Buying a Generator

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  #41  
Old 08-27-20, 04:07 PM
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OK lets be clear about the Pushmatics...As gleaned from the Internet

"ITE Pushmatic electrical panels and circuit breakers do not have any proven design flaws that can cause a fire or shock hazard, but they are obsolete. Replacement circuit breakersare hard to find and when you can, they are expensive."

For further reading see this https://inspectapedia.com/electric/Pushmatic.php

If you haven't had any problems with you breakers then there is no need to replace at this time unless you're ready to spend the $2.8K. But you should consider it if and when you decide any major remodeling will be done.

I would get another quote (maybe 2 more) on installing a transfer or interlock with your current system. Keep in mind the need for the inter lock is to prevent any possible feed back to the pole feeding you home. So the interlock needs only be connected to stop or prevent "juice" from back feeding to the POCO feed. And only one of those boxes you have is feeding from the pole. That is where the interlock should be installed. Please note I'm not an electrician and I don't know or see your system, but going on common sense tells me you should not have to change out everything to use a generator back-up system. I might be wrong. Extension cords are an option, but to my way of thinking a last resort.

​​​​​​​As far as the generator goes, have you looked on line to get the unit you want at a cheaper price? Yes, right now getting one will be hard due to the storms if you're in that area. Years back when Pa. had major flooding I drove a generator to my daughter's in Lebanon from Buffalo, NY. Not a generator was to be had in a 300 to 400 mile radius. You may have to go out of state or have one shipped to you.
 
  #42  
Old 08-27-20, 04:27 PM
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no both boxes are fed from a box below. the long horizontal box below is fed from the main line outside then it goes up into 2 separate boxes. and each of those have something marked MAIN.

he said he wont work on pushmatics and any kind of switch. ill find out more when he visits

there's also another issue. long time ago i need to shut off something somewhere, i forget where, turning off the 2 mains didnt do it. i dont remember anymore but i was freaked that killing both mains didnt kill all power
 

Last edited by luckydriver; 08-27-20 at 04:46 PM.
  #43  
Old 08-27-20, 09:19 PM
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Buying a generator can quickly become very complex with many factors to be considered. It usually works out to be multiple compromises. Most home owners do not install a XXX KW whole house system and let automation do it's thing.

Here is another current DIY.com tread with many posts that discuss various issues:

https://www.doityourself.com/forum/e...ml#post2858027
 
  #44  
Old 08-28-20, 05:24 AM
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just came to me how to figure out my watts needed. i picked a day in FEB on a weekend. highest usage time for heat. looks like i barely got to 5000 watts even with the boiler running. i had no clue how much juice the boiler used

also now that i think about it, the hot tub going on 2x a day for 30 min is in that chart around 6 am and 6pm and of course that woudl be turned off during the outage. so the 2 spikes are the hot tub

really makes me wanna lean toward the interlock. assuming i'm reading the chart right i barely used 4000 watts at anyone time during the day

 
  #45  
Old 08-28-20, 05:33 AM
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even with constant AC usage in summer this isnt bad at all. could run the entire house it looks like with just 2000 watts



 
  #46  
Old 08-28-20, 08:29 AM
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I'm just going to throw this in here for some real time info.

As unusual as it was, we had a cat 1 hurricane in north Louisiana yesterday. It wasnt until after the bad weather was over, that the electricity went out at my house. It was out about 5 hours from 1 pm - about 6 pm.
I started my 3500 Watt (4000 peek) Predator generator & ran:
1 refrigerator
2 freezers
1 6000 btu window AC
all xfinity equipment
2 flat screen TVs
3 computers
1 printer
and a couple of lamps

Hopefully this will give yall some idea of what, in reality, it will run. It used a little over a half of a tank of gasoline. I think it holds 5 gallons.
 
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  #47  
Old 08-28-20, 09:16 AM
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so the one electrician came out today. He’s been in the biz over 20 years and was referred by a larger company that subs their smaller jobs out. He said they split my main line in 2 to 100 amp boxes and he took the 2 boxes apart and also the long box that’s running under them both, where the main feeds in. he is worried that the lines coming into the back of the one box are not long enough so he will have to put junction boxes above the new panel to connect and lengthen the wires. It's a utility room so I don't care what it looks like. He also said I get a new line from the electric meter to the main panel but if they take the electric meter apart and there are issues I will have to spend $700 for a whole new set up leading to the roof. The minimum to install was 1500 and the maximum is 2000 if he runs into the problems with a junction boxes and it takes a day. Basically the outside of the panels is relatively clean because they just ran everything in through the back into the wall so the lines are all short with likely no slack.

He discussed the minimum I need is a 240 twist 30 amp and I can choose whatever generator I want whether it's propane or gas or both and he said anything with a 240 is going to be at least 6,000 Watts anyway. But he agreed that my boiler has low electric usage with the 5 amps and I showed him my readings from the power company and he said I probably could get away with 4,000 but I will not find a 240 in anything less than 6000. He does not recommend inverter. He said he would not buy one as the other ones are new technology and they are fine and it is not necessary to get inverter especially because I have a UPS on my electronics setup.

As far as more noise from non inverter I'm not worried about it because where the generator would be is not near my living room or bedroom which is the only two places I would be in an emergency trying to sleep or something. He said he has enough room to install the new panel but in a brand new houses would never pass because the boiler pipes are very close but I would be grandfathered in because it is the way it is. There's nothing I can do about it. We also discussed the two prong versus three prong outlet situation I have and he agreed it's best I just put two prong Outlets back in where I changed them because trying to ground the entire house would cost of Fortune. So now all I need to do is think about if I want to spend $2,000 plus the cost of a generator and go from there
 
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  #48  
Old 08-28-20, 11:15 AM
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This sounds like a decent deal and he seems to know what he is talking about. I doubt very much if you'll get better deal. Go for it!
 
  #49  
Old 08-28-20, 11:34 AM
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i forgot to discuss brands. sigh. not much left around here anyway. but i saw some sportsmans at HD that seem popular. i'm aware of the ryobi, champion. generac

part of me says spring for dual fuel. keeping 20 lb propane around 'forever' without worry about degradation is appealing but i also could just rotate out my gas to my car ever 3 months and refill the gas can i guess.

also wondering how much the auto idle feature is used on the inverters. the idea of the auto reduced speed seems like a good idea to me vs the normal ones that run constantly at the higher speed. im not worried about gas consumption per se though.
 
  #50  
Old 08-28-20, 03:35 PM
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The inverters are great for camping and away from home power. At my cabin I'll start the unit and run it all day, so the idle saving is nice. But, really for home use during a power outage, I don't think it's necessary. Is it worth the extra cost and a more complicated unit (harder to drain gas from the carb, very compact and near impossible to work on). Besides the noise abetment will be nullified by everybody else in the neighborhood running their generators. During a power outage at home most likely you're more interested in what's happening concerning the power problem and you want to keep busy so keeping an eye on gas usage is not a problem. Rotating your gas is a good idea and will make you keep your equipment in good running order. Again it's easy to keep adding those few dollars to an item and before you know it you spent twice the amount you budgeted for. All for an item that will get used only occasionally and hopefully never (call it cheap insurance). Go with the single fuel generator and save the money. Youi can buy a lot of gas for the extra you'll spend on the duel fuel.
Just my opinion.
 
  #51  
Old 08-28-20, 07:30 PM
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An important issue to consider in generator selection is long term power outages i.e. more than a couple of days. Often gas stations are also without power.

In winter need to keep heating system going is important. Many years ago leaned that lesson and installed natural gas conversion unit on generator. Simple, safe, long term solution.

Inverters do not generate power, only convert DC to AC . Where get power for one during multi day outage can be a real issue.
 
  #52  
Old 08-29-20, 06:40 AM
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Dixie, is your Predator an Inverter and did you have it connected to a transfer switch like Norm mentioned or did you use 10 gauge extension cords? How far did you leave it from your house when you ran it for 5 hours?

I am planning to buy this one. Any opinion anyone?
https://www.homedepot.com/p/RYOBI-40...022X/308737029
 
  #53  
Old 08-29-20, 06:54 AM
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This is a good choice for the money. You won't be disappointed. If you use it on a regular basis then treated gasoline will be fine. But if you leave it for weeks or months then use non-ethanol gas. With this style I'm betting it has a fuel cut-off valve. If it does that's a good feature. If not see if you can install one. You will want to protect it from outside weather when in use or not.

Edit...was reading some of the reviews. It does not have fuel cut-off. As one reviewer said you have to make "improvements" to drain the carb of all fuel.
 
  #54  
Old 08-29-20, 07:04 AM
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I just used mine as a portable generator. I just set it on the back porch about 6' from the back door with the exhaust facing away from the door & personally it wasn't an issue but, it's not ideal under some situations. Just get it as far away as possible from doors & windows. But again, my wife is big on safety & goes on & on if she isnt happy with a situation. She was ok with this set up because she didnt smell any exhaust around the door.

I ran 2 - 100' 12 ga extension cords to general locations, added a surge protector & run shorter cords to appliances & other equipment.

This is the one I have: https://www.harborfreight.com/4000-w...iii-63079.html and I cant say enough good about this generator. Very easy to start so the wife can easily start it. About 1/2 pull on the cord & it starts first time every time. I've had this one for 3 years.

I can not speak about the Ryobi generator, but we have several Ryobi cordless (battery) tools & yard equipment & they have all been very dependable. Bought a trimmer (weed-eater thingy) & leaf blower about 6 years ago & the oly issue was the fan blade/propeller thingy exploded/came apart. Got one on Amazon & replaced it easily. I have no complaints with the Ryobi items I have.
 
  #55  
Old 08-29-20, 07:06 AM
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Thanks for the quick reply Norm. What is a fuel cut-off valve? Is it to drain the fuel? Is this a good video to install it?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBt3EZ4pYkE

 
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  #56  
Old 08-29-20, 07:11 AM
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Dixie, why did you choose the EPA III over the CARB version since they have it in CARB version too.

https://www.harborfreight.com/mercha...arb-63089.html

Thank you
 

Last edited by WRDIY; 08-29-20 at 07:40 AM.
  #57  
Old 08-29-20, 07:30 AM
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Yes the video is very informative. The only thing is usually inverter/generators are so compact that installing a valve might be difficult.

Differences between CARB and EPA

While the two regulatory bodies have a lot in common, CARB compliance is usually stricter than EPA. This makes a CARB compliant engine more attractive to most people. CARB compliance is mandatory in the state of California while EPA compliance covers all the states of the U.S.
 
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  #58  
Old 08-29-20, 08:44 AM
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i had researched the 4K ryobi above as my choice but if you want to easily hook it to the main box you cannot do it. but for extension cord use i was gonna get the ryobi.

i really am starting to like the idea of the interlock and new box for myself though.
 
  #59  
Old 08-29-20, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by LuckyDriver
I really am starting to like the idea of the interlock and new box for myself though.
what is this LuckyDriver?
 
  #60  
Old 08-29-20, 10:25 AM
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what is this LuckyDriver?
He kind of hi-jacked or piggybacked on your thread. We seem to be commenting and giving opinions to you both.
 
  #61  
Old 08-29-20, 10:26 AM
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getting new entire breaker box with interlock seems like the best thing. can run entire house then on a 5 or 6K generator eazily and make the house more saleable getting rid of my pushmatics
 
  #62  
Old 08-29-20, 12:38 PM
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Thanks Norm

What if I was able to install a three way shut off valve for drainage too?

But what I have noticed in this thread is even if I am able to drain the fuel into a container, the fuel will still eventually go bad with sludge right? So regardless, still have to use a stabilizer. I guess it is just better that the sludge is in the container than the generator's tank right?

The third question I have is that the video that I posted said to run the tractor motor until no more fuel. Is this safe and recommended for the generator before storage? Will this harm the engine to run it until no more fuel?

Thank you for all your knowledge on this sir!
 
  #63  
Old 08-29-20, 05:25 PM
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Dixie, why did you choose the EPA III over the CARB version since they have it in CARB version too.


To be honest, I didn't know which I had, thanks for letting me know...lol. In reality, I wouldn't have cared which I had because it's not really important to the average user...... unless you're in California. If you use the wrong one in Cali, the sky will fall.
Those regs are just emissions crap.
 
  #64  
Old 08-29-20, 05:35 PM
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If you use the wrong one in Cali, the sky will fall.
Those regs are just emissions crap.
They don't allow me to buy rodent bait from Amazon because it contains ingredients that isn't California compliant. They also don't have Taurus 608 on their California handguns compliant which was supposed to be my next buy. OK, enough ranting on my part.

Thanks Dixie
 
  #65  
Old 08-29-20, 06:11 PM
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What if I was able to install a three way shut off valve for drainage too?

Sure but that seems excessive. Just a simple on-off valve.

But what I have noticed in this thread is even if I am able to drain the fuel into a container, the fuel will still eventually go bad with sludge right? So regardless, still have to use a stabilizer. I guess it is just better that the sludge is in the container than the generator's tank right?

That's correct. So you just want to store enough gas to use it up before it can do any real harm. And a stabilizer will prolong that storage. If the gas is clear it's good, if it's golden yellow (kind of like pee) it's bad.

The third question I have is that the video that I posted said to run the tractor motor until no more fuel. Is this safe and recommended for the generator before storage? Will this harm the engine to run it until no more fuel?
Letting the engine die out due to lack of gas will not harm the engine. It's the preferred way to purge the carburetor. As far as I'm concerned it's even better than draining the carb if it has the drain screw on the bottom.
 
  #66  
Old 08-29-20, 09:17 PM
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Having that many cords running through the house and very likely long lengths and small gauge is not ideal.
I do not recommend this. I know it's done all the time, but it's not a good practice.
+1
Used a generator for the first time during a recent outage. Extension cords everywhere + low lighting = major trip hazard. After this, I opted for an interlock. Safer, more convenient and you can use hardwired appliances.

Besides the noise abetment will be nullified by everybody else in the neighborhood running their generators.
Yup! What a racket with all those generators running. Felt bad for a couple of neighbors without generators: no power + all that noise.
 
  #67  
Old 08-30-20, 11:38 AM
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in over 30 years of home ownnership ive never heard a generator anywhere. '

why would there be low lighting in a house with the gen you can have lotta lighting , especially LED with little wattage
 
  #68  
Old 08-30-20, 05:30 PM
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  #69  
Old 08-30-20, 06:19 PM
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There seems to be no end of idiots who run generators inside their attached garage. But you know better. Run it outside, well away from open doors and windows, and you won't have to worry about CO.
 
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Old 08-30-20, 07:49 PM
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I was looking for another story of a woman who died because of generator INSIDE her home, when I found another of the same thing.

In Calcasieu Parish, where Lake Charles is, a 24-year-old man died of carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator inside his house......
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/27/u...ra-update.html

You just gotta use some common sense.....
(and for those of you not used to Cajun French, that is pronounced Kal-kuh-shoe Parish.)
 
  #71  
Old 08-30-20, 11:58 PM
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Although I have very limited knowledge of generators before this thread, I have asked about running a generator outside at least 3x, including the first post. I just know when you are burning fuel, there will be carbon monoxide present.

However, i really believe most women do not know this and they think it is similar to clean energy electricity coming from the wall. I was planning to set this up for my mom and sisters too but I think I better not. When there is a power outage, I will have to be there and wheel the generator over.

The people in that article failed to have a carbon monoxide detector inside the house.


Even a candle can kill you.
https://truecrafting.com/candles-car...ide-poisoning/
 
  #72  
Old 08-31-20, 08:33 AM
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However, i really believe most women do not know this and they think it is similar to clean energy electricity coming from the wall. I was planning to set this up for my mom and sisters too but I think I better not. When there is a power outage, I will have to be there and wheel the generator over.
LOL. You're not giving the women in your family much credit here. You don't think they know that running their internal combustion engine car for an extended period of time in their garage is a bad idea? Isn't that how some people in real life and on tv commit suicide? Just explain to them that a generator uses an internal combustion engine to produce electricity.

The people in that article failed to have a carbon monoxide detector inside the house.
I'd say their failings were more elementary than that.

Funny thing is when I bought my generator, I noticed that it has a CO cutoff or alarm, and I thought to myself "What a useless feature, that adds cost but no real value, because who would be dumb enough to run a generator inside their house or attached garage?".
 
  #73  
Old 08-31-20, 09:35 AM
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I am sharing with you that most people do not relate a generator as an engine. Every year, I have seen stories of people dying from carbon monoxide produced from combustible sources. These articles will not be the last time.

My mom has dementia so I am not going to take any chances. When comes to these stuffs, my sisters are as dumb as a rock. They are accountants and very smart related to their jobs but are clueless when come to these stuffs.

I almost smacked them across the face one time for unplugging a carbon monoxide detector when it went off. When I asked them why did they do that, they said it made too much noise and they did not smell any natural gas. Carbon monoxide is orderless and is not natural gas.
 
  #74  
Old 08-31-20, 09:39 AM
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Side note - nat gas is also odorless. They add mercaptan to it so that you notice a nat gas leak in your home before the house fills with gas and eventually explodes.

To idiotproof for family you don't trust, you could install an inlet box on the outside of the house where there are no doors or windows (or ones that don't used). Then wire that to a transfer switch or to an interlock breaker. Though I suppose all this can be too complicated to operate for someone you don't trust to not run a generator inside attached garage.

Standby whole house generator? You could perform the maintenance. Generator will turn on/off by itself (and switch off/on the utility power), it's already permanently installed outside, don't need to worry about lots of restrictions on loads you can run.
 
  #75  
Old 08-31-20, 09:52 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions Cartman 👍. I will look into them.

My sisters was the reason why I asked about the solar generator at the beginning of this thread which I know some thought I was joking. and I kept asking about the placement of the generator.
 
  #76  
Old 08-31-20, 10:04 AM
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Let us know what you decide to do.

I suppose it's easy on this forum to forget that there are people with zero interest or aptitude for the sorts of things many of us are interested in and/or willing to do to save some money. Your sisters reminded me of a family my mother knows. This couple has had a generator for nearly a decade. They have gone through multiple power outages, including a 5 day outage recently, and have never run the generator! To make matters even more ridiculous, they have two adult sons who live nearby.
 
  #77  
Old 08-31-20, 12:03 PM
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there is likely lots of small generators out there that people really havent maintained so they probably would not start when you needed them its rarely needed so they set unused most of the time and really ice and candles are cheap compared to buying and maintaining a generator.
 
  #78  
Old 09-01-20, 12:35 PM
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Am not dumb, stupid or paranoid. For 50 years have natural gas fired generator in garage that dischages exhaust gas in yard 15 feet from house. On cold winter nights we do not freeze. Battery power alarms monitor dangerous gases.

Hurricane Sandy sent 90 foot oak tree down across front part of house. Covered damaged area with tarp. Town put Do Not Occupy Notice on front door. For next two week ran generator for heat in November cold. Candles would not have been adequate.

In old age, can still turn on gas valve, start generator and flip breakers. After storm when neighbors move to motels or friends. I stay home.
 
  #79  
Old 09-01-20, 02:56 PM
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Doug. You are the exception. I would trust you with and type of gas powered appliance. You have proven that. But you have to think about some of the type of people who come here looking for quick, cheap and easy method of doing something. And very frequently safety is at the bottom of the list.
In this case WRDIY and Luckydrive are smart enough and careful enough to be aware of the safety hazards involved with a generator. But as was noted by others, many aren't so savvy or smart enough. But we don't know that until we get into the conversation with the posters. So we (I) like to always present the safety hazards if I'm aware of them.
 
  #80  
Old 09-01-20, 06:43 PM
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On prior posts have written generators are complex issue. Safety is highest priority. Using natural gas for fuel is far safer than storing gas in house, especially for prolong outages. Keep my gas for lawnmower and the like in shed in back yard.

While I have background in complex systems my system is bare bones, remarkably simple.

My point was that generators properly used can add to safety. Unfortunately many posts confuse the issue.
 
 

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