How much should I figure in my budget for installation of a natural gas
generator? I'm looking at a 6-7 KW generator to handle refrigerator,
freezer, sump pump, gas furnace, computers, TV and some lights but not
Air Conditioning. It looks like I need an electrician for installing a
transfer box and outlet to the outside to connect to the generator and a
plumber to hook up a gas line. Generator would be about 20 feet from the
electric breaker box and the gas line.
There are a number of companies here (Central NJ) that will do the whole
job and wonder what a package price might be for everything that I
This may be a DIY for many people but DIY is not for me for this project.
I would do this in the Spring after all of the work on Sandy repair is done.
On Fri, 16 Nov 2012 12:47:57 -0500, Arnie Goetchius
Re Re: Installation Cost of Nat Gas Generator?:
Ok, I didn't realize you got hit that bad/often (other than Sandy), so
you will need a xfer switch. I myself would still try to avoid the
built-in solution and go with a portable solution if possible. Built
in gets expensive.
I was determined to forego the transfer switch because outages
That lasted about three years. Now I'm sick of fooling around
with extension cords - usually in the dark in inclement weather.
Fee to install on the transfer switch is going to be about $250.
I kind of went nuts on the switch. Got one with automatic
load-shedding capability to help with my dinky little 2kw
gennie... so it's costing me about $350 from B&H Photo.
Bottom line looks like about $600.... assuming I continue to
forgo the outside plug...
It would seem to me to be a better strategy to spend
$75 on an interlock for the main panel and the other $275
on a bigger generator. Automatic load shedding and
a 2KW generator does not compute in my world
I got the small gennie with the idea of "Lifeboat" vs "Cruise
Ship": low gas consumption, easy to transport to somebody else
who might need it, and so-forth.
Experience so far indicates that 2kw is enough to get by on,
although that's without the furnace in the picture.
Push-comes-to-shove, I'll get a second 2k and parallel them.
But the automatic load shedding would seem to extend the range of
a small unit bc you can hang stuff on it that would otherwise
cause repeated breaker trips due to startup surges. With
automatic load shedding, my understanding is that whole circuits
are gracefully de-powered and then powered up again as capacity
Case in point would be refrigerators and freezers.
Supposedly the panel's load shedding can be prioritized. My hope
is that it can be set up so that when a refrigerator and or
freezer needs a startup surge that would be otherwise
unavailable, the panel can shut down, for instance, the circuit
servicing the computer room/LAN closet (both of which have their
own UPS) long enough for the refrigerator and/or freezer to get
Just found out that B&H has me back-ordered on the panel, so all
this is speculation.
I haven't hired an electrician here in NJ for a long time,
but that sounds low. The car stealerships now charge
$150 an hour for example. And it's impossible to give
a price, because it also depends on what they have to go
through to run the wiring, if there is something already
there to attach new gear to, etc. You also need a
plumber and the cost of permits. If I had to guess, I'd
bet you're looking at $1000 between the two. Plus
the cost of the generator, which is probably $2500 or
Before laying out the $$$ for ANY Generac home product,
I'd suggest you go to Amazon, look up Generac products
and see what people are saying. Also take a look at
I have a 12KW Generac sitting here, probably gonna part it
out, largely after reading those reviews. This one was
given to a friend by a neighbor. It was about 5 years old
and failed during the hurricane a year ago. Service guy
told him the $3,000 unit was not worth fixing. The rotor is
shot, possibly more. Look on those
sites and you'll see a LOT of people with long, similar
stories. Including ones that were bad right out of the box,
or that were just 2 years old, went through the automatic
testing every week, then died in an hour during real use.
Wow. Alot of people have had problems with Generac. I may need to
consider something else besides Generac. Perhaps Kohler or Briggs and
stratton. Or just forget a Gas Gen and go with a portable to power
refrigerator, freezer, TV and computer. Install gas logs in the fire
place for heat.
I can understand why you would consider this a not-DIY project. You may be
overly complicating the basic requirement for a smidgen of electrical power.
What you COULD do is:
1. Get an ordinary portable generator of the appropriate capacity.
2. Get a NG adaptor for that normally gasoline-powered unit.
3. Tap into your existing gas line with a detachable hose to the generator.
4. Add an interlock switch and input junction to your existing breaker-box.
The only item that might generate an unconsionable cost is having a
certified, licensed, and unionized plumber to attach a suitable "T" and
valve for the NG connection.
As an even cheaper alternative is to score a pile of gas cans. When a storm
is imminent, get them ALL filled. For a local outage, say a car knocks down
a pole in the next block, one five-gallon can should be enough to get you
started; you can fill other cans, from a station two blocks, away while the
generator is working on the first.
A pile of gas cans is not a small problem. Even with stabilizer
added, it only lasts so long. How long depends
on how lucky you feel. So, you still have a bunch of gas
cans to manage. You can also siphon it out of your cars,
but that's no fun either. I'd probably go with a natural gas
portable. I've seen 5KW or so ones for $2,000 with a
Honda Engine. You could also get a conversion kit and
a gasoline generator and make one yourself for about
half that. Some kits allow use of 3 fuels and you can
switch back and forth between gasonline, propane, nat
gas. Overall, one of those approaches sound better
than a Generac standby to me.
Regarding Interlockit, folks on here have used them.
If you're planning on using one and having it inspected,
I'd check with the inspector. I've seen other discussion
threads where the issue of UL lisiting comes up.
Apparently they are not UL listed and some inspectors
might reject it. The other
solution would be to get a new cover panel from the
manufacturer with interlock attached, if available.
On Fri, 16 Nov 2012 12:21:24 -0800 (PST), " email@example.com"
Re: Installation Cost of Nat Gas Generator?:
OP: just remember that when burning NG or propane in a gasoline
generator, that the generator will only produce about 80% of the rated
power because the NG/propane has about 20% less energy per unit volume
compared to gasoline.
There's another strategy that mitigates the problem of managing gas cans.
Have ONE five-gallon can full of gas and ten or more empty ones.
If you have a local outage - say a pole gets knocked down - the five gallons
should provide enough slack such that you can fetch more from a station
outside the black-out zone.
If, on the other hand, wide-spread outage is possible, such as the warnings
over Sandy or a hurricane entering the Gulf, you'll have ample warning to
fill all the cans you have.
That would be my thinking. FWIW, Sandy has shown that something needs to
be done to insure a supply of gasoline to gas stations, plus gas stations
will need to have generators ...
Hereabouts, the story is that someone came to his regular gas station,
and asked for gas. Gas station guy said I have gas, but no power.
Customer says, I'll loan you my generators, be right back. Result: Long
lines at that gas station.
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