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Cans on a pallet- get them out of ground contact, under a pole supported roof / plywood lean-to... as far from your house / garage as you can -- preferrably down hill from your other structures / sources of ignition.

I generally don't like "bulk" gasoline storage...

Your local Fire Marshal / permitting agencies may have some "non-flexible" input as well.

Last edited by Community Member

Look on your electrical panel and add up the amps.

 

If you want 'full service', plan for a genset twice as big as the panel math indicates.  Or two generators. 

 

An engine that runs at 50% lasts forever.   An engine running at 100% will scrag out pretty quickly.  I have the same V8 engine in my truck as NASCAR  racer.   My engine runs at at 35 to 40% of rated power most of the time.  NASCAR engines run at max power for 501 miles and are junk.  Same principle for a genset.  Two generators running 24 hours on alternate days can also have extraordinary  longevity. 

 

Are you willing to have limited operational ability at home?  What is it worth to you?

 

David Reeves has a point.  The building inspector  / permit process is your friend here. 

Last edited by Community Member

Cool. That's an easy one to do.

My only issue is that we had to switch over from fuses to breakers. I still have room to expand my outlets. And the electrician added a second box running from the first. Not sure if it is wired to the first box, or just runs through it. I haven't looked yet.

Should I just add each empty breaker slot at the max amperage to get a theoretical max amperage total?

I've run generators through Sandy and now this mess. Couple of lessons:

Fuel - after Sandy I converted my genny to NG, this time just hooked it up and away it went, no fueling morning and night with gasoline (I fuel hot gen, I know it's dangerous). When I was using gas I fueled 5 gallons morning and night for 8 days. This time it ran for 5 days with no input from me, much better. If you don't have NG (which de-rates the genset the most) look at LP, for an 8KW portable I would go 2 100 gallon tanks on a T and you could probably run for days while switching out the tanks for re-filling or have a delivery set up.

For gasoline storage I have 10 military fuel cans (sceptre). It was work to fill them all and haul them in my pickup. Don't count on the fuel in your vehicles, the anti-siphon valves in modern cars are there in case of a rollover. That makes it incredibly hard to get into the tank through the filler neck. You basically need some small tubing like refrigerator water supply line and a lot of patience, and it won't last as the line isn't fuel rated. Unless it's the end of the world where you are drilling holes into the tank to get fuel out, forget about vehicles. Which circles back to LP or NG for supply.

Also how you hook up to the panel. Basic is running extension cords everywhere, next is a small transfer switch or interlock kit on your panel with a 30 or 50 amp feeder. Best is a whole house with load shedding running on LP or NG. Costs escalate as you move up.

If you have very small loads, a fridge, some lights, some outlets with light loads then something as small as a Honda 2200 will work. More loads and you need to step up in size. Whole house you are looking at 18-22KW gensets.

@Community Member posted:

Use this simple plan to size your generator based on your home size and electrical requirements:

https://www.generac.com/for-ho...build-your-generator

I would caution anyone who is getting ready to pull the trigger on a whole house generator to take a good hard look at your needs right now- and then shine up the crystal ball and look 5 or more years down the road at what your needs might be and THEN take a good look at your generator needs...

With as much as a whole house unit costs.. you don't want to be upsizing or trading up every couple years.

You can always have excess supply (headroom) on hand... but you can't always squeeze another 1500 watts out of a maxxed out generator.

Just sayin.

If you have very small loads, a fridge, some lights, some outlets with light loads then something as small as a Honda 2200 will work. More loads and you need to step up in size. 

THIS!  My approach is more of a cheap and simple solution. I have a generic 2200 quiet one and a 3500 loud generator.  The whole purpose is to run a fridge or two, provide some basic lighting and the ability to recharge/run laptops and phones.  I have enough camping gear to cook or similar and I can rough it a few days. This way I need a fraction of the fuel needed to power a whole house generator 

 

@Community Member posted:

Look on your electrical panel and add up the amps.

 

If you want 'full service', plan for a genset twice as big as the panel math indicates.  Or two generators. 

 

An engine that runs at 50% lasts forever.   An engine running at 100% will scrag out pretty quickly.  I have the same V8 engine in my truck as NASCAR  racer.   My engine runs at at 35 to 40% of rated power most of the time.  NASCAR engines run at max power for 501 miles and are junk.  Same principle for a genset.  Two generators running 24 hours on alternate days can also have extraordinary  longevity. 

 

Are you willing to have limited operational ability at home?  What is it worth to you?

 

David Reeves has a point.  The building inspector  / permit process is your friend here. 

My experience differs.  These are my observations based on my 10 years of experiences of using gennies daily/weekly:

A quality generator should have four settings: START, IDLE, LOAD and STOP.

If you pull more amps than what a generator is rated for, it'll pop the breaker, as it heats up the electro-mechanical or electronic thermo-couple & flipping/tripping the switch/breaker.  Running a genset at or near its max capacity WILL heat up the electro-mechanical thermocouple and wear the breaker trip sensitivity DOWN to trip on lesser loads over long periods of use.  Akin to everyday gennie use over years.  Hence bigger gennies have power distribution panels they typically feed.

Quality generators don't revv to keep pace with the load being drawn.  They will revv UP from IDLE to LOAD, but shouldn't be running RPMs to match AMPs.  Unless its some OLD assed genset!

Oil changes, air filter changes, proper air flow, good fuel and general cleaning are generators friends.

Getting two 35kW generators and running one at full rated continuous load and one at half rated continuous load and do the same upkeep and they will both last their expected service life.  If you over draw one of the generators it'll trip the breaker, not destroy the engine. 

NOTHING lasts 'forever'.  Engines do wear out.  Lack of proper upkeep, bad or contaminated fuel, dirt and contaminates in oil hasten an engines demise.

Diesel generators are more tolerant of aged fuel, gasoline does not age well and tends to gum up more over age than diesel.  Diesel fuel has a tendency to freeze in colder temps though, unless fuel line is flushed and CW diesel is used.  

We run ALOT of generators on the test grids in the West Desert (Dugway) all year long, all days & nights in very austere locations & altitudes.  We don't run generators in caves though! 

We have diesel gennies, gasoline gennies and LP gennies.  We also have solar power packs but those are pretty much operator level maintenance free.  Diesels are the best-est.  Having a GREAT Ground is paramount for good clean power too!  Here in the high desert we run two 8' to 12' copper grounding rods, and wet earth check daily.  On our more robust grids we have earth grounding planes buried over a wide area that we tie into.  We find that computers and delicate electronics (most modern appliances!) get DESTROYED with a poor ground.  

One of the NICE things I have seen for the little Honda generators is the "fuel extender" supplemental fuel tank.  We have seen these work great when needing to run a genset unattended over a long weekend to keep capturing good baseline data prior to testing or after testing.  What we have encountered is direct sunlight during the day and cooler temps at night are heating and cooling of the tank inducing a vapor lock or over-pressurization effect, and fuel starving the line or over filling the main tank.  Properly shelter your supplemental tank at or near the same elevation as the gennie with shade and air flow and route the fuel line according to instructions.  Also makes hot-refueling easier as a spill doesn't encounter the engine!

When thinking generator, think about siting the generator.  Think about the noise and fumes produced as well.  Nothing worse than noise pollution of a generator unraveling your folks' nerves when they should be unwinding, or the prevailing inversion breeze trailing diesel fumes into your main area during a cool evening or morning and everyone getting a monoxide headache with coffee.  Try to keep your generator on level ground, and protected from temp extremes also.  Sometimes a little shade goes a long ways, but don't choke off the airflow and put a gennie in a shed.

Not trying to poke you in the eye @Community Member but advising the forum to buy double their capacity genset for 1/2 their need for engine 'longevity' sake is not valid.    I did enjoy the citing NASCAR versus regular car engine, but, doesn't really work with gennies bro.

Having a back-up generator in case a fuel line clog, or the regular maintenance needs to happen & taking one OFFLINE is VERY NICE, but alternating two generators is NOT going to lead to 'extraordinary longevity'.  They are both going to have the same rated service life in hours of operation, just divided by hours of continuous use between two gensets.

But those are my opinions & observations based on relying on the gamut of small 1k Honda's & knock-off Harbor Freight generators up to 60kW double axle gennies to fixed monster gennies (former diesel locomotive engines!) over the ten years I've been here in the Western High Desert using generators on a weekly to daily basis.

 

As far as assessing GENERATOR NEEDS.

The old forum monikor for gear applies wholeheartedly when determining power needs:   IS IT NEED OR IS ITNICE.

Do you really need to run the bathroom fart fan when the power goes out?  Your spouse may disagree...  Ceiling fans or floor fans NEED to be running?  Here in Utah having at least ONE ROOM air conditioned during August might be a medical NEED, versus nice for others.  Damn sure that beer fridge isn't going to keep that fermented pisswater cold without some voltage carrying current being applied!!  Does ones delicate pallet need ICE for their whiskey/mixed drink or are they gonna be A-OK drinking room temp beverages?  There are all sorts of vampire draws on your power supply that you may not notice, like power strips, UPS, GFCI, appliance chargers being left plugged in, battery chargers, etc.

Small crank powered lights sure are handy and really lessen the over reliance on battery changes & battery powered lights. 

We have an older home (built in 1976) that has a 125 amp service feed.  So we have to make decisions of what can be run & when is best.  We are upgrading our service feed and panel to 200 amp service (next step is 400 amp but that would require us to run a new underground feedline into the panel = ~$5k: NOPE!), but, its very interactive when two high amp draw appliances are both running and EVERYTHING goes dark!  Then we have to decide NEED or NICE, allow the main breaker to cool enough to re-engage and then DO OVER of powering stuff.

NIFTY TRICK: At work: We keep food in freezers around the desert, and sometimes don't get back to those freezers over a period of weeks.  Fill a used powerade bottle 1/2 way with water and FREEZE it upside down (stabilized).  When its frozen turn it back over and keep it in your freezer.  Check it every couple of days during normal ops, or wnenever you get back to that freezer.  If there is a power outage or bump it will let you know if the freezer experienced a thaw.  I like powerade bottles as they neck down in a couple spots and if the ice thaws enough it will drop out of the top.  Versus regular straight walled water bottles sometimes will fall out of the top due to sublimation if there is a small crack in the bottle or if the cap is loose.

Image result for powerade

Don't pee in the ORANGE Powerade bottle.  Just.  Don't.  (Buuuuuck...!!) 

Someone did some experiments to see how long it takes for a freezer to heat up with the power out. Obviously every situation is different but they did a reasonable amount of testing and a fair bit of math to arrive at an estimate for their situation. It might help with the planning, there's been a lot of excellent advice in this thread.

h ttps://woodgears.ca/heating/freezer.html

to summarize, for an upright freezer with an internal volume of 14 cubic feet (380 liters), with a thermostat set to begin cooling at -15 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Freedom units) and stop cooling at -26 degrees Celsius (-14 degrees Freedom units), he observed an approximately 40% work cycle with the cooling side lasting approximately 26 minutes. These were the initial observations with the freezer empty to establish a baseline. Ambient temperature outside the freezer was about 19 degrees Celsius (66.2 degrees Freedom units).

Tbh, I'm not sure I agree with his modeling decisions or follow the logic, he says it lost about 2.6% of its "coolness" per hour it went without power. I'm not sure how to define "coolness" but the rise in temperature should be modeled as a natural logarithm, and so the temperature rise per hour would decrease as the temperature increased. He also (correctly) points out that, as ice in the food melted, this would also slow the rate of heating (latent heat of fusion is the amount of heat that is absorbed in order to transition from solid to liquid and is in addition to the amount of heat required to change the temperature). He roughly concludes that it would take 18 hours to get to -5 degrees Celsius (23 degrees Freedom units). Then he estimates the amount of heat lost by opening the door. For this he says he loses 7 minutes of "cold time" each time he opens the door for 5 seconds (which is also a guesstimate, see the above digression on the change in the rate of heating).

 

@Community Member posted:

Look at your previous bills of 5 years and try to establish a trend. 

I would say thats a great assessment if one is considering SOLAR.

But, running a whole house aka OFF THE GRID is going to get EXPENSIVE via generator. 

 

Here is my energy usage for JUNE: 786 kwh

Energy Charge Summer Block 1 400 kwh 0.09 = $35.40

Energy Charge Summer Block 2 386 kwh 0.12 = $44.56

 

Here is my energy usage for JULY: 1,452 kwh

Energy Charge Summer Block 1: 400 kwh $0.09 = $35.40

Energy Charge Summer Block 2: 600 kwh $0.12 = $69.26

Energy Charge Summer Block 3: 452 kwh $0.15 =$65.32

 

August will be about the same as July - UNTIL I get new 200 amp service installed.  Then I am going to REALLY get stupid.

POWER COSTPOWER USE COST a

ENERGY COSTS

Versus Kauai Hawaii is $0.38 kWh !  Due to diesel fueled power generation (and supplemental solar)

Hence not alot of people can AFFORD to run A/C's, but makes solar power conversion make sense, but the power company doesn't pay the same rate they charge at, and may deny credit during off peak usage hours!  (Supply and demand, if they don't need it, they don't HAVE to buy it)

 

Running a gennie for a typical house for ALL the dumb stuff that draws power is gonna be expensive in initial outlay, FUEL and maintenance.  I would bet around a $1 per kWh.  Really makes a person think NEED or NICE

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Another branch off this should be decision making and Solar Power conversion cost benefit analysis.

Here in Utah, its not very dollar smart to go Solar (until the power goes down and either the sun is shining or battery UPS kicks in!)

We got quoted $18,000 to get direct solar power installed (no battery storage).  Which would cut our current bill about 1/2.  Since we use most our power in the evenings and the 'credits' of selling excess energy during the day expire every month.  No "rollover" credits (YMMV)

 

Our average bill per month is $200.  SO half is $100.   $18,000 (cost of solar) divided by $100 (avg cost savings after solar) equals 180 months. 180 months divided by 12 months (a year) equals 15 years.

So it would take us 15 years to BREAK EVEN on the cost of solar.  Current solar technology has a life span of 10-15 years with diminishing power production effectiveness over time.    Rate of obsolescence exceeds the break even point, so its a NEGATIVE "investment" in our case.

When we tried to explain this to the solar salesman, he wouldn't listen!  Perfect salesman.  

 

DIY solar and DIY power storage (battery banks) CAN be cost effective, but, require maintenance & upkeep and strict diligence.  That alot of energy stored in those cells!

I should relate the story about how a fuzzy critter got into a battery & capacitor bank on Dugway and not only fried themselves by bridging over contacts & bus bars but destroyed thousands of dollars of energy storage batteries & capacitors!!!!  Batteries don't like sudden discharges or power fluctuations and capacitors like an even draw from multiple banks and not just ONE bank or cell (discharge, and reverse back feed from the capacitors, as the isolator circuit was compromised!)

 

What I am considering for Hawaii are a couple solar panels, and a smaller battery storage system on an isolated system NOT tied into the house main power (don't need permission & inspection from the power company!) to run a one room A/C for 6 hours.  Just to cool a room so we can sleep at night.

I need to do the cost benefit analysis of a small generator running the same amount of load...

 

So yesterday I looked in both of my breaker boxes. I have 825 total amps. Doubling that is 1650. I also have 30 empty breaker slots remaining.

My breakers consist of 15, 20, and 100 amp breakers. So, theoretically, if I placed 20 amp breakers into those empty slots, I could add an additional 600 amps. Doubling=1200 amps. Which means I could have the potential for 2850 amps.

Wow! Math is fun. 💩

@Community Member posted:

So yesterday I looked in both of my breaker boxes. I have 825 total amps. Doubling that is 1650. I also have 30 empty breaker slots remaining.

My breakers consist of 15, 20, and 100 amp breakers. So, theoretically, if I placed 20 amp breakers into those empty slots, I could add an additional 600 amps. Doubling=1200 amps. Which means I could have the potential for 2850 amps.

Wow! Math is fun. 💩

You also have to take into consideration what the rating of your "main" breaker is...

A big clue for you will be what amperage service are you paying for from the utility. 100a, 200a, 400a, etc...

Would "think" that the 100a breaker you saw may be your main breaker...I have been wrong before though.

@Community Member posted:

So yesterday I looked in both of my breaker boxes. I have 825 total amps. Doubling that is 1650. I also have 30 empty breaker slots remaining.

My breakers consist of 15, 20, and 100 amp breakers. So, theoretically, if I placed 20 amp breakers into those empty slots, I could add an additional 600 amps. Doubling=1200 amps. Which means I could have the potential for 2850 amps.

Wow! Math is fun. 💩

That's not how this works! 

Yeah, just adding breakers up doesn't get you anything. It's just the max amp draw on that circuit before it pops to save the house. The max amperage you can draw is the main service disconnect breaker in your box. Most modern houses are 200 amp service, older houses are usually 100 amps about.

That still doesn't give you your house load, you will most likely never come close to your amp service rating. Ball parking most houses that run on NG will be around 30-50 amps without any AC loads. If you have electric appliances/heating, then it's much higher.

A decent load calculator spreadsheet is here:

https://www.mikeholt DOT com/technical-calculations-formulas.php

Just note that this a code calculator, if your house has LED or Fluorescent lighting, you lighting load will be much less than the sheet calcs.

The best way to figure out generator sizing is read the data plates on the appliances for the load and add in your lighting and outlets, etc. It's not rocket surgery, just takes some time and math.

@Community Member posted:

Yeah, just adding breakers up doesn't get you anything. It's just the max amp draw on that circuit before it pops to save the house. The max amperage you can draw is the main service disconnect breaker in your box. Most modern houses are 200 amp service, older houses are usually 100 amps about.

That still doesn't give you your house load, you will most likely never come close to your amp service rating. Ball parking most houses that run on NG will be around 30-50 amps without any AC loads. If you have electric appliances/heating, then it's much higher.

A decent load calculator spreadsheet is here:

https://www.mikeholt DOT com/technical-calculations-formulas.php

Just note that this a code calculator, if your house has LED or Fluorescent lighting, you lighting load will be much less than the sheet calcs.

The best way to figure out generator sizing is read the data plates on the appliances for the load and add in your lighting and outlets, etc. It's not rocket surgery, just takes some time and math.

IF you have the tools, and the Skills.... measure at the main panel.

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Clamp on amp meter and line splitter for plug in loads20200821_07520420200821_075231

safe work practices even at home, Class 2 rubber gloves,  I have grabbed a hold of 7,200v with these before. yes very overkill for 120/240v ... but habits...

 

My main panel.20200821_073927

the main is marked, but as you can see it kinda stands alone and is much larger. the large white  think on the top right side is a whole house surge suppressor unit, and it is still glowing green to indicate it is good.

 

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You can see the 200 marked on the main breaker to indicate it rating. 

 

Below you can see the service wire coming into the main breaker, Red is L1 Black is L2 and white is the Neutral.  PLEASE, keep in mind neutral is NOT an I repeat NOT a ground, even though Ground is tied to the neutral inside the panel. it is a Current carrying Conductor. and can kill  same as any other conductor. it carries the unbalanced load back to the substation.

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Here is the first set of readings I took, with majority of items turned off except computers and some lights.

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added in most all the lights, the ones most commonly used, along with bathroom and laundry room  fans. 

 

 20200821_07450020200821_074528

You can see the load Increased on L1 and L2. and since I mentioned the neutral as a current carry conductor as you can see the Neutral has 2.3 amps. which is pretty close to the difference between L1 (3 amps) and L2 (5.6 amps) for a difference of  2.3 amps as measured.   more than enough current to be deadly...

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And while I had the panel open.. I kick the AC unit on.

 

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 Again you can see the current on the Neutral, which is a return path. 

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so with the AC and normal light and entertainment loads ..

Once you know final I1 and I2, the minimum required wattage of your genset is the larger of these two currents times 240 plus 20% margin:  http://www.generatorguide.net/wattage.html

so as measured,  the MINIMUM generator size would be.. calculated using L2 the highest measured Leg in the panel.

 

17.7x240+20%= 5097.6 watts

a 5kw generator would be pushing the limits to run everything,  as measured.

Using this formula instead..

GENSET RATING(watts)= max(I1,I2)×240×1.2

(10.2+17.7)x240x1.2 =8035.2 Watts

add in 20% for future growth

8035.2 + (8035.2 x.2) =9,642W

So a 10kw generator would run everything with room to spare.

 

 

 

standard disclaimer applies... don't trust idiots on the internet do your own research.  these numbers and figures are based on MY measurements and non engineering knowledge, seek professional help.  don't be stupid and burn your house down or get yourself killed. The dragon in the wire wants to kill you and will if you let it.

 

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Last edited by Community Member
@Community Member posted:

I've run generators through Sandy and now this mess. Couple of lessons:

Fuel - after Sandy I converted my genny to NG, this time just hooked it up and away it went, no fueling morning and night with gasoline (I fuel hot gen, I know it's dangerous). When I was using gas I fueled 5 gallons morning and night for 8 days. This time it ran for 5 days with no input from me, much better. If you don't have NG (which de-rates the genset the most) look at LP, for an 8KW portable I would go 2 100 gallon tanks on a T and you could probably run for days while switching out the tanks for re-filling or have a delivery set up.

For gasoline storage I have 10 military fuel cans (sceptre). It was work to fill them all and haul them in my pickup. Don't count on the fuel in your vehicles, the anti-siphon valves in modern cars are there in case of a rollover. That makes it incredibly hard to get into the tank through the filler neck. You basically need some small tubing like refrigerator water supply line and a lot of patience, and it won't last as the line isn't fuel rated. Unless it's the end of the world where you are drilling holes into the tank to get fuel out, forget about vehicles. Which circles back to LP or NG for supply.

Also how you hook up to the panel. Basic is running extension cords everywhere, next is a small transfer switch or interlock kit on your panel with a 30 or 50 amp feeder. Best is a whole house with load shedding running on LP or NG. Costs escalate as you move up.

If you have very small loads, a fridge, some lights, some outlets with light loads then something as small as a Honda 2200 will work. More loads and you need to step up in size. Whole house you are looking at 18-22KW gensets.

1000%. I am thinking bigly about going NG or LP.  We have an LP tank already for the house so it would be nice to have the gen run on that. instead.  USMC_Anglico, good 411 on the gas from vehicles.

where I live we lose power quite a bit due to fire hazard protocols from PG&E. Filling the gas over and over suuuuuuuucks. Our gen runs about 5-8'ish hours on 5 gallons. start adding up the logistics of this and your are doing a lot of, getting, storing, pouring, monitoring and getting again ... fuel. No matter how you do it... it spills, you reek, you are splashing gas on a hot generator ...

A couple of days at a time without power makes me never want to go much longer without switching.

buy once cry once on the NG/LP vs Gas.  I'm crying now and will be buying again

As USMC mentioned the panel, we also made a mistake and didn't hook up the whole house due to expense .... another buy once cry once, really really wished I had hooked up the whole house.

We got lured into thinking this was a "just in case for the very occasional snow storm" type thing. It now turning out to be a very regular occurrence.

As unbelievable as this may sound, I run an entire 5000 square foot house and detached barn off a $450 Harbor Freight Predator 7850.

I get 1/3 central AC units up with the pool pump running at the same time. AC startup is the only point where I get near my max draw. It's wired directly into the panel with a lockout block for safety/code purposes (with this device installed, it is impossible to backfeed power out to the lines). 

Is it an ideal situation? No. But with moving plans in the future, I wasn't ready to bit the bullet of $20K plus for Kohler standby. 

I also have a Honda EU2000 (suitcase model referred to earlier in this thread) for my network rack. Computer equipment does not like traditional generator power. In addition to being far quieter, inverter generators like the little Honda produce pure sine wave power (the same as the power company does). 

If you are going the standby route, be sure to install an hour meter. It's a two minute process that does not involve wiring it in. It merely needs to be grounded (e.g. any screw on the generator without paint under it) and the other wire wrapped around the spark plug wire. 

The hour meter allows you to know when preventive maintenance is due. As others have mentioned, generators of all types have a voracious appetite for oil. Whether you have a portable unit or standby, there's a good chance that you will need to do an oil change during a power outage if it lasts for more than a few days.

@Community Member posted:

The hour meter allows you to know when preventive maintenance is due. As others have mentioned, generators of all types have a voracious appetite for oil. Whether you have a portable unit or standby, there's a good chance that you will need to do an oil change during a power outage if it lasts for more than a few days.

When we support FEMA with Emergency Gens, we PM (oil, filter change) them every 240 hours.

@Community Member posted:

If you are going the standby route, be sure to install an hour meter. It's a two minute process that does not involve wiring it in. It merely needs to be grounded (e.g. any screw on the generator without paint under it) and the other wire wrapped around the spark plug wire. 

The hour meter allows you to know when preventive maintenance is due. As others have mentioned, generators of all types have a voracious appetite for oil. Whether you have a portable unit or standby, there's a good chance that you will need to do an oil change during a power outage if it lasts for more than a few days.

Hour meters are indispensable.   I have an EU2000i, and an EU3000is, with hour-meters on both of them.   It's the only way to realistically keep track of the maintenance intervals. 

Highly recommended. 

@Community Member posted:

When we support FEMA with Emergency Gens, we PM (oil, filter change) them every 240 hours.

That's proper spec for the big stuff (e.g. standby) that they use. 240 is way over the maintenance interval for the smaller stuff. Honda recommends 100 hours between oil changes for their inverter generators.

@Community Member posted:

Hour meters are indispensable.   I have an EU2000i, and an EU3000is, with hour-meters on both of them.   It's the only way to realistically keep track of the maintenance intervals. 

Highly recommended. 

As I'm sure you're well aware, the EU2000i does not have a drain plug and removing the old oil can be difficult. There are a few hacks on YouTube involving PVC pipe with a notch cut in it. Not exactly elegant.

Hot tip: use a one gallon Ziploc freezer bag to collect old oil from the EU2000i. Put it up on a solid table, hold the bag around the oil fill port with one hand, and tip the generator with the other.

@Community Member posted:

Look at your previous bills of 5 years and try to establish a trend. 

I would also take into consideration health issues.  My parents have a whole house Generac generator and got one a bit bigger than their initial needs.  When they got the generator they were both in perfect health.  Now my mother has been diagnosed with congenital heart failure & needs oxygen at times as well as the a/c.

Ok so for us little guys we on the Left Coast do not have to contend with hurricanes, ice storms or for the most part snow.  All we have is an occasional earthquake and we are good…..at least until a few years ago when things changed.  Now we try to burn down the state on a regular basis, at least every one or two years.  Then they decided when we have high winds PG&E will cut off the power. 

 Two years ago, we decided to put in a transfer switch.  This is just a subpanel which allows us to shut off the main panel and attach a generator to run the house and not fry some poor lineman somewhere down the line.  This was done to code because I don’t screw around with electricity.  I located a good electrician who charged me $1,800 to put in the switch.  The switch allows me to power what I need and is a clean way to go.  He also recommended a 6,500-watt WEN generator which I purchased for $650 from Walmart of all places.

 Ok so before you beat me up on the generator, I’m not big on China stuff but he has installed several up at the airport is some hangers and has had very good results.  I just wanted one for occasional use, it can run on propane and gasoline. I also have a 4500 and 2200 Honda in reserve.  I ran the generator in our last outage on a 5-gallon propane tank.  Propane is clean and easy to store plus it does not degrade over time making it good for storage.  Another thing is I do not have to worry about the fuel going bad in the generator, when disconnected it is done.

Regarding propane, if you use it you will use more than if you use gasoline.  I found that I can get about five to six hours out of a tank of propane and about eight out of ethanol free gas.  I prefer the propane for the wife to run the system, but I do keep a reserve of 20 gallons of gasoline.  I always keep 30 gallons of propane on hand.  I find this will get me through just about most scenarios.  I do have a 500 gallon propane tank we use for heating and cooking so we should be good.   

We had some fridge troubles, which brought to front of mind some stuff I have done to keep stuff stored safe, after outages and other disasters. 

Keep cold mass. We have at least a couple old juice containers (water or milk won't do. Much too thin and will crack... ask me how I know!) full of water. Place, sideways, in the bottom of the freezer, then it keeps the whole thing cold (if you leave it shut!) another 6-12 hours longer. 

Monitor. We ended up with this:https://www.amazon.com/gp/prod...le?ie=UTF8&psc=1 Remote just goes far enough to get temp on the display for both fridges, and we set alarms for a reasonable door-left-open rise without sounding if you just can't decide what to eat. Easy to reset the alarm, so if a serious outage I'd just punch it up 5° and then we know when things are getting too warm. 

Last edited by Community Member
@Community Member posted:

Keep cold mass. We have at least a couple old juice containers (water or milk won't do. Much too think and will crack) full of water. Toss in the bottom of the freezer, then it keeps the whole thing cold (if you leave it shut!) another 6-12 hours longer. 



I've always kept a couple of cases of bottled water in the bottom of the deep freezers. These along with a dozen or so frozen 2L soda bottles of water provide a bit of cold mass---- and the added benefit of frozen chewtoys for the dogs... take a razor knife... score the bottle, peel the plastic off and hand fido a big ice cube to chew on while on the back porch....

Something I have been doing for a while is filling a gallon ziplock bag with water and laying it flat to freeze. You can then stand the bag upright on an upper shelf when it is frozen and it will give you an indication of the suitability of your food. If the power goes out or the freezer warms up it will let the ice melt enough to deform that perfectly flat shape you made. Even if things have refrozen, you know that there was a problem. I can't remember where I first heard about this but it works very well and has saved our ass when the freezer door was left open and everything defrosted but then refroze. 

I also freeze cases of water bottles in the big freezers. I use these instead of ice packs in coolers and as a cold mass in the regular freezer. Just like everything else, I want multiple uses for each item I am putting work into. 

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