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Thread: Questions about Generators

  1. #1
    Anthias
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    Questions about Generators

    Hey guys, moving on installing a generator, and was wondering if I could get some advice from you experts.

    My dad is coming to see out new baby at the end of may and is going to put in a new electrical panel (mine is full, he is a licensed electrician) and also set up the house for a generator. Plan is to have the generator take over power for the whole house. If the power goes out, I will shut all the heaters, lights, etc. off and then turn on what I need.

    As for the tank, it is probably drawing less than 15 amps. Not everything is on my apex, but a lot is, and the draw on that is about 6 amps with the heaters off, 9 amps with the heaters on. It would also be good to be able to run a small chest freezer, refridgerator and a few lights (thinking I will shut off the hot water heater, but that could go either way. It is a lot of draw.)

    Also, I see that some generators are made to run electronic components without issues. Is this something I should try to get on the generator so there is no damage to the Apex unit?

    Trying to think about what size I would need. Price is also a consideration. I want to get something that will do the job, but I also want to try to get a good deal, as I don't have too much spare cash to throw at this.

    My dad is buying all the parts to rework the electrical at a shop in illinois and sending things out, but wanted to know what kind of generator I was thinking of getting so he could build accordingly around it.

    Any advice would be great. Thanks guys!
    Rob
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    Rob - Seattle Central District
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    RF Staff
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    Why not get an auto standby unit that connects to NG line? all u have to worry with is a transfer switch box which your father could install, just tell him what circuits you want transfered...also need to pour a concrete slab to put the unit on.(this is code).

    7kW Automatic Backup Power System-5837 at The Home Depot

    I have the 13,000 kw unit and it powers the whole house and all fish tanks..power comes on within 2 sec of power going out.
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  3. #3
    Anthias
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    Never had a power outage yet, and a bit broke with the new baby, lol. Was hoping for a $500 backup option. That looks nice and I was talking to my dad about the automatic ones, but don't have 2k to throw at it.

    Again, never needed one yet, just want it as backup. I am ok with not using much power during an outage, just keep the fishtank going and fridge/freezer.

    I know a lot of people buy honda ones. I was thinking about one of those, where I would have to go start it and flip a switch or something at the braker box to turn it on. But, open to suggestions.

    The one you listed is sweet, if only I was a bit richer >.<
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    Hawkfish
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    wow id go cheap wit a lil portable and extension cord. but im cheap.

  5. #5
    Anthias
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    yea senji, that is mostly my plan.

    Breaker box is full though so dad is going to help me put in an expansion panel and pull my tank onto its own breaker (as it is currently on a circuit with way too much stuff.) So, planning on a more inexpensive unit, but will probably just have it go into the breaker box since we are doing work on it anyway.

    Oh, and the place the generator is going to sit is about 3-4 fee from the breaker box, so seems like a simple way to do it.
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    Since your dad is upgrading you to a new panel a 6 or 8 channel generator transfer switch will be easy to wire in for him. I would recommend wiring your refrigerator, TV, some lights, your tank, and your computer to it. Then when the power goes out you can still enjoy life as well as keep your tank alive. FWIW my AC jr is the least of my electronic worries when I am out of power. Im more worried about my TV and computer but have learned over the years that everything will be fine.

    When the power goes out you CHAIN your generator up to something with heavy duty chain in the driveway. I use my truck. Then its as simple as running the heavy duty power cord to the transfer switch and flip a few switches.

    I currently have a 2000 watt honda and it gets the job done but works hard. I used to have a HD 6500 watt honda but it was a loud gas hog.
    Honda's are one of the more expensive generators on the market and my EU 2000 cost near $1000. You can get a decent 5000 watt unit at HD or LOwes for around $600. The biggest key to any generator is taking care of it porperly on the off season and dont let it sit for two years without firing it up and servicing it.

    Hope that helps

  7. #7
    Anthias
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    great. I have no garage or way to bring it inside, but I have a small back porch with a nice sized cavity underneath it (3- 3.5-4 ft tall, 6 ft wide, 3 ft deep or so.) I was planning on putting out some pallets or pouring a small concrete slap under there, then chaining and locking it in place and watterproffing under the porch above it to protect it from rain.

    Can you get a honda in the 5000 range from lowes in the 600 dollar price range?

    I was just going to have him put the entire house on the generator. If the power ever goes out, I will then just turn off all but the essentials, and have a switch to go between city power and generator power or something. He is working out the logistics and ordering parts, but that was the general idea.
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    Anthias
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    If your going to spend 600 for a generator, wait another month and spend a little more on a 7000w or 8000w. IMO you will regret it if you dont. You will want to be able to keep the tank running and a few lights, and heated blankets just in case its winter time, an electric skillet and maybe even the TV.

  10. #10
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    Give local pawn shops a look too. Electric start is really nice, and 5000w+ but 7000w will be best for whole house operation.
    Aquanaut, Renton WA
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    Surgeonfish
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    I have a Generac 6500 watt electric start generator, that is wired into a transfer switch. With the 6500 watt generator I have about 1/2 the house wired in ( the side with the entertainment center), part of the kitchen, microwave, frig, without the stove. All of the 240 gallon tank and my hot water heater and the garage freezer.
    It is bolted to a small concrete pad and I made small dog house type structure that sits over it and conceals it from view. It is padlelocked to the side of the house for security.
    When the power goes out, I tip the dog house over, turn on the gas, hit the button and it fires up. Go in the garage and flip 6 switches and life is almost normal.
    When the power comes back I just go out and turn off the gas and let the generator run until the gas in the carburator and gas lines run out.
    I do have to run a 110v extention cord out to the generator to power a small trickle charger that keeps the battery charged.
    I've had to use this generator 9-10 times over the last 13-14 years.

  12. #12
    Anthias
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    great info, thanks. My dad was saying bad things about the generac's. Said they buy them a lot for construction sites, but they burn out pretty quick. Not going to be using it that often though, so maybe the way to go since the price on them is great.

    I will scope out some pawn shops too this summer maybe. Gonna get the wiring done, but have a bit of time for the generator purchase, then I can finish it off once I know the power of generator I am getting

    rob
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    TLF Kalkwasser Reactor 300 - Tank Started Jan 2010

  13. #13
    Fish Tank Freak
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    Quote Originally Posted by IPisces View Post
    If your going to spend 600 for a generator, wait another month and spend a little more on a 7000w or 8000w. IMO you will regret it if you dont. You will want to be able to keep the tank running and a few lights, and heated blankets just in case its winter time, an electric skillet and maybe even the TV.
    I run my whole 65G tank, computer or two, 60" TV and video games, lights, refrigerator and the return pump on the 210FW with only a 2000 watt generator. Keep in mind, the bigger the generator the quicker it eats up five gallons of gas.

    Also from what I hear, most generators still have working motors well after the "generator" quits working. I personally would never buy a generator from a pawn shop because I feel like it is important to know how many hours it has been used.

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    RF Staff
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    rob,

    I've had no issues with my guardian 13,000kw auto standby unit..it has a kohler engine and I make sure to get yearly maintenance on it..It does a 10 min self test every week.
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  15. #15
    Emerald Crab

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    If you looking to just power your tank and some of you house during a short power outage then a 5K will work.... If you want more then bump up to a 10K. At 120V a 5K generator at 100% load will put out 41A and a 10K will put out 82A... Most of us in a power outage will never pull 82A unless were doing laundry. Do the math on what you NEED.

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