Back up power

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Old 08-10-20, 03:25 PM
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Back up power

My home has recently had too many power outages. I have a generator that I must physically turn on and hook up extension cords to use for certain items in the house, like the fridge, my well water, etc. I might be interested in having an electrician give me a back up power source that would automatically turn on and shut down whenever I lose my electric. Can anyone tell me roughly what that would cost? As I am writing this to DIY I am on my generator because my power went off AGAIN. Thanks.

Rich
 
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Old 08-10-20, 03:52 PM
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I just did a simple Google search for Generac generator prices. Prices start at about $2000 & went up to about $5000 just for the generator. Then the cost of an electrician depending on where you are, etc.
 
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Old 08-10-20, 04:14 PM
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Thanks. I will check that out.
 
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Old 08-10-20, 05:15 PM
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The company I work for sells only Kohler generators but Generac will give you more bang for the buck.

While you are starting to look for a whole house generator..... start adding up the loads you intend to run as well as the loads that will come on automatically on generator start. With a standby generator..... on startup it will transfer to the entire house and try to run everything. If you intend to run central air on the genny then you need to include that in your wattage demand total. Well, sewer pump, electric hot water heater are all things to consider.

Items that are normally running on house power and you don't want the generator to run must be automatically load shedded (disconnected) or the generator will trip. Keep in mind that the generator can start when you aren't there.
 
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Old 08-10-20, 06:38 PM
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"I have a generator that I must physically turn on and hook up extension cords to use for certain items in the house, like the fridge, my well water, etc."

I was very fortunate not to lose electricity or internet during this last storm. I don't have a generator yet, but was thinking a power failure is worse in the summer compared to winter. In cold weather I've got the wood stove for heat and cooking. I have well water, I wonder how do you connect generator power to the well pump? Mine is wired into the main electrical panel like all probably are. Although not as convenient I'm considering a 5000 watt or so generator with extension cords. Probably just to the frig, another for charging electronics and to run the well pump. It wouldn't be too hard I suppose to make a plug and receptacle for normal use, but it would have to be quite a heavy duty as I think it's a 20A breaker. Maybe that's out of the question - not to code and the only way would be with a transfer switch.
 
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Old 08-11-20, 06:59 AM
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The way I have my well pump (120 v) hooked up is a few years ago I turned off the breaker to the pump. I then cut the line and put on a male end on the pump side and a female end on the panel side. So during normal working time the power remains on as long as I have those two ends plugged in together. When I have a power outage I simply disconnect the male and female ends and plug in my extension cord to the male end that goes to the pump. The female end of course goes toward the breaker panel and is not used at all during an outage. It works very well for me but it is only temporary until my power comes back on. I use the same method to run my oil burner for hot water and/or heat in the winter.
 
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Old 08-11-20, 07:33 AM
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If you can do whole house, a standby generator is more useful and not that much more expensive than one feeding a transfer panel with limited circuits.

I paid a total of $6500 to install a $2900 10kw whole house natural gas generator and 200 amp switch. $3600 was for permits (zoning, electric, and gas), electrician, plumber and installation landscaping. It's not simple. You need a load calculation (with possible load shedding) and depending on availability of natural gas an adequate meter (my utility upgrade free) or availability of propane with a large enough tank. It's worthwhile for peace of mind but understand it's not cheap and while you can do some of the work, you really need professionals for some steps.

I did a preliminary load calculation using a power monitor, then called in my electrician to verify and write up a permit application for the smallest (most economical) generator that could be approved with load shedding for 240v circuits that couldn't all be used at the same time. If you do the research and planning yourself, you can minimize the cost and professional expense. I had a quote from a dealer for $12,000 installed for an unnecessarily larger 20kw generator.
 
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Old 08-11-20, 09:13 AM
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Ok - that's what I had in mind, making a plug and receptacle. For now I'm researching low wattage solar, a few hundred watts just to power a fan and internet electronics (but many in this area now have power but no internet) and to charge devices via USB like the cell phone.

My neighbor down the street has a nice standby generator. They're fortunate that since their property borders a state road there's a propane or natural gas feed directly to their generator. I think once a week or so it fires up and does a self test.

I went online to see if I qualify for some of these low cost solar systems. Looks like I don't as my typical electric bill (before this recent big rate increase) is under $100/month.
 
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Old 08-11-20, 04:00 PM
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I'll just throw this out there in case it will help you. Ocasionally Atmos Energy (a natural gas company) will send out promotional material to us about getting a back up generator through them for "X" amount per month financed. I dont know anything about it other than that, but it may be something you can check into with your natural gas provider. I'd certainly check into it if I was interested in going this route.
 
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Old 08-11-20, 06:07 PM
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Unfortunately there isn't natural gas on my street. Since I've looked online about solar kits and related components I'm getting a ton of ads now from solar companies. I really don't mind, doesn't hurt to look. Most of them seem to be to supplement the electric company's service, not back up power which is what I'm interested in.

Due to the latest storm. companies that provide backup electricity in whatever form probably will need to do very little advertising in this area now.
 
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