Who's Got A Home Generator?

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
Original poster
May 5, 2008
17,037
16,508
The Misty Mountains
...or is thinking about getting one?

I live in a hurricane prone area (Houston, Tx) and have a pool. Evacuation in past storms has proven to be tenuous (people stuck on highway in giant traffic jams after running out of gas). The last one that hit, power was out for a couple of weeks in some places. This could be a disaster for a pool. Anyway, if you have one, I'd like to hear about it.

My goal is a portable unit, gas operated, with the power to run my pool pump, my fridge, and a small window AC unit. Looking forward to your ideas! :D
 
Last edited:

D.T.

macrumors G3
Sep 15, 2011
8,918
6,695
Vilano Beach, FL
We’ve got a Troy-Bilt, ~6K watt (9K start), runs about 10-11 hours at 1/2 load, nice chassis/tires, plenty of outlets.

That runtime is on ~8 gallons of gas, so you’ve need a decent amount of gas to sustain several days of continuous use.

Only used it one time for an extended period (about 3-4 days).

We have a ton of extensions (for Halloween/Christmas decorations), so it was easy to run lines in from the garage to the main fridge, a couple of fans, some charging stations for phones and computers.

Just ran it backed up, partially out the garage, with the door 1/2 open, plenty of ventilation.

Our gas grill came in super handy too, had a full tank so we were able to grill burgers, hotdogs, warm up things on the side burner.

They have models with electric starters and other features, more output, etc., they all run about $600-900, we scored ours on sale for about $400.
 

ucfgrad93

macrumors P6
Aug 17, 2007
17,532
8,156
Colorado
Have to say OP you are the first person I've ever heard say that they want to run their pool off their generator.
 

MacNut

macrumors Core
Jan 4, 2002
21,542
7,801
CT
How are you planning to hook it up. Your best bet is a transfer switch. You will need to hire a electrician to install a sub-panel but it will be the best way to go. Then you hook up the pool filter to the panel and the fridge and what ever else and just flip the switch.
 

chabig

macrumors 603
Sep 6, 2002
5,879
3,140
Have to say OP you are the first person I've ever heard say that they want to run their pool off their generator.
When a hurricane's a comin' I can't hardly think of anywhere I'd rather be than in the pool.
 

hallux

macrumors 68030
Apr 25, 2012
2,774
485
My parents have a ~5200W generator (I think, might be bigger), I think it's a Troy-Bilt also. They had a licensed electrician run a 30A outlet into the garage near the overhead door. When it needs to be used, plug in the cable the electrician built to go from the generator (which has a 30A outlet) to the one by the wall. Kill the main breaker (to prevent backfeed to the street) and energize the breakers for the garage outlet, then flip the switch on the generator. They can run (if the person tending the house is smart about it) the entire house. If I'm running it for them when they're out of town, the only time it's been needed since the outlet was put in, I kill the breakers for the A/C units to prevent overload on the generator.

They regret not having a transfer switch installed when they had the service upgraded for the A/C, but this solution works well. The generator was not a major consideration when the service upgrade was done since they didn't yet have it.
 

kevo1011

macrumors regular
Oct 3, 2010
121
0
http://m.lowes.com/pd_494338-24212-6258_0__?productId=4774799

My pick if unlimited budget. 20kw. Will run whole house if wired correctly and with natural gas you don't have to worry about refueling. It has propane back up if needed.

I've seen other forums that put it at about $8000 totoal after install.
 

MacNut

macrumors Core
Jan 4, 2002
21,542
7,801
CT
http://m.lowes.com/pd_494338-24212-6258_0__?productId=4774799

My pick if unlimited budget. 20kw. Will run whole house if wired correctly and with natural gas you don't have to worry about refueling. It has propane back up if needed.

I've seen other forums that put it at about $8000 totoal after install.
The nice thing about the whole house units is they will start automatically once the power goes out.
 

kevo1011

macrumors regular
Oct 3, 2010
121
0
The nice thing about the whole house units is they will start automatically once the power goes out.
I been trying to buy one for years but haven't had the money. I keep telling myself to buy it just in case an ER happens, but haven't yet. So far I've only lost power for about 7 hours in 7 years. I can only hope this continues.
 

adk

macrumors 68000
Nov 11, 2005
1,937
21
Stuck in the middle with you
OP, keep in mind that a 5,000 watt generator (which is probably less than you'd need if you want to include your pool pump) consumes about 18 gallons of gasoline per day. This means that if you really think you need to be prepared for a week without power you'd need to have 126 gallons of gas stored and ready to go. You'd also have to periodically rotate out the gas you store so it doesn't go bad.
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
Original poster
May 5, 2008
17,037
16,508
The Misty Mountains
Thanks for the responses!

Have to say OP you are the first person I've ever heard say that they want to run their pool off their generator.
If your pool sits stagnant for 2 weeks, I believe it turns into a mess, thanks for reminding me to check with the pool company and get their input. :)

How are you planning to hook it up. Your best bet is a transfer switch. You will need to hire a electrician to install a sub-panel but it will be the best way to go. Then you hook up the pool filter to the panel and the fridge and what ever else and just flip the switch.
With the smaller portables, you turn off the cutoff switch at the top of the CB panel and install a 30amp breaker and back feed into house. If you overload it, a CB on the generator will pop. As I said, I want to power 3 things small bedroom AC unit, refrigerator, pool pump and maybe TV. :)

When a hurricane's a comin' I can't hardly think of anywhere I'd rather be than in the pool.
Correct! :p

http://m.lowes.com/pd_494338-24212-6258_0__?productId=4774799

My pick if unlimited budget. 20kw. Will run whole house if wired correctly and with natural gas you don't have to worry about refueling. It has propane back up if needed.

I've seen other forums that put it at about $8000 totoal after install.
I don't want to pay that much. I believe some run on natural gas.

OP, keep in mind that a 5,000 watt generator (which is probably less than you'd need if you want to include your pool pump) consumes about 18 gallons of gasoline per day. This means that if you really think you need to be prepared for a week without power you'd need to have 126 gallons of gas stored and ready to go. You'd also have to periodically rotate out the gas you store so it doesn't go bad.
That is why I would not power the entire house. I have friends in the neighborhood with smaller generators who claim to get by on about 8 gallons a day. Two 25 gallon containers of gas ideally equals 6 days.
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
Original poster
May 5, 2008
17,037
16,508
The Misty Mountains
We’ve got a Troy-Bilt, ~6K watt (9K start), runs about 10-11 hours at 1/2 load, nice chassis/tires, plenty of outlets.

That runtime is on ~8 gallons of gas, so you’ve need a decent amount of gas to sustain several days of continuous use.

Only used it one time for an extended period (about 3-4 days).

We have a ton of extensions (for Halloween/Christmas decorations), so it was easy to run lines in from the garage to the main fridge, a couple of fans, some charging stations for phones and computers.

Just ran it backed up, partially out the garage, with the door 1/2 open, plenty of ventilation.

Our gas grill came in super handy too, had a full tank so we were able to grill burgers, hotdogs, warm up things on the side burner.

They have models with electric starters and other features, more output, etc., they all run about $600-900, we scored ours on sale for about $400.
Thanks, I'm going to research them today. :)
 

adk

macrumors 68000
Nov 11, 2005
1,937
21
Stuck in the middle with you
That is why I would not power the entire house. I have friends in the neighborhood with smaller generators who claim to get by on about 8 gallons a day. Two 25 gallon containers of gas ideally equals 6 days.
25 gallons of gas weighs 150 lbs. not including the weight of the container. If you really want to be able to hunker down for a week you'll need to start considering the logistics of how you're going to get that much gasoline to your home and then how you're going to store it and keep it fresh.
 

richwoodrocket

macrumors 68020
Apr 7, 2014
2,127
111
Buffalo, NY
Who's Got A Home Generator?

My grandparents have a Briggs and Stratton 18kw fully automatic natural gas backup generator. It does what it's supposed to. When the power goes out, it'll wait thirty seconds then start up.

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When trying to estimate the load you want your generator to carry should you be looking at amps or watts?

Watts
 

The Doctor11

macrumors 603
Dec 15, 2013
5,907
1,291
New York
My house has a whole house generator. Its pretty cool cuz when the power goes out I continue on with what I was doing. But other then that I dont know anything else about the generator.
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
Original poster
May 5, 2008
17,037
16,508
The Misty Mountains
25 gallons of gas weighs 150 lbs. not including the weight of the container. If you really want to be able to hunker down for a week you'll need to start considering the logistics of how you're going to get that much gasoline to your home and then how you're going to store it and keep it fresh.
I would not store it all year, I'd buy it when a hurricane enters the Gulf of Mexico and if not needed would use it in my cars. Good point on the weight though. I need to see what size containers are practical. During the last significant weather event, people would make gas runs to inland areas with restored power to reload their gas supply.

----------

My grandparents have a Briggs and Stratton 18kw fully automatic natural gas backup generator. It does what it's supposed to. When the power goes out, it'll wait thirty seconds then start up.

----------




Watts
My understanding is that some of them do automated self checks to verify functionality. Thanks!
 

richwoodrocket

macrumors 68020
Apr 7, 2014
2,127
111
Buffalo, NY
Who's Got A Home Generator?

I would not store it all year, I'd buy it when a hurricane enters the Gulf of Mexico and if not needed would use it in my cars. Good point on the weight though. I need to see what size containers are practical.

http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200623784_200623784
Pricey, but you don't have to lift any fuel containers.

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[/COLOR]



My understanding is that some of them do automated self checks to verify functionality. Thanks![/QUOTE]


Yep. It runs for a half hour every week. Oil change once a season it about the only maintenance.
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
Original poster
May 5, 2008
17,037
16,508
The Misty Mountains

balamw

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 16, 2005
19,075
963
New England
We installed a permanent 8kW natural gas system last year. Works great. Fires up every Sunday for about 15 minutes and we got to see it in action during a storm last month. Switches automatically to backup if the power is out for about 15 seconds. Also MUCH quieter than a gasoline powered unit.

B
 

b3av3r

macrumors regular
Dec 9, 2012
185
0
Louisiana
OP, keep in mind that a 5,000 watt generator (which is probably less than you'd need if you want to include your pool pump) consumes about 18 gallons of gasoline per day. This means that if you really think you need to be prepared for a week without power you'd need to have 126 gallons of gas stored and ready to go. You'd also have to periodically rotate out the gas you store so it doesn't go bad.
We have a troy bilt generator, 6K watts, we picked up after Hurricane Katrina (2005). It is a mid grade generator. We ran a window unit, several lamps, TV, xbox, freezer or fridge, and when needed a small griddle. It only used 5 gallons every 11 - 12 hours.

Obviously, it wasn't running full tilt the whole time but I would say 18 gallons a day is a generator running at 100% 24 hours straight. I would think 10 - 12 gallons is a more realistic estimate.

Remember, you don't have to have everything running at the same time either. We mainly bought it for running the window unit and keeping the food in the fridge and freezer safe. We let the fridge run for an hour or so then unplug it and run the freezer for an hour or so. No need for the generator to work harder and run both appliances at the same time.
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
Original poster
May 5, 2008
17,037
16,508
The Misty Mountains
We installed a permanent 8kW natural gas system last year. Works great. Fires up every Sunday for about 15 minutes and we got to see it in action during a storm last month. Switches automatically to backup if the power is out for about 15 seconds. Also MUCH quieter than a gasoline powered unit.

B
Where do you live? Curious about price. (PM me if you prefer.)
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,843
30,363
Boston
I was tempted to get one, and I still am to some degree. I'm not sure if we'll get our money's worth though.
 

SandboxGeneral

Moderator emeritus
Sep 8, 2010
24,960
7,899
Detroit
I was tempted to get one, and I still am to some degree. I'm not sure if we'll get our money's worth though.
If your power goes out and you are able to get some important things running with a generator, I bet you'll think it was the best investment ever!
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
Original poster
May 5, 2008
17,037
16,508
The Misty Mountains
I was tempted to get one, and I still am to some degree. I'm not sure if we'll get our money's worth though.
This is why I'd resist and go for the smaller, less expense but less capable route. It not like hurricanes hit every year and knock out power for weeks.