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cowboyro
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join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT

1 edit
reply to pandora

Re: Anyone have a suggestion for standby whole home generator?

said by pandora:

His suggestion is a 20K air cooled Generac. These run around $4,000.

That seems grossly exaggerated. I have a 2350sqft house, all-electric and the highest momentary load (for more than 1sec) that I've seen in months of monitoring was below 15kW. That with both heat pumps, the range and the drier running.
This is 3 days worth of power usage in Feb 2011 when I registered the highest momentary use.



If you have propane then it makes sense to use it for heating in an emergency - so your highest load would be greatly reduced. To me it makes no sense to use propane to produce electricity at 25% efficiency and then turn it back into heat at 100-300% efficiency.
said by pandora:

Does anyone have a link comparing the electrical quality of power produced by various generator brands? For example how well shaped the sine waves are, and how much noise is created? Then reliability and of course price.

That will highly depend on the load that you connect. In theory the waves are sine with no load connected. Once you connect a load all bets are off. Connect a heater? Will likely stay sine. Connect a massive load with a switching power supply? No more sine. However many current electronics couldn't care less about the shape of the wave - just think that a typical UPS feeds a somewhat square wave.

AndrewG2

join:2006-01-20
Niagara Falls, ON
reply to 49528867
Ah right, but if you were to rig a heat exchanger to pipe the genny heat back inside, you probably would not need to run it for heat per se, apart from a couple of weeks of the coldest winter.


herdfan
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join:2003-01-25
Hurricane, WV
reply to pandora
This past summer as a result of the derecho that came through my area, knowing power was going to be off a week, it seemed like a good time to buy a big generator. We lose power several days a year here, so we had previously considered one. The small 5500 would get us through in the winter (gas heat) but it was a pain and this past summer most gas stations did not have gas so it was almost useless.

So I went down to HD and bought the only Generac they had, a 17/16 kW. It is rated for 17kW on propane and 16kW on NG. But since my HG is fairly high BTU, I figure I am closer to 17 than 16.

Mine came with the EZ-Switch transfer switch which let me chose 16 circuits. It come pre-wired with 3 240V, but needing only one, I changed out the 50 and 40 am breakers for 4 20's. Initially I just rigged it to get us through the week without power, but then we sat down and figured which circuits we needed. After the needs: refrigerator, garage (extra freezer) A/C & heat, we started going through what others we needed. Added a bathroom for showers etc, my daughter's bedroom, the media room, the kitchen lights and island receptacle circuit and a couple of others.

We figured we could run a couple of extension cords to the 2 hot water heaters (they are gas, but one has a power vent and the other a circuit board) so they could operate, and from the office (got to have internet ) to run some lamps in the living room.

With that setup, we figured we would be able to get by fairly comfortably. Upgrading to a 20kW would have just cost another grand and not really gotten us much more.

But If I ever build another house, it will have a full panel on a big 45-60kW generator.

pandora
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reply to IowaCowboy
said by IowaCowboy:

Powering 400 amps off of an LP generator is a large load and will burn through a tank of propane pretty quickly. Maybe you could decide which circuits you absolutely have to power (such as fridge, lights, heat/AC, etc) so you can go with a smaller generator and your propane supply will last longer.

I think it's 83 amps on LP for a 20 KW Generac, about 10 gallons of propane an hour. 500 gallons would last 2 days at full load. The DLM permits running a whole home by cycling on and off heavy load appliances. The DLM stuff is new to me, but seems to permit a smaller generator to run a home during power failures.
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pandora
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reply to nunya
said by nunya:

OP, if your house is still in the construction phase you should probably do some quick research on propane appliances if you are going to have a tank installed anyway.
Quite often, even propane beats operating costs of electric heating appliances. Electric resistance heat is very inefficient.

We already have a number of propane appliances, but the draw at full load for a 20kw generac is much larger than our 45 gallong tank could supply. Even if the tank could keep up, it'd be dead in about 4-7 hours depending on load.
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pandora
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reply to nunya
said by nunya:

OP, if your house is still in the construction phase you should probably do some quick research on propane appliances if you are going to have a tank installed anyway.
Quite often, even propane beats operating costs of electric heating appliances. Electric resistance heat is very inefficient.

We already have a number of propane appliances, but the draw at full load for a 20kw generac is much larger than our 45 gallon tank could supply. Even if the tank could keep up, it'd be dead in about 4-7 hours depending on load.
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pandora
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1 edit
reply to Bob4
said by Bob4:

said by nunya:

Electric resistance heat is very inefficient.


Nitpick: Don't you mean to say electric resistance heat is very expensive? I thought it was 100% efficient in that all of the energy consumed goes into heating the house (at least for electric baseboard heating).

We will be installing 2 four ton 18 SEER heat pumps with electric resistance axillary heat. Already installed is a Geospring heat pump assisted water heater.

Oil has been removed from my home, after 7 years with a heat pump, it was fine. Last winter we had 1 day when auxiliary heat was required. The newer units are more efficient and have better cold weather performance.
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pandora
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reply to Mr Matt
said by Mr Matt:

I ran a calculation on the relative efficiency of diesel vs propane powered generators see the chart above.

The Onan generator in the chart varies from 18% to 26% depending on load. There are three different diesel generators listed, all efficiency ratings are based on full load fuel consumption for those generators.

Regarding the relative cost of propane vs electric appliances, I included a description on how to calculate the relative cost in another thread here:

»Heater / Central Air recommendations.

For my situation I calculated the cost of propane vs electric fuel by dividing the kilowatt hours used into the total bill which comes out to about $0.13 per kilowatt hour. The cost for heating water with propane using a storage type water heater with a 70% efficiency and $4.00 per gallon cost for propane works out to an equivalent cost of $0.2132 per kilowatt hour. In order for the cost of propane to be equal to the cost of electric fuel the cost per gallon of propane would have to be less than $2.44.

Matt most diesel generators are liquid cooled, and require extra maintenance. Additionally, I'd be concerned with several hundred gallons of diesel oil sitting for perhaps years as the generac would be the only load.

We currently use about 40 gallons a month of propane and have a 45 gallon tank. With 2 new fireplaces, and a cooktop, the use should increase slightly.

500 gallons would cycle in about a year, for diesel, at 12 minutes a week on a generac or other brand, it could take a decade or longer for 300-500 gallons of diesel to cycle. Does diesel remain stable for a decade?
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pandora
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reply to cowboyro
said by cowboyro:

said by pandora:

His suggestion is a 20K air cooled Generac. These run around $4,000.

That seems grossly exaggerated. I have a 2350sqft house, all-electric and the highest momentary load (for more than 1sec) that I've seen in months of monitoring was below 15kW. That with both heat pumps, the range and the drier running.

After remodel the house will be approximately 5,000 sq ft. We will have 2 4 ton heat pumps running 4 A/C zones.

The electrician has suggested a 20K unit, guess I could ask him for more information about why he made this suggestion.
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pandora
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reply to herdfan
said by herdfan:

But If I ever build another house, it will have a full panel on a big 45-60kW generator.

DLM allows the generator to shed and add load as needed. I'm still not entirely clear on the technology, in places it indicates an ability to rotate heavy loads. My electrician indicates this permits a smaller generator to feed a home than would otherwise be needed.

Heat pumps, hot water, well, oven, and other high power loads can be cycled on and off as needed to keep the generator from overloading.

Our last electric bill for the older (smaller home, 3,200 sq ft) was about 2600 KWH over 28 days. 93 KWH per day, 3.8 KW per hour if all use was average.

The house is going from $3,200 sq ft, to about 5,000 sq ft, and we are moving from a 14 SEER 3.5 ton heat pump to 2 4 ton heat pumps. Our old boiler was removed, and in the past 2 weeks (for which we do not have a bill) the hot water heater was changed to a GE Geospring heat pump assisted unit.

I anticipate the larger home, and electric hot water heater (even with heat pump assist) will consume a bit more electricity than our older home. The new heat pumps are variable speed, as are the air handlers. A lot of this is new to me, and I'm unable to predict exactly what my new usage should be.

Aside from the basic home infrastructure, about 4,000' of Cat 6, and 2,500' of RG 6 is being installed, as is an alarm system, and a 16 channel surveillance DVR (of which we anticipate setting up 8-10 initially).

It is a lot of change for us.
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mix

join:2002-03-19
Utica, MI
reply to pandora
How big of a battery bank could you build to power your computer equipment for the price you are paying for a generator, propane tank and accessories?


nunya
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reply to pandora
Don't let the DLM feature baffle you. It's nothing fancy. It's just contactors.
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reply to pandora
I spoke to an acquaintance that has a 20 KW Generac Generator, they claim that they use 30 to 35 Gallons of propane a day running the generator continuously. Generac rates the full load propane consumption of a 20 KW air cooled generator at 2.9 Gallons per hour. Onan rates the fuel consumption of their 20 KW generator at a 5 KW load, at 1 Gallon per hour, 3 Gallons per hour at full load. You will need at least a 250 Gallon tank to meet the draw down requirements of a 20 KW Generator.

I visited a relative in New Hampshire and learned that most propane consumers there, bury their propane tank below the frost line to stabilize the temperature and eliminate draw down issues when temperatures are below freezing. I would recommend a 500 Gallon tank which should give you about 10 Days of operation without a refill. Purchase your propane tank rather than renting it and you can purchase propane from any local bulk propane dealer. Lease a tank and you can only purchase propane from the company you leased the tank from.

When I was considering installing a generator, I was advised by a local homeowner to purchase a propane tank that can hold at least a 10 day supply of fuel. I live in Central Florida where we are subject to long term outages caused by hurricanes. Some homeowners were without electricity for over 30 days and wound up with inoperative generators because they ran out of fuel and could not get a refill for a week.

Diesel fuel can remain stable for over a year if fuel stabilizer is added during the initial fill. After that fuel life depends on the quality of the fuel provided by the supplier. Diesel does have a finite life and is subject to bacterial growth.


Jack_in_VA
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said by Mr Matt:

I spoke to an acquaintance that has a 20 KW Generac Generator, they claim that they use 30 to 35 Gallons of propane a day running the generator continuously. Generac rates the full load propane consumption of a 20 KW air cooled generator at 2.9 Gallons per hour. Onan rates the fuel consumption of their 20 KW generator at a 5 KW load, at 1 Gallon per hour, 3 Gallons per hour at full load. You will need at least a 250 Gallon tank to meet the draw down requirements of a 20 KW Generator.

I visited a relative in New Hampshire and learned that most propane consumers there, bury their propane tank below the frost line to stabilize the temperature and eliminate draw down issues when temperatures are below freezing. I would recommend a 500 Gallon tank which should give you about 10 Days of operation without a refill. Purchase your propane tank rather than renting it and you can purchase propane from any local bulk propane dealer. Lease a tank and you can only purchase propane from the company you leased the tank from.

When I was considering installing a generator, I was advised by a local homeowner to purchase a propane tank that can hold at least a 10 day supply of fuel. I live in Central Florida where we are subject to long term outages caused by hurricanes. Some homeowners were without electricity for over 30 days and wound up with inoperative generators because they ran out of fuel and could not get a refill for a week.

Diesel fuel can remain stable for over a year if fuel stabilizer is added during the initial fill. After that fuel life depends on the quality of the fuel provided by the supplier. Diesel does have a finite life and is subject to bacterial growth.

Let's calculate this:

3 gal/hr x 24 hours = 72 gal x $4.00/gal = $288/day

$288/day x 30 days = $8640

You know Mr. Matt I'm not sure I could stand much of that financially.

Bob4
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said by Jack_in_VA:

3 gal/hr x 24 hours = 72 gal x $4.00/gal = $288/day

You can stay in a pretty nice hotel for less than that.


SwedishRider
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reply to Jack_in_VA
said by Jack_in_VA:

Let's calculate this:

3 gal/hr x 24 hours = 72 gal x $4.00/gal = $288/day

$288/day x 30 days = $8640

You know Mr. Matt I'm not sure I could stand much of that financially.

It's not that expensive for propane where pandora lives (CT) if you have a 500 or 1000 gallon tank: »Re: CT Energy Price Patrol- Oil, Propane, Pellets, Alt. Fuels


fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
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reply to Jack_in_VA
said by Jack_in_VA:

Let's calculate this:

3 gal/hr x 24 hours = 72 gal x $4.00/gal = $288/day

$288/day x 30 days = $8640

You know Mr. Matt I'm not sure I could stand much of that financially.

I just had my 500 gallon tank filled and it was $2.75/gallon.

Most people with a generator probably won't run it 24 hours a day for an extended outage. 4 hours per day is typical.


Jack_in_VA
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said by fifty nine:

said by Jack_in_VA:

Let's calculate this:

3 gal/hr x 24 hours = 72 gal x $4.00/gal = $288/day

$288/day x 30 days = $8640

You know Mr. Matt I'm not sure I could stand much of that financially.

I just had my 500 gallon tank filled and it was $2.75/gallon.

Most people with a generator probably won't run it 24 hours a day for an extended outage. 4 hours per day is typical.

Wayne I agree but from the OP's post It appears they are going to have a substantial demand.

Even if the price is half on the propane it's still going to be expensive.

There's a neighbor who is CEO of a national plumbing company and he has an old plantation home with a "BIG" generator. We had a 3 day outage and the propane truck driver told me he used $800 worth of Propane. I don't know what he paid per gallon for it though.

I thought the 12 gallons my Honda was sucking up in 16 hours was bad. That would be $48/day at todays prices.


IowaCowboy
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reply to pandora
said by pandora:

Our last electric bill for the older (smaller home, 3,200 sq ft) was about 2600 KWH over 28 days. 93 KWH per day, 3.8 KW per hour if all use was average.

I don't know what part of the country you live in but if you lived in the Northeast (New England states/New York), your electric bills would be through the roof. I live in Massachusetts and I pay twice as much per month for my side of the duplex than my former neighbor pays for a single family home in Iowa. Connecticut has even worse electric rates than we do in Massachusetts, and Maine is more reasonable. Of course I've changed almost every light with CFL/LED light bulbs (the only place I don't use CFL light bulbs is the full bath because the steam from the shower murders CFL bulbs so I use traditional incandescent light bulbs there) and my electric bills are still high.
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Jack_in_VA
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My august usage was 830 kWh. Not bad for around 1500 sq/ft at 75 deg F.


cowboyro
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reply to pandora
said by pandora:

We will have 2 4 ton heat pumps running 4 A/C zones.

The electrician has suggested a 20K unit, guess I could ask him for more information about why he made this suggestion.

I remember from a different thread now...
a 4-ton unit will suck some 3000-4000W depending on temperature.
Problem is that you'll have strips for backup heat IIRC and at 10000W each you may be already over the power of the generator.
In all honesty I'd use the propane for backup heat and then a 10kW generator will do. Or if you *really need* to run both units in summer for AC then the 20kW will insure that both can run.


IowaCowboy
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reply to Jack_in_VA
said by Jack_in_VA:

My august usage was 830 kWh. Not bad for around 1500 sq/ft at 75 deg F.

My usage was 836 kWh last month for a 936 sq ft house. Average temp was 73. One of the problems I have is my bedroom is on the east side of the building (takes the morning sun) and the duplex has wood siding that is stained a dark color along with a black roof (absorbs the heat) so I am running the bedroom A/C constantly (even when it is mild). The gadgets I have in the bedroom (cable modem, computer, DVR, HDTV, and a printer) also generate heat.

If I bought this building, I would get a lighter color roof and either paint the siding white or put on new vinyl siding that is a lighter color to reflect the heat.
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pandora
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reply to mix
said by mix:

How big of a battery bank could you build to power your computer equipment for the price you are paying for a generator, propane tank and accessories?

I have absolutely no idea. I have no idea how it'd be connected, what sort of inverter would be needed to manage 20KW, or how long batteries would last or how to maintain them. I suspect there could be hazardous material issues as well. If battery banks worked on residences, we'd be seeing them sold by the box stores, not stand by whole home generators imo.
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pandora
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reply to Jack_in_VA
said by Jack_in_VA:

Let's calculate this:

3 gal/hr x 24 hours = 72 gal x $4.00/gal = $288/day

$288/day x 30 days = $8640

You know Mr. Matt I'm not sure I could stand much of that financially.

Our longest power failure lasted 7 days. Our cost of propane in small quantities is about $2.99. Larger quantities and owning your own tank lower the cost substantially.

Consider $3 per gallon times 3 gallons per hour times 24 hours per day, $216 per day? Times 7, $1512.

I'd pay that than have my family freeze. It depends on what you value and how much you can afford. According to Lowes, fuel consumption at full load is 3 gallons per hour. - »www.lowes.com/pd_36_0__?productId=3231536 at half load Generac literature indicate use of slightly more than 50% of full load - »www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=···3ss3r_Og

If my consumption doubles to 5000 kwh per month (which it won't, better efficiency heat pumps, better insulation, residing with R9.6 sheathing is being installed. I get an average of about 6.4 KWh per hour (averaging out over my monthly usage, assuming almost double use). The load would average less than half on the unit on average. Which likely indicates something under $500 per week assuming there is a decent discount for providing my own propane.

$500 is less than the cost of groceries lost in the last long outage (we have 2 large freezers, and a large fridge with freezer).

It all depends on what we value and can afford.
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reply to pandora
Also remember that generators do come with an "off" switch. You don't have to run the thing 24/7 unless you feel like it. During the day, it may not even be necessary.
If computer / network equipment is an issue, a good UPS can allow you some downtime for the generator (maintenance). Since I've consolidated to virtual servers and low power PC appliances, my Minuteman can keep everything up nearly 2 hours. Granted, it is more of a commercial type unit.
Around here, we are looking at $2.10-2.20 / gal of delivered propane.
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reply to IowaCowboy
said by IowaCowboy:

I don't know what part of the country you live in but if you lived in the Northeast (New England states/New York), your electric bills would be through the roof. I live in Massachusetts and I pay twice as much per month for my side of the duplex than my former neighbor pays for a single family home in Iowa. Connecticut has even worse electric rates than we do in Massachusetts, and Maine is more reasonable. Of course I've changed almost every light with CFL/LED light bulbs (the only place I don't use CFL light bulbs is the full bath because the steam from the shower murders CFL bulbs so I use traditional incandescent light bulbs there) and my electric bills are still high.

Connecticut Light and Power (and I suspect it's mirror image on the other side of the state) has created a virtually incomprehensible billing system.

We do get to pick our electric provider, but CL&P charges for transmission through it's wires. The charges for CL&P are higher than the electric rates.

The "generation rate" I pay is about 7.2 cents per KWh. However, transmission, and various taxes and mystery fees raise that to nearly 20 cents per KWh. As I just lowered my rate to 7.2 cents from 8.0, I won't be able to compute the new rate until a bill comes. However it'll be in the range of 18 to 20 cents per KWh.

Connecticut is very NIMBY. Some of our richer towns, refused to have new overhead lines installed (an eyesore) the cost of burying the lines is many times higher than running them overhead. We are assessed a monthly cost for the burying of cables, the nearest of which is about 25 miles from my home, and none of the buried cables provide power to my town or any town near me.

We also have some sort of federal punishment fee added to our bills due to failure to generate locally. I believe this is about 8% of the transmission bill. Nobody will permit any new electrical generation in any town. The last effort I recall was in New Milford, it was to be a natural gas plant with oil as a backup in the event of loss of natural gas. Turns out the location (on top of a hill) was bad, because the slightly higher CO2 could run down into a nearby river and deprive the poor fish of air. To the best of my recollection no science was ever presented to prove that true, but it is the sort of nonsense that happens here all the time.

Everyone wants great infrastructure, but nobody wants it near their home.
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laserfan

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reply to nunya
said by nunya:

Also remember that generators do come with an "off" switch.

I'm planning a whole house unit with a MANUAL transfer switch so that I can, on a power failure, set breakers where I want them (so some can be OFF of course), before switching-on the generator.

If I have a 200 amp service, and have had that 200amp breaker TRIP, what is the likely kW I'd have been drawing when that happened? Obviously I have a mix of 240 and 120 loads so is the answer simply "somewhere between 24kW and 48kW (200 x 120 vs 200 x 240)?


southla

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reply to pandora
I have been researching to make the same decision. I currently have a portable with manual transfer switch that works well (60 hours in 6 years, been lucky), but chasing gas is more than I want to deal with as I get older (propane is not allowed). I assumed that I would go with Generac since that is largely what I see, however after deciding on a dealer that I am comfortable with, they recommended and I ended up deciding on a GE (Briggs and Stratton) 20KW air cooled. The warranty is 5 years (or 1800 hours) parts and labor as opposed to 3, and the unit is better engineered (from a mechanical / maintenance point of view) than the equivalent Generac in my opinion. I have other equipment with the Vanguard engine have never had a problem. I just pulled the trigger and the unit is not yet installed, so I can't comment on operation.

I will have it installed where I can still use my manual / portable as a backup in case a live oak takes out the natural gas line.

I did note some issues in reviews, but largely they were due to not being able to get service (big box purchases), using a a dependable dealer should eliminate that. In the recent storm, several friends and acquaintances had Generacs that didn't work and had the same issue, couldn't get service.

Like I told my wife, it's a Ford / Chevy decision, but my comfort level was higher in the end on the GE.


fifty nine

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reply to IowaCowboy
said by IowaCowboy:

said by pandora:

Our last electric bill for the older (smaller home, 3,200 sq ft) was about 2600 KWH over 28 days. 93 KWH per day, 3.8 KW per hour if all use was average.

I don't know what part of the country you live in but if you lived in the Northeast (New England states/New York), your electric bills would be through the roof. I live in Massachusetts and I pay twice as much per month for my side of the duplex than my former neighbor pays for a single family home in Iowa. Connecticut has even worse electric rates than we do in Massachusetts, and Maine is more reasonable. Of course I've changed almost every light with CFL/LED light bulbs (the only place I don't use CFL light bulbs is the full bath because the steam from the shower murders CFL bulbs so I use traditional incandescent light bulbs there) and my electric bills are still high.

5000 square feet is going to cost a lot to heat/cool. We have 2700 here and our electric bill averages around $150 in the summer. I don't do any budget billing nonsense because I like having a lower bill in the winter (we use wood and propane) and like to see what effect rate hikes have.


IowaCowboy
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1 edit
said by fifty nine:

said by IowaCowboy:

said by pandora:

Our last electric bill for the older (smaller home, 3,200 sq ft) was about 2600 KWH over 28 days. 93 KWH per day, 3.8 KW per hour if all use was average.

I don't know what part of the country you live in but if you lived in the Northeast (New England states/New York), your electric bills would be through the roof. I live in Massachusetts and I pay twice as much per month for my side of the duplex than my former neighbor pays for a single family home in Iowa. Connecticut has even worse electric rates than we do in Massachusetts, and Maine is more reasonable. Of course I've changed almost every light with CFL/LED light bulbs (the only place I don't use CFL light bulbs is the full bath because the steam from the shower murders CFL bulbs so I use traditional incandescent light bulbs there) and my electric bills are still high.

5000 square feet is going to cost a lot to heat/cool. We have 2700 here and our electric bill averages around $150 in the summer. I don't do any budget billing nonsense because I like having a lower bill in the winter (we use wood and propane) and like to see what effect rate hikes have.

For our 936 sq ft unit, the electric bill in the summer (running two room air conditioner units) is about $90 per month. In the winter, it usually goes over $200 per month and has been as high as $350 one month in January of 2004. There is a built in air conditioner (through the wall unit) provided by the landlord but the unit is so old (dates back to 1988, when the building was built) that we use a portable air conditioner in the living room (that is so much cheaper to run). In the bedroom, I have a window unit.

As for the discussion on generators, I bought a generator during the October snowstorm and I did not have to use it as power was restored a few hours later after being out three days. I am in the process of installing a manual transfer switch in the main panel. I have the switch installed and I just need to wire the inlet box. I am powering essential circuits (downstairs heat, lights, fridge). Sure beats using a so-called "suicide cord" to backfeed a generator into the house (as those will burn the house down, fry the appliances/gadgets in the neighbor's unit, or fry a utility worker). I make an effort to do things properly and in a workman like manner. I have some holes leftover from a Sattellite tv antenna that I no longer use to run the inlet box but I might drill in the front of the house and use PVC conduit to run the power inlet box. The tv holes are in the back of the house and I want to put the inlet box in front to save wire as 10/3 is very expensive.

As for installing a generator transfer switch in a rental, I have a medical condition that may be life threatening in an outage. I am going to plug the medical equipment into a UPS that will give me time to switch the power over to the portable genset. I also have the a medical alert on file with the poco so they will notify me by phone if outages may be possible. We have rarely had outages up until last year when it went out twice (once lasting three days in October), and with my worsening health, we got the portable genset. It seems that the weather here is getting more extreme. We had really bad weather last year, the Jun 1st tornado (not a common sight here), Irene, and the October snowstorm.

We've lived at our house for ten years and don't plan on moving anytime soon.

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I wish I still lived in Iowa; Everything there from rent and groceries to Cable TV is much cheaper in Iowa (especially with an overbuilder in town).