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Standby Generator Installation


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Has anyone on here had a standby generator installed, and if so who did you use, and how much did you pay for the installation? Im thinking about getting a 17kw standby generator for my house, that would run on natural gas, and I was curious if anyone had done this already, and an average installation cost.

Thanks in advance

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depending on the load of your house, you may be able to save on installation/parts costs on the interface portion connecting the generator and the house. if the load on your house is easily covered by the capability of the generator, you'll be able to get equipment that is less complicated [covers entire house] vs supplying power to specific circuits [which is a more complicated installation and pricier parts]. the second type can also cover the entire house, but should the capability of the generator be reached, it will automatically shut off certain circuits if favor of the critical circuits. (if you do this, make sure and specify which circuits you'd classify as critical otherwise the electrician has no idea)

my parents had a guardian system put in and i believe labor was about 3k.

of course, location of the unit can greatly affect installation costs. the farther away, the pricier the installation.

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depending on the load of your house, you may be able to save on installation/parts costs on the interface portion connecting the generator and the house. if the load on your house is easily covered by the capability of the generator, you'll be able to get equipment that is less complicated [covers entire house] vs supplying power to specific circuits [which is a more complicated installation and pricier parts]. the second type can also cover the entire house, but should the capability of the generator be reached, it will automatically shut off certain circuits if favor of the critical circuits. (if you do this, make sure and specify which circuits you'd classify as critical otherwise the electrician has no idea)

my parents had a guardian system put in and i believe labor was about 3k.

of course, location of the unit can greatly affect installation costs. the farther away, the pricier the installation.

I went ahead and just called to inquire from an electrician place advertising their services for it and the 17kw generator was $3599 but the total cost for everything turn key was $8,000 - unless they had to go more than 3' from the house, in which case every foot was $20 addittional dollars. Everything they would do was hook up gas line within 3' of where the gas came into the house - $20 per foot for running gas line if not where you want it already. Dig out and create a 6 inch gravel pad to set it on. Hook up the breakers, and start/test the system. Everything else was addittional, including permits if needed.

Seems to me that $4400 is WAY overpriced for that job. Its a 1 day job, no electrician & plumber combined are worth that much for 1 day. If it took 8 hours that would be $550/hr and it wont take that long.

Edited by Marksmu
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Sounds like they theorize that anyone putting in 17 kW of genset power ought to be able to afford 8 grand. My parents put in a 14kW genset and the electrical/plumbing ran close to $5000...BUT, they had to move and replace the entire breaker box (old and obsolete), so most of the labor was unrelated to the actual genset.

Seems like my neighbor across the street had his 15kW hooked up for $1500-1600.

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Sounds like they theorize that anyone putting in 17 kW of genset power ought to be able to afford 8 grand. My parents put in a 14kW genset and the electrical/plumbing ran close to $5000...BUT, they had to move and replace the entire breaker box (old and obsolete), so most of the labor was unrelated to the actual genset.

Seems like my neighbor across the street had his 15kW hooked up for $1500-1600.

You make a solid point. They seem to think if you can afford the generator, you can afford to hook it up. Hmmm...I may be renting a mini-excavator digging the trench, doing my own plumbing, running my own wiring to it, then having them just come out for a couple hours and doing final terminations....Were in the process of expanding at my work, and the super and I are pretty good friends, so Im going to find out what he thinks this should cost. Ill post the answer.

Im always looking for reasons to rent a mini-excavator. Anyone need a ditch cleaned out sprinkler trench laid? Im in the heights, and looks like I may be renting a mini for a weekend.

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Im always looking for reasons to rent a mini-excavator. Anyone need a ditch cleaned out sprinkler trench laid? Im in the heights, and looks like I may be renting a mini for a weekend.

Well...now you're talking my language. I've been looking to run some drainpipe between my house and the neighbor's. I may go in halfsies with you.

This may even qualify for stimulus funds.

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I've had some large generators installed. I will tell you that the gas generators must be placed on a concrete pad and the generator itself must be at least 5' from the house. City of Houston requires 5'. There are permits required.

When they get all set up, they work great. Especially with the automatic transfer switch. The generator starts up about 6 seconds after the power goes off.

I would speak to some of the local generator installation companies. They know all the codes and can install everything turnkey.

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Be sure to buy proper permit(s) and use qualified installers. COH is very concerned about standby systems after Ike, and has very elaborate (new) language regarding installations. Luckily nobody was killed by backfed current after Ike, despite the fact that there were many bootleg backup generators running.

Has anyone on here had a standby generator installed, and if so who did you use, and how much did you pay for the installation? Im thinking about getting a 17kw standby generator for my house, that would run on natural gas, and I was curious if anyone had done this already, and an average installation cost.

Thanks in advance

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Be sure to buy proper permit(s) and use qualified installers. COH is very concerned about standby systems after Ike, and has very elaborate (new) language regarding installations. Luckily nobody was killed by backfed current after Ike, despite the fact that there were many bootleg backup generators running.

just have to comply with this:

http://www.publicworks.houstontx.gov/plann...y_generator.pdf

I find every time I deal with the city its another screw job. I am more qualified than 90% of the "licensed" contractors and yet, I cant do my own installation on MY own property b/c Im not licensed. And good luck finding a licensed plumber/electrician signing off on your work - they want the $500/hr screw job.

Its pretty infuriating. Since when were plumbers/electricians the most highly paid trades in our society. I USED to think that was reserved for doctors/lawyers.

Things are screwed up.

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Be sure to buy proper permit(s) and use qualified installers. COH is very concerned about standby systems after Ike, and has very elaborate (new) language regarding installations. Luckily nobody was killed by backfed current after Ike, despite the fact that there were many bootleg backup generators running.

when they don't currently have enough inspectors to inspect properly, they aren't too concerned.

Edited by musicman
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marksmu, where does it say you have to ahve a licensed contractor? As far as I know you can install anything you wnat on your own property as long as it passes inspection.

Wrong!

http://www.publicworks.houstontx.gov/plann...t/permits.htm#1

Plumbing, HVAC, and electrical all have to be licensed contractors. They will pull individual permits for every building permit issued. Centerpoint also does an inspection on the hookup.

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Marksmu you may very well be qualified to do this work, but for every one of you there are 100 others who are doing lousy dangerous work. Right now you can buy a 125 amp main panel at home depot for $87 and you can see homeowners and handy-dudes putting them into their carts.

Unqualified work does not just endanger occupants of the property where the work is done. Backfeeding mains can injure and kill line workers and neighbors.

City inspections are a mess right now, from personal observation of some work being done in my neighborhood. If you buy a permit they will jack you around and the licensed contractors are definitely a ripoff. Add to that the fact that a lot of permits are allowed to expire with no fine or follow-up by city.

I don't know what the solution is.

just have to comply with this:

http://www.publicworks.houstontx.gov/plann...y_generator.pdf

I find every time I deal with the city its another screw job. I am more qualified than 90% of the "licensed" contractors and yet, I cant do my own installation on MY own property b/c Im not licensed. And good luck finding a licensed plumber/electrician signing off on your work - they want the $500/hr screw job.

Its pretty infuriating. Since when were plumbers/electricians the most highly paid trades in our society. I USED to think that was reserved for doctors/lawyers.

Things are screwed up.

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I agree. get it done right by a professional. I know a house in Bellaire that caught on fire not to long ago because the vent from the generator was mounted to close to a wood stud. That job ended up costing them well over $100,000.

Ive called 2 "professionals" and both want more than $4600 to install. That is INSANE. Its not hard, its not rocket science - I understand backfeed and the dangers, and I agree though I am qualified to do the work, for every one of me, there is 10 more who are not. It just seems to me that literally $300-$500 /hr is the most ridiculous price for a plumber & an electrician. Not saying that they are not good trades, just not 300-500/hr good. They are definitely not doctors, and they didnt goto college for 8 years, so what gives?

I think this has gotten out of hand. I flipped a house, and had to call literally 50+ electricians, before I found one who was willing to do the work. They only wanted to changes out outlets, and fuses and I needed the whole house rewired. I had most of them say they were not interested in work liek that b/c there is more money in smaller jobs. I did finally find a good electrican who did the work, but it literally took over a month to get the job bid and started. The plumbers were another story. I didnt have a problem getting a plumber to do the work, but I did have a problem with the bill, it took only a few hours and the cost was over $1000. And that was from the 5th plumbing quote I got...I just cant find an honest hard working tradesman who charges an honest price.

Its just frustrating. It should not cost 50% more to do the work than the actual item costs. I guess its just the luxury items, carry a luxury price tag.

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Ive called 2 "professionals" and both want more than $4600 to install. That is INSANE. Its not hard, its not rocket science - I understand backfeed and the dangers, and I agree though I am qualified to do the work, for every one of me, there is 10 more who are not. It just seems to me that literally $300-$500 /hr is the most ridiculous price for a plumber & an electrician. Not saying that they are not good trades, just not 300-500/hr good. They are definitely not doctors, and they didnt goto college for 8 years, so what gives?

I think this has gotten out of hand. I flipped a house, and had to call literally 50+ electricians, before I found one who was willing to do the work. They only wanted to changes out outlets, and fuses and I needed the whole house rewired. I had most of them say they were not interested in work liek that b/c there is more money in smaller jobs. I did finally find a good electrican who did the work, but it literally took over a month to get the job bid and started. The plumbers were another story. I didnt have a problem getting a plumber to do the work, but I did have a problem with the bill, it took only a few hours and the cost was over $1000. And that was from the 5th plumbing quote I got...I just cant find an honest hard working tradesman who charges an honest price.

Its just frustrating. It should not cost 50% more to do the work than the actual item costs. I guess its just the luxury items, carry a luxury price tag.

So I learned an interesting tid-bit of information this past weekend that keeps me from having to pay that ridiculous sum of money to the electrician. Turns out that you do not even need a hardwire to run your house and your house only. When the power goes out, if you kill the breaker at the street (MUST DO THIS) you can power your whole house, by getting a 240/240 plug, and just plugging the generator into the dryer plug. As long as your breaker is off at the street there is no danger at all of backfeed into the power company grid. Then once you see that your neighbors have power again you can just unplug your generator, and turn your breaker back on.

I am not sure that it is necessarily, "up to code" but as long as your power main is switched off at the main box, there is zero chance of any backfeed.

Just my two cents - and definetly the route I am going to go to avoid the electrician.

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So I learned an interesting tid-bit of information this past weekend that keeps me from having to pay that ridiculous sum of money to the electrician. Turns out that you do not even need a hardwire to run your house and your house only. When the power goes out, if you kill the breaker at the street (MUST DO THIS) you can power your whole house, by getting a 240/240 plug, and just plugging the generator into the dryer plug. As long as your breaker is off at the street there is no danger at all of backfeed into the power company grid. Then once you see that your neighbors have power again you can just unplug your generator, and turn your breaker back on.

I am not sure that it is necessarily, "up to code" but as long as your power main is switched off at the main box, there is zero chance of any backfeed.

Just my two cents - and definetly the route I am going to go to avoid the electrician.

depending on your wiring (30 or 50A), some of the items can be powered but it no way could the entire house via this method.

Edited by musicman
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So I learned an interesting tid-bit of information this past weekend that keeps me from having to pay that ridiculous sum of money to the electrician. Turns out that you do not even need a hardwire to run your house and your house only. When the power goes out, if you kill the breaker at the street (MUST DO THIS) you can power your whole house, by getting a 240/240 plug, and just plugging the generator into the dryer plug. As long as your breaker is off at the street there is no danger at all of backfeed into the power company grid. Then once you see that your neighbors have power again you can just unplug your generator, and turn your breaker back on.

I am not sure that it is necessarily, "up to code" but as long as your power main is switched off at the main box, there is zero chance of any backfeed.

Just my two cents - and definetly the route I am going to go to avoid the electrician.

You are not more qualified than 90% of electricians. You cant power your house over one 240V outlet. You will overpower than line and start a fire.

Do it right, or dont do it.

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You are not more qualified than 90% of electricians. You cant power your house over one 240V outlet. You will overpower than line and start a fire.

Do it right, or dont do it.

I guess you know my house better than I do. Using an inline Amp/watt meter, I turned on my AC/Plasma Tv/Stove/Dishwasher, and EVERY light I have - and my draw was watt draw was 10,120 at 23.5 Amp. I have 50 Amp wiring and the laundry room is two 20 Amps-connected, which is 40amp.

I can also selectively drop circuits off so as not to come near capacity on the generator - but as I look at my wiring, and my amp/watt load - I have no fear of overheating that one line 23.5 is well below 50amp.

So my guess, is ya I can do it - and there is nothing wrong with it, so long as I pull the main breaker to shut it off from the grid. The only real danger is having a male/male cord which someone could potentially trip on, and then there would be a hot power line in the laundry room.

And I am fairly certain that my engineering degree does qualify me, in fact I would venture to say that my Me Major, and EE minor over qualifies me to be an electrician. I just never thought of this process before until someone mentioned its how they did it during the storm.

**though I will still attempt to get a back up switch installed b/c I do Prefer to do things the right way**If a switch with a Female plug and 2 way switch is available for less than $500 installed I would go that route.

Edited by Marksmu
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It would be better to install a box on the outside of the house to connect the generator and disconnect the rest of the house. Running power through the dryer outlet might work, but why not do it right? Let's you use the dryer too.

Wrong!

http://www.publicworks.houstontx.gov/plann...t/permits.htm#1

Plumbing, HVAC, and electrical all have to be licensed contractors. They will pull individual permits for every building permit issued. Centerpoint also does an inspection on the hookup.

Be nice if the City's site quotes the relevant statute or ordinance. I don't believe websites that don't quote something official - government functionaries are likely to twist the truth just to make their lives easier.

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I guess you know my house better than I do. Using an inline Amp/watt meter, I turned on my AC/Plasma Tv/Stove/Dishwasher, and EVERY light I have - and my draw was watt draw was 10,120 at 23.5 Amp. I have 50 Amp wiring and the laundry room is two 20 Amps-connected, which is 40amp.

I can also selectively drop circuits off so as not to come near capacity on the generator - but as I look at my wiring, and my amp/watt load - I have no fear of overheating that one line 23.5 is well below 50amp.

So my guess, is ya I can do it - and there is nothing wrong with it, so long as I pull the main breaker to shut it off from the grid. The only real danger is having a male/male cord which someone could potentially trip on, and then there would be a hot power line in the laundry room.

And I am fairly certain that my engineering degree does qualify me, in fact I would venture to say that my Me Major, and EE minor over qualifies me to be an electrician. I just never thought of this process before until someone mentioned its how they did it during the storm.

**though I will still attempt to get a back up switch installed b/c I do Prefer to do things the right way**If a switch with a Female plug and 2 way switch is available for less than $500 installed I would go that route.

Yea, I have an EE degree too... my knees arent shaking

Your original inquiry was about a standby generator. Now you just want to know how to hook up a normal generator and control load by manually controlling which circuits are on. Two completely different questions.

My concern was that if you hook up the generator through the 240V outlet and do not actively manage which circuits are on, you run the risk of large flames.

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Yea, I have an EE degree too... my knees arent shaking

Your original inquiry was about a standby generator. Now you just want to know how to hook up a normal generator and control load by manually controlling which circuits are on. Two completely different questions.

My concern was that if you hook up the generator through the 240V outlet and do not actively manage which circuits are on, you run the risk of large flames.

Ah - I see how you were confused....My apologies. After becoming incredibly agitated by the price of an electrician, and a plumber, and the hassle of permits, and everything else - I found a few portable generators that can be run on natural gas/propane, or Gasoline. I was unaware that there were portable generators that I could power from Natural Gas, and being that I would have multiple uses for a portable generator, and only one use for a permanent one, I made the switch in my head to go portable at which point I still needed a power entry point.

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I had no idea you could buy a natural gas portable generator either. That would be the way to go for sure. Keep us posted as to what you decide on. I'm interested in doing the same. As Hurricane Ike showed us, a gasoline generator is not practical when none of the gas stations are open.

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I had no idea you could buy a natural gas portable generator either. That would be the way to go for sure. Keep us posted as to what you decide on. I'm interested in doing the same. As Hurricane Ike showed us, a gasoline generator is not practical when none of the gas stations are open.

They're called tri-fuel generators. They can run on methane (natural gas), propane, or gasoline. Some generators come tri-fuel ready from the factory, others you have to buy and install a conversion kit.

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Ah - I see how you were confused....My apologies. After becoming incredibly agitated by the price of an electrician, and a plumber, and the hassle of permits, and everything else - I found a few portable generators that can be run on natural gas/propane, or Gasoline. I was unaware that there were portable generators that I could power from Natural Gas, and being that I would have multiple uses for a portable generator, and only one use for a permanent one, I made the switch in my head to go portable at which point I still needed a power entry point.

If you are going to go the portable route, I wouldn't go to all the trouble you are contemplating. While a portable DOES have nultiple uses, because of the amount of fuel it uses, the smaller it is the better. In that scenario, a portable that powers a room AC unit would function better than a big portable powering a central AC unit. True, a room AC unit does not cool the entire house, but even a small genset will use 8 gallons of gas a day. A big diesel unit can go through 20.

I have a 10,000 btu room AC unit that I let my neighbor use during Ike. It kept a 200 square foot room cold and only uses 10 or 11 amps. A 7000 watt genset would run that AC, a TV, computer and several lights, enough to be comfortable during an extended outage.

When looking at portable power...as I am sure you are quickly finding out...you can have power or you can save money, but you cannot have power AND save money. Put simply, the less power you use during an outage, the smaller genset you need. That translates to not only monetary savings, but fuel savings.

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For anyone looking to keep a fridge, a TV, some fans, and a few lights on during the next "Ike", I would suggest you look into purchasing a small solar panel, charger, inverter, and deep cycle marine battery... the bigger the better. Total cost of all these items is ~$600. You could use your car batteries in a pinch and knock off ~$120 or so for the marine battery.

I ran the numbers, and if I am careful, I can live on 20-25Amp-hours/day in an emergency. A small solar panel on a good day will contribute 15Amp-hours to the battery... so therefore I am only draining the battery ~10Amp-hours per day of power.

If I start with a fully charged 100Amp-hour battery, in theory, under sunny conditions, that would last me roughly 7 days.

I was out of power for 4.5 days during Ike... I would have lost no food in the fridge, I would have had TV for a few hours a day to keep up with the local news, I would have had lights at night, and I would have had 2 fans keeping me cool day and night...

Considering how difficult it was to get gasoline during that time, I decided to look into solar for such an emergency.

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If we get a generator it will be tri fuel. I can't recall a time that natural gas wasn't available when the power was out. Natural gas is safer than gasoline, and doesn't require that you shut down the generator and wait ahlf an hour for everything to cool before refueling.

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If we get a generator it will be tri fuel. I can't recall a time that natural gas wasn't available when the power was out. Natural gas is safer than gasoline, and doesn't require that you shut down the generator and wait ahlf an hour for everything to cool before refueling.

Isn't that the truth. The main item I want to keep going is my fridge. Give me ice, a blender, tequila and margarita mix and I can wait out any emergency.

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Isn't that the truth. The main item I want to keep going is my fridge. Give me ice, a blender, tequila and margarita mix and I can wait out any emergency. ;)

I have a small generator, but the problem with it was keeping it fueled....I tried just telling everyone (both sides of family from galveston stayed with us) not to open the fridge anymore etc, but with 6-10 people in the house it wasnt working....ended up having to run the generator WAY more than I wanted too b/c I couldnt keep people from getting stuft out of the fridge. Which meant more gas, which meant huge lines. I just want to avoid that, and be comfortable.

My current generator was also to small to run the fridge and a window unit...its a 4400W - and would not even come close to powering up the energy sucking plasma tv.

But I do agree with the statement - some power cheap, lots of power cheap - not happening.

The tri fuels are pricy, at 12KW peak trifuel is $3200 for that price you can get a permanent unit, but you cant get it wired. It seems you cant have your cake and eat it too on this front. I wish there were a fair priced electrician who would do the work. Anyone know of a FAIR electrician?

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12KW peak trifuel is $3200 for that price you can get a permanent unit, but you cant get it wired. It seems you cant have your cake and eat it too on this front. I wish there were a fair priced electrician who would do the work. Anyone know of a FAIR electrician?

You obviously have a dollar amount in mind that you want to pay. What is it?

flipper

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You obviously have a dollar amount in mind that you want to pay. What is it?

flipper

From what I can see for the materials - its about $800 on the high side for the transfer switch & 16 circuit breaker box with the power inlet. I would think $500 would be more than it should cost to install (it wont take a half a day), but its a price I would be willing to pay. Anything more than $1300 for everything I would consider getting shafted. I know what the materials cost, and they are quoting $3500-$6000 for the job.

The only other item needed is the umbilical cord, and I can make that myself.

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For anyone looking to keep a fridge, a TV, some fans, and a few lights on during the next "Ike", I would suggest you look into purchasing a small solar panel, charger, inverter, and deep cycle marine battery... the bigger the better. Total cost of all these items is ~$600. You could use your car batteries in a pinch and knock off ~$120 or so for the marine battery.

I ran the numbers, and if I am careful, I can live on 20-25Amp-hours/day in an emergency. A small solar panel on a good day will contribute 15Amp-hours to the battery... so therefore I am only draining the battery ~10Amp-hours per day of power.

If I start with a fully charged 100Amp-hour battery, in theory, under sunny conditions, that would last me roughly 7 days.

I was out of power for 4.5 days during Ike... I would have lost no food in the fridge, I would have had TV for a few hours a day to keep up with the local news, I would have had lights at night, and I would have had 2 fans keeping me cool day and night...

Considering how difficult it was to get gasoline during that time, I decided to look into solar for such an emergency.

I was looking into something along these lines myself. To get the numbers down, you can look into getting a mini-fridge or a refrigerated cooler. With a little planning, you find that there is not that much food that requires refrigeration that you have to have during a storm, so a smaller unit for essentials will work.

I still am trying to figure a way to get some AC without a genset, though. It need not be much. During Ike, I would get in the truck and drive around the block. A couple of minutes did the trick. A super small unit that would cool a very small room, or take the edge off the bedroom is all I need.

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From what I can see for the materials - its about $800 on the high side for the transfer switch & 16 circuit breaker box with the power inlet. I would think $500 would be more than it should cost to install (it wont take a half a day), but its a price I would be willing to pay. Anything more than $1300 for everything I would consider getting shafted. I know what the materials cost, and they are quoting $3500-$6000 for the job.

The only other item needed is the umbilical cord, and I can make that myself.

I think you are hurting yourself by trying to break it out on a $/hour basis. You should know you can't do that in construction. If you think the quotes you are getting are too high, you should do it yourself and take your chances.

flipper

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I still am trying to figure a way to get some AC without a genset, though. It need not be much. During Ike, I would get in the truck and drive around the block. A couple of minutes did the trick. A super small unit that would cool a very small room, or take the edge off the bedroom is all I need.

Maybe you could get the front half of a few used cars. They come with engines, batteries, A/C units and even radios. You could mount them on the walls of one room and feed them from a common gas tank.

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I still am trying to figure a way to get some AC without a genset, though. It need not be much. During Ike, I would get in the truck and drive around the block. A couple of minutes did the trick. A super small unit that would cool a very small room, or take the edge off the bedroom is all I need.

Consider buying a swamp cooler... sure they dont work that great in humid climates, but they dont draw anymore power than most fans, and they are much more effective at "cooling" the air...

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Consider buying a swamp cooler... sure they dont work that great in humid climates, but they dont draw anymore power than most fans, and they are much more effective at "cooling" the air...

adding moisture in the summer isn't going to cool you off. you don't get that evaporative effect like you do in dry climates.

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Dryer circuit typically would be 30 amps, #10 wire. 80% would be 24 amps per leg, or 2880 vA each side.

The backfed 30 amp dryer breaker would trip if there was too much load. Breakers work in either direction.

One peril here is that if the dryer circuit was run using "10-2 with ground" Romex (quite common in amateur installations), and not the proper 10-3, the uninsulated ground wire could be carrying current (it does with most dryers on 10-2 circuits anyway but that is a whole other story).

BTW it didn't get over 85 after Ike. I remember there was just one somewhat sweaty night. Why this obsession with AC? Once every 20 years.

BTW, the circuit your dryer is attached to can only handle 3840 Watts.

120V*20Amp=2400W

2400W*2=4800W

You must not use more than 80% of the max though.... silly safety rules.

4800*0.8= 3840W

Only about a third of your proposed load.

Please dont burn your house down....

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Dryer circuit typically would be 30 amps, #10 wire. 80% would be 24 amps per leg, or 2880 vA each side.

The backfed 30 amp dryer breaker would trip if there was too much load. Breakers work in either direction.

I was using the numbers he provided for his home for my calculations.

BTW, he states that he has 50Amp wiring to his dryer outlet.

50Amp*120V = 6000W*.8 = 4800W*2 = 9600W

So while the breaker will trip, the wires going to the dryer outlet are still being overloaded with his projected 10,000+W load.

Certainly, I would not expect flames, but my concern is still valid.

Do it right, or don't do it.

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(Dryer on a 50 amp breaker is wrong. Even with the right sized wires.)

But if the breaker trips then there would not be a load any more, only voltage on the wires. Like service drop. Problem is no overcurrent protection for the backfed wires themselves.

I was using the numbers he provided for his home for my calculations.

BTW, he states that he has 50Amp wiring to his dryer outlet.

50Amp*120V = 6000W*.8 = 4800W*2 = 9600W

So while the breaker will trip, the wires going to the dryer outlet are still being overloaded with his projected 10,000+W load.

Certainly, I would not expect flames, but my concern is still valid.

Do it right, or don't do it.

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I think you are hurting yourself by trying to break it out on a $/hour basis. You should know you can't do that in construction. If you think the quotes you are getting are too high, you should do it yourself and take your chances.

flipper

I do know that nobody really charges by the hour in construction, but when the job is SO straight forward, there is not any reason that you should have to be ripped off. Every single job is pretty much paid by the hour, its very difficult to remove that mindset....I think to myself....I basically get paid $40/hr basically, and this guy just showed up, worked for 3 hours or so, and charged me over $1000 just for labor....in that time I would have made $120, and he made 10 times what I do and its unlikely he is servicing anywhere near the same kind of student debt that I am from 8 addittional years of school. Not to mention while I was in college/grad school he was probably working as an apprentice, getting paid to learn...for some reason I just cant shake that feeling of being ripped off like that.

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I do know that nobody really charges by the hour in construction, but when the job is SO straight forward, there is not any reason that you should have to be ripped off. Every single job is pretty much paid by the hour, its very difficult to remove that mindset....I think to myself....I basically get paid $40/hr basically, and this guy just showed up, worked for 3 hours or so, and charged me over $1000 just for labor....in that time I would have made $120, and he made 10 times what I do and its unlikely he is servicing anywhere near the same kind of student debt that I am from 8 addittional years of school. Not to mention while I was in college/grad school he was probably working as an apprentice, getting paid to learn...for some reason I just cant shake that feeling of being ripped off like that.

If you had ever been self-employed, and knew what was involved in running a business, such as advertising, paying helpers, taxes, tools, vehicles and fuel and insurance, you probably would not be looking at these bids on a strictly per hour basis. While $4500-6000 is ridiculous, $500 is equally ridiculous on the low end.

You get what you pay for. If hiring an already employed electrician to do a side job where you bear all of the risk works for you, then you might find someone to do it for a thousand bucks or so. But, remember that they are likely going to have to do a hot job, since disconnecting the service from Centerpoint would require calling them back out to inspect the work and to reconnect, which requires a permit, so to save time and money, they do it hot. I wouldn't play with a hot feed for $500.

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I do know that nobody really charges by the hour in construction, but when the job is SO straight forward, there is not any reason that you should have to be ripped off. Every single job is pretty much paid by the hour, its very difficult to remove that mindset....I think to myself....I basically get paid $40/hr basically, and this guy just showed up, worked for 3 hours or so, and charged me over $1000 just for labor....in that time I would have made $120, and he made 10 times what I do and its unlikely he is servicing anywhere near the same kind of student debt that I am from 8 addittional years of school. Not to mention while I was in college/grad school he was probably working as an apprentice, getting paid to learn...for some reason I just cant shake that feeling of being ripped off like that.

So if you know that nobody really charges by the hour why do you say in the next sentence that "every single job is pretty much paid by the hour". Until you stop comparing your worth to what you pay for construction labor you will be at a stand still.

flipper

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Most electrical service companies will charge $125/hr for a 2 man crew. So if you've figured $1000 in labor, the electician has probably figured 8 hours of labor. This may be an indication that you have underestimated the scope of work that is involved in this project.

I can tell you from experience, that the hookup of a generator is more than a half day job. If you are truely being overcharged, then speak to a couple more companies like Fort Bend, or Houston Empire electric. If you get a lower quote then you may be correct.

Just the positioning of the generator is a half day job. They are very large and very heavy and sometimes require a crane or fork lift.

Once everything is positioned and hooked up, the generator has to be tuned. The generator installation companies have people on staff that are licenced and trained by the generator manufacturer. The tune job takes between 1-4 hours, and must be done to insure that the engine has a long life.

Also, the natural gas engine requires regular maintenance like oil changes, coolant changes, belts, filters, etc... So be prepared for this.

Quick story: I had a generator installed for a home I was building. The generator company quoted all these fees to install gas, electrical, concrete pad, startup, ect.. . I decided that I would have my electrician do the hookup, my plumber run the gas, my concrete guy do pad . They were at the job anyway, so I built it into the construction contract. So after everything was up and running and Centerpoint had approved the backfeed check. The city of houston electrical inspector pointed out that the generator has to be 5' from the wall of a building. I was at 3' which was the manufacture's spec. It's a city of Houston code, and there is no obvious litterature that is easily available for reference. After alot of arguing, I had to shell out additional money to extend the concrete, plumbing and electrical - a $600 hit.

Moral of the story - you're never as smart as you think you are, no matter how smart you are.

I will also say that you should never undervalue the education that an electrician or plumber now has to go through to become licenced. There is 2 years of apprenceship, state tests, and continueing education. Most stop at the journeyman license, because the master's is too difficult to achieve.

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Most electrical service companies will charge $125/hr for a 2 man crew. So if you've figured $1000 in labor, the electician has probably figured 8 hours of labor. This may be an indication that you have underestimated the scope of work that is involved in this project.

I can tell you from experience, that the hookup of a generator is more than a half day job. If you are truely being overcharged, then speak to a couple more companies like Fort Bend, or Houston Empire electric. If you get a lower quote then you may be correct.

Just the positioning of the generator is a half day job. They are very large and very heavy and sometimes require a crane or fork lift.

Once everything is positioned and hooked up, the generator has to be tuned. The generator installation companies have people on staff that are licenced and trained by the generator manufacturer. The tune job takes between 1-4 hours, and must be done to insure that the engine has a long life.

Also, the natural gas engine requires regular maintenance like oil changes, coolant changes, belts, filters, etc... So be prepared for this.

Quick story: I had a generator installed for a home I was building. The generator company quoted all these fees to install gas, electrical, concrete pad, startup, ect.. . I decided that I would have my electrician do the hookup, my plumber run the gas, my concrete guy do pad . They were at the job anyway, so I built it into the construction contract. So after everything was up and running and Centerpoint had approved the backfeed check. The city of houston electrical inspector pointed out that the generator has to be 5' from the wall of a building. I was at 3' which was the manufacture's spec. It's a city of Houston code, and there is no obvious litterature that is easily available for reference. After alot of arguing, I had to shell out additional money to extend the concrete, plumbing and electrical - a $600 hit.

Moral of the story - you're never as smart as you think you are, no matter how smart you are.

I will also say that you should never undervalue the education that an electrician or plumber now has to go through to become licenced. There is 2 years of apprenceship, state tests, and continueing education. Most stop at the journeyman license, because the master's is too difficult to achieve.

Im not disagreeing, but I only want a switch, and a 16breaker panel put in...I am buying a portable natural gas generator that I intend to plug in with a 4way nema plug...I dont need a pad or any plumbing, just the panel work...which should not take an electrician any more than a couple hours to do...he cuts the power to the main, installs the 3 way in front of the other breaker box, and wires the new one back to the old, and bada bing, he is done. Easy as cake, especially since EVERYTHING is brand new, and clearly labeled...I even have a diagram in the box telling how many outlets are on each breaker, and I have hand written in whats plugged into each.

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Don't forget most electricians have a four hour minimum. None the less the install sounds very high, perhaps, the electrician is not fully understanding what it is you want done. He could be thinking you are wanting something more complex done. Or it could possibly be he's trying to avoid the work because of his current load, and doesn't want to flatly turn you down, so he threw out a price he figured you would turn down and if you wanted it that bad he'd be willing to do it. You never know, it's done every day in all lines of work, I know I do it when it's something I'd rather not do, but if they are willing to pay enough, anything is possible.

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Hello Gentlemen,

I had the same experience with what I too thought was unreasonable pricing. I had 4 separate companies come out and give me a bid. The quotes were all over the map. But what was common with them all was the installation costs. One company was pricing the gas line at $45/ft, and the electrical at $35/ft. I can only assume that he was contracting this out and was also having to pay these costs - hence he was passing it on to me. Out of curiosity I went to Lowes to see what the price of 1" gas pipe was, and found it to be roughly $1.80/ft. to $2.40/ft. My solution? I decided to become an Authorized Guardian Dealer and start my own company. In fact, I am heading to AZ this week for dealer certification, and the new website is almost complete. I have close family friends who are licensed electricians and plumbers, and... who owe me some huge favors. So... stay tuned. I hope to be bringing homeowners a trusted AND reasonably-priced alternative to what we have all seemed to have experienced.

By the way... my company is a (premeir Houston) online marketing firm. My specialty is placing my client's websites at the top of Google for their key search terms. I have made a handsome living, and made my clients millions of dollars (literally!) as a result of these skills for the past 5 years. So you will see this new company soon when searching for residentail standby generators. :-)

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Hello Gentlemen,

I had the same experience with what I too thought was unreasonable pricing. I had 4 separate companies come out and give me a bid. The quotes were all over the map. But what was common with them all was the installation costs. One company was pricing the gas line at $45/ft, and the electrical at $35/ft. I can only assume that he was contracting this out and was also having to pay these costs - hence he was passing it on to me. Out of curiosity I went to Lowes to see what the price of 1" gas pipe was, and found it to be roughly $1.80/ft. to $2.40/ft. My solution? I decided to become an Authorized Guardian Dealer and start my own company. In fact, I am heading to AZ this week for dealer certification, and the new website is almost complete. I have close family friends who are licensed electricians and plumbers, and... who owe me some huge favors. So... stay tuned. I hope to be bringing homeowners a trusted AND reasonably-priced alternative to what we have all seemed to have experienced.

By the way... my company is a (premeir Houston) online marketing firm. My specialty is placing my client's websites at the top of Google for their key search terms. I have made a handsome living, and made my clients millions of dollars (literally!) as a result of these skills for the past 5 years. So you will see this new company soon when searching for residentail standby generators. :-)

Excellent News. You have solved my problem! - You can do my house for cost of materials only, and I will allow you to use it in your marketing. :) I'll even throw a nice quote or two your way.

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Depending upon the cost I would be interested in this as well, I will second the thoughts of Marksmu on the rates that trades are trying to charge.

Please keep us posted Neostead on your progress and HAIF "Preferred" pricing,

Scharpe St Guy

Hello Gentlemen,

I had the same experience with what I too thought was unreasonable pricing. I had 4 separate companies come out and give me a bid. The quotes were all over the map. But what was common with them all was the installation costs. One company was pricing the gas line at $45/ft, and the electrical at $35/ft. I can only assume that he was contracting this out and was also having to pay these costs - hence he was passing it on to me. Out of curiosity I went to Lowes to see what the price of 1" gas pipe was, and found it to be roughly $1.80/ft. to $2.40/ft. My solution? I decided to become an Authorized Guardian Dealer and start my own company. In fact, I am heading to AZ this week for dealer certification, and the new website is almost complete. I have close family friends who are licensed electricians and plumbers, and... who owe me some huge favors. So... stay tuned. I hope to be bringing homeowners a trusted AND reasonably-priced alternative to what we have all seemed to have experienced.

By the way... my company is a (premeir Houston) online marketing firm. My specialty is placing my client's websites at the top of Google for their key search terms. I have made a handsome living, and made my clients millions of dollars (literally!) as a result of these skills for the past 5 years. So you will see this new company soon when searching for residentail standby generators. :-)

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