Generator vs battery backup or both during a storm or emergency power outage?

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Old 11-29-20, 11:44 AM
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Generator vs battery backup or both during a storm or emergency power outage?

Hello
I was planning to buy a generator or some sort of backup power in case of an ice storm or something. We haven't had a storm in a while, but I remember we were out of power for almost 10 days a couple years back during a storm. If there a a 1 day outage, a generator is probably an overkill, but if it goes out for more than a few days, what do you guys do?

My must have items during an emergency
1. Modem, Router and security system and one basic work laptop, 3 phones and 2 tablets- must have for work and communications. Would love to have the ability to power these for at least a week during an emergency. Currently modem and router are connected to a cyberpower UPS 900 which would probably power these basic items for at a few hours.
2. some lights around the house - good rechargeable/solar LED lanterns should work so probably don't really need a generator
3. Cooking - We have a propane stove and we can just cook rice and beans in the balcony if needed. don't really need a generator for this
Not too worried about heat and AC as temperatures do not get to extremes here.

Would love to have during an emergency
1. Ability to run a small energy star rated 7cu feet freezer and a refrigerator in kitchen (don't have to run both at once). Wouldn't want to waste all the food in the freezer and refrigerator!

Generator placement is a concern as I do not have a fenced backyard, so theft issue, noise issue with neighbors and carbon monoxide gas exhaust issue will need to be considered. Tiny cookie cutter house separate and not connected to other homes, but quite close to each other (around 25 feet between homes) with a tiny balcony on 2nd floor. Balcony is probably the only option to run the generator. I can keep the balcony door closed to avoid fumes and decide not to use the room right next to the balcony while the generator is running.

So, generators or a large backup battery like Jackery and a solar panel?- For generators, I would prefer dual fuel so that I can store propane long term and forget about it.

1. A-iPower SUA2000iD - peak 2000w, running 1600w dual fuel (propane and gasoline) around $500 - supposedly has enough to power a energy star freezer

2. Champion Power Equipment 100402 - peak 2000w running 1800w dual fuel (propane/gasoline) around $600

3. Honda 2300i ? Gasoline only - $1300, + another $250 for propane conversion - super quiet but so expensive !! The Honda is supposedly the quietest.

4. Jackery or similar 1000 w portable battery power + 2 solar panels - $1300. Expensive but no worries about noise, monoxide, etc. Only problem is, can it be charged in a tiny balcony or just placing it near a glass window? Is it powerful enough to run a refrigerator or a freezer? People claim on amazon that they run their freezer for 9 hours on this, but how is this possible? I thought fridges and freezers initially drew at east 2000 wattts (even the energy star ones) and then levelled off to lower power...

Thoughts and suggestions?
 
  #2  
Old 11-29-20, 01:44 PM
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Which direction does your balcony face? Unless it's mostly south I would not even think about solar for backup use. Batteries can be an option but solar charging just won't work without good souther sky exposure, never-mind the cost.

As for generators none that you listed are safe for use on a balcony. The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is just too great to run a generator on a balcony. If you can't get it well away from the building I would consider a battery backup system. You will be limited by your budget but you can have some power for a while and you won't kill yourself or your neighbors.
 
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Old 11-29-20, 05:38 PM
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Hey Pilot Dane, appreciate your response.

It is so funny and ironic that we are having an outage right now. Haven't had an outage in a while. I think it may be due to neighbors with giant blow up Xmas decorations 😂

...ooh edited after 2 hours...power is back man....

Main PC and monitor were out during outage. Modem, router and security were running seamlessly due to cyperpower ups. It showed 450 minutes of life for these small electronics and held steady for another 5 hrs of runtime when power came back. Not sure if it is accurate.

Switched to phone earlier to edit this post.

Unfortunately balcony faces North. I do have 2 rooms on the 2nd floor facing south with fairly large windows . I wonder if I can place the solar panels right next to the glass window panes somehow .... but from what I have read so far, solar panels are a joke when it comes to charging high capacity batteries unless you have 5-6 hours of unfettered sunlight....which is not the case where I am at....

Placing the generator far from the house is not feasible due to theft concerns. I saw a few youtube videos where people created an exhaust system that exhausts the fumes. These folks are placing the generator in their garages and running an exhaust pipe thru the wall but that seems such a pain in the a$$ and plus probably expensive to hire someone to do it....don't think it is going to be 100% safe. If this were to be a safe solution, I would not mind running it in the garage with that type of exhaust, as it would be simpler to power the freezer that sits right in the garage and also eliminate the theft and the noise issue for neighbors.




During the last 10 day outage, couple years back I just went to the public library and worked from there all day while my batteries charged from a power strip I took with me, but due to this covid thing, such public places are going to be tough to access.


 

Last edited by Jayad; 11-29-20 at 07:13 PM.
  #4  
Old 11-30-20, 06:15 AM
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When the batteries in my UPS die I extend the battery wires outside the case and use a much larger AGM battery. The charging time is slow but you can power electronics for quite a long time during an outage.
 
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Old 12-01-20, 12:40 AM
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Pilot Dane, thank you so much for your input. It really opened my eyes and got me off my ass and start researching batteries. Perhaps, perhaps, a large battery is the solution for me.

I looked at the Jackery 1000 series and also the ecoflow 1800. It seems that these beasts can power a small upright freezer for a few hours !!

So around 1300 max for the battery unit and maybe 400 for a good solar setup and I could be set if zombie apocalypse hit ? I am liking this solution more....clean...no noise...happy neighbors and no CO fumes

Can you kindly elaborate on your system and kindly suggest an easy setup for a completely ignorant guy when it comes to DIY stuff...

much appreciated, man
 
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Old 12-01-20, 05:46 AM
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(copied from another forum)
Is it practical -- or possible -- to construct an insulated fire resistant closet in the corner of a garage with an exterior (weatherstripped) door to the inside and two ventilation louvers (one high, one low) plus an exhaust pipe hole to the outside in which closet a gasoline powered generator can run?
 
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Old 12-01-20, 05:55 AM
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Instead of solar to charge your battery backup I'd consider using a generator, even if you don't own one. Just a battery backup will get you through all but the longest outages so you might go years without needing an alternate way to recharge your batteries. When that time comes you could visit a friend or neighbor with a generator for a few hours and charge.
 
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Old 12-01-20, 08:04 PM
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Hi Allanj, the HOA will not allow us to construct anything outside the house on the front and back, but I can ask if they will allow me to construct something between the buildings...there is a fence doored side yard of sorts between the houses (houses are 20 feet or so apart) and nobody uses them..the electric, water meter, cable wirings etc etc and Air condition unit sit in these side yards. I had to get permission from HOA to install the AC unit and they may allow me to construct a shed if I ask them. The generator noise may be an issue to the neighbors, though. The shed may damp it a bit...

Pilot Dane, yes, the more I read about these batteries, they make more sense. A little expensive but clean. And you are right, even if there is a 3-4 day outage I could probably take the Jackery or ecoflow to a library or laundromat and they would probably allow me to charge.
Are there less expensive options than the Ecoflow 1800 which runs around $1100 right now? Maybe a large battery and an inverter setup?
 
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Old 12-01-20, 08:25 PM
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When the batteries in my UPS die I extend the battery wires outside the case and use a much larger AGM battery. The charging time is slow but you can power electronics for quite a long time during an outage
From my knowledge the inverter & other electronic components were designed with the original batteries capacity in mind as any longer run time of a bigger battery can cause the inverter to overheat and fail due to undersized parts with a lower duty cycle %

Hi Allanj, the HOA will not allow us to construct anything outside the house on the front and back, but I can ask if they will allow me to construct something between the buildings...there is a fence doored side yard of sorts between the houses (houses are 20 feet or so apart) and nobody uses them..the electric, water meter, cable wirings etc etc and Air condition unit sit in these side yards. I had to get permission from HOA to install the AC unit and they may allow me to construct a shed if I ask them. The generator noise may be an issue to the neighbors, though. The shed may damp it a bit...

Pilot Dane, yes, the more I read about these batteries, they make more sense. A little expensive but clean. And you are right, even if there is a 3-4 day outage I could probably take the Jackery or ecoflow to a library or laundromat and they would probably allow me to charge.
Are there less expensive options than the Ecoflow 1800 which runs around $1100 right now? Maybe a large battery and an inverter setup?
Where are you located? HOA I would never live in an area with one you own the property not THEM you should be able to do what you please with your place.
 
  #10  
Old 12-02-20, 06:13 AM
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would probably look at the dual fuel inverter generators and buy a co detector or maybe a couple if you do not have one, as per the balcony many use grills and smokers on there balcony not sure there would be any more risk with a generator but the co detector should alert you to any carbon monoxide inside if you needed to relocate it.
just dont think those battery options are really going to run a fridge and freezer any length of time to be worth it if you only plug one in at a time it will likely even have to run much longer to cool back down. and it does not sound like you have room for a bunch of solar panels either.
 
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Old 12-06-20, 01:42 PM
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Any suggestions for a DIY battery system with an inverter?
The ecoflow and Jackery are way too expensive and are relatively newer products and I don't know if they are just gimmicks and if they will last beyond a couple years...They are very portable, but I don't really need a portable one. This would be just for home use. A DIY solution seems much cheaper and also give more power for each dollar spent..

I was thinking maybe get started with a simple system with a battery and a good inverter and then maybe buy a generator down the road and run it outside to charge the battery during an outage...

---Is it safe to do a battery and inverter setup in a non-heated garage and trickle charge it with a smart charger? Like maybe on a rack? Any risks? I would then run a power cord from the inverter to run/charge whatever I wanted during an outage

---deep cycle AGM or Lithium? Lithium seems VERY expensive

--I was looking at the following- start with around $500 and build on it as I go:

--GoWISE Power 1500W Pure Sine Wave Power Inverter with 3000 W peak - $200

--Renogy Deep Cycle AGM Battery 12 Volt 100Ah - $200 - get one for now and maybe add more later

--Any suggestions on a smart charger that trickle charges/maintains as well as provides regular charge?

--Anything else ? - Kill a watt device? Battery monitor?

--Is this even a good idea?
 
  #12  
Old 12-06-20, 10:35 PM
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would still probably look at generators not worth investing in an inverter and battery bank for something you will only use for an occasional power outage really a generator is your best option.











 
 

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