Generator talk for running your house and ponds in an emergency


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Hi folks! Wasn't sure how many people are looking into generators to run their house and fish pumps but I just finished one including the A/C for a 2000 square foot house. This generator will even run the 4 ton A/C unit!

The trick for the A/C is to get a soft start. Not a hard start but a SOFT start. The difference is a soft start is not only easier on the compressor it really brings the load down to not only start but run the A/C so a generator can handle the power requirements. Hard starts just dont bring the wattage down enough for most generators.

I picked up the largest inverter generator I could find. Inverter generators have cleaner power and don't harm electronics that can be sensitive like pond pumps, refrigerators, computers, tvs, etc.

First thing is to put the soft start on the A/C itself and have the electrician or yourself measure the amps for start up and run time after the install. Mine went from needing 18 amps to needing 4-6 starting up and 9amps to run so a drastic improvement on power consumption.

Next to buy the materials needed.

Generator 1000 bucks
Soft Start: 350
Install Soft Start by electrician 140
30amp plug 51
30 amp 25 foot electrical cord to generator 75
Interlock kit for electrical panel 70
30 amp breaker for electrical panel 25
Installation of interlock kit and plug were free from a friend of mine but would probably be around 250

The interlock kit prevents you from making the mistake of connecting to the grid when there is a power outage which can put workers in danger. Basically its a giant switch to turn off the power from outside and allow the generator to take over.

Total: 1961


I can run two large pumps, a tv, computer, fridge, freezer, lights, fans AND A/C and the consumption was about 4500 watts.

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hope this helps someone thinking about it
 
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I don't understand most anything of what you've posted ( :rolleyes: ) but I do know that we have a back up generator that turns itself on, automatically, in the event of a power outage. It's not strong enough to power our Heat Pump/AC unit, but.... we do have a dedicated circuit for the pond pumps so they keep working in the event of an outage. Gotta take care of those fishies, now don't we? LOL.

We're under 'hurricane alert' for the next 24 hours or so (NW North Carolina, hurricane Ida is rolling through this area right now, as did H. Fred a couple of weeks ago) and I'm not worrying, because.... our generator is ready for action! My food won't spoil ('fridge & back up freezer are on the panel) Limited cooking (cooktop is gas & microwave is on the generator) A few lights, etc... (master bedroom, main computer, hot water heater, battery back up for phone service, WELL PUMP! - we can flush!! - Garage - obviously a guy installed this system! lol And... the pond) Anything else we can get by without for a few days. Longest power outage we've had was 4 days (this has happened twice in the 12 years we've been in the house)

Back up generators are definitely a total 'sigh of relief' when you need them. (y)
 
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Great post! Yep, can't beat them. It is frightening to think if the power goes off for any extended time where will the ice come from for evening cocktails with Thurston Howell lll?



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Photo credit goes to a wonderful show called, Gilligan's Island.
 
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I don't understand most anything of what you've posted ( :rolleyes: ) but I do know that we have a back up generator that turns itself on, automatically, in the event of a power outage. It's not strong enough to power our Heat Pump/AC unit, but.... we do have a dedicated circuit for the pond pumps so they keep working in the event of an outage. Gotta take care of those fishies, now don't we? LOL.

We're under 'hurricane alert' for the next 24 hours or so (NW North Carolina, hurricane Ida is rolling through this area right now, as did H. Fred a couple of weeks ago) and I'm not worrying, because.... our generator is ready for action! My food won't spoil ('fridge & back up freezer are on the panel) Limited cooking (cooktop is gas & microwave is on the generator) A few lights, etc... (master bedroom, main computer, hot water heater, battery back up for phone service, WELL PUMP! - we can flush!! - Garage - obviously a guy installed this system! lol And... the pond) Anything else we can get by without for a few days. Longest power outage we've had was 4 days (this has happened twice in the 12 years we've been in the house)

Back up generators are definitely a total 'sigh of relief' when you need them. (y)

That soft start might just let you use your a/c on your generator. It reduces the power requirements an A/C unit needs. Its called micro air if you are interested.
 
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We had this done in April 2020. It's really a great peace of mind inducer to know you can power yourself for at least as long as you can keep the gasoline flowing! We've never tested ours to see how long it can run on a gallon of gas. We were in the middle of a whopper of a thunderstorm a few weeks ago and the power was flickering. Hubby suggested "this would be a good time to test the generator!" Um... no. We can run ours from the garage (with the door open) but still have to run around the side of the house to plug it in. That would be just my luck to get struck by lightning in the process!

I wonder how long THAT would power the generator...
 
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This is actually an excellent thread that @texmaster started. It is easy to think I'm 'good to go' unless there is a large storm but losing power can happen anytime. We lost power for most of a day due to someone running into a power pole. I thank texmaster for the reminder to get things ready.
 
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We had this done in April 2020. It's really a great peace of mind inducer to know you can power yourself for at least as long as you can keep the gasoline flowing! We've never tested ours to see how long it can run on a gallon of gas. We were in the middle of a whopper of a thunderstorm a few weeks ago and the power was flickering. Hubby suggested "this would be a good time to test the generator!" Um... no. We can run ours from the garage (with the door open) but still have to run around the side of the house to plug it in. That would be just my luck to get struck by lightning in the process!

I wonder how long THAT would power the generator...
I'm very grateful that ours has an automatic transfer switch - having to run out & plug things in during a nasty storm is not my idea of 'peace of mind'! LOL It's hooked directly up to our propane tank (500 gallons) and I remember being a bit concerned the first time we had a 4 day outage as to just how much propane it was going through. Turns out, not much! I kept checking the level & it only dropped a few % in all that time. I tend not to let the tank run too low, though. Typically I'll call for a fill when it hits the 40% mark, which is half a tank (80% or so is 'full' to allow expansion room, or so I've been told)
 

addy1

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We have a few generators................................none hooked up by mr electrician husband................... we have only loss our power twice since living here. The longest around 8 hours, car took out the power.
 
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Great information!
Thanks for the details. I'm sure your description will help others with their research.

I do have a question... I believe heat pump systems only operate when the ambient temperature outside is about 45 degrees farenheit. Any lower than that, a power sucking electric coil(s) kicks in. Most portable generators can't handle this large of a load. How are you supporting that? What is the amperage draw of the electric coil(s) and capacity of your portable generator?

I installed a simple 6 circuit manual transfer switch for my portable gasoline generator some 20 years ago.

It may not be state of the art, but it works for me and it wasn't complicated to install.

It's mounted next to my circuit breaker panel.
I grabbed 6 essential circuits to pass through it.

It included a weatherproof box that contains a large two pole twist lock receptacle. I can't remember if it's 30 or 40 amp.

If the power goes out, I roll my generator to the side of the house, plug it into the receptacle, start the generator, then go inside and flip the 6 single pole double throw switches over to generator.

It works well for me. I don't have central air. My heat is oil fired hot water baseboard and requires very little power to fire and the circulator pumps don't draw much either.

Just in case, I also have a propane fireplace that needs no power. It has the old school pilot light.

So, mine is a simple way of doing it. It will work for you if you only need 6 circuits and don't have sensitive or high amperage equipment to support.

EDIT:
Duh!....I read your original post again and I don't see the mention of heat pump for heating. Where the heck did I get that idea? LOL!
What kind of heating DO you have?
 
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This is actually an excellent thread that @texmaster started. It is easy to think I'm 'good to go' unless there is a large storm but losing power can happen anytime. We lost power for most of a day due to someone running into a power pole. I thank texmaster for the reminder to get things ready.
I'll be honest I never really got into it until the Great Freeze that went across texas in feburary.

I had one 2000 watt 8 year old generator I bought on a lark that thankfully worked and had my entire family plus my mother and godmother (I drove over and picked them up) so 3 women (wife mom and godmother) and 2 kids huddled in a room for 4 days with enough power to run one space heater on low plus the tv and satellite.

I vowed that would never EVER happen again. They were really nice but I'm old school and see myself as the provider and I wasn't providing enough.

This is actually my mom's house. I am still waiting for our whole home generator setup to be installed at the end of September. We ordered it back in April so you can see how long the wait is but mom wanted to be able to sleep in her own bed so I set this up for her and ironically, she is more protected than we are! :)

The whole home is a lot more money of course. For our house which is about 3,000sq ft with a 5 ton a/c its 12k.

So 2k vs 12k and the only differences is ours will run from a natural gas line and hers will need gas and a few minutes of setup.

When the whole home generator is finally installed, I'll post pics.
 
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Former off gridder here. Had farm ponds. Solar and wind. We had 2 5500 watt wheeled Generacs for back up. Now in a tiny rural village wirh frequent power putages. Grabbed a small Generac when we could find one. Pull start. I can't do it. Going to check on solar again. Upgrading the generator.
 
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@poconojoe: It depends on the heat pump. Technology has come a long way. Ours can deliver 80% capacity at 17° and I sized it to eliminate electric backup strips. Didn’t even install them.

They make units that can deliver 100% capacity down to about -5° and 80% down to -13° and people in the Midwest and Canada heat their homes with them without electric backup.
 
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@texmaster: Thanks for the breakdown. Did you have to do any rewiring indoors to get your critical loads on fewer circuits? My house was wired in the 60s with little regard to zoning and no dedicated circuits for appliances like they do now.
 

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