Survivalist Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Member
Joined
·
2,978 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What size generator would be desirable for running a typical home?

I've seen little portable Honda generators up to the trailer mounted behemoths. I know many of you live in conditions that encourage a generator back-up so I'm looking for your opinions as to size and brands that have worked best for you.

Thanks in advance...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
First you have to decide what you want to run. Then do you want to put in a transfer box so all you have to do is to flip the breakers and not feed back into the main power lines?...Or do you want to run extension cord to particular units...
To do the basics in a house...furnace,fridge,water pump a few rooms...5000 watt continuous with a 6200 surge should do it.
 

·
To secure peace is to...
Joined
·
4,194 Posts
Let me preface my post with saying I'm not pushing "Briggs & Stratton" generators, however, they do have a pretty neat little application that will help you size a generator:

http://www.homegeneratorsystems.com/buying_guide/select/

Also, it's also a great idea to have some back up heating source such as a wood stove or a fireplace (that actually allows you to burn real wood). And remember the generator should allow you to weather out an ice storm, thunderstorm, not sustain you for the rest of your life. I would make sure I could run important appliances, lighting, and still have a little room to spare.

Good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
It all depends on the level of comfort you desire and your wallet. It also depends on your load. Do you need to power an electric water heater, heat pump, electric furnace, refrigerator, chest freezer and every light and appliance in every room all at the same time? Are you going to have switchgear and electronics to isolate the grid from the generator. Auto start? If you 'downsize' your usage of electric power and do not run multiple loads simultaneously then a smaller unit is applicable and only single phase production is necessary. Emergency situations would only require electricity to say run a countertop cooker, the refrigerator, freezer and furnace blower. Sum the amperages of what your maximim requirements would be under simultaneous use, multiply by 120, multiply by 1.5.....this would be the minimum size rule we used at work. example: 25 amps usage simultaneously x 120 x 1.5 --> 4500 watt minimum. It would be prudent to make a 'disconnect service' with an appropriately sized sub main and breakers placed between the genset and load. Size the wire according to code for amps and run. By the way, you do know it will get very very ugly to have grid power restored with the house main disconnect closed while the genset is being back fed through a breaker and out of phase...right? Oh heck..just call an electrician, get the permit and inspection, get approval from your home owners insurance first and just write the check. Is easier than explaining it.
 

·
To secure peace is to...
Joined
·
4,194 Posts
What size generator would be desirable for running a typical home?

I've seen little portable Honda generators up to the trailer mounted behemoths. I know many of you live in conditions that encourage a generator back-up so I'm looking for your opinions as to size and brands that have worked best for you.

Thanks in advance...
To go into more detail, most will tout the advantage of a Honda and for good reason. I'm sure other people out there make good ones too. I would suggest Googling generator reviews of different companies. I would say the "typical" home could get by with a 7000 watt unit. But personally, I wouldn't go with anything less than a 10k watt unit.

Also, remember to decide what fuel type you want to go with. Diesel, gas, Natural gas or propane. They all have adv/disadv to deal with.

Here are 2 more points to remember:

Running a generator is expensive business. Look at the consumption rates of each generator as well as the cost of fuel for each. I would save back enough money in my emergency fund to cover running my generator 24/7 for at least a month ($500 would probably cover this) because you don't want to be hit with a huge bill at the end of the month you weren't planning on.

Last point, remember maintenance. Read your owner's manual and perform the routine maintenance as well as scheduled "run" periods. The last thing you want when you NEED your generator is for it to not work because you were too lazy to take care of it. If you take care of it, it will take care of you.

Regards.
 

·
Happiness is 2 at low 8
Joined
·
1,403 Posts
What size generator would be desirable for running a typical home?

I've seen little portable Honda generators up to the trailer mounted behemoths. I know many of you live in conditions that encourage a generator back-up so I'm looking for your opinions as to size and brands that have worked best for you.

Thanks in advance...
I have a 6500W (220v/30amp) gennie that runs everything EXCEPT, a/c, kitchen range, and dryer...

If I were to get a couple small 110v window a/c units, it would handle them fine, but the central air draws too much current.

Allan
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,090 Posts
Most homes,between 5 and 8 KW.
Its still a good idea to own a smaller unit,like 1-2 kw. Makes portable power much easier for small tasks,like charging a battery in a truck out back,or running a sump pump for irrigation.
 

·
RESET CONGRESS!!
Joined
·
9,462 Posts
Some years ago, I bought a small Coleman generator, primarily to run my basement sump pump in case of power outages. It's a 1330 watt, gasoline unit , powered by a Briggs & Stratton. Easy to start, not too bad as far as fuel consumption. Last fall, we lost power in this area for 7+ days. It kept the fridge', freezer, and some lights & tv going, although we had to do some power swapping to keep it all going. 2500 watts would have been better. For me, it boils down to budget, absolute minimum power needs, fuel consumption ( generators DO use the fuel), and portability. Do you want to maintain your home as 'normal', or at a minimum power usage. It costs. Cost of the generator ( you'll want a reliable one, with parts available), and the cost and availability of fuel is a concern. No fuel, no power. A nice excercise to consider,.. shut off the power to your house for 6 hours and see what you're willing to do without. Cooking? Hot water? Lights? Heating/cooling? What are the alternatives? , etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
101 Posts
I have a 3250 watt Craftsman (made by Generac) that I connect to the house via a 6 circuit transfer switch.

I can run the sump pump, the boiler, the fridge and some lights with no problem.

Remember that while bigger gensets will power more stuff, they will also use more fuel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,460 Posts
What size generator would be desirable for running a typical home?

I've seen little portable Honda generators up to the trailer mounted behemoths. I know many of you live in conditions that encourage a generator back-up so I'm looking for your opinions as to size and brands that have worked best for you.

Thanks in advance...
Here's some Gen info. In a survival situation, it is better to have two smaller generators than one big one. That way, when demand is down you don't have to run a fuel hog. Also, if one needs servicing or fueling, you still have the other one for power. Two are also more versitile in that you can use one at the house and the other somewhere else, the barn or shop for instance. Now, Diesel is the way to go for long term use. If you buy gas, the best engines are Robin-Subaru, Honda, Kholer. B&S & Tecumseh make some pretty crappy engines up until you get to the higher horse power like 16hp and up. It takes approximately two engine HP to make 1000 watts, (1kw). So when shopping, you can judge things like, a 5000watt gen will be about 10 HP. Also some electric motors have HUGE starting current. I have a 4500watt gen that won't start a 2HP air compressor. Have a farm tractor? look into a PTO powered unit. They are pretty big. Anyway, good luck.:thumb:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
801 Posts
FredLee makes a good point that you should have two generators.

Regardless of whether or not you use a "transfer switch" or not there will be long periods of time when you will not want an enormous gas guzzler running (even at near idle) to keep the lights on; hence a second unit providing perhaps 1200 watts for basic lighting/small appliances would be prudent.

A smaller unit might also power your oil furnace or gas furnace with some lighting and not burn up your fuel supply needlessly. It takes electricity to pump gas and not every gas station has a generator. I keep a lot of gas and rotate it through my truck; siphon out your generator gas once a year and burn it in your truck and always use stabil.

Power is power, yes you can be killed by generator power; if you know nothing about electricity and your making "temporary" changes to your wiring be certain your main breaker is shut off and the generator is shut off. Should LINE power be restored while you are hot wiring appliances or playing in the circuit panel it will hurt at the least.

If you are backfeeding remember to shut off your main breaker so you are not energizing the grid. Consider a double pole double throw transfer switch if you plan to go large.

I like honda.
 

·
Member
Joined
·
2,978 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for all the replies!

I like the idea of having two smaller generators as I don't see the need to be running everything all the time. I live in CA so I don't have too much worry about having to run a heater/AC as I live pretty close to the beach so the temps don't get outrageous either way. Also, when I hit the rack and don't need lights, TV, etc. I could use a smaller one to power a fridge/freezer.

Great input from everyone and all very helpful with the decision making. Thanks again!!
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top