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Old 11-12-2019, 06:58 PM
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Default Suburban Generator Considerations



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I have had a larger 7500w Generator for 12+ yrs and bought a little portable Ryobi2300 about 6 months ago as a backup or temp use option. Now considering adding a second Ryobi (they can be connected) because it is s much quieter than the bigger genny and uses much less fuel. The only thing I need a generator for is the refrigerator and charging mobile devices and power tools which the portable generator does with ease. Weather is almost perfect year round here so no aircon/heating needed.

Curious if anyone has used a small portable generator for an extended outage and if they wished they had something bigger in the long run. Considering selling the 7500w for an additional Ryobi2300.
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Old 11-12-2019, 07:10 PM
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My experience with smaller portable gensets was that none are rated for continuous duty and if you run it alot over several weeks, it will fail. After burning up several, I opted for a 22kw Generac with solid state ATS panel and 1000 gallon below ground LPG tank which runs the whole house and shop with seemless failover.

Propane produces 92,000 BTU’s per gallon, non-ethanol-blend gasoline is capable of producing 114,000 BTU’s per gallon, and diesel is capable of producing 129,500 BTU’s per gallon. It takes more propane per hour than either gasoline or diesel to run a generator. But the advantage of propane is that it is stable for long term storage, which doesn’t go “stale” like gas or diesel. How much propane will my generator burn per hour?

• It requires 2 horsepower to produce 1000 watts of energy per hour under load
• Under load each horsepower consumes 10000 BTU per hour
• Propane contains 92,000 BTU per gallon
• Propane weights 4.2 pounds per gallon

While fuel consumption is less with a smaller genset, a 10kw running on LPG uses 1.9 gallons/hr. at full load. This is nearly as much as a 20kw unit uses at 50% load. A typical 10kw LPG unit consumes 1.25 gallons/hr. at 50% of capacity. That means a 300 gallon LPG tank would last about a week at 50% duty cycle if you didn't use your gas stove, water heater or fireplace. This is because an LPG tank can be filled only to about 80 percent of capacity, because some airspace is needed for the tank to function properly.

A 500 gallon unit filled to 80% powers a 20kw genset for a week at 50% load. To provide the same reserve power capacity a 10kw unit runs at nearly full capacity consuming nearly the same amount of fuel, give or take about 5%. Using these factors how long can a 5000-watt portable generator run on a 500 gallon propane tank at 50 capacity:

• 10 horse power at 50% would use 5 HP to generate 2500 watts of electricity
• 5HP X 10,000 BTU would consume 50,000 BTU per hour
• 500 gallons X 92,000 = 46,000,000 BTU of energy in a full 500 gallon tank
• 46,000,000 BTU divided by 50,000 BTU = 920

A 500-gallon tank that is full would run a 5000-watt generator at ½ capacity for 920 hours. After comparing the various fuels, I decided to go with propane to power a larger 22kw generator in a fixed setting with 1000 gallon tank.

For small generators I would go with a tri-fuel which can burn either propane, gasoline or LNG.
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Old 11-12-2019, 07:41 PM
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My experience with smaller portable gensets was that none are rated for continuous duty and if you run it alot over several weeks, it will fail. After burning up several, I opted for a 22kw Generac with solid state ATS panel and 1000 gallon below ground LPG tank which runs the whole house and shop with seemless failover.

Propane produces 92,000 BTU’s per gallon, non-ethanol-blend gasoline is capable of producing 114,000 BTU’s per gallon, and diesel is capable of producing 129,500 BTU’s per gallon. It takes more propane per hour than either gasoline or diesel to run a generator. But the advantage of propane is that it is stable for long term storage, which doesn’t go “stale” like gas or diesel. How much propane will my generator burn per hour?

• It requires 2 horsepower to produce 1000 watts of energy per hour under load
• Under load each horsepower consumes 10000 BTU per hour
• Propane contains 92,000 BTU per gallon
• Propane weights 4.2 pounds per gallon

While fuel consumption is less with a smaller genset, a 10kw running on LPG uses 1.9 gallons/hr. at full load. This is nearly as much as a 20kw unit uses at 50% load. A typical 10kw LPG unit consumes 1.25 gallons/hr. at 50% of capacity. That means a 300 gallon LPG tank would last about a week at 50% duty cycle if you didn't use your gas stove, water heater or fireplace. This is because an LPG tank can be filled only to about 80 percent of capacity, because some airspace is needed for the tank to function properly.

A 500 gallon unit filled to 80% powers a 20kw genset for a week at 50% load. To provide the same reserve power capacity a 10kw unit runs at nearly full capacity consuming nearly the same amount of fuel, give or take about 5%. Using these factors how long can a 5000-watt portable generator run on a 500 gallon propane tank at 50 capacity:

• 10 horse power at 50% would use 5 HP to generate 2500 watts of electricity
• 5HP X 10,000 BTU would consume 50,000 BTU per hour
• 500 gallons X 92,000 = 46,000,000 BTU of energy in a full 500 gallon tank
• 46,000,000 BTU divided by 50,000 BTU = 920

A 500-gallon tank that is full would run a 5000-watt generator at ½ capacity for 920 hours. After comparing the various fuels, I decided to go with propane to power a larger 22kw generator in a fixed setting with 1000 gallon tank.

For small generators I would go with a tri-fuel which can burn either propane, gasoline or LNG.
Awesome info, thanks for the the thorough response.
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Old 11-12-2019, 07:44 PM
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I second that, great analysis.
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Old 11-12-2019, 09:51 PM
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I HAVE a 30 year old Coleman Powermate, 1800watt that has been coast to coast and almost to the arctic circle in winter when it was COLD...

Anyway, I took a gig lumbering a piece of property belonging to a friend in December in Northern Mich. I took my 30 foot trailer and the Powermate was the power for it. I ran it pretty much 24hrs a day 5 days a week. Went home on weekends.

I have run over a week using the small gen when the weather was good and we lost power due to storms. I only ran the bigger ones for recharging the fridge and freezer, otherwise the little Powermate runs the entertainment and internet and computer charging and such without a problem.

You definitely need a bigger gen to do the big things, otherwise you just burn the little ones out.

I have no experience daisy chaining 2 smalls together but it is a pretty neat idea for when you need something bigger.
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Old 11-13-2019, 12:25 AM
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If you don't need air conditioning or some other big power user, then getting the "right sized" generator is smart and will save you a lot of fuel. (and be easier to store, move around, etc).

There are different classes of generators, which relate to how robust their design is, and how long they will last before failing.
I would think Ryobi would have decent quality.

Maybe not as good as a Honda, but likely half the price. For normal backup use, should be fine.

If it uses brushes, might want to stock a set, along with maybe a spare carb , spark plug, fuel hose/filter and anything else that looks like it might be a failure point. Primer bulb if it has one.

Modern gasoline sucks, so anything that touches the fuel, should be spared. just my opinion.
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Old 11-13-2019, 01:28 AM
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If you're only powering a fridge and chargers, unless for some reason the fridge's compressor runs 80 or 90% of the time, there's very little load applied to the smaller genny. Big money stationary genny systems with buried tanks are nice if you need all that power over extended periods for big draw loads like AC, heating, stoves, etc., but if you don't need all those amps, why pay for them?
If you do regular oil changes, air and oil filter changes, and keep the genny clean and dry, you should be able to get many years of use out of most generators. For emergency usage, I like an inverter generator because of the fuel savings, but I keep a bulletproof simpler non-inverter genny for backup because they are almost bulletproof. The more electronics you add to a simple device like a generator, or really alternator, the more parts that can fail, and in an emergency you probably won't be able to call a repairman.
Being able to sink up the sine waves in two or more generators is a nice benefit of inverter generators since the output waveform isn't dependent on engine speed. Another benefit of sizing a generator to the load is that for smaller loads, you can carry it around. Anything above about 5K watts can be a real back breaker. I have a 7500 watt with the biggest fuel tank I've ever seen on a genny, and it probably weighs close to 200lbs.
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Old 11-13-2019, 07:37 AM
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I have two of the original Ryobi 2200w generators. Interesting that both the 2200w and 2300w are listed as 1800 running. I'm not sure what the difference is. I also have a 6000w Coleman.
All were purchased to use at remote events for my business with the ulterior motive of being preps for home. They have seen heavy multi day service at events with no problems.
We don't get many power outages where I live, even at times when most of the rest of the county has been out after weather events.
I have used them during one outage and tested them in a simulated outage a couple times.
It's a good combination. I have a dedicated receptacle so I can use the 6000w rig to energize my electric panel and then selectively run what I want, including separately running the water heater and well pump. Being able to take hot showers during a power outage is awesome. The big genny mostly only gets used for that. I don't need it to run light or heat since I have other options for those. The smaller inverter rigs get used for the refrigerator, power tools if needed, etc.
I have a small solar/battery bank capable of running my Ham radios, providing LED lighting and if needed can run my small chest freezer along with another one set up with a temp controller to be used as a fridge.
It's a good combination of power sources and I think my stored gas could be stretched out pretty long if power needs are managed well.


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Old 11-13-2019, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by ~Black.Dog~ View Post
I have two of the original Ryobi 2200w generators. Interesting that both the 2200w and 2300w are listed as 1800 running. I'm not sure what the difference is. I also have a 6000w Coleman.
All were purchased to use at remote events for my business with the ulterior motive of being preps for home. They have seen heavy multi day service at events with no problems.
We don't get many power outages where I live, even at times when most of the rest of the county has been out after weather events.
I have used them during one outage and tested them in a simulated outage a couple times.
It's a good combination. I have a dedicated receptacle so I can use the 6000w rig to energize my electric panel and then selectively run what I want, including separately running the water heater and well pump. Being able to take hot showers during a power outage is awesome. The big genny mostly only gets used for that. I don't need it to run light or heat since I have other options for those. The smaller inverter rigs get used for the refrigerator, power tools if needed, etc.
I have a small solar/battery bank capable of running my Ham radios, providing LED lighting and if needed can run my small chest freezer along with another one set up with a temp controller to be used as a fridge.
It's a good combination of power sources and I think my stored gas could be stretched out pretty long if power needs are managed well.


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Pretty close to the same setup here. My 7500w was for plugging into the panel and running the house. When I got it, we lived in an area that had frequent wind storms and power down for 1 or two days in the Winter. Most people had a generator so hearing them hum throughout the neighborhood was common when the lights went out.

Here in San Diego I doubt anyone in this subdivision has a generator. Most here are retired senior naval officers or Doctor types who don't even mow their own grass, clean their pools, etc..So my biggest concern is quiet. When I fire up the 7500 every other month it can be heard easily 6 houses down. When the 2300 runs with a few outdoor seat cushions nearby to dampen the sound it is virtually silent from inside the house and in the front yard.

What I might consider is using the 7500w as a loaner/decoy so the neighbors all go next door and leave me alone. Of course, they won't have gas to run it though.
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Old 11-13-2019, 06:29 PM
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I had a 2300 watt that was used for several weeks after Hurricane Ike maybe even a month constantly. I ran the heck out of it camping and what not, it finally fried

I wanted a bigger one and like you bought a 7000 watt, I like it alright but it's really heavy and a royal pain to move around especially in soft soil. Dragging it up the ramp of my trailer takes almost 2 people

I've been thinking I could easily get by with a 3500-4000 and sure would be a lot lighter

I wouldn't want another 2300, it just wasn't enough and I certainly don't want to deal with 2 generators
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Old 11-14-2019, 12:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeaBeeDaddy View Post
I have had a larger 7500w Generator for 12+ yrs and bought a little portable Ryobi2300 about 6 months ago as a backup or temp use option. Now considering adding a second Ryobi (they can be connected) because it is s much quieter than the bigger genny and uses much less fuel. The only thing I need a generator for is the refrigerator and charging mobile devices and power tools which the portable generator does with ease. Weather is almost perfect year round here so no aircon/heating needed.

Curious if anyone has used a small portable generator for an extended outage and if they wished they had something bigger in the long run. Considering selling the 7500w for an additional Ryobi2300.
I did it for a bit. 3 or 4 weeks.

I have a 1600. It powered the washing machine. I used a cooler rather than try to power my fridge. It seemed to work fine.

What you would want to do with your fridge is find a way to insulate it better. Then you wouldn't need to keep it running as long.

Maybe given the choice I would have gotten a Yamaha as they are quieter. And eventually you want to throw rocks at people with loud generators going off all the time.
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Old 11-14-2019, 01:08 AM
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If you have a noisy genny, there is a video of a guy leaning a few pieces of plywood against his generator to greatly reduce the noise level.

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Old 11-14-2019, 04:33 AM
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Just my personal opinion.
The OP mentioned selling a 12+ year old genny to partially finance a new one.
I would be very leary if I saw an ad for one that old.I would offer 50$,maybe go up to 100$,but thats because I don't really need a 5th genny,but thats just me.
I would just keep the bigger one unless you get a heck of a deal or trade in on it.
Ya never know.
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Old 11-14-2019, 08:36 AM
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I have 3 generators for different purposes. A 22kw stationary generator, a 5500kw generator for backup to the house, and a 2000kw for portability. The two smaller generators, one was free and one was $35. Neither ran right but that was due to lack of maintenance (broke pull string and gummed carb on one and broken wires on outlet on the other) and cost less then $10 to fix. Just this week I used the little one for a hammer drill in a horse pasture for a heated automatic waterer. I like layers and use the right tool for the job.
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Old 11-14-2019, 09:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Outpost75 View Post
My experience with smaller portable gensets was that none are rated for continuous duty and if you run it alot over several weeks, it will fail. After burning up several, I opted for a 22kw Generac with solid state ATS panel and 1000 gallon below ground LPG tank which runs the whole house and shop with seemless failover.

Propane produces 92,000 BTU’s per gallon, non-ethanol-blend gasoline is capable of producing 114,000 BTU’s per gallon, and diesel is capable of producing 129,500 BTU’s per gallon. It takes more propane per hour than either gasoline or diesel to run a generator. But the advantage of propane is that it is stable for long term storage, which doesn’t go “stale” like gas or diesel. How much propane will my generator burn per hour?

• It requires 2 horsepower to produce 1000 watts of energy per hour under load
• Under load each horsepower consumes 10000 BTU per hour
• Propane contains 92,000 BTU per gallon
• Propane weights 4.2 pounds per gallon

While fuel consumption is less with a smaller genset, a 10kw running on LPG uses 1.9 gallons/hr. at full load. This is nearly as much as a 20kw unit uses at 50% load. A typical 10kw LPG unit consumes 1.25 gallons/hr. at 50% of capacity. That means a 300 gallon LPG tank would last about a week at 50% duty cycle if you didn't use your gas stove, water heater or fireplace. This is because an LPG tank can be filled only to about 80 percent of capacity, because some airspace is needed for the tank to function properly.

A 500 gallon unit filled to 80% powers a 20kw genset for a week at 50% load. To provide the same reserve power capacity a 10kw unit runs at nearly full capacity consuming nearly the same amount of fuel, give or take about 5%. Using these factors how long can a 5000-watt portable generator run on a 500 gallon propane tank at 50 capacity:

• 10 horse power at 50% would use 5 HP to generate 2500 watts of electricity
• 5HP X 10,000 BTU would consume 50,000 BTU per hour
• 500 gallons X 92,000 = 46,000,000 BTU of energy in a full 500 gallon tank
• 46,000,000 BTU divided by 50,000 BTU = 920

A 500-gallon tank that is full would run a 5000-watt generator at ½ capacity for 920 hours. After comparing the various fuels, I decided to go with propane to power a larger 22kw generator in a fixed setting with 1000 gallon tank.

For small generators I would go with a tri-fuel which can burn either propane, gasoline or LNG.
We have a 500 gal propane tank and a 20 kw generac. It ran for at least 10 days full load and our tank went from 60% down to 40%. We also used our propane heater and cook stove in this time period. I have heard that a 500 gal tank will only last a week but that isn’t our experience.
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Old 11-14-2019, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cook View Post
Just my personal opinion.
The OP mentioned selling a 12+ year old genny to partially finance a new one.
I would be very leary if I saw an ad for one that old.I would offer 50$,maybe go up to 100$,but thats because I don't really need a 5th genny,but thats just me.
I would just keep the bigger one unless you get a heck of a deal or trade in on it.
Ya never know.
The money is not the factor as much as the space, fuel efficiency, and decibels. This is the Burbs, and we are renters. This is not our neighborhood but the lot size and proximity is close for reference.
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Old 11-14-2019, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Justme11 View Post
If you have a noisy genny, there is a video of a guy leaning a few pieces of plywood against his generator to greatly reduce the noise level.

4x Quieter generator in 10 seconds - YouTube
I like his channel, he always has cool projects. Something else I have tried that works well is putting the generator on a foam mat. It does not effect the exhaust noise but reduces the noise coming from the machine itself.
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Old 12-23-2019, 06:42 PM
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I live on the Mississippi Gulf coast and after Katrina I had a 4700-watt generator which came in handy. However, for the use we put it to it burned a lot of gas. It was not big enough to run the A/C so there was a lot of wasted capacity. Powering box fans and keeping a frig going was the heavy lifting it did.


After the hurricane crisis was over I took a hard look at what we realistically needed as far as generator power was concerned. I determined that if Air Conditioning was taken out of the mix my family could get by fine with 2 2000 watt inverter generators paralleled together when needed. For most needs one 2000 watt generator filled our needs. Charging cell phones, recharging AA batteries for lights and lanterns, keeping the frig cold, maybe a box fan. With both generators paralleled we get 3200 watts. which is sufficient for our max needs. AND they burned a lot less gas. When I can run them in econo mode they use even less gas. After a hurricane gas can be hard to come by.

As you can see, I plan for short term emergencies, 1 to 2 weeks max. For this the 2 2000 watt inverter generators work well.


And as a bonus, a 2000 watt generator will run a 5000 BTU A/C which will cool a room for those post hurricane days when you are just melting!

Just a look at our setup.


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Old 12-23-2019, 07:09 PM
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I had a 4500/5500 genny for Hurricane Ike.

Ran 2 window units, a fan,Fridge, Deep Freeze, and occasionally I ran the washing machine, Gas dryer, Dishwasher, a small TV, lights.
it was a good size for what I needed. Filled the tank twice a day and shut it off from midnight to 6 am because my neighbor asked politely. (They were just sleeping with windows open and no window units). So about 12 gallons a day. Being a boater, I had LOTs of gas tanks. Took the pickup to get about 70 gallons of gas once a week.

Since then, I bought a bigger genny (10,000/12,000) that will likely run at least one central A/C unit. But the fuel consumption might be too much to bother with.
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Old 02-20-2020, 02:15 AM
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I have only borrowed a generators, never been an owner. The one I was impressed with was one of the little Honda critters. Nice and quiet, hot parts well protected by shrouding..sipped gas.but very expensive! It works well when you need it but I don't know anyone who has used one continually for any length of time - even a couple of weeks. What I do know from years of tinkering is that water cooled engines are more dependable, durable and quieter than air cooled. They are also more expensive. They tend to be more fuel efficient because the engine temperature is easier to control and keep steady. When you make this kind of decision you need to assign priorities to things like durability and ease to repair and maintain. Look at your worst case scenario. Is it likely that you will need to use a generator for more than a couple of weeks? Possible that you will need to run it for 3 months or more? Do you want to pre for any possible scenario? What are the consequences of a generator burning out. Will you starve? Lose your ability to do opsec because you have none of the electronic monitoring devices? Once you answer these kinds of questions, you usually find that your choices are reduced and your options more limited. Is there a stated MTBF of these generators? And how likely is it that that number is accurate?
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