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Republic of Texas
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1,479 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After the fiasco in February that was Winter Storm Uri and the fact that ERCOT is already warning Texans about summer outages, I am just about ready to replace the generator that I discovered was dead in February. I am on medications that require me to stay cool. If not, I am 100% useless since my joints freeze up and I quite literally can not move due to that and exhaustion.

However, I know ZIP about amps and watts and all that jazz. Nada. I can flip a breaker but that is about the extent of my knowledge there.

So I need some help please. What size am I looking for here?

What I need it to do:

  • Power one 20,000+ BTU window a/c unit (or two 10,000 btu)/electric heaters in the winter every couple of hours. There is the possibility of an ac/heater combo but I doubt I will opt for that option. Please do not suggest Kerosene heaters. Their smell makes me physically sick no matter how much the room is vented so I prefer to avoid them.
  • Power 3-4 heavy duty fans continuously.
  • Power a 7 cu ft. deep freezer at the same time as the fridge; not continuously. Plan is to run them every couple of hours just long enough to bring the temperatures back down.
  • Power modem so I can work, phone chargers, etc. while the other things are running as well.
  • Power small kitchen appliances for ease. Yes, I have alternative cooking methods, I would prefer not to fall back on them unless I have zero choice.
Help?
 

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Living in my BOL
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774 Posts
After the fiasco in February that was Winter Storm Uri and the fact that ERCOT is already warning Texans about summer outages, I am just about ready to replace the generator that I discovered was dead in February. I am on medications that require me to stay cool. If not, I am 100% useless since my joints freeze up and I quite literally can not move due to that and exhaustion.

However, I know ZIP about amps and watts and all that jazz. Nada. I can flip a breaker but that is about the extent of my knowledge there.

So I need some help please. What size am I looking for here?

What I need it to do:

  • Power one 20,000+ BTU window a/c unit (or two 10,000 btu)/electric heaters in the winter every couple of hours. There is the possibility of an ac/heater combo but I doubt I will opt for that option. Please do not suggest Kerosene heaters. Their smell makes me physically sick no matter how much the room is vented so I prefer to avoid them.
  • Power 3-4 heavy duty fans continuously.
  • Power a 7 cu ft. deep freezer at the same time as the fridge; not continuously. Plan is to run them every couple of hours just long enough to bring the temperatures back down.
  • Power modem so I can work, phone chargers, etc. while the other things are running as well.
  • Power small kitchen appliances for ease. Yes, I have alternative cooking methods, I would prefer not to fall back on them unless I have zero choice.
Help?
check out a Generac (or similar) whole house generator. local contractors can give you estimates and can wire it in to your house. you just need to decide natural gas or propane powered
 

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Republic of Texas
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1,479 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
check out a Generac (or similar) whole house generator. local contractors can give you estimates and can wire it in to your house. you just need to decide natural gas or propane powered
Not possible at the moment so I need a more portable option.
 

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Figure up the amp loads from everything you need to run. Look at each appliance data plate for amp draws. I would go 1800 RPM water cooled diesel, especially if you need power for health reasons. Diesels are designed for continuous operation and consume the least amount of fuel, gasoline is next, then propane. Example: Generac Protector RD01525ADAL ® 15kW Automatic Extended Run Standby Diesel Generator w/ Mobile Link™ 120/240V Single-Phase (electricgeneratorsdirect.com)
The downside to diesels are the upfront costs. Don't worry about an automatic transfer switch and just go with manual...more reliable. This one will run for 115 hours at 50% load (.85 gallons per hour).

The average whole house Generac propane fueled generator is air cooled and runs at 3600 RPM. These just are NOT designed for constant use. Example: Generac Guardian EGD-7225-KIT-QP ® 14kW Aluminum Standby Generator System 200A Service Disconnect + AC Shedding w/ Wi-Fi + QwikHurricane® Pad + Battery (electricgeneratorsdirect.com)
These are cheaper to buy but won't last as long as a diesel unit. Propane fuel consumption is 1.81 gallons per hour at 50% load. The weakest link here is the automatic transfer switch as they can be problematic. Plus you will need a propane tank or natural gas connection.
 

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Premium Member
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^^^ Diesel
Gasoline
Propane
Natural Gas

That is order in the energy produce from the fuels.
 

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I'm in the process of having a portable 10kW, 1800 RPM water cooled diesel unit built. It will have a 50 gallon fuel tank, aluminum weather enclosure, mounted on a road legal trailer, digital controller with 2 wire automatic or manual start capability. Powered by a normally aspirated Isuzu 3 cylinder engine with Stamford brushless alternator. 240/120V single phase with 50 amp/240V, 30 amp/240V, and common 120V outlets. It should be complete in the next couple of weeks.
 

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Wile E Coyote, Genius.
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34,165 Posts
A 20,000 BTU A/C is around 2 ton (1.666 tons). should be around 1800 watts when running (1 BHP/ton for large efficient commercial units, so this would be a bit less efficient). X 4 or so to start it = 8000 watts.
The other stuff you mentioned is minor.
I bought a genny at Northern Tool called a Powerhorse that is around that size. (~8000 watt continuous, I think 10000 surge)

It is a well built unit.


You can either run power cords or have an emergency power tie in wired or a separate panel you can switch on.

Getting power to the Air Conditioner will be a short 220V cord around 10 gauge wiring I think off the top of my head with twist lock connectors.

You might need to get an electrician to help you figure out the connections and wiring if you can't do it.
If you don't want to store gasoline, they have dual fuel units available. Not sure if this brand offers it or not.

I was pretty conservative sizing it. Something around 6500 watts would likely work as well, but it might strain pretty hard to start the Air Conditioner. .

Mine it pretty easy to pull start, but I am part gorilla. You can also start it with a modest 12V battery.
 

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I have an old gasoline Kubota generator that is rated at 5k peak watts, 4300 running watts. At a consumption rate of 7-8 gallons a day, running ~18-20 hours/day, I was able to power the following all at once:

2 full-size french door refrigerators
1 8k btu window a/c
1 5k btu window a/c
Well pump
Oil-fired boiler
60” flatscreen TV
DVD player
Various lights (mostly LED)
Chargers for phones and laptops

Obviously devices kicked on and off at different times, but I wanted to test it with everything running at once and the meters on my transfer switch showed that it was pulling ~3500 watts. I never tripped any breakers on the generator or transfer switch running all this for a week.

OP, if I were you I’d be looking at either a 6-7k unit OR maybe even two smaller units, each around 3500 so you could better pick and choose what to run and conserve fuel. The larger units up over 8k start to burn a lot more fuel, even if you’re not putting a heavy load on them.
 

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Business Owner
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2 smaller units (3500 watts each) that can be paralleled would be ideal. Also 2 10,000 Btu window AC units instead of 1 big 20,000 btu unit. You can run 1 or 2 generators, as needed, and 1 or 2 window AC units , as needed.

I have a 3500 watt inverter generator that runs 2 upright freezers, 1 full-size fridge, 2 to 3 dorm size fridges, a 10,000 btu and an 8000 btu window AC plus 2 whole-house UPS units for lights, network equipment and computers. Everything runs well, as it isn't usually all kicking on all at once. If power has been off for a while and the cooling devices need to get back down to temperatures, I selectively turn them on one by one to minimize start current needs. I also turn up thermostats. If we have severe weather expected, or other power grid anomalies, I turn down thermostats to get stuff as cold as possible while grid power is on to keep cold temps longer in an outage.
 

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Golfer
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I have a small gen and I made a 220 suicide plug for it. My plan has been to cut the main, open all the breakers, plug the genny into an outside 220 receptacle and flip the breakers i need.
Unfortunately in the three power-down episodes since I bought it, i could not get it to run. grrrr
 

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Wile E Coyote, Genius.
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2 smaller units (3500 watts each) that can be paralleled would be ideal. Also 2 10,000 Btu window AC units instead of 1 big 20,000 btu unit. You can run 1 or 2 generators, as needed, and 1 or 2 window AC units , as needed.

I have a 3500 watt inverter generator that runs 2 upright freezers, 1 full-size fridge, 2 to 3 dorm size fridges, a 10,000 btu and an 8000 btu window AC plus 2 whole-house UPS units for lights, network equipment and computers. Everything runs well, as it isn't usually all kicking on all at once. If power has been off for a while and the cooling devices need to get back down to temperatures, I selectively turn them on one by one to minimize start current needs. I also turn up thermostats. If we have severe weather expected, or other power grid anomalies, I turn down thermostats to get stuff as cold as possible while grid power is on to keep cold temps longer in an outage.
That raises another question. 2 X 3500 Watt units which can be paralleled will be inverter units and much more expensive. But they will use less fuel, be quieter and produce cleaner power.
Around $2000 for that setup from Harbor Freight, vs $600 for the 9000 watt unit I showed.

One other consideration is electronics reliability. Namely, the inverter board. Having looked into the life expectancy of such electronics, I would expect the board to fail well before the generator, shortening the life of the unit. Inverters have several mosfets and capacitors which have high rates of failure, especially the Chinese ones. They fail. A lot.

And the world has also gotten very shabby with the quality of board assembly. (bad solder connections that will crack and lose contact, unsecured components that vibrate off the board, and add to that, the fact that a generator is typically run and stored in damp, wet weather).

The one I showed uses dead simple technology, and the power is clean enough in my experience. When it comes to reliability, which is the main concern, I think simpler is much better.

Just my opinion.

Inverter failures.




Look at all the MOSFETS and Capacitors on this board!
Good grief, mean time between failure is probably like 1 week. :)
 

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Not possible at the moment so I need a more portable option.
You are prob going to need something in the 10k-15kw range. They are going to drink fuel like it's free. We are talking 10-15gal a day. Do you have the physical ability or transportation to get and store 4+ days of fuel?
 

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Born 120 years too late.
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YOU HAVe health issues,
you want to have enough power for everything YOU NEED..
maybe you don't feel like having to switch cords or things so you do not overload...

I have this one
DUAL FUEL will run a whole house.. all 3600sq ft of it.

I have other generators of various sizes from 1800wt 2300wt, 4000wt, 9000wt and the Wen
I can be selective but if you are only buying ONE, get one that will actually power everything you might ever need. Unless you have your own tank farm for storage, generators are a temporary fix in any case until the power returns.

Me personally, I stay away from anything diesel because the fuel smell makes me ill and in cold country the fuel clots and makes things hard to start when you really might need them the most.
 

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Also nearly no two 120v inverter generators paralleled together make 240v. So if your AC is 240v you can scratch two paralleled 120v inverter units off the list.

Diesel is a very good option. If you do get a diesel liquid cooled 1800rpm unit dont get a generac. Get a quality brand like cummins, kubota or yanmar.
 

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YOU HAVe health issues,
you want to have enough power for everything YOU NEED..
maybe you don't feel like having to switch cords or things so you do not overload...

I have this one
DUAL FUEL will run a whole house.. all 3600sq ft of it.
Sqft of a house has nothing to do with generator size. Generator size has so much to do with what appliances and what you expect to run it's nearly impossible to tell someone what size they need unless you put a meter on things or gather ALL the tag info from every appliance. But generally these tags dont tell you running amps very accurately.
 

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In a true emergency it’s hard to have enough fuel to run for days on end .
If I’m working I use a 5500or 3500 watt unit they don’t run full blast , half there time is on idol
The 3500 watt unit uses 4 gallons in 10 hours the 5500 watt is allmost double that .
At home I use a 2200 watt or 2800watt unit I don’t heat or cool but every thing else works good .
My mom had a genarator unit run on propane but it cost here 100 bucks a day to run so she went to my sisters if there was going to be a storm
 

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Combat marxism Now!
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Power and energy expert here.

I always recommend a true 5500 watt (or similar) portable, open frame, conventional, Honda (if possible) powered generator.

Fact: BS watt ratings are common. Fact: engine displacement is highly correlated with real world output. 390cc is a minimum engine size to get the job done if you want hot water! 390CC is also large enough to do most home tasks, other than run a 5 ton central air unit.

Here is why the 5500W open frame unit is good:
1) easy to repair and service (oil changes)
2) Conventional gen heads (quality) have ample surge power to start motors (like AC units)
3) Water heaters are 4500 watts (resistive)
4) They can be moved by 1 person
5) They are small enough to be stored indoors (required for long life)
6) The fuel consumption is far lower than monster whole house generators
7) Surge power is enough to start and run a well pump

I noticed you listed 20,000 BTU as a requirement. This is no problem at all for a 5500W gen if you run 2 window units. As they won't start at the same millisecond instant. You will not have any issues with this.

Here is one powered by a Honda 390 engine (probably the best small engine ever made) and with a quality gen head. It's not the only one that will work or that fits my example, but it is an example of a quality unit.


Here is a less expensive option:

 
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