Standby or Portable Generator install

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  #1  
Old 08-18-11, 04:08 PM
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Standby or Portable Generator install

Do the below quotes for the below options seem reasonable in Ohio? I currently have the Federal Pacific Master in my 50 year old home. I'm kicking around doing as much of the purchasing and installation as possible if I can't get done for a reasonable cost.

Furnish a KOHLER 20 RES generator and place on an ultralight pad
on right side of home near the gas meter. Replace the existing FPE
breaker panel w/ a Square D QO series 200 amp 40 circuit panel w/
ATS built-in. Install approx. 80' of wiring to generator location.
Total cost of this installation: $9300
For electrical and gas permits and inspections: $ 500
Note: This includes a $400 fee for plumbing the generator. Customer may
choose to do the work if desired. We do not yet know if the inspector would allow this without replacing the rest of the service. Add $700 if we must replace that. Details found at bottom of page.

Furnish a Generac Guardian 17/16 generator and a 16 circuit panel w/ ATS.
Locate the generator on the right side of home near the gas meter on an
ultralight pad. Install approx. 80' of wiring to the generator.
Total cost of this installation: $7300
For electrical and gas permits and inspections: $ 500
Replace FPE breaker panel w/ a 30 circuit Square D Homeline panel. You currently are using 34 circuits w/ 16 going into new panel/ATS. This leaves only 18 circuits in panel. Cost of panel change $850
Homeline surge suppression circuit breaker $150
We do not yet know if the inspector would allow this without replacing the
rest of the service. Add $700 if we must replace that. I believe we have a 90% chance of allowing this though.


Replace FPE breaker panel w/ 34 circuits w/ 40 circuit Square D Homelinebreaker panel w/ a generator transfer mechanism. Install a 2p30 amp main
breaker tied to transfer mechanism. Install a 10/3 line just outside to a generator receptacle box. This will have a 30 amp 4 wire twist lock recep.
Total cost for this will be $1375. This does not include a generator or cord.
No inspection for this work as I don't believe it would pass an inspection unless you replace entire service. We could ask the inspector about this.

To replace the mastpipe, mounted to the outside of wall, replace the meter, service cable, and install new service grounding and obtain a permit for service and portable generator hook-up your total cost would be: $700
plus the $1375 or $2075 total.
 
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  #2  
Old 08-18-11, 06:48 PM
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A few comments, in no particular order:

- He should be able to tell what the current mast/meter is sized (100/150/200A). It's based on the wire size, which should be written on the wire. Around here, the inspector likely won't answer a question like that - he'll refer you to an electrician (or pull out his code book and read it to you). So that makes me question the experience of this person a bit...

- Does the masthead and such look in good shape? If it is the correct size for what you want to do, is it good condition to keep it? Or should it be replaced anyway?

- Is there any reason you want/need to upgrade your service? 200A is large service unless you have electric heat or an especially large house.

- The generator and ATS options he lays out seem reasonable. You need to decide whether it's worth the extra cost to have automatic transfers and such. If you use a portable gen, you'll have to keep it gassed up, serviced, etc. The standby gens are almost self-maintained.

- A 20KW generator sounds huge! Of course not knowing the size and makeup of your house, I can't really comment, but others have mentioned that they get by with a 3500-5000w gen.


Any specific questions? I feel like I'm talking too much
 
  #3  
Old 08-18-11, 07:18 PM
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Why 20KW? That's like 90 amps. Anyways, that actually sounds like a good price.
 
  #4  
Old 08-18-11, 07:41 PM
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Not an electrician, but from my experience in the construction trades, is something missing?

Is your home aluminum wiring? All the FP panels I remember had aluminum. (Code be wrong though but its very vivid in my mind)

No mention of pigtailing or anything in these quotes? I would be afraid myself. The electrictians I worked around alway quoted this for liability reasons I think.

Also I thought the whole big gen thing too. Would have been a waste of money IMO unless your pronr to be without power for weeks at a time and very often.

Went with the smallest portable 6 circuit one. 3250 watts. Powers well,heat, some lights, refridge, ceiling fans, TV. Runs 10 plus hours at 1/2 load. 4 gallons fuel. Its never at 1/2 load.

It cost more to run and maintain those big units

Remeber its emergency power.

Hey just a thought.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 08-18-11, 09:18 PM
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Is your home aluminum wiring? All the FP panels I remember had aluminum. (Code be wrong though but its very vivid in my mind)
I have yet to see an fpe panel wired with aluminum. I actually still haven't come across aluminum wiring smaller than no.6 and hope to keep it that way.
 
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Old 08-18-11, 10:27 PM
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I called my buddy and asked if his wiring was aluminum. I know he has the FPE. He said yes. House was built by US homes in 70's. He is a few developments over from me.

US homes I think had big issues back then. ( Lawsuits?)

Now that I think of it more all the FPE panals in NJ that I recall were aluminum house wiring,

Possibly a NJ thing. NJ did win some stab-loc lawsuit litagation thing.

Not a electrician but find the whole thing interesting.




Mike NJ
 
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Old 08-19-11, 07:09 AM
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And down here the older houses are often FPE but the ones I have seen were copper wiring.
 
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Old 08-19-11, 07:29 AM
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The two quotes using Homeline panels are using a cost reduced panel, compared to the QO series. I'm sure they will work for you, but I don't use them in humid climates (coastal FL), since the bus bar is aluminum, not copper.
 
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Old 08-19-11, 09:30 AM
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The options seem reasonable. In either case if you replace the service I would not do it with a panel smaller than 200A & 40 spaces. Replacing the FPE panel should be a pretty high priority in any case.

Kohler does make nice engines. In that option you're paying more but it is a quality unit. The quoted standby generators are really big for a typical residence. Is there a big load you need to power like a air cond. that requires the big genny? (You have nat. gas service so I assume heating is already covered) Both Kohler and Generac make units that are smaller for $1k-$2k less. If you don't need the extra capacity you're just sending extra exhaust up the chimney every time it fires up.
 
  #10  
Old 08-19-11, 02:37 PM
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I really appreciate everyone's feedback. All of your comments will help me with my generator decision.
 
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