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#1 iflyhelis Nov 27, 2012 07:18 AM

Whole house standby generators
 
I've been getting estimates for a whole house automatic generator in the 20KW range running off of natural gas. I have first found that it is tough just trying to get someone to give me a estimate.

First company gave me a over the phone est. of 8.5-9.5 thousand complete. The next one est. at 11,900 (that was a big-box store) I have 2 more estimates coming in maybe 3.

Anyone else here that has one or is considering one have a idea what a fair price would be.

I got a verbal ballpark of $8,000 but I am waiting for that in writing.

#2 Mark Wood Nov 27, 2012 10:29 AM

If you're heavy loads are already on natural gas (water heater, furnace, kitchen range) you can back the house up easily with a much smaller generator. I've had a 4.4kw doing this for years and it cost me <1000$. It's just a matter of getting it hooked up to the house bus after that.

mw

#3 iflyhelis Nov 27, 2012 11:31 AM

The heavy loads are the electric oven/range/220 volt water well pump/electric dryer (220volt)/1.5.H.P. pool pump/Central air 3 ton unit @ 220 volts.

Plus, if the surroundings Towns power is out, how am I able to go to a gas station to buy gas if they don't have power?

This is why I have selected a NG fueled generator. I have never in 36 years had my NG gas supply shut down.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Mark Wood (Post 23376088)
If you're heavy loads are already on natural gas (water heater, furnace, kitchen range) you can back the house up easily with a much smaller generator. I've had a 4.4kw doing this for years and it cost me <1000$. It's just a matter of getting it hooked up to the house bus after that.

mw


#4 Mark Wood Nov 27, 2012 11:43 AM

I got a bit Cali-centric. Here we're concerned with earthquakes shutting down the NG supply. NG for you is a good choice.

mw

#5 iflyhelis Nov 27, 2012 12:18 PM

I lived in California for about 22 years, I know what you mean about a gas shut-off due to earth-quakes. I had been through one when I was a kid & it really wasn't a bad one, but it cracked a lot of stuff in our house, but not the gas lines.

Lp gas out here is out of the question, first because I have NG gas the Town probably wouldn't allow two sources of gas. 2nd the big problem is the size of tank you need to keep the head pressure up to supply the gas. As Temps. go down, the liquid gas does not expand fast enough to give the generator the amount of fuel it needs. Unless you get a 500-1000 Gallon tank.

They are obtrusive, expensive to rent or buy,plus who will fill it if the roads are blocked by fallen trees, electrical lines or so much snow on the road that driving is impossible.




Quote:

Originally Posted by Mark Wood (Post 23376682)
I got a bit Cali-centric. Here we're concerned with earthquakes shutting down the NG supply. NG for you is a good choice.

mw


#6 traxxas13 Nov 27, 2012 12:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iflyhelis (Post 23376586)
The heavy loads are the electric oven/range/220 volt water well pump/electric dryer (220volt)/1.5.H.P. pool pump/Central air 3 ton unit @ 220 volts.

ok if the power is out why cant you shut off some of this stuff? like the pool pump i think it can go for a few days with out running. may have to work a bit harder once the power is back on and the pump going. at our house we have a 5k watt generator that ran only what was really needed. which was the sump pump and the pump in our lift station. and the fridge. we ran nothin else. the ac could possible be ran on a generator of a smaller size powered by gas but depends on how much power it pulls. and when we lost power for 3 days back in minnesota we ran the generator during the day and shut it off during the night. mainly to help hid it during the night cause they were getting stolen at night. and we coule run allday and part of the next day on a single tank. but just have a 6 gallon can of spare gas with it and you should be set for a few days with a smaller generator. and out where i live now we have no gas out here. everything is electric. which sucks.

#7 56S Nov 27, 2012 06:12 PM

We had some week long outages in Ohio last June and those that had the whole house units paid an awful price to keep the food from rotting in the fridge. I too considered a 20k for about 5 grand, I do the work . After hearing of some of the huge bills I reconsidered. A 1500 watt will run the fridge, deep freeze, a few CFLs, a few medium fans and the DSL modem. A gallon of gas last 4-5 hours and I do a 30-50% duty cycle. I may look for a small NG unit to run my well but I can live without my central air, clothes drier, hot water (I'm upgrading that to gas soon).

#8 Troutbum Nov 27, 2012 06:59 PM

My father had a Generac 14kw installed in July after the big wind storm.
$8,500 complete. The installer did everything, the gas line, electric work, all we had to do was build a platform for it to sit on.
So, in your market, I think you should be able to get it done for under $10,000.

Troutbum

#9 iflyhelis Nov 28, 2012 03:34 AM

I planned on only using what I need as I need it to reduce the load, I just don't want to be forced into only certain circuits that are available to me.

A 3-5 day outage is miserable, I have well water only here & need it to flush toilets. The pool water came in handy for that.

I'm getting too old to be setting up a portable generator & keeping it running, my Wife would never be able to do that task.


Quote:

Originally Posted by traxxas13 (Post 23377177)
ok if the power is out why cant you shut off some of this stuff? like the pool pump i think it can go for a few days with out running. may have to work a bit harder once the power is back on and the pump going. at our house we have a 5k watt generator that ran only what was really needed. which was the sump pump and the pump in our lift station. and the fridge. we ran nothin else. the ac could possible be ran on a generator of a smaller size powered by gas but depends on how much power it pulls. and when we lost power for 3 days back in minnesota we ran the generator during the day and shut it off during the night. mainly to help hid it during the night cause they were getting stolen at night. and we coule run allday and part of the next day on a single tank. but just have a 6 gallon can of spare gas with it and you should be set for a few days with a smaller generator. and out where i live now we have no gas out here. everything is electric. which sucks.


#10 iflyhelis Nov 28, 2012 03:49 AM

Yeah I know I can't generate my own electricity as cheaply as the power company can, but. Natural gas is fairly cheap out here, it costs me 41 cents per hundred cubic feet, the gen set uses less than 300 cubic feet per hour at full load, so that means $1.23 per hour & I am sure I won't be at full load all the time.

In the summer out here with the humidity, I couldn't live with out the AC, I would adjust the thermostat so it didn't run as often, but I wouldn't shut it off.

You mentioned getting a small NG unit to run your well, I think the smallest one is a 10KW (LP) 9KW (NG) unit & you have a 10 circuit box to use at about 35 Amps @220 Volts I think they go for just under 2 grand.


Quote:

Originally Posted by 56S (Post 23380027)
We had some week long outages in Ohio last June and those that had the whole house units paid an awful price to keep the food from rotting in the fridge. I too considered a 20k for about 5 grand, I do the work . After hearing of some of the huge bills I reconsidered. A 1500 watt will run the fridge, deep freeze, a few CFLs, a few medium fans and the DSL modem. A gallon of gas last 4-5 hours and I do a 30-50% duty cycle. I may look for a small NG unit to run my well but I can live without my central air, clothes drier, hot water (I'm upgrading that to gas soon).


#11 iflyhelis Nov 28, 2012 03:59 AM

I was hoping to pay around $8,500 the generator is cheap it is the labor that hurts.

The gas piping is only about a 10 foot run, the power is going to be 50-60 feet. I would have piped it 100 feet & made a short power run, but the cost for bigger pipe & the length of the run would have cost big bucks.

I'm surprised at your Fathers costs for install in your area, I heard the labor costs there was less than the Northeast.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Troutbum (Post 23380400)
My father had a Generac 14kw installed in July after the big wind storm.
$8,500 complete. The installer did everything, the gas line, electric work, all we had to do was build a platform for it to sit on.
So, in your market, I think you should be able to get it done for under $10,000.

Troutbum


#12 56S Nov 28, 2012 09:24 AM

My local hardare store had (IIRC) a 3650 LP generator, tank not included for somewhere in the $600.00 range. I'd have to find one NG or convert it. That isn't big enough for me but it's a direction to look. I do like the idea of not worrying about it when we are on vacation. It's good that you are planning ahead for your wife.

#13 iflyhelis Nov 28, 2012 10:59 AM

I have been researching this for a year & a half to make sure what I want is enough for my house & not over-kill. The reason why I started this thread was to find out from people here what they think & also suggestions if I am turned in the right direction. Oh plus whether someone actually owns one & what they feel about the worth of their investment.

About your hardware store generator: you need to be careful on what the stated wattage is, that 3650 is probably the surge wattage, & it is really a 3,000 Watt generator. The cost for four 5 gallon LP tanks will be around $160.00 then to fill them $80.00. You would need the two tanks to run off of, & when they are empty you switch them out & go get more LP. The reason you need two tanks is because the liquid needs the surface area of the tank to warm it up to turn to a gaseous state to be burned, one tank won't do it. Also, the colder it is outside, the less "head pressure will be produced"

I read a chart about one 100 lb. tank (6 Lb. divided by 100 = 16.66 gallons) at air temp. of 90 degrees F. being able to supply 303,000 BTUs but at 0 degrees it was only able to supply 103,000 BTUs so that is the problem with LP containers.

Yeah, if I were to do a portable I go with the biggest I have seen & that was 16KW on LP if it was NG it would probably be 15 KW & I would lock it up so it could not be stolen.

Problem is like I said, my Wife could not handle it, & then you either have tons of extension cords strung all throughout your house, or some circuit box to distribute the power to designated circuits which I don't want.



Quote:

Originally Posted by 56S (Post 23384924)
My local hardare store had (IIRC) a 3650 LP generator, tank not included for somewhere in the $600.00 range. I'd have to find one NG or convert it. That isn't big enough for me but it's a direction to look. I do like the idea of not worrying about it when we are on vacation. It's good that you are planning ahead for your wife.


#14 Mark Wood Nov 28, 2012 11:16 AM

Many times the gas company will convert just about anything that runs on LP to NG for you at no charge. It's good business for them.

mw

#15 56S Nov 29, 2012 05:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 56S (Post 23384924)
My local hardare store had (IIRC) a 3650 LP generator, tank not included for somewhere in the $600.00 range. I'd have to find one NG or convert it. That isn't big enough for me but it's a direction to look. I do like the idea of not worrying about it when we are on vacation. It's good that you are planning ahead for your wife.

http://www.generac.com/Portables/LP_...oducts/LP3250/ 3250 instead of 3650. What's 400 watts among friends;) These are available for around 600 bucks but really is a bit smallish. Converted to NG the watts would be under 3K prolly.


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