy a generator. Snydley

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a 7000 w -12250w surge , generac should work for you, not 5000. but be sure to test all circuts voltage first, before you run equipment. Use the Plug, turn off the main.run generator, test it to be sure for yourself, you dont know if the other guy did it right, Ive seen backfeed circuts output 50 on one circut and 150 on others. But for 200 more a transfer switch is alot safer and foolproof with built in wattmeters. You also get in the kit an exterior box ,3 plugs and alot of wire to run the generator to the exterior box. And the transfer switch comes wired and labeled for easy instalation. My last post didnt post correctly, I had 2 colums of usage rating aproximates .
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Some generators have a very poor output waveform, suitable for lights and construction site power tools only. Be careful if you want to run any electronic equipment at your house, like computers, UPSes, TVs, VCRs, etc. Not all work well with high distortion AC power.
The problem is finding out if the generator you plan to buy is one that has poor output power. There's no easy way short of dragging a bunch of lab test equipment with you. A lot of generators will specify "less than 5% distortion" or some similar low number. That's the value to shoot for. If it doesn't mention "low distortion" or "for sensitive electronic equipment" you may want to look for another unit.
Some of the Honda units actually use the motor to generate DC which feeds an inverter which generates nice clean stable AC power for the rest of the house. While pricy, these units seem to be the ones most people are going for. They can throttle down the engine when the load is low, thus saving more fuel than the competition. And the output voltage and frequency are usually independent of the engine speed, so they work well with sensitive electronic equipment.
If you don't have natural gas at your house, then your options would be limited to propane, gasoline, or diesel. Not too many diesels in the 1-10kw range you're looking for, but there are a few. Propane can get to be expensive due to tank rental.
Good luck. Let's hope we don't have any more national blackouts any more.
Bob

ice
run
need
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need?
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Well Gary Tait maybe you didnt read everything , But ive tried to talk him out of using His Plug , but if i cant at least I hope to direct him on the right way to test it first.
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How about listening for a minute: THIS SYSTEM WAS USED BY THE PREVIOUS OWNER FLAWLESSLY THE WAY IT IS, HE JUST TOOK HIS GENERATOR WITH HIM WHEN HE SOLD THE HOUSE TO ME. I DON'T WANT OR NEED A TRANSFER SWITCH, IT'S A LUXURY, NOT A NECESSITY. JUST BECAUSE YOU USE ONE DOESN'T MEAN IT'S A NECESSITY.

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WELL WE WILL GIVE CAPS TO OK < WE ARE TRYING TO HELP YOUR SORRY ASS FOR FREE >>> I DONT CARE << PUSS HEAD BLOW YOUR HOUSE OR GENERATOR UP I DONT GIVE A SHIT MORON AND LASTLY F. U...
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GOOD WHY THE FUCH YOU ASKIN US ASSSSS HOLE LEAVE GET GONE
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Thats right U dont and shouldnt need or use a transfer circut EVER. PLUGS ARE GOOD FU too AH
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snydeley why are you here , do what you think we are stupid
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Another good discuss beat to death to meaningless drivel!
mark Ransley wrote:

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Generally it is legally required.
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Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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PROFANITY IS A STRONG WAY OF EXPRESSING A WEAK MIND!

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