Is this a good entry level generator?

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  #1  
Old 02-19-13, 05:58 AM
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Is this a good entry level generator?

I am looking for a very basic, affordable generator to have on hand if we lose power in the house and need to power some lights, maybe a small room heater.

Does this one fit the bill in terms of features and is this a good price?

Amazon.com: DuroStar DS4400 4,400 Watt Gas Powered Portable Generator With Wheel Kit: Patio, Lawn & Garden
 
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  #2  
Old 02-19-13, 06:20 AM
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That one could work for basic items.
Personally, with enitial cost of generators (even a small one) being pretty expensive, I'd say go for the unit of choice straight away. I'd also lean towards something in the 5000W or bigger.

For a few dollars more then the one linked, you could get a bigger unit which will run most of your required devices (heating as well unless you are electric heat), without issues.
My parents can live fairly comfortable on their genny which is (I think) 9000W. They can't use the electric stove, dryer or AC, but can use the microwave, TV, and most other things as long as they pay attention to what is running at one time.
Here is the unit I believe they have (bought elsewhere) Amazon.com: Champion Power Equipment 41537 9,375 Watt 439cc 4-Stroke Gas Powered Portable Generator With Electric Start (CARB Compliant): Patio, Lawn & Garden
 
  #3  
Old 02-19-13, 06:51 AM
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If you are going with a China made engine Home depot has this 4000 watt for 329.00. I wish I could say the B&S units would be better but that is almost not the case anymore.

4000-Watt Portable Generator-GEN4065 at The Home Depot


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  #4  
Old 02-19-13, 08:07 AM
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The catch 22 about shopping for a low cost generator, because you will rarely need it is, when you do need it and it won't start, cost would NOT be on your requirement list. It seems that every time I apply the "I won't need it very often" logic to save a few bucks. the tool breaks at a time when I really do need it.

Ditto on Mikes comments.

Bud
 
  #5  
Old 02-19-13, 08:36 AM
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I should mention the model my parent's have (and I believe the one I linked) is electric start.
My mom struggled to pull their old one over, but she has no issues pushing the button to start the new one. Even with the battery removed during the winter, it's easier for her to install the battery then pull the old genny over. Might be something to consider if you are not available (sick, not home, etc) and someone else has to start it.
 
  #6  
Old 02-19-13, 11:00 AM
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I agree with the others, if you are going to buy a generator then buy a good one that meets your needs well into the future.

Total up the "must have" uses and then buy a generator that has some room for growth. Yes, it will cost more initially but it will be there when you really need it.

And don't forget how you connect the generator to the house equipment. Extension cords, while easy and relatively inexpensive soon become a real hassle. Consider your options carefully.
 
  #7  
Old 02-19-13, 05:21 PM
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I have yet to take the plunge into the world of generators but with extreme weather of late, I have been seriously considering purchasing one and therefore, researching and asking a lot of questions from friends in the know.

I have a buddy that lives in a place where it's a guarantee that the power goes out 4 or 5 times a year for about 2 weeks each time. He owns 4 or 5 generators of various sizes.

From his experience, he stresses that noise and fuel efficiency are two of the most important factors -- two things I never really considered as high up on the priority list.

He says it is important to think of a generator, not as a total replacement for the lost utility but more as a crutch to survive with the basics until the power comes back on.

According to him, necessities for a power outage are: your gas or oil furnace, your water heater (if it needs power to fire/run), one computer (includes router etc), one TV, oven, stove, fridge, a few lights and water pump (if you have one). These all total less than 2000 watts. In his words, "just make sure the girls don't get any ideas about running a hair dryer."

He recommended I buy the Yamaha EF2000iS (link below) as it is much quieter than his bigger wattage units and uses a fraction of the gasoline. He also recommends not running a generator continuously during a blackout but instead, in intervals.

He supplied details on how to pigtail a sub panel powered by the generator that supplies juice to the necessities and can be manually switched over once your lose power.

Amazon.com: Yamaha EF2000iS 2,000 Watt 79cc OHV 4-Stroke Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator (CARB Compliant): Patio, Lawn & Garden
 
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Old 02-19-13, 06:27 PM
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He supplied details on how to pigtail a sub panel powered by the generator that supplies juice to the necessities and can be manually switched over once your lose power.
ACK! While there may be ways to safely 'pigtail a sub panel', most solutions are unsafe for you and others. Please read this sticky about connecting your generator.
 
  #9  
Old 02-19-13, 08:22 PM
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Yeah, well since the guy is a licensed electrician with over 20 years on the job you can trust he knows his stuff.

Anyway, this thread, nor is this forum about home wiring - no one was talking specifics about integrating a backup generator into your electrical service.

But thanks for your concern.
 
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Old 02-19-13, 09:15 PM
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You get what you pay for, and sometimes not even that.
 
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Old 02-19-13, 09:28 PM
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maybe a small room heater.
A natural gas or propane space heater makes a lot more sense IMHO.
 
  #12  
Old 02-20-13, 03:00 AM
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I have to agree to size the generator for your basic needs so you can run it full time for longer run time. The problem with generators is they have to run at 3600 RPM even with a 100 watt load. That high RPM makes them use a lot of fuel so the smaller engine size you can get away with the better. My 7 kW standby LP gas gen uses .82 gal/hour at 1/2 load and 1.47 gal/hour at full load. Don't know what it uses at "no load" but I would guess close to the half load amount. My tank is 320 gal. If your not running the furnace then shut it down when you sleep.
 
  #13  
Old 02-20-13, 06:05 AM
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Turning electricity into heat is probably the biggest single drain on wattage -- so, yeah, an electric space heater is a very bad idea while running on generator power.

It makes no sense anyway because you can run your entire NG/oil/LP furnace with a fraction of the power.
 
  #14  
Old 02-20-13, 06:34 AM
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When there is a big power outage they tend to be widespread. This generally means that gas stations will also be without power and unable to pump gas and quite often unable to process credit cards. So, in addition to a generator you need to establish a plan for fuel. If you buy a gas generator you need to keep a certain amount of fuel on hand. Gasoline is perishable so you also have to have a way to insure that the gas you have on hand is fresh. A fuel efficient, inverter style generator could cut your fuel need in half making storage much easier. Propane and natural gas powered generators are another option that can free you mostly from the fuel supply problem.
 
  #15  
Old 02-20-13, 07:08 AM
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My 5500 watt generator runs everything I need. (Not A/C - but that's a luxury, not a neccessity)

Pay the extra money to have transfer switch professionally installed. Your generator system is now worry-free AND safe.

In recent years, I've only had to fire it up once or twice per year. It still starts by the second pull - on gasoline. (Maybe I've been lucky)
 
  #16  
Old 02-20-13, 07:27 AM
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My in laws have a basement that floods if the sump pump goes down. For years they had a generator which did the job but they could never leave town on vacation whenever a storm was possible. Without someone to hook up the generator, start it and keep it fueled it was useless. Finally they realized that they should have spent the money and done it right in the first place so they broke down and had a automatic natural gas powered generator & transfer switch installed. Now they can travel without fear knowing that when the power goes out.
 
  #17  
Old 02-20-13, 10:34 AM
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Regarding genny fuel, I've mentioned that I do this in a few threads.
My genny has a 5 gallon tank. I'll try to run the genny once a month to make sure she starts on demand. For the fuel, I'll syphon the fuel from the genny tank into my lawn mower or snow blower when fuel is required for them. When I take some, I replace it with fresh fuel. This keeps the fuel reasonably fresh in the tank.
If it really came down to needing more, I have two vehicles, both of which I never let go below 1/2 tank. Fuel lines are not that hard to disconnect.
 
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