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herdfan
Premium
join:2003-01-25
Hurricane, WV
reply to pandora

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

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
Premium
join:2001-06-01
Outland
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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.
--
"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use."


nunya
LXI 483
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
Don't let the DLM feature baffle you. It's nothing fancy. It's just contactors.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.


IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
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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.
--
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).


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
My august usage was 830 kWh. Not bad for around 1500 sq/ft at 75 deg F.


IowaCowboy
Iowa native
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Springfield, MA
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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.
--
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).

pandora
Premium
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Outland
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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.
--
"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use."


fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2
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
Iowa native
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Springfield, MA
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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.

--
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).