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Thread: Whole Home Generator

  1. #1
    Boolit Master & Generous Contributor

    Down South's Avatar
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    Whole Home Generator

    Since I'll be retiring in a week and a half. I decided to get a generator for the house since we live in a very rural farm community. I hope that I made a good decision. I bought a Generac 22 KW and installed a 500 gallon propane tank. The generator is hooked up to an automatic transfer switch so I don't have to worry about back feeding the power lines.
    The wife and I are getting older and I hate the thought of maybe having to stay at home for days to possibly more than a week without power.
    We tested the Generator yesterday and it will pull both upstairs and downstairs AC units without a problem. Although I doubt that I'd need the upstairs unit in a power outage. I just wanted to see if it would pull both of the units at the same time.

    Any of you guys have a home generator? Is the Generac a good one? I got a good deal on it on a tax free day at a large hardware store.

    Oh, on EDIT: we have two competing propane companies. Supposedly they are having a price war? I paid $1.75 per gallon for propane. I assume this was a good deal?
    Last edited by Down South; 09-19-2018 at 08:50 PM.
    If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.
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    Sam

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Mal Paso's Avatar
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    Generac would be my choice. They will actually let you have service manuals unlike Kohler and Onan. Parts are easy, they often arrive overnight here with UPS Ground! They have come a long way and build most of their own engines now. Had good luck programming the Nexus controller.
    Mal

    Mal Paso means Bad Pass, just so you know.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    In May my neighbor's son called for a fill up for the generator they charged them $6gal when he complained they dropped it to $4.75gal. lol Just so you know you might not get over a week on that tank if running 24/7. Here they don't guarantee emergency delivery & won't come unless your 3/4 or more empty. Congrats and good luck. Jay

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    Propane service around here is a joke. Several years ago the company delivered propane to me, my Mom and brother, all within spitting distance from each other. One was $2.75, one $3.00 and mine was $4.25, called and got a runaround. The next year was $150 tank rental plus $120 to lock the price to $3.00 a gallon. I was paying $60-$75 a month for a water heater, cook stove and little wall heater that was rarely used.

    I switched over to all electric and my power bill went up $20 a month. The company I was with for almost 30 years sold out and things went crazy.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    Our price for propane generally stays at about price of unleaded gas $2.35-$2.50 per gallon,during cold weather. Summer goes down due to low demand. We also bought a Generac 22 kw gen with auto transfer switch. It will exercise once per week for 12 mins. Which is good to schedule for a time you can watch it do this and get to understand how this unit works, and operates. I look everyday at the light system for green yellow or red, usually on green but have seen red once in 5 years when original battery died. Bought heavy duty battery and mounted it outside of housing in Marine box. Only other problem was with switch main contact or got loose on one leg and only fed 1/2 house which was hard to find, this switch list for about $350 so I was able to find problem and bend one of supports to get better contact. Works great, very dependable,very expensive to run for days tho. 500 gallons will last for about a week, unless you shut it off when not needed. But very good peace of mind knowing its there and will keep everything powered when its needed. Very happy with it as we depend on it with 2 green houses winter and summer.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master



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    I have nearly the same setup as you just installed. We built the house about 3 years ago and opted for a gas stove, water heater and dryer as well. By doing this and shedding those loads we are able to run everything in the house just as we would on power. 1000 gal tanks buried in the ground. Buy don't rent. After Irma we were without power for ten days. I shut the generator off when we left for work and then back on when we got home. No issues with running out of fuel. It's an investment that I am very happy I made.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy RED BEAR's Avatar
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    i only have a small 3500 watt that i have to switch myself .but it runs 18 hours on 4.5 gallons of gas. it runs the fridge and a chest freezer the tv dvd cable small window ac coffe pot or microwave not both unless not running much else. looked into a whole house and decided i can't afford to run it. i do have gas logs for heat and a 100 gal tank will last about 2 months. the longest i have lost power where i am at is 10 days. we have been here 24 years and about every 3 to 4 years we lose power for more than a couple days. and that little generator has been a life saver. if i could afford to run one i would love to have one like you bought.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    When I retired from the power company probably 25% of my neighbors including me bought generators. A local coop had a decent price on them. They are all Generac 22KW’s. A few of them had problems, including mine, right out of the crate. They covered everything under warranty and once fixed seem to work ok.

    I had natural gas run to the house so I don’t know about propane prices.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master & Generous Contributor

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    Quote Originally Posted by lightman View Post
    When I retired from the power company probably 25% of my neighbors including me bought generators. A local coop had a decent price on them. They are all Generac 22KW’s. A few of them had problems, including mine, right out of the crate. They covered everything under warranty and once fixed seem to work ok.

    I had natural gas run to the house so I don’t know about propane prices.
    I wish we had the option of natural gas. I live so far out in the sticks, we don't have cable or natural gas.
    I had heard these units can burn a 500 gal tank in a week if loaded. I plan to run a light load and shut it off at night if it isn't too hot. Winter, I have a gas log fire place that is pretty easy on propane.
    If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.
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    Sam

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I have pretty much the same set up as Finster. Mine was installed six years ago when I built the house. Other than changing the oil, yearly, only the battery has been replaced. I lease a 90 gallon electric water heater from the electric company. However, I installed a 40 gallon gas heater as a backup, if and when needed, to reduce the load on the generator during extended outages.

    I buy propane, every other year, during the late Summer. Rates are historically the best then, for my area. My average use is 100 gallons per year for a gas range, fireplace, BBQ grill and clothes dryer. Local propane prices vary due to competition, if you own your tank. Don't own your tank..........your stuck buying from the place you lease your tank from and the price per gallon reflects that. I just filled my tank, last month and paid $1.49/gallon which is up from the $1.09/gallon, two years ago.

    I went with thousand gallon tank and buried it............don't own you can't bury it, either. I fill to the 90% level, instead of the 80% maximum for a above ground tank. Plus, I don't have to look at the unsightly thing. More than likely, our extended outages would be from a ice storm. No propane would be delivered if the roads are unsafe.....so the bigger the tank the better.

    Winelover

  11. #11
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    FISH4BUGS's Avatar
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    We have a Honda 7500 (?) that is wired to do the well pump (240v - the well is 880' and the pump is at 550'), the freezers, a few lights, both refrigerators, the sump pump and of course, the man cave. I was able to cast while the power was out!
    We had a bad ice storm in '08 and power was out for 9 days. With 50 gallons of backup gasoline, we were fine. Run it for a few hours then shut it off when not needed. neighbors came here to shower and get water.
    I really don't see the reason to wire a whole house up for a generator, but that is a personal opinion. Lanterns and candles worked just fine.
    Very interesting time it was......
    As for the propane, it is for hot water and cooking only.
    Collector and shooter of guns with selector switches and threaded barrels. Collector of suppressors, SBR's, AOW's and SBS's. Lead and brass scrounger. Never too much brass, lead or components in inventory! Always looking to win beauty contests with my reloads.

  12. #12
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    I have an 8kw Generac with auto transfer switch. Keeps the essentials on. I installed it in 2010. The longest without power was 6 days. Used $84.00 worth of propane. We pay over $4.00 per gallon here.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy mattw's Avatar
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    I have several diesels here at work, mine run from 80kw to 750kw. If I were to do it, I would go with something in the range of 40-50kw diesel. The fuel consumption is good, they are not that much more expensive on the secondary market and with a little basic service can run 5000 hours over their lifetime.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master



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    Have Generec 22kw and dedicated propane tank. Will run everything. This is my second one, first had access to natural gas. In a true extended emergency, you can run it for a couple hours and off for a few hours and on again, and it will keep fridge and freezer cold. Keep it going for a long time. Also Have a small Honda generator and small solar system for lights and entertainment.
    "Had his shooting been as good as his running, he might have given a better account of himself."
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  15. #15
    Boolit Master





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    Mine is the same as F4B's It runs our well pump, oil FHA furnace, Oil fired water heater, 1 light circuit , 2 freezers, 1 fridge. It is hooked through a transfer panel with 6 circuits so no backfeed.

    We keep it in the detached garage with it's fuel cans pull it out when needed plug it in with the shore cord I made up. Its gas tank holds 4 gallons of gas and runs the house around 16 hours on a fill.

    It gets used around 12 times per year sometimes for a few hours 8-12 at a time and once avg for a couple of days. Change the Mobil 1 oil every 24 hrs of run time. We store the gas in a 55 gallon barrel with a bottom hose to fill the 5 gallon cans off of.

    Being on a no loop grid last from civilization it works for us. Total cost for the Gen and switch panel was under a grand a round 15 years ago. This is the second Gen we have had in this house with the first one the same size bought in 1990. I sold that one off when I got the newer one that is on wheels so it is easier to move.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Down South View Post
    I wish we had the option of natural gas. I live so far out in the sticks, we don't have cable or natural gas.
    I had heard these units can burn a 500 gal tank in a week if loaded. I plan to run a light load and shut it off at night if it isn't too hot. Winter, I have a gas log fire place that is pretty easy on propane.
    My 2000 square ft house is all electric and my 22 KW generator will run the house under normal conditions. I mean that we can live like we normally do, using whatever we want including the heat pump. I’ve encouraged my Wife not to run everything all at once but the generator will do it.

    I think you will be happy with your choice.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattw View Post
    I have several diesels here at work, mine run from 80kw to 750kw. If I were to do it, I would go with something in the range of 40-50kw diesel. The fuel consumption is good, they are not that much more expensive on the secondary market and with a little basic service can run 5000 hours over their lifetime.
    I considered a diesel because I’ve been around them and have connected several. I chose natural gas because of the issues of storing, monitoring, buying and just dealing with fuel. I can buy diesel wholesale and have it delivered but not when the roads are icy or closed. Also, a cold dead diesel can be a bear to start. I know a diesel is much tougher and with the added torque won’t see the fluxations in voltage when loads change.

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    After I hooked mine up, I ran a test on it. With gen up and running warmed up, went in house and turned everything on. Including 2, 3 ton water source heat pumps all lights fans, including 7 in greenhouses, with exception of electric oven which I forgot. Checked amps on each leg and was surprised was only 35 on one and other was close to 40 amps. Added timers to compressor on each heat pump so they wouldn’t start at same time, tho I think it would start both if needed.very happy.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    I just installed almost the exact same thing last week. Mine is a 20kw and bought a 500 gallon propane tank. Got the generator from Costco ($3,699) and delivery, registration, etc. is all Generac. Paid the same $1.75 gallon. Already used for almost two hours, kicks on in 5 seconds. Was warned about noise so mine is installed near service pole on side of house with no windows facing. On this mountain would have cost a small fortune to try burying a tank. So far love mine and extra peace of mind with being somewhat remote. Still have my old 5000 contractor generator for emergencies.

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    We have an old stone house, about 1500 square feet, in the boonies. 8 years ago I got a 14KW Generac on sale, including free delivery. Installed it myself (retired electrician) and while it is not hooked up as a whole-house generator, it does everything except the electric clothes dryer and the AC unit (ran out of breaker space!). We can live with that. Since I put our generator in service, we have 2 friends who installed 22 KW Generacs. Great for convenience and peace of mind!
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