Whole Home Generator, give me your 2 cents worth.

jshen

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Unless a hurrricane/Tornado- power outages don't exceed a couple days. Lost half of my house to falling trees during Matthew...Now I have a good size portable Champion 10kw..that is wired in to house panel by electrician...I pick and choose what I want to run and since it's just me and a cat...do fine. I use propane and keep 200 gallons.
 

93Cobra#2771

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As others have mentioned, Id look at powering the important circuits and downsizing the generator. I'd also shoot for NG or propane power. I'm in the planning stages of building, and that is the route I'm going with. Also, don't plan on running the gen all the time during an event. Use it sparingly to "top off" the critical stuff like fridge/freezer, heat, etc.

We've used a camper for ten plus years and know what we can and can't survive on power wise. You'd be surprised what you can trim your power usage down to.
 

colin450

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I have propane heat in my house and a 22 or 24kw Generac hooked up to that. Think I paid around $12k for everything. Bought it after our first was born. I wasn't about to go through any extended periods with no power while we had an infant. Especially in the winter. The first time the power goes out and you don't even have to get off the couch, you'll say it's worth it.

Shop that price though $22k seems absolutely insane. Maybe better off buying the generator and hiring a plumber to do the gas and an electrician if that's an option.
 

Junior00

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Onan/Cummins is preferable, but a Kohler or Generac aren’t terrible. The last Generac we had lasted 19 years and was 12kw before it slung a rod. It was replaced with a 13kw unit earlier this year, $4600 installed. Mind you that was just setting it and reconnecting.

If you look on Govdeals or Cl, you will see the commercial units pop up from time to time, last year we bought a 60kw 1/3ph Cummins powered unti for just over 5k for remote work/backup duties.

Since you have NG available choices are limitless but if it were me buy the Onan and don’t get crazy. Add up max draw with everything needed in an emergency, or at least current panel at 80%. Most people don’t need anywhere close to 20+kw, especially emergency.
 

Fastback

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I run this guy, with a manual gen transfer switch. Have a wood stove I use all winter. Emp proof too.
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365 Saleen

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We have a Generac and it performs quit well. Runs on Propane/LPG. No issues. I will look tomorrow about the size, but it runs the whole house with no issues. 2 refrigerators, one freezer, the furnace, well pump, lights, microwave, stove ect, ect ect.

Edit:
The generator is rated for 15,000 watts.
Has a 1L V-twin engine.
 
Last edited:

specracer

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We have a Generac that we put in in the late 90's, and would do it again in a millisecond. Just week before last we were with out power for 5 days because of unpredicted 80-100 mph winds in our town (they said 50-60, whoops)??!!!. Not sure of the KW, but is has a 4.3l GM vortec V-6 in it, with an automated transfer switch.
 

SID297

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We have a Generac that we put in in the late 90's, and would do it again in a millisecond. Just week before last we were with out power for 5 days because of unpredicted 80-100 mph winds in our town (they said 50-60, whoops)??!!!. Not sure of the KW, but is has a 4.3l GM vortec V-6 in it, with an automated transfer switch.

That's the reason I like the ones with automotive engines, they last forever.
 

The Bone

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If you are going to get a generator in California you need to do it soon. gas powered small engines will soon be banned here. I am just concerned as to what kind of fuel to use. Which one will California ban next.
 

wizbangdoodle

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Some real good info guys, thanks.

Just a little more info on our situation. We have natural gas with a large A630 regulator, so it should handle any gas delivery we need. We have radiant floor heat with a boiler which also does our domestic hot water (on demand) with a recirc pump. Fortunately this means we don't have an electric load for heat. The biggest electric load we have is probably our refrigerators and freezer.

I have 400 amp service coming into a meter panel that I was told by our inspector was the "Cadillac of meter panels". Power comes in on one side and the other side has 2 200 amp breakers. Below that I have slots for more standard breakers for any out buildings (like my pumphouse). I have 2 200 amp panels inside the house. One upstairs and one downstairs. So my setup would be similar to yours @railroad .

@SID297 if I came home with one of those, my wife would freak out. We differ in that regard. I want it to work. She wants it to look good, doesn't matter if it works or not.

It sounds like Generac is the go to generator, however, I see that Kohler is quieter and uses less fuel. I'm going to check out Onan also. Have one on the 5th wheel and it has always been rock solid.
 

wizbangdoodle

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I took the 4 main aspects of generators that I am looking at. Here they are in a spreadsheet:

Noise LevelWarrantyFuel ConsumptionWeight
Kohler54/615 yr ltd199cfh @50%
1260​
Generac57/675 yr ltd203/306
455​
Cummins?/655 yr/2000 hrs205/300
540​

Noise level is exercise/normal load. I included weight only because of the huge difference between Kohler and the other units. Obviously there are several other things to consider when looking at these. For example, it was easy getting specs on the Generac. Kohler was a little more difficult and Cummins was a PIA. I'm wondering if it will be the same when trying to order.

All in all, they are all pretty close. I would like to know why the Kohler weighs so much more.
 

Junior00

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Weight differences like that are usually difference between a 4cyl diesel application and an air cooled dual cylinder if I had to guess. The price difference should let you know. You didn’t post mode numbers so it’s a guess on our end.
 

wizbangdoodle

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Weight differences like that are usually difference between a 4cyl diesel application and an air cooled dual cylinder if I had to guess. The price difference should let you know. You didn’t post mode numbers so it’s a guess on our end.
All of these are propane and/or natural gas.

Not sure what you mean by mode. NG/Propane?

**** Biden
 

Junior00

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Gotcha.

I don't have specific model numbers, but the Generac and Kohler were 24kw and the Cummins was a 20kw.
Running on NG, I'll be at 21kw with the first 2 and about 18kw with the Cummins.

**** Biden

Should be able to go to the manu’s site and see exactly what we’re comparing. Norwall or another site with the specs would help too.
 

rotor_powerd

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Our current house came with a Briggs generator, not sure what size but it’s a V twin and runs on propane. We have an auto transfer switch too. It runs everything on the main floor, internet equipment, septic pump, well pump, HVAC, fridge, etc. Not sure I’d spend the money on it if we didn’t already have it, but it is nice when the power goes out to not have to worry how long it will be out for. We average less than 10 outages a year, usually for no more than 15-20 mins.
 

365 Saleen

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Our current house came with a Briggs generator, not sure what size but it’s a V twin and runs on propane. We have an auto transfer switch too. It runs everything on the main floor, internet equipment, septic pump, well pump, HVAC, fridge, etc. Not sure I’d spend the money on it if we didn’t already have it, but it is nice when the power goes out to not have to worry how long it will be out for. We average less than 10 outages a year, usually for no more than 15-20 mins.
"Less than 10 outages a year".
WTF?
The infrastructure must be made out of spaghetti noodles.
I live in Maine and thought our 2-3 outages a year was over the top...
 

rotor_powerd

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"Less than 10 outages a year".
WTF?
The infrastructure must be made out of spaghetti noodles.
I live in Maine and thought our 2-3 outages a year was over the top...
We live way back in the woods, everything is above ground for at least the last 5 miles to us. Honestly I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often
 

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