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Portable Generator Question

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posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 04:31 AM
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Does anyone have any experience with portable generators? In Toronto last winter we had a power outage that lasted almost a week for some parts of town. The temperature at the time was very cold. Our power was down for three days and it was no joke. We had to go out to get water boiled at our local pub. Fortunately the outages were spotty, so one could still go to a restaurant for food a block away while being totally blacked out on one's own street.

We have an elderly person living with us in the winter who needs to be able to get hot water. I vowed that we would never have to go through that situation of no electrical power again.

I need to get a small quiet generator that can at least operate some lights, a space heater and a kettle. My high end on price would be $500.

Thanks for all input. I'm new to this stuff.




posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 04:38 AM
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You're probably looking at 2000 watts minimum depending on the items you mentioned. Most heaters run 1200 t0 1500 watts all on their own. An electric kettle you would probably have to unplug while the heater is on. Lights.... Led or old style? And a quiet one for that price.... not easy to find. Also, it can be hard to find a cheap generator that is safe to run a computer on if that is important. I think you may need to increase your price to get a decent one that will meet your apparent needs. I wish they were cheaper too!



posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 04:50 AM
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a reply to: jaxnmarko

I think I'll have to start browsing online. I have seen modular ones in the past that can be hooked together. Would still like to hear from people with experience of the pitfalls and pluses of different generators.



posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 05:05 AM
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a reply to: ipsedixit

my advice - separate the " requirement for electricity " from the need for head // hot water

due to the way they work - small ICE gensets are not good fpr boiling kettles

if you use hi efficiency LED and flourecent lights - your actual electric requirements for subsidence is amazingly low

use liquid , solid or gas powered heating for ambient temp and hot water



posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 05:17 AM
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a reply to: ignorant_ape

What would your take be on a unit like this. It seems very simple and the brand is well known, long time.

It has two 120 outlets on it.

www.homedepot.ca...



posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 05:22 AM
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Make sure it has adequate ventilation as accumulating CO fumes in a dwelling closed up for freezing weather is not really desirable for health reasons



posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 05:22 AM
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Do a little research on whole house backup generators. You might also look at solar hot water heater. You did not mention if your house is all electric. Or do you have natural gas. You know that portable generators will use a lot of gasoline.



posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 05:24 AM
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The first question that comes to mind is...what sort of dwelling is it? If it's an apartment, you'll have a very different sort of answer than if it's a house with a yard.



posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 05:27 AM
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a reply to: Ceeker63
We are all electric.

I would love to be able to afford a whole house solution, probably powered by propane. GE and others do make them but we are getting into heavey expenses, probably in excess of $5000 including installation, interface with the existing panel, etc.



posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 05:28 AM
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a reply to: Bedlam

House with yard, 4 levels including basement. 2nd and 3rd floors have balconies. Also there is a garage.



posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 05:40 AM
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originally posted by: ignorant_ape
if you use hi efficiency LED and flourecent lights - your actual electric requirements for subsidence is amazingly low

use liquid , solid or gas powered heating for ambient temp and hot water


Very good advice, a much better solution.



posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 05:52 AM
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OK that information is important. You will need a generator with a minimum of 5000 watts. You will need to be able to store a lot of gasoline as well. Add stabilizer to the gas to keep it from going bad.



posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 05:55 AM
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Ah. Well, in that case, do you have a nice well-ventilated storage area to put the genny and its gasoline?

A small metal building would do. If you leave generators in the weather, they tend to never run again the second season. And they go through gasoline like no-one's business.

The gasoline storage ends up being a big problem. You don't want to stack it outside. But, on the other hand, storing a lot of gasoline in an unvented storage shed can be quite dangerous. And you'll likely need to store gasoline sufficient for any expected power outage, in this case, at least a couple of weeks.

It's been my experience if you can afford a natural gas genny, the gas feed to the house will rarely go down. I lived through Katrina in Pensacola and while we lost power, phone and cable for over a month, we never lost gas. They're a bit more expensive, but the maintenance is far lower and you don't have that pesky issue with gasoline you'll otherwise have.

Alternately, you might skip electricity altogether and opt for lanterns and heat if you've got the option. The net shows that Toronto has natural gas, does your house have the option for a gas feed? If so, I'd have a low end gas heater put in. That will deal with your heat issues, and if you get a barbecue grill tap, it also will allow cooking.

A picnic tank or two of propane can be kept safely in an outbuilding, and if rigged with the appropriate adapter, will allow you to refill quite a number of 1 pound containers for running propane lights inside. As long as you're not shut tightly in a small room with one, they are safe to use indoors, and quite bright.

eta: I had a 5kW genny during the Katrina aftermath, and two 55 gallon drums of gasoline. I didn't use it all, by far. But I might have needed it, you just can't gauge. So I ended up having to burn the gas up in the motorcycle or car so it wouldn't go bad. If I had to keep 55 gallons on hand at all times, I'd have to constantly cycle it to keep it from turning to varnish. It's an issue. It would be worth more to get a gas connection even if the genny was more expensive. And you might be able to forego the generator totally.
edit on 9-10-2014 by Bedlam because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 05:59 AM
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You might think about running your lights with LED's/CFL's powered by a solar panel and battery bank, switching your hot water to bottled gas or a solar system (dependant on gas supplies in your area, and how much you are willing to spend), keeping a bbq with a gas canister, or an open fire place for emergency cooking...
Also, for an approx 2kw generator, I do hear Honda's are very good, you get what you pay for, cheap generators cook electrical devices and burn lots of petrol, more expensive ones perform better.
Quite a few good ideas in the above posts, sorry if I've rehashed too many ideas.



posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 06:00 AM
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originally posted by: hellobruce

if you use hi efficiency LED and flourecent lights - your actual electric requirements for subsidence is amazingly low

use liquid , solid or gas powered heating for ambient temp and hot water


Very good advice, a much better solution.


Good points, but burning stuff inside is something I'd like to avoid, if possible. Often times around here the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing and sometimes it doesn't matter because both hands are all thumbs anyway.

A solution that appears closest to "normal" is best for us.
edit on 9-10-2014 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 06:06 AM
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a reply to: Bedlam

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll have to look into the gas issue.

At this point I'm kind of torn between looking after our elderly resident exclusively, with a small unit or biting the bullet and going for something more expensive but with a fairly long running time and greater coverage (at greater cost).

Something like this:

www.homedepot.ca...

Incidentally, it is funny to read the reviews of generators because a lot of them are written by veterans of last year's ice storm in the southern Ontario region.


edit on 9-10-2014 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 06:18 AM
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originally posted by: ipsedixit
a reply to: Bedlam

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll have to look into the gas issue.



Man, if you can get natural gas to the house, that's the answer to many of your problems.

In the States, the gas company will run the gas to the house and put on a meter for nothing more than the deposit and one month's usage. You can install a barbecue grill tap and natural gas grill and that's your cooking for the duration. There's not much you can't do on a gas grill if you're pushed to it.

As far as a genny goes, a natural gas generator gets you around all those pesky gasoline storage issues and they crank a lot easier in the cold.

You could hook this guy up to a second "barbecue tap" (I assume you can get that put in in Canada):
Hark! A natural gas genny for cheap:

eta: I would put the thing in a shed if you have one. Tarp it if not. And crank it often. You'll also want to lay in a supply of oil for it, you'll have to change the oil about every other day for natural gas. I had to change it daily for a gasoline rig.

etaa: As stated, you can turn over a lot of LED lights. Enough to light the house. And a heater or two. It would be a lot easier to have a gas heater though, you can heat the house to acceptable levels even in Canada with a gas heater and the fan turned over by a NG generator.
edit on 9-10-2014 by Bedlam because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 06:20 AM
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a reply to: ipsedixit

Cheap generators ($500) are ok for general purpose stuff but are also VERY inefficient on fuel. And storing any more than 15 gallons of fuel is a hazard and a code violation depending on where you live. If you have that much of a concern for the power in your area going out, Id consider moving to someplace more reliable where water access is available and heat can be obtained with wood burning.



posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 06:23 AM
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Tractor Supply has some about two thousand watt generators that they put on sale time to time for a hundred fifty bucks. They work pretty well. It isn't a high end one that can be used continuously, but for occasional use it is fine.

Always remember to put some stabalizer in the gas and use gas without alcohol. A generator should be started and run every year also so the carb doesn't gunk up. All generators are the same that way other than possibly propane generators. It doesn't matter how much you pay for generators, these problems of carbs and gas evaporation effect all of them.
edit on 9-10-2014 by rickymouse because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 9 2014 @ 06:30 AM
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I would think about a Smaller generator charging a car battery. You only need it on for a few times a day.

Get a 12v kettle and a couple of car electric blankets. You will be good to go.

LED lighting is an easy one.

12V converter for your laptop is also cool and you can charge your cell phone as well.

that is if the cell towers are working.

P



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