As many of you have probably heard on the news, the Pacific NW was
recently hit by huge long-lasting power outages due to weather. I was
one of those affected. To be prepared for next time, I want to buy a
generator that can power either my furnace or a couple of space
heaters, and four 23 watt compact fluorescent lights.
I'll figure out the exact capacity I need later, but I was wondering
about brands for now. Which are the good ones to look at?
buffalo ny: on 10-13-2006 we lost power 9 days. we learned on local
wben radio that gasoline generators in large numbers in suburban
backyards were setting off the CO detector alarms in the homes and
testing same high CO levels outdoors when the wind was calm.
unfortunately for the pocketbook, a natural gas automatic generator
which you pay for with a home improvement loan is the best dependable
or, use LED lights and millivolt gas non-electrical VENTED space
heaters, plus the gas water heater. see also pilot light gas stoves.
Un-vented heaters are quite safe and are less likely to kill you with CO
poisoning than a vented space heater. The reason is that the un-vented
heaters but with grossly excess air and don't produce any CO in the first
place. A vented heater is adjusted to use only slightly more air than is
necessary to burn the gas (excess air results in extra stack losses) and
almost always produce some CO. Often they produce quite a bit.
But ANYONE who uses LPG or natural gas should have a battery operated CO
For heat, I suggest you get a ventless LPG portable heater. These run on
those squat cylinders sold at camping supply stores for about $2.50 each.
The gas cans only last a few hours so you can also consider getting a hose
assemply that will permit your heater to run from a 20# LPG tank.
Alternatively, get a kerosene fueled heater.
I use the LPG ventless heater to warm my feet sometimes.
We have a 5 kW generator we picked up from Wally World for about $500. The
generator is a coleman and the engin is a tecumson. As soon as you get a
unit you should plan on where you will keep it when not in use and when you
will place it when it's operating. The best place is near the service
entrance when you can tap the ground connection for your entrance panel.
You definitely need to have the frame of your generator grounded to "ground"
and to the service entrance ground. I put in another ground rod and tied
everything together with #6 bare copper cable. You also have to decide
from the start where you store the gas and how much you keep around.
You add all this together and you discover why some folks just go ahead and
spend $8000 (plus) to have a professional installation of a "whole house"
automatic generator run from a BIG LPG tank.
You will have to decide how you will get the power from the generator to
If you "do it right" you need a transfer switch. A 5 kW generator is
enough to power a LOT of stuff. I run the water pump, the ice box, and
most of the "small stuff" (TV, computers, lights, dishwasher). If I want
to use the electric stove or heat water, I have to shut off most of the
If you don't have enough power to keep the ice box running at least an hour
or two both morning and night, you will lose all your food.
My generator neutral is connected to the panel neutral (and hence to the
ground) and my generator ground is connected to the panel ground. The
neutral is not bonded at the generator. That is how it is supposed to be.
If it is bonded you must be sure the neutral is not connected at the panel;
as the neutral and ground can only be connected once..
Didn't we just have this discussion.
I posted this in a similar thread in this ng about a week ago:
Power-Boss from HD is noisy but does the job. Hondas are said to be
best but cost about twice as much. Colemans are cheaper but Honda
dealer told me that parts are hard to find.
I can power furnace, refrigerator, freezer, well and a few lights and
TV at the same time. Transfer box is necessary inless you want to drag
a lot of cords around and have plugs for items, like furnace, that
normally don't have plugs. Someone in thread mentioned that you can
get a single whole house switch a lot cheaper than transfer box.
If you have natural gas, it is probably better to get a natural gas
generator as you will avoid gasoline storage and need to stabilize and
inventory gasoline. Full use of my generator takes 10 gal gasoline/day.
Peak load becomes important. Then you have to manage a smaller unit by
taking things off line or making sure several things do not come on at
once. My neighbor gets by with a generator half the size of mine but
wishes he bought a bigger one.
Fortunately, living 65 miles from nearest coast, we don't get
hurricanes that knock out everything, i.e. I've never seen the gas
stations off line. We all know the gas lines in Florida were not for
cars, but for generators.
Our problem is living off a valley with old tree lined roads and cut
back in tree trimming by power company to save money. Plus the
conglomerate company is in no rush to restore power. Day outage that
prompted me to buy generator was when Atlantic City Electric came to
restore service - two hour drive to get here. We have never had as
many outages as in recent years and they last longer. Homeowners
forced to buy generators.
hey area outage means n more gasoline, florida gas stations have been
forced to add generators so they can pump gas during a outage. state
law. good move.
when terrorists hit gasoline will be like gold
I had a drum pump with several pipe extensions and a foot valve to pump
gasoline from the underground tanks at powerless gas stations. I didn't
have it after hurricane Isabelle came through though because the first
gas station I went to bought it from me for twice what it cost me to
make up and provided my gasoline for free.
"This alternating current stuff is just a fad. It is much too dangerous
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