An other generator question - should be simple

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Old 11-02-11, 05:37 PM
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An other generator question - should be simple

Cutting to the chase


I'm looking to size a generator to power my oil fired furnace which is used with baseboard radiator on 2 floors. In a 1600sqft raised ranch. Also would like power my tv and charge phones when needed.


Not looking for a large solution - will have a transfer switch installed just would like to know how big of a generator is needed. Aiming at 2k watt size but....


Thanks please let me know if I need to provide other info.
 
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Old 11-02-11, 07:48 PM
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Before you go and get something too small have you considered the frig, well pump etc?

Some sites have generator sizing spreadsheets.
 
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Old 11-02-11, 09:19 PM
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thanks for the reply -- I should have given more details. Luckily I have city water which works with out power :-) And we have very little in the fridge (don't eat meat and buy groceries in small amounts) so that isn't needed; and no sump pump. I have seen charts put that all seem to be forced hot air systems for heat/furnace. Do you need a bigger unit for an oil fired design? I was hoping it would work as the boiler also makes our hot water (all in one design I guess?)

John
 
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Old 11-02-11, 09:39 PM
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if this helps I took a few photos of the burner, which is what I assume draws the most power.... it does have a circulator (pumps the water to to the baseboards) I'll check the specs on that as well.
oil furnace - a set on Flickr

I added a couple of photos in this link above; it has a photo of the circulator (qty 1) and a control valve (qty2)

again thanks for any insight
 
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Old 11-03-11, 12:23 AM
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Your pictures are a bit confusing. You show the ratings for the oil burner flame safeguard control, a name plate for the oil burner, a name plate on a motor (for what?), a name plate on the circulator motor and a name plate for a zone valve.

The flame safeguard control ratings are MAXIMUM the controller will handle and are not relevant. The oil burner APPEARS to require 5.8 amperes but the motor is rated at 1.9 amperes. The circulator is rated at 0.71 amperes and the zone valve is almost irrelevant since it is powered by the control transformer on the calculator control.

Bottom line, I doubt that your heating system takes more than four or five amperes when running but it could take almost double that when starting. This power consumption is similar to my forced air gas-fired furnace. 10 amperes (starting load) is about 1200 watts so a 2000 watt generator should run the boiler (burner and pump) with no problem and still allow for a few hundred watts of lighting.

Still, I would opt for a little bit bigger generator because running these small generators near maximum is going to lead to a decreased life. There is also the issue of power quality...small, inexpensive generators output really crappy power quality and these CAN wreak havoc on any electronics connected. This includes televisions, computers, DVD players and also the internal electronic controls on microwave ovens and the like. Even the flame safeguard control on your boiler COULD be damaged by the low quality power.

I have a fairly small generator, 2800 watts, but it is an "inverter" generator and it utilizes a high quality inverter to convert the direct current generated into alternating current as required by the equipment in the house. I've heard/read too many horror stories where a cheap generator was the cause of electronic controls on boilers, furnaces and other appliances to go up in a puff of smoke so I spent the extra money to reduce those chances for failure.
 
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Old 11-03-11, 07:06 AM
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Thanks for the info -- I included a photo if it had a listing of power draw; I wasn't sure what was needed and didn't want to leave anything off.

I wanted a Honda 2000w or Yamaha 2000w ranged unit due to the noise level, and being a lower polltion models. Plus I did like the inverter style generator (as you mentioned as well) BUT could not afford one of the larger 3000w models by either company - so If I needed a larger one it would be a 4500w model by a big box store....

does that change anything or am I stil way out in left field?

thanks again -
 
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Old 11-03-11, 07:38 AM
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I like coleman and for the price this one is all you need. Its the cheapest you will find.

Amazon.com: Powermate PM0103007 Vx Power Series 3,750 Watt 212cc Gas Powered Portable Generator: Patio, Lawn & Garden

Then transfer switch and all can be done for under $1000

Amazon.com: Reliance Controls Transfer Switch Kit - 6 Circuit, Model# 31406CRK: Home & Garden

Thats the best your going to do.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 11-03-11, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by johnner1999 View Post
I wanted a Honda 2000w or Yamaha 2000w ranged unit due to the noise level
Both of those are very nice machines and I think will meet your emergency power needs as you have described them. The Yamaha can be converted for use with both gasoline and propane (infinite shelf life and burns cleaner).
 
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Old 11-03-11, 01:15 PM
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If it is the Yamaha EF2400iSHC that you are considering I would strongly recommend that machine. You will also want a strong chain, big padlock and eyebolts through the side of your house to make it much harder to steal.
 
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Old 11-03-11, 03:06 PM
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I would get a 2500W inverter model. This will give you enough power to run the furnace, tv, lights, and maybe a small kitchen apliance such as a microwave, toaster, or coffeemaker.

Since you have oil available, you may also want to look at small diesel generators.
 
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Old 11-03-11, 03:29 PM
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Since you have oil available, you may also want to look at small diesel generators
How do you get the oil to the gen? Dont you need a pump? Or do the diesal gens have a pump?

Mike NJ
 
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Old 11-03-11, 03:35 PM
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I would not consider a diesel generator unless you plan on running it for a very long time. They are considerably more expensive than gasoline powered models. Their payback and saving grace generally comes with a longer life span and reduced fuel consumption. A benefit on a ship or industrial complex where it may run 24/7 for months or years but the occasional power outage does not justify their expense.
 
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Old 11-03-11, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by lawrosa View Post
How do you get the oil to the gen? Dont you need a pump? Or do the diesal gens have a pump?
I don't know either but have seen that suggestion posted here more then once and that question asked but with the question never answered. I do know diesels uses injectors so it presumably uses a pump so maybe the question would be how far can a diesels pump draw fuel from.

My other question would be is heating oil clean enough for a modern diesel. Would the sulfur content be ok?
 
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Old 11-03-11, 06:18 PM
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Getting a pump for a diesel generator is the least of problems. This is done all the time with underground tanks and is called a "day" tank although the amount the tank holds is rarely enough for a day. The day tank arrangement has a few gallons of fuel and an electric pump controlled by a float switch in the tank. Obviously the electric pump is powered from the generator.

The downside of a day tank arrangement is when the weather turns cold and the fuel gels, or it sits for years without use and grows bacteria, which is not uncommon with diesel fuel. If your space heating furnace uses an above-ground tank you have solved the problems of stale fuel and how to get it to the engine but you still have the problem of stale fuel and gummy injectors at the engine if you don't "exercise" the generator on a frequent basis.

Add to the above the less-than-stellar quality of the low-cost Asian-built generators that would normally be purchased instead of a gasoline model and you get a lousy deal (in my opinion) all around. Now IF you could get one of the small Lister diesels of about 40-50 years ago it would be a different story but then you would have a noise problem as those old engines, while bullet proof, were not very quiet.

For my money, the Honda and Yamaha generators, converted to gaseous fuel (propane or natural gas) are the BEST for residential standby use short of a whole-house generator.
 
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Old 11-06-11, 04:02 PM
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Speaking about propane - how viable is it to be used in cold cold winters... at times it hits zero zero in parts of the country. And I really want this setup in case we lose power in the winter months more than summer.... I know diesel can gel up (plus they cost too much for me) wasn't sure about propane bottles. But I would rather store one 20 pound bottle in my garage.
 
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Old 11-07-11, 10:07 AM
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Propane will work just fine in New England. It remains gaseous down to somewhere around -40.
 
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Old 11-08-11, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by ibpooks View Post
Propane will work just fine in New England. It remains gaseous down to somewhere around -40.
Thanks again -- so I see one model on Amazon LPG 3500w unit (green) and it says it outputs a clean Sine Wave power ideal for sensitive electronics? Anyone know if they are talking out of their ___, or is it good?
 
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Old 11-08-11, 05:45 PM
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Which model are you looking at on Amazon?

I've run computers and high end audio & video with no problems off the output from from any of my generators. Inverter or non-inverter style both ran the "electronics" well. The one thing that showed the flaw in the power was the lowly incandescent light bulb. When running my big, old fashioned generator I got a flickering in the brightness. It turned out to be an imbalanced PTO shaft connecting the generator to my tractor but it showed how resilient modern electronics are to poor power quality.
 
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Old 11-08-11, 05:56 PM
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IMO all gens are fine if you know what they are putting out. I run/ran everything in my home with no issues.

Rule of thumb is any gen owner should have a $20 kill a watt meter.

The Hz with no load should be around 62Hz. Then when you load it it will bring it down some.

You should test the gen before each use.

Heres the one I have. Every gen owner should have one.

http://www.amazon.com/P3-Internation.../dp/B00009MDBU

Mike NJ
 
  #20  
Old 11-17-11, 04:54 PM
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Thanks for all the help... I ordered a transfer switch from Amazon which I think will be overkill for my application, but I am OK with that. I assume once we lose power and I have more more ways to power up circuits I'll stop thinking its over kill. And bought a generator local instead of online, I buy about 75% of my larger ticket items online. But I was worried about shipping damage and if it was DOA I assume Lowes would be easier to work with (Yeah I doubt it but...) and my wife wanted a larger unit incase we wanted more items on as well, so we bought a 6k watt unit from Troybilt so I hope I didn't 'mess' up with this choice... I actually wanted a smaller 3800w model from Home Depot that was a Homelite/Husky powered by Subaru (I figured it would be less noisy?) -- I'll report back once I have it all installed
 
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