Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
sarahiki

advice on generator, please

Recommended Posts

I am thinking about getting a small generator before the upcoming storm season. I have no knowledge about them at all. I know they run on gasoline and run small appliances... I guess you put it in your garage and run a long extension cord into the house?

Questions:

1. What size would I need to run a mini-fridge, plus maybe a window unit?

2. Can you run it non-stop?

3. How noisy are they?

4. Any recommendations on brand/size/etc.?

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am thinking about getting a small generator before the upcoming storm season. I have no knowledge about them at all. I know they run on gasoline and run small appliances... I guess you put it in your garage and run a long extension cord into the house?

Questions:

1. What size would I need to run a mini-fridge, plus maybe a window unit?

2. Can you run it non-stop?

3. How noisy are they?

4. Any recommendations on brand/size/etc.?

Thanks!

NO! NO! NO!

Do not put ANY combustion engine indoors! They produce carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide kills! I believe more people died from generators during Hurricane Ike than from the actual storm...at least in Harris County.

You can get a myriad of gensets, from little ones to whole house. If you are going to get a portable, consider whether you will also use it for camping or other uses. If so, buy one to fit that purpose. Whatever you buy will run a mini-fridge and a window unit. In fact, it would run a full-size fridge and a window unit. Here's a list of common electrical requirements of appliances.

http://www.reviewportablegenerators.com/watt-calculator/'>http://www.reviewportablegenerators.com/watt-calculator/

It is best to look at the label on the back of the appliance to be sure. A 3,000 to 5,000 watt unit will run your fridge, window unit, a fan, light and TV, and probably your computer, as well. Noise is about 70 to 75 decibels, less than a lawn mower, but still loud. Who cares. All your neighbors will be using theirs too. It can run non-stop, but will cut off when it runs out of gas, and also oil, Refill and crank it up again.

Honda makes great units, but are very pricey. Do not buy DeWalt. You are buying a name only. I've had good luck with TroyBilt and Husky products, but have not owned a generator (though I was looking at them today). Generac is decent. Kohler, great, but pricey. Here, look it up yourself...

http://www.reviewportablegenerators.com/

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks. I was aware of the carbon monoxide risk, which is why I thought a detached garage was okay, but I guess it must be outdoors. This is why I ask questions!

I'm in a new neighborhood this year, in which they lost power for three weeks after Ike. I can't take that. I need cold beer and cold air.

Thanks for the advice!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A good friend is a medical examiner. The stories of dead and dying from people running gensets indoors were truly tragic. Definitely put it outdoors. Chain it to something if you are concerned about theft.

That website I linked is very good in explaining how he rated the gensets. Though he bought a somewhat large one, his theory on running it at 50% load is good. I've seen plenty of gensets run at full power that come and go on the power side. My current favorite is a TroyBilt 6200 watt unit.

http://www.lowes.com/ProductDisplay?partNumber=180900-348-30432&langId=-1&storeId=10151&productId=1224391&catalogId=10051&cmRelshp=sim&rel=nofollow

This will run my full size fridge, a room AC, TV, lights and computer, with room to spare. I have a gas stove and an outdoor grill for coffee and cooking, so this would set me up. Of course, most of these portables run through 12 gallons of gas per day, so that sucks storing so much gas. Diesels use less fuel, but unless you have a diesel auto, you'll be stuck with the diesel. At least I can pour the unused gas in my truck later if it is not used.

Here's my favorite diesel...

http://www.homedepot.com/Outdoors-Generators/h_d1/N-5yc1vZb8xpZ5yi8p/R-100670197/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

Edited by RedScare
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Find a generator that runs on natural gas or propane. That way you don't have to wait 20 minutes for the unit to cool off before refueling. Refueling a gasoline powered generator is risky - several houses were burned down after Ike when the owners tried to refuel a hot generator, and spilled some. A natural gas powered unit also means you won't have to wake up 4 times a night to refuel. There are kits to convert smaller generators to multifuel. Do a google search for more information

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Find a generator that runs on natural gas or propane. That way you don't have to wait 20 minutes for the unit to cool off before refueling. Refueling a gasoline powered generator is risky - several houses were burned down after Ike when the owners tried to refuel a hot generator, and spilled some. A natural gas powered unit also means you won't have to wake up 4 times a night to refuel. There are kits to convert smaller generators to multifuel. Do a google search for more information

Yes, do a propane generator. If I had it to do over again, I'd do propane. Having to keep all of that gasoline around was just too much trouble.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Natural gas is the way to go if you have it. Like Red Scare said, never put any kind of generator indoors. Unfortunately storage of fuel indoors also poses a major risk. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Natural gas is the way to go if you have it. Like Red Scare said, never put any kind of generator indoors. Unfortunately storage of fuel indoors also poses a major risk.

Meaning, if we have natural gas coming into the house, we could hook up a generator to that line? Does this require professional installation? That would be great... no storing fuel, no running out of fuel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are a number of reasons to go with with Natural gas or propane when choosing a generator, and no, you don't need professional instalation for natural gas. Most brands have what's called a "quick link" which allows you to install it directly to a gas line such as a line to a stove. Obviously you need to know where your shut off is before installing.

Natural gas and propane generators have far less moving parts which means that the carb, etc won't gum up like a gas or diesel will, thus giving the generator longer life.

Also, you'll be dealing with less noise and fumes.

Edited by Gary
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They do cost more but well worth it in the long run. Some are as easy as hooking up a gas BBQ pit. You might need professional help though if you don't have a connection handy. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They do cost more but well worth it in the long run. Some are as easy as hooking up a gas BBQ pit. You might need professional help though if you don't have a connection handy. 

They're absolutely worth it. The cool thing is that many of them now have dual intakes for Natural gas, or propane. The propane is obviously the easier on hook up, but the way the connectors are designed for the gas makes it almost as easy. Of course you'll have to move the stove, etc out of the way.

Edit: I forgot to mention that using propane versus gasoline gives a lot more time per refuel.

Edited by Gary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We do warranty work for Lowes and Home Depot and Tractor supply, it took an entire year to catch up on all the generator work from the last hurricane. Myself I only have a small 600 watt honda, it can run a small TV and a fan and by itself the most important a small coffee maker. I live one block from a large gas station and after the storm I sit for two and one half hours to buy 5 stinking gallons of gas for this small generator. The thing can run a full 8 hours on one tank but the gas problem is too much hassle unless you were smart and bought 50 to 100 gallons before the storm, which no one is. So the next one I will buy gas a week before it gets here and maybe I can stay comfortable until they get the lines back up.

The propane fueled generators are simple, nothing more than a designed orifice or manifold that sucks the fuel into the manifold once it is started. Probably the most important thing to know about these new generators is the fact that all the engines are CRAP!.. Briggs especially, and Briggs did not warranty one single engine out of 100 we diagnosed, all had been ran low of oil and the connecting rods will break, every time! Check the oil every time you fuel and change it every other fueling, they scarcely hold a half a quart of oil in the crank case and you cannot over fill them or they will suck the oil into the carb. Thanks to our government who mandated crankcase vents routed back to the engine, they think they're cars ya know.. I'm staying with my 600 watt Honda and can manage with coffee, TV and a fan. I actually lucked out, my hot water heater is well insulated and I was able to bathe with reasonable warm water for 7 days before it ran out, then like pennies from heaven the 7th day the power came back on@

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The propane fueled generators are simple, nothing more than a designed orifice or manifold that sucks the fuel into the manifold once it is started. Probably the most important thing to know about these new generators is the fact that all the engines are CRAP!.. Briggs especially, and Briggs did not warranty one single engine out of 100 we diagnosed, all had been ran low of oil and the connecting rods will break, every time! Check the oil every time you fuel and change it every other fueling, they scarcely hold a half a quart of oil in the crank case and you cannot over fill them or they will suck the oil into the carb. Thanks to our government who mandated crankcase vents routed back to the engine, they think they're cars ya know.. I'm staying with my 600 watt Honda and can manage with coffee, TV and a fan. I actually lucked out, my hot water heater is well insulated and I was able to bathe with reasonable warm water for 7 days before it ran out, then like pennies from heaven the 7th day the power came back on@

Were the warranties mainly new generators? I'm curious because mine was stolen and I'm once again in the market for a new one. I certainly won't buy Briggs now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Were the warranties mainly new generators? I'm curious because mine was stolen and I'm once again in the market for a new one. I certainly won't buy Briggs now.

Yes, all our work is mainly warranty from these stores located in southern Louisiana. Honda is probably the best in my opinion, cost is a little higher but then the generator itself is also better than the ones you find on a Briggs machine. Whatever you do don't buy one of those Centurions! everyone I checked had low voltage that could not be adjusted with rpm. They are brush-less and use a plastic pork chop shaped capacitor to set the frequency, that,s fine except they don't work. After seeing so many like that I came to the conclusion they were using rotors and stators you would find in a generator that was purposely made for the asian market, they use 50hz there. Very possible somebody pulled a fast one and wanted to make some fast money and dumped these things on the USA!! Normal good generators have their frequency set at around 59-63hz, these centurions showed about 90 volts at the receptacles, good generators will show 115-120volts. You load one up and everything will be lugging terribly, if you have low output.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Generac are the brands that most have good luck with, but they are spendy

you can get them natural gas hooked into the line and wired right into the power box

Honda engines usually have the best rep for smaller generators, but the right Briggs can be a good engine too

Onan is another good brand, but they will be spendy as well

if you have a tractor with a PTO you can get a winco generator for the PTO and get good power though I think you might have to "tune" them a bit with the tractor throttle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...