Generator prefrences?

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    We don’t have a generator as of yet, but I would love to get one soon. Any suggestions on which kind is better than another? Budget will be a factor too.


    Cash Only

    Hello mommyof4 … not that I’m any kind of authority on generators, but there is a wealth of information available on the net when due diligence is in order.
    For me, budget was at the top of the list when it came to selection … so I went cheap. I’ve purchased quite a bit of stuff from Harbor Freight over the years, some is junk, some isn’t. Ended up buying one similar to this one:″ onclick=”;return false about 5 years ago … capacity was important, as well as the large fuel tank. Didn’t go with the electric start feature, and fabricated a wheel set and handle for mobility on my own, but in essence, it’s a good machine. In the five years we’ve owned it, the longest power failure has only been about 36 hours, and it performed flawlessly. Keep in mind, fine electronics cannot be run off a machine such as this (cheap chinese “stuff”) … but it will run your furnace or boiler, well pump, and refrigerator without any trouble, or harm to them. They also need to be exercised every month or two. These type of generators produce what many consider “dirty” power … an inconsistent sine wave, that’s why you can’t run your 55″ LCD TV with it πŸ˜‰
    If money wasn’t the primary consideration … look at Honda or Kohler.

    my 2 cents.



    Generac will give you more power for the money if your looking for a stand-by solution. We have deployed thousands of these on our wireless cell towers for back up power and have had no problems. (diesel & lp models)” onclick=”;return false




    I have my feelers out for a diesel. Lower fuel useage; longer fuel life storage; WAY less maintenace; if you have to trek out somewhere for fuel, it would be easier to aquire; you can also run it on bio-fuel as long as when you get ready to shut it down you need to run “regular” diesel through the fuel lines and let it shut down after good fuel is fireing the engine.

    Diesel is more $$$ investment but in the long run cheaper.

    Cash Only

    @islp55 wrote:

    Diesel is more $$$ investment but in the long run cheaper.

    I concur islp55 … matter of fact, I’m in the process of parting out an old Case tractor with a 188inΒ³ diesel engine (~46hp) that runs excellent (for a 45 year old machine πŸ˜‰ ) … will be stashing that engine away in the barn, to power something in the future, perhaps a stationary generator πŸ˜€


    So— we too are in the market. I just checked out Generac. And I liked a lot of the features. But here’s the thing. If the power goes out for a few hours, I don’t really care. I am not afraid of the dark, and I can live w/o A/C and a microwave. BUT on the other hand, I cannot live without the stuff in the deep freezer or the three fridges. So I wonder if you experts can do a pro-con thing about portable generators vs. whole house? Our heating is propane, so that’s not really an issue for us.

    Much appreciated.


    Definitely not an expert, and I was mainly looking for an emergency-use portable generator; budget was a BIG issue. I was lucky enough to find a brand new 5,000 watt (6500 watt peak surge) coleman generator WITH the wheel/handle kit on sale for $250 last May. It’s enough to keep the freezer, two refrigerators, and electric fireplace up and running (we have oil lamps, lanterns, and candles for light, and alternate cooking methods available, so those items were the only things I was worried about keeping running.

    For longer term, I’d like to get a diesel genny that could be wired into the electric panel, but right now the budget can’t handle it.


    I have a Subaru 5000 watt (I think same peak surge as Icefire’s Coleman) and it works very well. My family and I have had it for about 5 years now and it has held up nicely. We have had no problems whatsoever with it. It keeps 2 refrigerators with freezers, a stand alone freezer, a microwave and all of our electrical equipment going (laptop and various and sundry radio equipment) with no problem. We have a wood burning stove and a Coleman propane stove, so we usually cook over that if the outage is long enough where we need to eat. We have never used the microwave with the genny on so i don’t know if it would tax it any with all of the other stuff running.


    One thing I forgot to add with a gas 5000 watt generator…the only problem you might have is if you have the following scenario:

    Two freestanding freezers and a full fridge and all of the compressors kick on at once. That instance may tax the genny to the max and pop the breakers, hence the talk of the diesel gennys above. The diesels can take much more of a load, but they are more expensive in the sort term as mentioned above.


    With diesels you do not want to start up and run for only a few minutes. My diesel buddy who is very knowledgable about them states you do not treat them like gas. Diesels, when ran, need an hour or more to really be put through the paces…with gas you can run for 10-15 minutes. Plus diesels do better with full loads on them, unlike gas that can run from small pulls to there limit.

    The truckers know this since they leave their rigs running…we have 4 big rigs we run for tankers on the fire department and the weekly maitanace is we run them for an hour while we check other things on engines; we just drive the others or leave them running as well. We do take the rigs out for 20 mile runs every month or two.

    I do not want to buy a gas genny…saving for the diesel.


    I bought this one before the 2008 hurricane season. Thankfully I have not had to use it yet. Just go out and crank it every now and then and run it a few minutes.” onclick=”;return false Think I paid just under $700 at an ACE Hardware for it.


    I’m not an expert, but I’ll agree with most of the things stated here, nothing wrong with cheap, ugly, and reliable. I’d go diesel over gas.

    One of my main concerns would be stationary generators. It just seems to be like having a big metal box sticking off the side of your house, wouldn’t be the best idea. It may work great for cushioning a falling tree, and if you live very close to civilization, people will notice you have it. Another one of the downfalls is that some of them will kick in when you don’t really need them, wasting fuel.

    If you’re looking for a lot of power, there’s nothing against running 2-3 portable generators, with the cost still being a lot less than a stationary. I’m not going to be too concerned with watching TV or charging my iPod, so the dirty power would be good enough.


    There all kinds of cheap ones out there, but I went threw them about 1 a year usually about a week after the warranty ran out. now I have a perkins 4 cylinder diesel water cooled going on year 2. But the desert is a harsh place and most things cant make it. It is better to spend a little more and get the best quality.


    I have this one on my wish list. It’s a Generac GUARDIAN Series Liquid-Cooled Standby Generator β€” 30 kW, Model# 5402. It can be run off of natural or propane gas. It powers up automatically when you lose power and shuts down when the power comes back on. It will fire itself up once a month and run for 30 minutes to keep the battery charged up. I can run it directly off my natural gas. You have to wire it straight into the electrical box with a transfer switch. It should come close to powering the whole house. It has to be mounted on a concrete slab. The shipping weight is 1200 pounds. You wouldn’t have to worry much about someone walking off with it.
    I may have to go with a smaller one. You could do with a smaller one but you couldn’t run as much stuff off of it.

    The transfer switch isn’t included and they aren’t cheap but you get free shipping so it would pretty much balance out.

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