Which Gas Generator should I get?

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Old 08-10-20, 06:35 AM
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Which Gas Generator should I get?

So guys we had a power outage here for 5 days. Luckily a friend of mine had a brand new 5500Watt Husky Gas Generator sitting in his basement for 10 years which he had never used so he lent it to me.

2 main problems we had with this generator was having to deal with gas fumes inside the house and the noise. Even though I had placed it at the back of the house, turning on a window fan was pulling the gas smell inside.

Even with my 2 neighbors running theirs was the same deal we were getting the smell here on our property.

I will be seeking to purchase a generator and would appreciate any advice/referrals on one which might have less fumes and noise? Thanks.

 
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08-11-20, 04:36 PM
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Doug,
With all due respect, in a perfect world.
Every manual of all the generators I own (and I've had several) every single one clearly states, and I quote "do not run generator in an enclosed area, even if doors or windows are open; avoid areas where vapors may be trapped, such as pits, GARAGES, cellar, excavations and boat bilges."
Every time we have a power outage it's almost a certainty that some poor fool will be poisoned and be hospitalized or dead due to running a generator in a garage. And that's just in my own area that has few major outages. And every news broadcast state as much from the news broadcasters to the authorities.
I'm not out to argue the point. All I want to do is make it perfectly clear to all readers that carbon monoxide is silent and deadly. And generators are a large contributor to that end because people do not take cautions seriously.
You say the cautions are there due to liability. True. And why is that? Your post makes it sound like it's not important and it just a lot of legalize. Many people who read this forum are looking for an easy and cheap way to do things. It's our job to make sure they do it in safe way.
Your background indicated you're a professional in HVAC and similar. I hope you don't tell your customers to operate a generator in a garage. You could be held liable.
Please I'm not out to cause a flame or argument. I'm just say'n.
 
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Old 08-10-20, 06:39 AM
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They all make noise and burn gas, ideally you should get that in a place that is down wind to eliminate fumes.

 
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Old 08-10-20, 07:27 AM
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Unfortunately here there is no downwind as the wind blows from any direction.

Ok so other issue is what should be the ideal size to get for this 2 family home to run 2 fridges, 4 fans [if in the summer], internet modem/router and 5 tv's please?
 
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Old 08-10-20, 07:46 AM
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A lot has to do with understanding what, and how much would be running at any time.

If everything is needed then wattage goes up, if your just running a frig for an hour to cool everything down then moving plug to other frig, the TV/etc then the requirement goes down dramatically.

Also, are you running extension cords or installing a transfer switch?

Kind of need to know more up front information.

FYI, I run a 6500 watt generator with several heavy 12GA extension cords to power devices throughout the house, one item at a time!
 
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Old 08-10-20, 07:56 AM
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What I had done was run extension cords from the 4 outlets. One to one fridge and another cord to the other fridge so both fridges would run non-stop until refill. We had one cord going into the basement for one fan. Then the 4th cord we would use a splitter to turn on a few fans here and there until gas needed to be refilled.

We got an average of 12 hours of continuous use on 5 gallons of 93 Octane gas. Whenever the gas ran out around 12-13 hours I would let the generator cool for 2 hours then power up again.
 
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Old 08-10-20, 08:08 AM
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Like has already been mentioned all generators will generate fumes. The only thing you can do is move the generator further away or find a location where its' fumes don't blow into your home.

Noise, that is a problem that can be solved with money. Inverter style generators can be much quieter but they are considerably more expensive than "construction" grade generators which are the noisy ones. Honda makes the quietest generators but you should be sitting down when you look at the prices of the quiet EU models.

I have a two prong approach at my house. I use a gas powered Honda EU series generator for short outages because it's quiet and fuel efficient and great for keeping the fridges cold, run some lights and keep the TV on. When we need to run big stuff like the AC the big diesel generator gets run though in short spurts as it's rather noisy and it's high fuel consumption especially when not much power is needed.
 
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Old 08-10-20, 08:21 AM
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Honda is the quietest that I know of & they are known for how quiet they are.... but $$$$.
I have a Predator 4000 watt from Harbor Freight https://www.harborfreight.com/4000-w...iii-63079.html and it has done very well for me. I've had it for 2+ years & have used it for a variety of things including outages. Choke, flip the power switch, about a half pull on the cord & it fires up every time. Even my wife can easily crank it. I'm plenty happy with it.
Predator is available in various sizes. The bigger, the better for running a home during an outage. Better to have too much than not enough at a time like that. Get whatever your budget will afford.

I have never had an issue with fumes in the house. I sit mine on the back porch just outside the back door.
 
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Old 08-10-20, 08:23 AM
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ok since the 5500watt worked good for all mentioned. If I should want to run 3 or 4 AC's around 8k btu's all at the same time for short periods of say one hour off and one hour on or one hour on and half hour off, what size of generator should I get please?
 
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Old 08-10-20, 09:30 AM
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There are no 2'000 btu air conditioners so is each of your 4 AC's 8'000 btu for a total of 32'000 btu?

The period of time you will be running doesn't matter. The devices running at the same time is the important part and will determine how large a generator you need. To get an idea for generator size look at the data plates of your AC's for their power consumption. Add them up and you'll have the running watts. You'll also need to have extra capacity for the surge needed to start each air conditioner.
 
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Old 08-10-20, 09:46 AM
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Yes total 32k, should be lot less.=, I will need to peak each AC's plates.
 
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Old 08-10-20, 10:39 AM
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Depending on the AC unit, an 8000 BTU A/C, will need somewhere between 650 & 1000 watts. Splitting the difference, taking 825 watts per A/C X 4 = 3300 watts. Obviously 1000 x 4 = 4000 watts. However, as noted above, you need to take into consideration the amount of start-up wattage. So, I'd try to get something in the 6000 range to be reasonably sure it will run them all at once.

The bottom line is, you need to get your spec sheet for your specific A/C units & look at the spec's to make sure.
 
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Old 08-10-20, 08:10 PM
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Depending on the AC unit, an 8000 BTU A/C, will need somewhere between 650 & 1000 watts. Splitting the difference, taking 825 watts per A/C X 4 = 3300 watts. Obviously 1000 x 4 = 4000 watts. However, as noted above, you need to take into consideration the amount of start-up wattage. So, I'd try to get something in the 6000 range to be reasonably sure it will run them all at once.
On a related note, I wonder if there is a way to "assist" the compressor motor at startup, since the difference between startup and running wattage requirement may mean the difference between running the AC during a power outage vs having to make do with fans.
 

Last edited by cartman; 08-10-20 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 08-11-20, 04:43 AM
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There are hard start kits but I've never seen one installed on a window AC.
 
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Old 08-11-20, 06:49 AM
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Not that I'm an expert or anything but here's the way I have my home hooked up for emergency power. First thought is the power won't be out forever therefore all my circuits do not have to be powered by my generator. I have a 5500 watt generator in my detached garage which is about 75 feet from my home. A few years ago I ran a 10 cord underground from the garage to the back of my house where I have a 4-gang outlet. So when power goes out I hook up the 10 wire to the generator which then gives me power in the house. From there I run extension cords to needed items, like the fridge and the well water pump (110 V). In order to plug into the pump I have cut into the line from the breaker panel and used a male-female cord ends, so when I need water I simply unhook the two ends and plug an extension cord into the side going to the pump. If the power returns it won't hurt anything because the line to the pump is disconnected. I used the same method for the oil burner which will give me hot water and/or heat in the winter. I can also run cords to some lights and other small things I might use. It works for me and has been for about 15 years.
 
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Old 08-11-20, 07:54 AM
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FWIW...you should only use a interlock or transfer switch to feed electric from generator to a home. Anything else is not to code and is a fire and carbon monoxide hazard and is illegal.

Right in the user manual it will state never put generator in a garage, under or near a window.

Sizing should be an additive all the current draw of the appliances you want to run during an outage. Allow for peak startup that will compensate for motor driven appliance.
 
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Old 08-11-20, 12:15 PM
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Been a lot of talk about backup electricity sources in these parts due to last week's storm. For those who have wells, looks like 5,000 watts is the minimum capacity a generator should be? That, and the refrigerator would be the appliances I'd be concerned about.

I suppose I could live without hot water for a few days. Mine is a storage tank within the furnace. I'll need to research to see what a typical furnace of that type uses for power. I'm in the same situation as erniebanks - I don't lose power enough to consider a transfer switch. I wouldn't mind extension cords to specific appliances.

Looking at the power company's outage map, I'd be looking at this differently if I lived in another area of the state as some rural areas have been without power for a week, they tend to lose it often and are out the longest. That's where it really would be beneficial to consider a transfer switch.
 

Last edited by stevek66; 08-11-20 at 03:10 PM.
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Old 08-11-20, 12:23 PM
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What exactly is an interlock or transfer switch please? I used 100' extension cords which I think were like 10 or 12 gauge to hook up the fridges directly from the generator but if I were to place the generator further back at the fence then I would need a longer run.
 
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Old 08-11-20, 12:55 PM
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Transfer switches or an Interlock is wired directly into your circuit breaker box from your generator and makes it impossible to back feed power form your generator to the pole. You must actually physically switch from municipal power to generator power and by doing so you block off power form the other source. It uses your existing house wiring. No more extension cords to trip over, get hot or damaged. You install an outside outlet to plug the generator into. You can usually choose which circuits you want operating under generator power.
 
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Old 08-11-20, 12:59 PM
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I see, thanks but then one would not be able to select which individual appliances to run from the generator that way?
 
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Old 08-11-20, 01:07 PM
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Sure you can. Technically speaking, your furnace, A/C, sump pump, refrigerator, microwave should all be on dedicated circuits. But in most cases that is not necessarily so. But your whole house is not on one circuit. When installing a transfer switch you decide what circuits you want available. Most people will chose , sump pump, freezer/refrigerator, furnace (but not necessarily A/C), kitchen lights and outlets.
In my case I have 6 different switches or circuits I can turn on or off. All from generator power. They match the same circuits as my main circuit board. Just a different source of power.

Do Google search for transfer switch and see images.
 
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Old 08-11-20, 03:36 PM
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Manufacture's recommendations/instructions are driven to avoid liability. Properly installed, maintained and operated gas generators are running in millions of garages and other interiors.

My garage based unit has a larger sized pipe to run exhaust 10 feet away from out of house. Even on cold winter days have to keep garage door partially open to avoid over heating room.

As I explained on another DIY tread codes usually does not apply to portable generator with plug in garage.
 

Last edited by doughess; 08-11-20 at 04:35 PM.
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Old 08-11-20, 04:36 PM
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Doug,
With all due respect, in a perfect world.
Every manual of all the generators I own (and I've had several) every single one clearly states, and I quote "do not run generator in an enclosed area, even if doors or windows are open; avoid areas where vapors may be trapped, such as pits, GARAGES, cellar, excavations and boat bilges."
Every time we have a power outage it's almost a certainty that some poor fool will be poisoned and be hospitalized or dead due to running a generator in a garage. And that's just in my own area that has few major outages. And every news broadcast state as much from the news broadcasters to the authorities.
I'm not out to argue the point. All I want to do is make it perfectly clear to all readers that carbon monoxide is silent and deadly. And generators are a large contributor to that end because people do not take cautions seriously.
You say the cautions are there due to liability. True. And why is that? Your post makes it sound like it's not important and it just a lot of legalize. Many people who read this forum are looking for an easy and cheap way to do things. It's our job to make sure they do it in safe way.
Your background indicated you're a professional in HVAC and similar. I hope you don't tell your customers to operate a generator in a garage. You could be held liable.
Please I'm not out to cause a flame or argument. I'm just say'n.
 
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Old 08-11-20, 05:08 PM
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Made a simple statement about manufacturer's liability. My words were not about safety, dangers or cautions. Manufacture's routinely sell faulty, poorly designed and made products.

Frequently see readers go off from simple words.

I am not a HVAC guy. Do not sell widgets or services. Just a someone who, because of HVAC professionals failures, became a DIYer.
 
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Old 09-02-20, 01:34 PM
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Four people lost their lives in Lafayette, Louisiana a few days ago after Hurricane Laura came ashore. They were running their generator in a 3 car garage with one of the doors open to provide ventilation. All was well until somehow during the night the garage door got closed. Blowing wind, mechanical failure, human error? I don't think anyone knows but the end result was 4 deaths and a fifth person fighting for their lives.
NEVER EVER operate a generator in a garage.
 
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Old 09-04-20, 09:53 AM
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Great advice and post, thank you!
 
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