The first time was in the summer and was merely inconvenient. This time I had to have a way to keep the furnace running. I first borrowed a generator (3550w), but I started feeling bad about putting so many hours on someone else's unit and figured it was time I had my own so I went out and bought a Coleman 5000w with the Suzuki 10hp engine.
Problem (with both but more so with the new one) is that generator power is not clean enough for my new-fangled electronically controlled furnace (Trane hv-80). With the borrowed unit the board kept flashing an error code that basically indicated to replace the controller board. Fiddling around with it for a while and I was able to get it running. With the new one the glow igniter comes on and apparently causes enough of a voltage fluctuation to disrupt the controller board and I get a "check igniter" error code.
Do other people have these problems? Between the midwest and the gulf coast we certainly have plenty of people who occasionally have to run on generators and electronically controlled furnaces are pretty much the norm now. Is my Trane just being particularly fussy? Everything else we powered off the generators ran great.
Of course the "cover our ass" page of the generator manual suggests getting a line conditioner for just about anything that's not a light bulb. Do I really have to drop a few hundred more dollars on one of those just to get my furnace to run?
By the way, what convinced me that this was the problem was that the furnace fired right up when I temporarily ran it thought my computer UPS. The UPS alarm squalled like hell because it wasn't big enough, but the voltage as measured with my voltmeter held much better and the furnace lit up. It would be nice if I could isolate the power to run the controller board from those that pull major amps so I could just get a conditioner for that, but it looks like everything hooks straight to the board so I don't know if that can be done.
Naturally, four hours after I got the new generator running the utility company got our power back up. I would still like to get a handle on this before the next time.