Author Topic: Buying a Generator  (Read 3449 times)

daschwa

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Buying a Generator
« on: October 10, 2014, 02:59:17 PM »
New to these parts and learning the ways want some advice on whether this is foolish.   I am about to purchase a generator for those "once in a lifetime" rains which seems to hit every year now.   The last time this happened I got a bit of water in the basement since I was not prepared, power went out, battery on backup was dead.  Fortunately it wasn't too bad. The one I am targeting is quality but small 2800 watts, retail for $1500 which I'll get for $800 of CL, enough power to run my sump and heat if needed.

Would you consider this a foolish purchase?


Thegoblinchief

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Re: Buying a Generator
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2014, 06:37:56 AM »
How often does power go out, and for how long?

If the problem was the battery on the sump being dead, and power is restored typically fast, I'd make the habit of testing the battery once a month.

If power is only going out once a year, I don't think that's necessarily a good case for a generator.

Mr. Frugalwoods

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Re: Buying a Generator
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2014, 08:35:46 AM »
Make sure you get a generator that is sized to your sump pump's starting current needs.  Electric motors need a ton of current when starting.

Generators take regular maintenance or they too will fail when you need them.

You'll need to store gas.

That stored gas goes bad after 3-6 months (thanks ethanol!).  You can add stabilizers to it (Stabil is the brand I've used) but that only stretches the life and adds cost.

If you don't want to store gas, get a siphon for your vehicle.

You'll want to empty out the gas after every use.

You'll need to change the oil on the manufacturers schedule.

With irregular use, you are more likely to clog the fuel filter.  I'd keep and extra on hand.

You should run it every month.  Say 5 minutes no load, 10 minutes low load, 10 minutes high load, 5 minutes no load.

Keeping a generator happy is a lot more work that checking your battery.  If it were me, I'd replace the battery and add a calendar reminder to check it every month.

hwstar

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Re: Buying a Generator
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2014, 11:58:56 AM »
Skip the generator powered by gasoline and get one which is powered from LPG (Propane). Propane does not have the shelf life issues that
gasoline has. My generator uses 20 lb. propane cylinders (The same ones used on barbecues). Propane can be had for $1.99/GAL if you find the lowest cost sources.
 

Spork

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Re: Buying a Generator
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2014, 12:22:01 PM »
Skip the generator powered by gasoline and get one which is powered from LPG (Propane). Propane does not have the shelf life issues that
gasoline has. My generator uses 20 lb. propane cylinders (The same ones used on barbecues). Propane can be had for $1.99/GAL if you find the lowest cost sources.

Do you, by chance, know at what pressure your generator expects the propane to be delivered?  I.e. is it the normal 11in h20 of a propane home service?  I wasn't sure if one would tap in before the house regulator (and put in a dedicated generator regulator) or if you could tap in on the existing plumbing.

btw... if you're getting propane for $2/gal, you're getting an awesome deal.  It may be regional, but around my parts, it ranges in the $2.50-2.90/gal.  (And I have no clue how many gal/hr a gen set would burn.)

hwstar

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Re: Buying a Generator
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2014, 01:59:29 PM »
The regulator is part of the generator, so I don't know what the pressure is.

My generator is a self-contained unit on wheels. (Generac LP5500).

There is an outfit called Expo propane in San Diego, CA selling propane for $1.99/Gal.

Astatine

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Re: Buying a Generator
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2014, 03:04:06 PM »
I'm in Australia. The only people I know who have a generator live in far north Queensland where big cyclones come through from time to time (ie hurricanes). They were grateful for it when they lost power for nearly 2 weeks when the last big cyclone hit their region. But given they're the most anti-mustachian people I know (there's 2 of them and they have THREE full refrigerators for starters), I'm not sure they're a great example for a generator at home.

Most generators here run on diesel, not petrol. Don't know if diesel keeps well or not, but I would have thought it was safer to keep around than petrol.

Anyway, if you have a workaround for power (battery, for example) I agree with the other posters about making the battery solution work rather than dealing with the difficulties of a generator.