Standby generator selection help needed


Old 05-26-06, 02:55 AM
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Standby generator selection help needed

Ok, I have been trying to make up my mind about the best generator to buy for some time now. Yeah, I know, some brands are better than others, but price is a consideration, too. I find the generac the cheapest, but can not afford an authorized dealer install as it brings the price way up. If I get an electrician/plummer to install for me, I am worried about servicing it, and extended warranties are not available going this route... Also, noticed they come with an indoor rated transfer switch, which is useless to me, and Home Depot told me an outdoor switch would cost $1100! What is that about?
Next choice barely in my price range is a coleman powermate with Honda engine. This runs about $1000 more. It has a better warranty, though... The thing here is I had initially wanted to run my heat pump on it, but discovered that I would need at least a 15KW, which runds a lot more in this model than the difference in other brands. I could still go for the 11.5KW model and buy a window air conditioner, though... Only one online place offered an extended warranty on this, and it was quite high. Still would be contracting the install of this as well, so servicing might become a problem. I feel confident, though, that it is less likely to need it since it has a better engine. The ari-cooled versions are all I can afford. You jump up a lot in prioce when you choose the water cooled versions...
There is also a Briggs and Stratton available for about somewhere in the middle of these two, but I just don't feel good about it's lasting too long. It is available through Amazon.
Does anyone knonw where to read reviews on these models? There seems to be a big gap in info on the subject. I am a widow, and need things to work when I need them. This is also a big investment to not have the thing work when called upon or to just last a couple of years...
I have also noticed a big increase in installation price on these things since last year. Should have bought mine then, but couldn't make up my mind then either...
Does anyone know how much more my daily NG bill might be if I choose to run my central air over one verses a window unit?

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Old 05-26-06, 06:43 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: CA
Posts: 2,041
A generator which you will only use for a few days after the occasional hurricane, should last forever. That depends on a proper instllation, and periodic maintenance.

Installing a transfer switch is not a job for an amateur. It most certainly requires a permit. Some places do allow the homeowner to pull his own permit. It is not a job for a PLUMBER!

If you want all the comforts of home during a power outage, you need to size the generator accordingly.
Old 05-26-06, 01:26 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: NE Wis / Paris France{ In France for now }
Posts: 4,808
speaking of the generators size there are quite few manufacters you can choose from.

some have very good warrtanty program and some are not even worth so check around with this.

as far for transfer swtich the best route is let the electricican do the hook up because the code is somehow tricky with this set up.

yes, most local area required need a permit to get the genny hookup

for using the natrual gas for fuel i will let you give you a fair warning or head up there are some area you may have to change gas meter and interal piping depending on the size of unit [ check with your gas co.]

if useing LPG [ liquid propane gas ] please do follow the manufacter instruction for the size of pipe to use

most house i deal up in northren area [ wisconsin area ] most common size for perment stand by generator size useally 10 to 15 KW size but some house i dealt with it some go much larger size.

to get correct size of geneator what you have to is make a " load figures " to see how much load you can safety run with ceretion size geneator

right now i dont have the chart with me but if some one do have chart with wattage i am sure they will be glad to post it to help you more with slection

for window or central air conding it kinda tricky with this spot due the motor start up most will list running amps but very rare they will list the starting amps but quick formila for starting motors will go up much as 6 X of running amps [ most will go about 3 to 4X of running amps ]

speaking of cost to run central air vs window air conding for me it is hard to say because there is too many variation i have to think and each home is diffrent

if have more question please do drop a line here we will try to help you much as we can

for Briggs and Stration engine they are pretty good [ most are air cooled just like over sized lawn mower engine ]

Merci , Marc
Old 05-26-06, 02:48 PM
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Thank you, Marc...I am down to a choice between the new model quiet Generac, 16 KW, that home depot sells, the Coleman Powermate 11.5 KW with Honda engine and 3 year warranty, and the Briggs and stratten with a 2 year warranty. Any feelings on which would be the better choice? The Honda is the most expensive. The only one that would run my central air is the Generac, but it is the one I feel may just be the least dependable. I have nothing really to base that on, though, which is why I'm asking for opinions...Seems everyone is partial to one or the other, depending on what they sell, of course...


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