Backup Generators 101?

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Eric wrote:

Correct, the only real differences come into play in prime power applications where the engines log a lot of hours. For a residential standby generator that is likely to log <100 hours per year of run time, the differences are entirely irrelevant.
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As is your advice. Only in certain geographical areas could your comment be near "correct". You know not of which you speak.
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TWayne wrote:

Geographic areas have nothing at all to do with it. #2 fuel oil is #2 fuel oil - the #2 *is* the grade of fuel. Added dyes and taxes do not change the grade of fuel. #1 fuel oil also known as kerosene is also acceptable fuel in most commercial diesel generators.
If you are buying your heating oil from a supplier that is not specifying the grade (I've never seen a supplier that doesn't and it's probably illegal to sell ungraded fuel in most states) then you could indeed be getting any crap, including grades lower than #2 which are usually only used in big commercial boilers.
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Be advised.... #1 fuel oil (diesel) is a totally different product than kerosene.
s

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Wow; I wish YOU luck! I saw the same show you did; but they didn't say to try it at home. There's a huge difference between engines that you are obviously woefully unaware of but your luncay factor keeps you from seeing it.
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Diesel generators are quite expensive; but perhaps that is not an issue for you. I have a generator and a transfer switch. I haven't used the switch since installed it 3 years ago. I don't bother to turn the generator until the outage is over 4 hours, and that hasn't happened. A $100 kerosene heater will keep your house warm in the winter. Well, depending on where you live maybe not warm, but livable. There are plenty of options.
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If you have plenty of funds get it done professionally and correctly. There are legal implications if someone attaches a backup generator and inadvertently perhaps due to a half-baked (i.e. cheap) hook up feeds electrcity back into the electric supply and maybe kills a power line employee working to restore service. YES IT HAS HAPPENED; and more than once!
Recommend: Go easy unless you want to show off to everyone else around 'My lights are still on'!!!!! And cheap (or cheaper) does not necessarily mean simple.
From reading many postings, including this thread the following points seem pertinent.
If the outage is short, say four five hours, why bother? In even cold weather the house won't cool that quickly. Or plumbing feeze! Fridges will stay cold, if you don't open them too often. Some form of quick (an inexpensive) emergency heat can be on hand. We still have a little stove to make coffee or tea, warm beans etc; acquired some 47 years ago to warm baby's bottles for our oldest child! We use it with care by the light of a candle/flashlight.
We live around 50 deg. North next to the cold North Atlantic. We have an oil heater, ready to go; hasn't been out of the closet for years. Probably should dump the fuel oil out and renew! When power fails it is often at night and one has made it home during a severe storm; so one is not going anywhere. We get a hot water bottle from standing hot water in the tank. Go to bed and cuddle up! We also have a semi portable generator (which we got at a bargain and repaired ourselves) but again haven't bothered to use it for power outages for many years.
If outage was prolonged ( couple of days) our generator does have the capacity to plug in using a heavy extension to run the fridge and the freezer, or at least one of them at a time at a time. And once ours were charged up maybe run an extension over to our neighbours.
If you do happen to have some very expensive salmon and or moose/deer meat in your freezer that could spoil a) have your freezer in cool spot and b) Since it will not unfreeze for at least 10 to 12 hours even inside the house. If that's a problem get small generator and plug only the freezer into it for an hour or so a couple of times a day.
Have battery radio (or one of those windup things) or use your car radio to find out what's going on.
Since the O.Posting seems to indicate not much technical knowledge it might be best to avoid the additional complications and costs of something that will be rarely used and requires the installation of oil tanks etc. Oil problems can have an ecological impact if there are leaks. If going ahead make sure your insurance policy covers ecological 'clean-up'; it can and has been extremely expensive and involves government agencies and reinspections!
And as mentioned carefully research your type of fuel. Propane is fairly expensive fuel but again not much of it will be used if you have two power failures per year for say a total of 12 hours! Alternatively over long periods unused diesel fuel can get contaminated or absorb moisture; so gas line antifreeze/fuel conditioners annually/seasonally may be in order?
There's nothing worse than investing in some rarely used technology and then when it is most needed it doesn't work!. From a domestic property value point of view it may not be a good investment? If there are some activities performed at home that MUST continue regardless of a power failure then the expense might, perhaps, be considered as a 'Business Cost' and capable of being amortized overa period of a few years?
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Buy a generator - any generator and guaranteed you will not have any more power outages for 3 years! :-)
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Bill wrote:

Yep, just remember that you need to fuel and test it for that to work.
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Bill wrote:

Thats pretty accurate. My buddy decided that living in a remote area was for him. There were frequent power outages which made his wife very unhappy. He bought a propane powered generac with an auto start/auto transfer package. I set it up for him. We were just talking about it the other day and he says that they have had only one outage in the past two years since he bought it.
As a point of interest he bought the home depot version not the real quality generac. The thing is *LOUD*. It is totally painful to be anywhere near the thing. I thin I lost 10% of my hearing when we started it the first time and were standing by it. It has a automatic weekly exercise timer and people have jumped off their chairs when it starts.
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George wrote:

I have my generator remoted some 80' from the house, no noise issues.
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Pete C. wrote:

Wouldn't work with this home depot unit. It is one of the loudest pieces of equipment I have ever heard. The interesting thing is that I visit a site that has a similar capacity identical looking unit only it is a real generac not their cheepo big box version. You can barely hear it operate.
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George wrote:

You might investigate what the differences are. Would be interesting to know where the critical noise sources, or noise barriers are. Also possible that the loud version actually is broken.
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Pete C. wrote:

Non scientific but we are confident the home depot version is just noisy by (cheap) design. My buddy who bought the one I described called the local generac service outfit and they said the home depot versions are much louder and that they use a totally different engine. Also my buddies brother in law works for the local propane company. He confirmed having piped the gas supply lots of gensets over time that the home depot versions are much louder than others.
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The following was taken from one generator dealer regarding using fuel oil for a diesel generator. If you check for yourself, you'll find it's used commonly :
The generator set can be safely fueled with either non-explosive No. 2 diesel fuel or No. 2 home heating oil. This is an heavy duty, industrial quality, direct drive, diesel-powered, electric generator, designed for reliable continuous use for household or business. The unit provides both 120 volt and 240 volt / 60 cycle simultaneous outputs, either direct wired or through electrical outlets furnished, electric key start, and automatic shutdown protection for low oil pressure or high water temperature.
K-1 Kerosene and #2 home heating oil are exactly the same as #1 and #2 Diesel. The only difference is that red dyes are added for identification to kerosene and home heating oil for highway tax purposes. It's also about 20-50 per gallon cheaper, because there are no road taxes paid on it. Just don't get caught on the road with it in your diesel car or truck or you'll pay some hefty fines. Your local fuel oil dealer can deliver the fuel direct to your house, and you can use a larger 275 or 500 gallon home heating oil tank for fuel storage. (12 cents / kW / Hr fuel cost at $1.23 / gal Off Road Diesel) Or with a conversion kit, you can generate FREE Electricity! with your diesel generator using used cooking oil from restaurants for fuel! Order today and save money forever on high electricity bills!
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