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Old 07-20-2011, 10:41 PM
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Default Standby Generator...bit the bullet...

I decided I'd better get a standby generator. Went with a 20Kw Kohler that runs off the propane tank. It's pretty cool and runs the whole house A/C and all...but we only have a 1,300 square foot house.

Here's a pic...


Bob

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Old 07-21-2011, 05:08 AM
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Default Re: Standby Generator...bit the bullet...

Nice unit. The propane is nice if you have a big tank.
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Old 07-21-2011, 06:08 AM
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Default Re: Standby Generator...bit the bullet...

I'd love to get one of those but as long as my aging tri-fuel generator still runs I'm going to keep it. Its been powering my house for the past 15(?) years during our frequent power failures.

The auto start units like you have are simply a lot more convenient than my old manual system.
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Old 07-21-2011, 07:06 AM
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Default Re: Standby Generator...bit the bullet...

Nice!! That will be my next major purchase when I can swing the change. I did my calculations and I have all the info for the model I want, the issue is it's a 45kW ............
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Old 07-21-2011, 07:39 AM
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Default Re: Standby Generator...bit the bullet...

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Nice!! That will be my next major purchase when I can swing the change. I did my calculations and I have all the info for the model I want, the issue is it's a 45kW ............
Tell me about it. I am trying to get my new Yanmar diesel powered 65kW hooked up. Anyone know where I can get a decent price on a 400amp 120/240volt single ph 3r enclosure auto transfer switch? Locally they want almost $5800 for the just the switch!! I started out hoping I could get everything I needed, and installed, for that price!
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Old 07-21-2011, 09:15 AM
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Default Re: Standby Generator...bit the bullet...

holy WTF !! are you guys powering a small neighborhood? 3 phase? A few miles of electric fence ? I thought I needed alot with a 17kw !
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Old 07-21-2011, 09:18 AM
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Default Re: Standby Generator...bit the bullet...

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holy WTF !! are you guys powering a small neighborhood? 3 phase? A few miles of electric fence ? I thought I needed alot with a 17kw !
I'm going to be comfortable ...............
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Old 07-21-2011, 09:28 AM
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Default Re: Standby Generator...bit the bullet...

I have been wanting one of these for years. IF our 500gal propane tank is full (80%) the unit can run full tilt for ten-eleven days. I am strongly considering a 1,000gal tank in the future. The switches are incredibly expensive. But to have the unit all dialed in to self run weekly (no load ) and to not have to be home to get it started ...well, like I said...I bit the bullet to have an automatic unit. Bob
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Old 07-29-2011, 05:13 PM
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Default Re: Standby Generator...bit the bullet...

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Tell me about it. I am trying to get my new Yanmar diesel powered 65kW hooked up. Anyone know where I can get a decent price on a 400amp 120/240volt single ph 3r enclosure auto transfer switch? Locally they want almost $5800 for the just the switch!! I started out hoping I could get everything I needed, and installed, for that price!
Holy shit!!!! I finally got the estimate from an electrician to hook up my generator if I already have the pad ready. Get this, just to hook up my generator with an automatic transfer switch, his estimate was $13,856! Not in my lifetime!
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Old 07-29-2011, 06:12 PM
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Default Re: Standby Generator...bit the bullet...

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Holy shit!!!! I finally got the estimate from an electrician to hook up my generator if I already have the pad ready. Get this, just to hook up my generator with an automatic transfer switch, his estimate was $13,856! Not in my lifetime!
That's fucked up!
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Old 07-29-2011, 06:14 PM
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Default Re: Standby Generator...bit the bullet...

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his estimate was $13,856! Not in my lifetime!
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That's fucked up!
Yes it is. But if that kinda money can be made, I'm giving up the desk job and getting my tools back out.
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Old 07-29-2011, 06:16 PM
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Yes it is. But if that kinda money can be made, I'm giving up the desk job and getting my tools back out.
Hey Jerry, I'll pick you up and we can go put it in for him for a measly 10K even.............. how's that Brent!
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Old 07-29-2011, 06:19 PM
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Default Re: Standby Generator...bit the bullet...

That's why I went to the Kohler. It turn- key d at just under 8k
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Old 07-30-2011, 02:13 AM
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Default Re: Standby Generator...bit the bullet...

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Originally Posted by vonfatman View Post
That's why I went to the Kohler. It turn- key d at just under 8k
I'm with Bob on this one, as long as what I've got is working well, I'll stick with it. But, if it even hick-ups, I'll put in one of those Kohlers, slightly smaller than yours,about 17 KW, but running on natural gas. When you look at the alternatives, it's almost a no-brainer.
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Old 07-30-2011, 08:45 AM
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Default Re: Standby Generator...bit the bullet...

Unfortunately for me, smaller generators like those would only run a furnace, refrigerators and some lights etc. With my size family, I have 2 refrigerators, 2 full sized freezers, just over 10 tons of A/C etc., etc. We have so many power outages that I'm sick and tired of getting out my portable units to run limited circuits with extension cords. Also, since I'm the only house on the electric run that goes to my house, I am about last on the utility company's priority list. I realize I have to pay to have enough power to run everything, but I already have a top of the line 65kW diesel generator with it's own enclosure and fuel tank. At the price quoted, I'll just buy the components and hook up my own automatic transfer switch and run my own 0000 lines to the generator and back to the main.

The electricians keep telling me that I have to have a "service rated" transfer switch for code with my equipment. Even if we had "the big one" earthquake and I had to run on generator power for a couple months, I don't see where a "residential" transfer switch would fail. It's not like I'm running huge 3 phase machines and would be switching from the utility company to my own power a dozen times per month and I'm not running a freaking hospital where someone would die if the switch failed; which I don't see where a residential one would. If I paid list price for my generator and paid the quoted price for installation and also paid someone to put in the pad for the generator, I'd have more in the freaking generator than my last house!! The generator I have is the slightly bigger brother to the one pictured here on the tandem axle trailer Generator. Mine is only rated 65kW on 3 phase and drops down to only a guaranteed 45kW on single phase. It's not like it's that big.
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Old 07-30-2011, 09:24 AM
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Default Re: Standby Generator...bit the bullet...

Brent, you may want to consider doing what I did.

Get a good size generator and run all your "critical" circuits and then run some (but not all) of your optional circuits.

I run the furnace, well, 2 freezers, 2 refrigerators, microwave . . . but not the double ovens or electric cooktop. I run the upstairs where we 'live' but not the family room downstairs, also not the dining room, not the outside lights but do run some that I deem needed. Pick and choose.

When we put in our generator 15(?) years ago it was common to run selected circuits. Today its more common to run the whole house. But running the whole house takes a lot more generator and back when I was shopping the choices were a lot thinner. Still, what I did makes sense.

No, I can't run my AC but I do have the ceiling fans in the summer. I also have the critical furnace in the winter and food all year. We can get by with the gas grill, microwave, coffee maker and none of our food will spoil. We can still shower and flush toilets because we have the well pump.

Fancy roast turkey dinner in the dining room during a power outage? Well no we can't do that.

Would I like to have an auto-on unit that powers the whole house, including the pool, pool house/bar and the guest house & workshop too? Sure. Afterall there are times when I want to weld in the middle of a power outage just to piss off my neighbors and show that I can . . . but honestly its not needed for the reasonably short outages we have. Most of our outages are less than 24 hours. Some run 1 to 3 days. Only a handful have ever last 3+ days. The worst was 8 days.

Also the majority of our outages lasting more than 12 hours happen during the winter. Therefore running the AC is a lesser priority, but running the furnace for heat can be a real issue. So I opted to run heat. Chart your outages, see what you need. Also, consider running only the AC unit that is zoned for your upstairs (if that is where your bedroom is located). The AC compressors draw lots of power, as many homes have multiples, consider which 'zone' is the priority in a longer outage and simply power that one.

Just some things to think about.
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Old 07-30-2011, 10:03 AM
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Default Re: Standby Generator...bit the bullet...

I thought about those things for the last 10 years while my wife and I contemplated buying a larger generator. Since we are going to live here until we are no more, it only made sense to us to be able to live as normal during our long and frequent outages. Besides, I already have the generator. All I need now is to hook it up. I paid less than half price for the generator with only 91 hours on it and a year old.

When I was younger, my idea of camping was a sleeping bag and a tent. Now it's a class A motor coach. The same goes with generator power. Before I wanted to just 'survive' until power was restored. After our last 3 week outage, we decided that we no longer want to hassle with it. If the power goes out now, I want to continue to live as normal and not have to do anything different. Besides, the older I get the less I'm willing to live in a house with where the temperature is in the upper 90's. I grew up that way and never attended a school that had A/C. I've been there, done that. I'm just a transfer switch and a small amount of wiring from having to do nothing but using my track loader to carry my small 110 gallon diesel tank out to simply refill the tank on a whole house generator every 3 or 4 days. If it's in the summer and the ground is hard, I can just drive my pickup to the generator and use the diesel transfer tank in the back of it to refill.

So, I can honestly say that we talked about what size and what kind (diesel, NG etc.) to get for at least 10 years. The answer became apparent in the last couple of years. We'll still have to reset our clocks since I see no need for to buy batteries for power during the brief time between power failure and generator start up, but otherwise we prefer to just live life as normal. With my office for work on the 2nd floor of our pool house/guest house, I do need power for work anyway. That's why I bought a 2nd gas powered generator a few years ago, but my appetite for limited power during outages dwindles more each year. One way or another, I'll have that issue behind me soon. I'm just not paying anywhere near $14k to hookup what I already have.
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Old 07-30-2011, 10:08 AM
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Default Re: Standby Generator...bit the bullet...

Brent, I have to agree, as I get older . . .

My issue is that I'm too darn cheap to replace my current generator with an upgraded liquid cooled larger capacity unit. Hey it works, why get rid of it?!? But the moment mine starts to give me some trouble is the moment that I will be upgrading the unit for something that will run the house.

Unlike yours, my guest house/workshop is actually on a completely separate electric and gas service, so even if I fully power my home that area is going to remain in the dark.
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Old 07-30-2011, 11:02 AM
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Default Re: Standby Generator...bit the bullet...

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Brent, I have to agree, as I get older . . .

My issue is that I'm too darn cheap to replace my current generator with an upgraded liquid cooled larger capacity unit. Hey it works, why get rid of it?!? But the moment mine starts to give me some trouble is the moment that I will be upgrading the unit for something that will run the house.

Unlike yours, my guest house/workshop is actually on a completely separate electric and gas service, so even if I fully power my home that area is going to remain in the dark.
Yes, it's the older (and spoiled) part that has made us finally move. If I already had something othre than completely manual; go fetch the generators from the barn, run all the extension cords, re-wire the furnaces etc., I wouldn't change either. My wife wouldn't be able to do anything if I were gone (as off on a business trip or otherwise) so I want something rather industrial that requires no action from us to work. Believe it or not, she enjoys operating my excavator and track loader! Therefore, with the hydraulic coupling on the track loader, she can easily drop the bucket and hook up pallet forks to carry the fuel tank to the generator if she needs to fill it.

As you know, I've been slowly battling arthritis and my heavy lifting days are limited. From years of racing motocross, each morning is almost pure agony getting out of bed. All those broken bones and injuries from 30 years ago seem to all be coming back. It's my understanding that they'll only get worse. That's why I already have the electric lines run and rails installed behind the stairway wall for one of those electric seat lifts. We're far away from anything like that, but I do try (try being the operative word) to think ahead a little.
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