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Thread: Quiet backup generator?

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by dennis thompson View Post
    Brian
    While the realtor who sold you the house said it wouldn't turn people off if you sold the house ,your comment that it sticks out like a sore thumb seems to indicate to me its position could be a pretty big negative to the houses curb appeal.
    I am currently looking getting a generator and plan to place it in our back yard so it does not stick out like a sore thumb. Yes it is an extra $1,000 but I think it's worth it and to be honest your "sore thumb" comment convinces me its the right decision.
    What I didn't mention is a big part of the reason the realtor thought it was okay to place it there is because the electric meter, air conditioner, gas meter, and a window well are there too. There is so much utility stuff there that the generator doesn't really stick out as much as it might without all that other stuff. Trust me, I spent a lot of time looking at alternate locations for the generator. Due to the design of the house it would be very difficult to run electrical and gas through the basement to the other side of the house. I seriously looked at putting the generator by my detached garage, but I can't recall why I scrapped that idea.

    If it comes time to sell I will do some landscaping to block the view of the generator and other stuff. Nobody can see this stuff from the street as the house is well back from the street and has trees blocking the view.

    When the house was built in 1980 little thought was given to designing things to keep the utilities out of view. The house was built on the cheap so they probably didn't want to pay extra to place the electric meter out of sight on the back or other side of the house. The house had electric baseboard heat and no central air when I bought it so only an electric meter at the time. I added central air and natural gas service. It made sense to place this stuff on that side of the house because that is where utility room is.

  2. #32
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    Another thought. I have a cabin that is off grid that has both solar and a generac generator. As part of the solar system it has a battery bank that will power the house for about 3 days (and if I recall correctly the batteries cost about $1,800, yours might be more depending on power needs but we do have all the normal stuff a house would have). In the winter when panels are snow covered or its been rainy for awhile I can run the generator for about 90 minutes and fully charge the batteries.

    With this solution it is only briefly loud and provides an extended period of power.

    All in I paid about $6k for the generator and $8k or 9$k for the solar. At the time a solution with the generator, battery bank, and other required equipment but without solar panels would have run a total of about $9k if I recall.

  3. #33
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    Roger, you may want to ask an electrician on this point, but recently here they passed a code that the backup has to have enough power to carry the whole house load. In other words if everything you own is turned on at one time the generator has to be able to carry that load.

    Coding for the lowest common denominator placing an unnecessary burden on those of meager means that are smart enough to run just what they need. Will lead to more jury-rigged homeowner hookups. Because I have a 400 amp service I would have had to have a way bigger unit than I want to fuel, so I have the well on a switchable plug and the furnaces on plugs so I can change them out. Would rather have had an automatic transfer unit but was not going to buy that size generator. Now that my house has a final inspection I may change it over .

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Edgerton View Post
    Roger, you may want to ask an electrician on this point, but recently here they passed a code that the backup has to have enough power to carry the whole house load. In other words if everything you own is turned on at one time the generator has to be able to carry that load.
    You have to be mistaken. Your electrical service can't power everything turned on at once; why would a generator have to?
    More importantly; I get enough NG to my house to run my 8kw generator and my furnace; but no more. Yet your code says I have to run a generator 25x as large? It is essentially outlawing "whole house" generators; but maybe that's the intent.

  5. My neighbor grew up on an isolated island off the coast of Greece. No body there had the grid. Everybody had ways to get around that. His house here was wired for 120, but he had a bank of batteries in a basement closet and a small turbine on the roof and a couple solar panels. His heat came from a wood stove and a set of fans that drew the heat to the upper floors. everything in the house operated on 12 volts. His light bulbs in the ceiling fixtures, coffee maker, the electric griddle, fridge, freezer, blender, tv, (Oven was propane) etc. He also claimed he was good for three days before the batteries needed a boost. But he would run a heavy 12 vote extension cord to his work truck and let the truck run for 30 minutes and the batteries would be good for a few more days. He eventually did hook up to the grid, but only when he wanted a large screen tv for his granddaughter to watch when she visited.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wade Lippman View Post
    You have to be mistaken. Your electrical service can't power everything turned on at once; why would a generator have to?
    More importantly; I get enough NG to my house to run my 8kw generator and my furnace; but no more. Yet your code says I have to run a generator 25x as large? It is essentially outlawing "whole house" generators; but maybe that's the intent.
    The NEC code now requires you do one of three things when installing an automatic standby generator: 1. Buy a generator large enough to power everything in the house. 2. Put everything you want to power with generator on a sub panel and only power that stuff (as long as generator can power it all). 3. Install a transfer switch with load shed capabilities so load can be removed if generator is near capacity.

    There are several ways to do this that don't require sizing generator to power everything in the house. Load shed is probably one of the more popular options right now.

  7. #37
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    Dang.... WTF ???

    If I was.... with a LIMITED budget want to get a backup Gen...I would forgo any "Hardwiring", auto xfer stuff, etc.

    We DO live in the "East TX Piney Woods" Dying and wind blown Pine trees are dumping overhead lines on a regular basis.

    I would simply get a Honda or other "Quality" or other smallish Gen, ( NOT from HF) enough to run AC (I'm in hottt TX), a Hotplate,toaster oven, my Comp, internet, and Dish, a few lights, ...and just go out and plug in those things.

    BUT... That is ALL due to a limited budget in my case.

    If the $ are available to carry a full house, , Carry on.

    Marc
    Last edited by Marc Jeske; 08-11-2018 at 12:04 AM.
    I'm pretty new here, not as as experienced as most. Please don't hesitate to correct me

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Elfert View Post
    The NEC code now requires you do one of three things when installing an automatic standby generator: 1. Buy a generator large enough to power everything in the house. 2. Put everything you want to power with generator on a sub panel and only power that stuff (as long as generator can power it all). 3. Install a transfer switch with load shed capabilities so load can be removed if generator is near capacity.
    Mmmmm.... code refers to automatic standby only??
    I am assuming, then, that service panel interlocks are still code compliant?
    Comments made here are my own and, according to my children, do not reflect the opinions of any other person... anywhere, anytime.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Jeske View Post
    Dang.... WTF ???

    If I was.... with a LIMITED budget want to get a backup Gen...I would forgo any "Hardwiring", auto xfer stuff, etc.

    We DO live in the "East TX Piney Woods" Dying and wind blown Pine trees are dumping overhead lines on a regular basis.

    I would simply get a Honda or other "Quality" or other smallish Gen, ( NOT from HF) enough to run AC (I'm in hottt TX), a Hotplate,toaster oven, my Comp, internet, and Dish, a few lights, ...and just go out and plug in those things.

    BUT... That is ALL due to a limited budget in my case.

    If the $ are available to carry a full house, , Carry on.

    Marc
    I don't know how your A/C is sized down there in TX, but here in IN, I have a 1900 s.f. bi-level house, with an A/C that's on a 35A breaker. At 240V, that's over 8 KW, just for the outdoor unit--that doesn't get it blown around in the house. I'd rather swelter a bit and keep my two fridges and large chest freezer running, since the one fridge holds the beer.
    Jason

    "Don't get stuck on stupid." --Lt. Gen. Russel Honore


  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Velasquez View Post
    Mmmmm.... code refers to automatic standby only??
    I am assuming, then, that service panel interlocks are still code compliant?
    Charlie
    No, the code addresses portables also.
    Beginning in 2010 and finalizing in 2012, portable generators have been designed differently. Basically, if the generator is marketed for temporary power at a job site, to be OSHA Compliant, it has to have the neutral bonded to the frame. This is not desirable if you are trying to back feed a house, or smaller generator transfer panel. If you hook up a portable generator made in the past few years, to your house, you will have parallel return path, and potential, on the ground wire. This will at minimum give GFCI's fits.
    You need to be able switch the neutral return from the main service panel. It's a lot more difficult to use a portable, code compliant, to power your house.
    The service panel interlock you refer to does nothing to address the switching of neutral for a "newer" generator. This is a huge discussion point on many electrical forums. The days of back feeding the dryer, or stove receptacle, are kind of gone now. If you want to supply power to your house with a portable, somewhere there will be a three conductor disconnect to switch out that neutral.
    Honda and Yamaha make larger "portable" generators with a "switchable" neutral to frame bond. One possibility.
    Last edited by Mike Cutler; 08-11-2018 at 9:26 AM.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Roehl View Post
    I don't know how your A/C is sized down there in TX, but here in IN, I have a 1900 s.f. bi-level house, with an A/C that's on a 35A breaker. At 240V, that's over 8 KW, just for the outdoor unit--that doesn't get it blown around in the house. I'd rather swelter a bit and keep my two fridges and large chest freezer running, since the one fridge holds the beer.
    Our 4200 sq ft home has two HVAC systems...no issues with that on our 22kv generator with auto-transfer. We have complete "normal" usage of everything with about a 10-15 second down time when the utility is lost.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Elfert View Post
    The NEC code now requires you do one of three things when installing an automatic standby generator: 1. Buy a generator large enough to power everything in the house. 2. Put everything you want to power with generator on a sub panel and only power that stuff (as long as generator can power it all). 3. Install a transfer switch with load shed capabilities so load can be removed if generator is near capacity.
    Okay, #2 is the only method I have seen for whole house generators.

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Roehl View Post
    I don't know how your A/C is sized down there in TX, but here in IN, I have a 1900 s.f. bi-level house, with an A/C that's on a 35A breaker. At 240V, that's over 8 KW, just for the outdoor unit--that doesn't get it blown around in the house. I'd rather swelter a bit and keep my two fridges and large chest freezer running, since the one fridge holds the beer.
    I agree with you. I weathered two 8 day outages with a Honda 2kw that ran my ridge, furnace, freezer, TV and computer going. It was fine.

    Now I am out in the country where outages are much more common, so I have a 8kw, but only because it was the smallest one I could find. Only thing I really added to the above is a portable AC.

  14. #44
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    In my post, I was using my situation.. a compact small home w a 16kbtu AC through wall in main living area.

    Enough to get by economically and simply... low budget bang for buck.

    Marc
    Last edited by Marc Jeske; 08-11-2018 at 3:18 PM.
    I'm pretty new here, not as as experienced as most. Please don't hesitate to correct me

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wade Lippman View Post
    Okay, #2 is the only method I have seen for whole house generators.
    For an existing house it is often very difficult to add a sub panel so load shed is used instead. Most standby generator transfer switches now have load shed included or optional now. I was lucky and I was able to reroute selected circuits from the main panel to a sub panel. At the time in 2015 I was not aware of the new NEC requirements for automatic standby generators.

    I have no idea how load is calculated for standby generators. They certainly can't assume every lighting and receptacle circuit is going to be maxed out.

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