5000w generator, enough power?

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  #1  
Old 12-17-06, 03:07 PM
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5000w generator, enough power?

Please forgive my ignorance in this...

I lose power for 8+ hours, several times a year. Inconvenience and boredom are the biggest problems, but the recent windstorm in the Pacific northwest knocked the power out for days and the place got quite cold and food spoiled in the refrigerator. So I'm looking at 5000w generators, and I'm wondering if they're big enough for what I'm looking for:

- Powering a lamp or two for lighting
- Powering a TV (big? small?) and cable box
- Powering a side-by-side refrigerator
- Powering some sort of electric heater

I'd rather not, but I'm willing to alternate the refrigerator and heater if I have to. I don't plan any special wiring to my household (at least initially); I just plan to run a couple heavy-duty electical cords to surge protectors.

Is a 5000w generator appropriate for me? I really don't have any idea.

And how much noise do they make when they operate? Am I going to tick off my neighbors?

Thanks!
Greg
 

Last edited by gregsalter; 12-17-06 at 03:13 PM. Reason: (Forgot question about noise, added line about wiring)
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  #2  
Old 12-17-06, 03:26 PM
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Depending on the size of the heater you probably be ok If you keep the frig door
closed it will stay cold about 10 hrs so you could run it a while and stop.
How do you intend to connect the generator to these devices, extension cord? Make sure the generator is running outside. I have read stories of
people running them in the house and dying of the exhaust.
 
  #3  
Old 12-17-06, 04:27 PM
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Well there is the search feature and seeing how this has been discussed quite a few times it might prove valuable..?
 
  #4  
Old 12-17-06, 05:13 PM
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A 5 kw generator would work well for what you plan to power but you should keep in mind that most consumer generators do not provide a pure regulated ac output.
Some devices can be damaged from this type of power.
I would suggest if you want to watch tv, rough it with a cheap 13" set.
 
  #5  
Old 12-17-06, 05:44 PM
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Yes especially if there are changing loads like phasing motors and heavy usage the surges canbe damaging to electronics.
 
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Old 12-17-06, 07:17 PM
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Do you have natural gas? If so I would suggest gas space heaters. If no natural gas I'd suggest propane with permanently plumbed valves and a tank outside.

You do have to be careful with providing sufficient air for gas heaters and should use a battery operated CO monitor but despite what some here believe (grin) after using them for 50+ years I believe they are a good way to heat. You could even get a generator to run on propane or natural gas.
 
  #7  
Old 12-17-06, 08:34 PM
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Do not use your TV with the generator. Electronic devices need good power. Generators (especially 500 watt portable ones) produce dirty power.

Yes, you will likely tick off your neighbors when you run your generator.
 
  #8  
Old 12-18-06, 05:24 AM
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Except for the space heater, none of the loads you mention will come close to taxing a 5000 watt generator.

Lights (whatever wattage is on it, lets say 2 lights, 100 watts each) = 200 watts. Switch to compact flourescents and you can run about as many as you want.
TV & cable box, maybe 100 watts.
Fridge, depending on it's age, 200-300 watts (Running, not starting).
space heater, ~1500 watts.

So, 2000 watts, give or take, or about half load on your generator, which is good.

As mentioned, go with a gas heater and you will get 1400 watts or so of that back. If you have central heat AND it's gas, then you're OK, as you are only powering the blower for a couple hundred watts.

As for the electronics, do yourself a favor and buy a good UPS unit for all the electronics in your home, yes, that includes the TV and cable box. You not only won't have to worry about the power from your generator, it will keep those items running during short glitches, and until you can get the generator connected and warmed up.

With the 6500 watt model I have, I can run everything except:
Electric Dryer (about 5000 watts by itself), I have a washer/dryer combo though, so I can still do laundry.
Central HVAC (4 ton Heat Pump, electric heat), but I can run the blower.

Lights, electronics, fridge (and upright freezer), window AC, electric water heater, all fair game

As for the noise, depends on how close your neighbors are.
Some models can be pretty loud, but you can build an enclosure for it, not only cuts down on the noise, but also protects it from the weather.
 
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Old 12-18-06, 05:38 AM
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Forgive my cold weather ignorance, but couldn't you put refrigerated goods on the porch or somewhere that Mother Nature is keeping cold (but above freezing) to avoid spoilage?

A lot of Floridians (including me) have generators in that size range for hurricane season.
 
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Old 12-18-06, 09:01 AM
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> And how much noise do they make when they operate?

A lot!

>Am I going to tick off my neighbors?

They'll be more receptive to the idea if you drop them a cord too; my dad has a 5000W generator and runs 4 or 5 of the neighbors' sump pumps on heavy duty 100' drop cords when there is an outage.

Honda generators are known for being much quieter than other brands; however you'll pay a premium for it. Natural gas generators are quieter yet, but that is a big project which requires a permanent mounting and hardwiring of the generator to the house.
 

Last edited by ibpooks; 12-18-06 at 11:21 AM.
  #11  
Old 12-18-06, 09:37 AM
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Is a 5000w generator appropriate for me?
When you're doing power calculations and such, remember that a 5000w generator is rated for 5000w peak. If you look closer at the packaging/name plate, it will be rated at ~3800w continuous. This probably isn't a problem based on other's replies, but it's something to keep in mind.
 
  #12  
Old 12-18-06, 09:50 AM
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Not necessarily true Zorfdt.

My generator was advertised as 5000 watt, and it is 5000 watt continuous. It is 6250 watts peak or surge.

You have to pay attention to the details.
 
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Old 12-19-06, 08:45 AM
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racraft - point taken. I should have worded it differently, the nameplate tells all.
 
  #14  
Old 12-19-06, 09:07 AM
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> Forgive my cold weather ignorance, but couldn't you put refrigerated goods
> on the porch or somewhere that Mother Nature is keeping cold (but above
> freezing) to avoid spoilage?

Yes, but many power outages come from nighttime ice storms in the spring and fall when daytime temperatures are too high for food preservation. The ice melts away, but the lines can be down for days.
 
  #15  
Old 01-25-15, 03:26 PM
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exhaust fumes

You really need to be careful with the exhaust if you're running a generator off of a 4-cycle motor. The exhaust contains carbon monoxide and can be harmful to your health. I had a generator in New Hampshire to run the heat circulator pumps, refrig, and well (was an 8KW Craftsman unit). I had installed a through-the-wall exhaust piped up to the roof. When there was no wind blowing, the fumes were heaver than air and would fall down and hover around the house, setting of both the smoke detector and CO alarms. IMHO a propane-driven generator would be better suited to this application. A friend of mine had a propane generator installed about 100' from the house, had no noise or fume issues whatsoever.
 
  #16  
Old 01-25-15, 03:36 PM
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While this is am 8 year old thread this is still good info. However, propane will still produce CO so proper operation is still critical.
 
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