Kohler 15res generator exhaust

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Old 11-21-07, 02:44 PM
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Kohler 15res generator exhaust

This is only marginally electrical related. I am trying to find a forum that covers this sort of generators and a couple of hours of Googling has not found any.

I want a to buy a Kohler 15RES standby generator (I don't actually want their alternator with the brushes, but it seems to be the best overall specs otherwise). Problem: The place it will fit is under a second floor operable window. I thought it had to be 5' away from a window but what I have seen recently indicates it has to be 5' from any verticle line intersecting a window.

Two possible solutions:

Extend the exhaust from the generator. With the sound housing, it would be about 12' of additional piping. This will look a bit odd and I will need to know if the additional back pressure (or size of pipe to avoid excessive pressure) and what it will do to the manufacturers warranty.

It will eventually be enclosed with a roof over it. I believe knowing this made me insensitive to the exhaust placement. Anyway, the shed will have 6' high concrete walls on two sides, 9' of foundation wall on the third side, and the remaining side (one of the two sloped walls ) will be built like a fence with angled slats to provide air and cooling. The roof will be a shed roof leaning against the foundation of the house. It will have the same slatted construction above the 6' high concrete on the end opposite the fully slatted end.

This could be combined with the exhaust extension and look much better. It might also work to leave the exhaust pipe alone and put a fan and a bit of duct (2.5') out the end wall with concrete and slats.

I am trying to determine:
What works
What works while not destroying the warranty
What is legal
Any help is appreciated. Links to appropriate sources or forums as well.
 
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Old 11-21-07, 02:58 PM
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> What works

I think your proposed solution would work just fine so long as you use a pipe of equal size and strength to the original -- obviously no dryer vent material, etc. I've seen a couple generators installed with extended exhaust. I don't know if it was a factory kit, engineered or homemade.

> What works while not destroying the warranty

Talk to the manufacturer. Call their 1-800 number and try to talk to someone in the engineering department to see if there's a kit or sanctioned fix. I wouldn't trust any advice from the sales department or from the retail store.

> What is legal

An extended exhaust should be legal to clear the window(s).
 
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Old 11-21-07, 03:35 PM
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Kohler will not talk to anyone but a dealer (even for a simple question). They do not seem to really talk to dealers either. They will not make installation manuals available. Even their parts site is unavailable unless you are a dealer. That is why I am doing this. It is a real old traditional business model. You have to pick a dealer first (it is not fair for me to make use of a dealers time if I have no intention of buying from them). If you, a mere buyer, don't want to play their games; buy something else. With the internet, I think that in the long run it is a model that could really impact business. I see markups of 50% or more for processing the paperwork for a drop-ship. That is simply stealing. There was a recent Supreme Court ruling that is going to make it even easier for manufacturers to enforce a minimum sale price on their equipment. While ranting, there is in many cases no real relationship between cost of goods and price. Costs $2000 for a "feature" with an incremental cost of goods of maybe $50.

Not getting a lot of success with online sellers with acceptable prices answering this sort of thing.
 
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Old 11-21-07, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by alternety View Post
Kohler will not talk to anyone but a dealer (even for a simple question). They do not seem to really talk to dealers either. They will not make installation manuals available. Even their parts site is unavailable unless you are a dealer. That is why I am doing this. It is a real old traditional business model.
In today's world this is a joke.
Knowing this, even with Kohler's good reputation, would keep me from EVER buying one of their products.
 
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Old 11-21-07, 11:17 PM
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I would be careful about adding that extra pipe without engineering from Kohler.
I know that many generators are`quite sensitive to changes in backpressure and this needs to be considered closely.
Second, if I am not mistaken, all Kohler units carry a UL label.
This machine would have the label based on what you received, not your modification
 
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Old 11-22-07, 07:31 AM
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For the codes on venting, just about every juridiction in the country invokes the National Fuel Gas Code. This book is fairly inexpensive and available widely in book stores and on the internet.

There are strict codes regarding flue pipes, windows, the eaves and pitch of the roof, etc., and all for the obvious very good reason. Every time there is a hurricane or winter storm, the news the next day has a story about a whole family dead from carbon monoxide poisoning. It is all fairly easy to digest in that book.

Given Kohler's position, I am surprised that any of their distributors sold you a generator. Usually, on equipment like that where the manufacturer is trying to ensure professional installation, they also limit distribution. As someone pointed out, the internet has sort of changed the equation. HVAC equipment is the same picture.

I am surprised that the equipment did not come with an installation manual. Back to my HVAC analogy, most distributors will not sell that to John Q Public, but there are channels, and when you do get your hands on a unit, it does come with the installation manual. Now, that manual assumes you are a trained technician and know some things, but it does include the tech. info on pipe, wiring diagrams, etc. On flue pipes, it will refer you to the National Fuel Gas Code! Both the install manual , and the code book, have information on flue pipe lengths, bends, horizontal runs, etc.

An engine is different than a gravity vented furnace, so I do not know the answer to your question about flue height.

My suggestion is this....contact whoever you bought it from. That company should have a relationship with Kohler, and should be able to get you a manual, and get some answers to tech questions.

We haven't even gotten into the electrical aspects of this puppy. Are you the electrician? If not, how are you getting that part of your install done? Here again, code and technical issues are why the manufacturers prefer that these are not DIY projects.
 
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Old 11-22-07, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by stanfortyman View Post
In today's world this is a joke.
Knowing this, even with Kohler's good reputation, would keep me from EVER buying one of their products.
.......

I cant for the life of me understand Why a MFR would want to hold back Literature or Information, Especially in an economy, Do -It-Yourself situation.
I'm glad to see that Im not the only one that buys products based on CUSTOMER SERVICE and MFR support.
 
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Old 11-23-07, 12:31 AM
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594 tough - I understand your point of view. I do not particularly agree that people should not be allowed to buy things because they may not be trained to handle them properly (cars and chainsaws come to mind). I do not believe that manufacturers have an innate responsibility to save me from myself. That is the responsibility of building codes, permit processes, licensing, and local inspections.

The most common causes for the CO poisonings you mention tend to be really ill-thought things, and not commonly a fixed-mount automatic generator installation. Nor usually anything that would require a permit or inspection to install or use. It tends to be portable generators in the living room, charcoal fires inside, cars or portable generators running in garages that are not (and are not required to be) hermetically isolated from the house. And of course there are millions of portable generators, charcoal grills, and cars out there.

A generator is not normally a particularly difficult thing to install. And you can, of course, buy some sort of version at any big box hardware store, Costco, RV dealers, marine supply stores, lawn mower dealers, etc. For the permanently installed ones like this, you sit them on a properly sited pad (which is my current problem), properly connect electrical circuits and the LP line from the proper regulator.

I have not purchased the unit. I am trying to select a unit and determine if it can be used in my situation. It is trying to find information that has frustrated me. I am fairly sure that if I buy a generator, I will get the installation manual. I might be able to order the manual from a dealer. I tried once, but that does not seem to have worked. The issue with needing the manual first is that there are still several possible choices that I would like to evaluate. Ordering multiple manuals is rather a pain. With the internet it is simple and inexpensive to provide documentation online for pre and post sales needs. If one company provide this and another does not, there is a tendency for internet users to simply ignore the manufacturer that does not. For many things there are readily accessible alternate products or suppliers. I believe that as time goes on the companies choosing a business model that does not provide instant online information will be at a disadvantage. How many times do people looking for a product find a web site that says little more than we sell this, call for price and information, and actually bother to call. I usually don't, but thats me.

I am looking for ideas to solve a particular problem. The only physical space I can most safely put a generator is too close to a second story operable window. That window unfortunately makes it not safe. Most other areas around the house have mostly continuous windows on both floors. No area would allow venting of exhaust fumes that I would be comfortable with. The remaining windowless area has 4' overhangs from a sloped roof and has an air intake for clothes dryer make-up air at the top of the wall. All contraindicating siting the generator there.

Except for that second floor window, this location is all concrete, not under attic vents, there are no other windows or other openings, and lines up rather well with prevailing winds. I have no particular desire to extend the actual exhaust system from the spark arresting muffler. It has performance issues and getting a properly isolated hot pipe installed would be a serious pain. I can't tell how the exhaust is handled in the unit. All I can see is a grill the whole width of the cover. I am guessing there is just a pipe from the muffler pointed up under there. But, this is a sound reducing cabinet. Maybe they are diffusing the exhaust in a chamber first with the cooling air from the radiator or alternator. If the gasses use the entire area of the grill, that represents a different set of conditions. I just don't know.

If nothing is feasible, and posting on a forum is to tap the specialized knowledge out there (even if that feedback is only - you are an idiot and this cannot/should not be done), I am going to look at making the window non-operable. I believe that will resolve the issue, but she who must be obeyed will be very unhappy.

If I find what appears to be a viable solution I will call the building inspector for the area and get his view on the installation before pulling a permit.
 
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Old 11-24-07, 12:17 AM
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Virtually all of the towns that we work in have a generator checklist available that will provide you with the details required in your jurisdiction.
Go visit your building department or check online.
Having said that, most jurisdictions require a 10' distance from any operable door or window that leads into the house.
Unless you are on a zero lot line, I would think that there must be a more acceptable location for the genset.
We have been involved in several hundred iinstallations and I can only think of one or two that turned out to be impossible.
Making that second floor window inoperable or replacing it with fixed glass or glass block may be your best option.
 
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Old 11-24-07, 02:11 AM
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dezwit - Thanks. I have seen both 5' in a generator vendor spec and 10' in another reference. I am planning on going over to the county offices next week on another issue and will look around. I tried looking for code online and had problems finding what I needed. I found the answers a few years ago when I was determining where air handling and heating systems should be located in the house, but I just didn't remember. There is one perfect spot along side the house; unfortunately there is a large water tank buried there.

I have some space away from the house, but terrain makes it mostly unusable for a flat generator site. I need an area of about 9' X 12' for a generator. The fourth side will have flat space but it is the main view out the house. I am not going to win that one with the wife.
 
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Old 11-27-07, 06:32 PM
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Why do you need a 9'x12' space for a 15 kW generator?
Based on experience, a 3'x5' slab should be adequate for a unit that size.
 
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Old 11-27-07, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by dezwit View Post
Why do you need a 9'x12' space for a 15 kW generator?
Based on experience, a 3'x5' slab should be adequate for a unit that size.
It is "space" ,not slab. 3' service access on all sides according to the limited specs I have been able to get.
 
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Old 11-27-07, 07:14 PM
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10/4.
You defiinitely need the 3' from live parts to grounded surface for the electrical side but you may be able to fudge the other sides depending on how your air intake and exhaust are situated.
If you are going to spend the kind of money it takes to buy a Kohler but don't like their alternator, I would suggest that you look at Gillette Generators.
http://gillettegenerators.com/
They were innovators in the industry and everyone else stole their ideas.
 
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