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Generators

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  • Generators

    The recent storm, while it did not hit us at all, hit my family hard in WV and has made clear to me that I really need to buy a generator now, before we need it, to have on hand for emergencies. We have well water so I need something large enough to run the well pump, the refrigerator and the freezer for a couple of hours a day.

    How much generator do I need? I don't want to spend thousands unless it is absolutely necessary but want to have enough to get the job done.

    Anyone use an inverter from their truck for this? My brother has one and it has been useful to help friends, but I'm thinking it might not be heavy-duty enough for a long storm at your own farm (week without power, etc.)

  • #2
    We have a Honda generator about 15 years old - on a rolling platform (made for it). It runs our entire house (during hurricanes) except for the air conditioning - so should handle what you need it for (we purchased it for horse shows for my LQ trailer).
    Now in Kentucky

    Comment


    • #3
      Add up the emergency electrical load you need (Google is your friend, here) and then go look for what you can afford.

      For portable units the Honda is the Gold Standard. They are quiet, efficient, and well made. They are also at the top of price range.

      Spend some time looking around at different options on line. Beware of some of the low-end units coming out of China. You find them at Harbor Freight, Lowes, Home Depot, etc. About half of the buyers swear by them, the other half swear at them. Service and spares seem to be unavailable for many brands.

      Take your time and shop around.

      G.
      Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

      Comment


      • #4
        Farm equipment companies have some and service them.
        Ours was recommended by our electrician, installed by him and comes from Caterpillar, that services it every year.
        Ours runs on propane, has it's own dedicated tank, a transfer panel and comes on automatically every time the electric company supply is off for more than 3 seconds.
        It turns itself on once a week and runs on full load for 30 minutes, so it is always ready.

        We are at the end of local electric lines, so when the power is off, many times in the summer storms and winter ice storms and blizzards, some times we have run on the generator for over a week, before service was restored again.

        With livestock, you need electricity all the time, especially for your water.

        If you know a good electrician, why not ask him what you need, what generators in your area are working well and are serviced easily?

        Comment


        • #5
          Ours is 6000 watts and can run the well. We have the house hooked up with a panel to switch to the generator. it does the well and up to 6 circuits. So we have power to the fridge, microwave, and family room. Can't run AC but at least have fans, food, light and TV Can also run the fan for our propane heat should a snow/ice storm knock out power. A friend of ours hd power knocked out & is borrowing ours now
          Epona Farm
          Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

          Join us on Facebook

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          • #6
            I'm considering adding this to the motor pool. I don't have propane for the bigger whole house set ups. I searched it on a couple of other sites and it seems pretty well reviewed and has a 3 year residential warranty. I am no expert on generators.


            http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product...9-a4f5442f8896

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            • #7
              We have a 5000 watt generator to run our well pump, fridge and furnance. It will do the basics, which is all I really worry about. We found the generator used for only $500- a Coleman Powermate.
              "You can't fix stupid"- Ron White

              Comment


              • #8
                Will this be a dual use generator for the horse trailer and your home or just for the farm??

                If camping is a factor, I have the honda 3000 and absolutely love it. My daughter and I can manage it and it is super quiet plus runs A/C, heat, microwave, etc.

                If it is just for the farm, I would assume noise is not such a factor which means you can buy one of the cheaper larger generators. My guess is that you need at least a 4000 to meet your minimal needs. We live in a hurricane prone area. The one issue I will point out is that many people let their generators sit and never start them until there is a problem. They will often find that they have sat for so long they will not start.

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                • #9
                  If this if for emergencies... consider your well pump first. Without water, your horses and family can't stay in place. Many well pumps require 220 volts. The Honda EU 3000 Inverters are very quiet for camping but don't produce 220 volts. You'll need to step up to the 5000 or 6500 to get 220 volts. That size is getting too big to be portable by a single person ... Unless you're the Hulk.
                  Equus makus brokus but happy

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    We've got a Troybuilt 6000 watt. We wired in a transfer switch so that it can go directly into the panel. We sized it based on wanting to run the well, chest freezer, refrigerator, propane stove fan, and a few lights (heat lamps for spring/fall storms when we have chicks in the shed). it's portable enough that we've used it for projects out in the pasture and other places as well. I love the peace of mind that it gives us.

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                    • #11
                      I forgot to mention our portable welder is a 10K generator also.
                      The problem with it, it sits in the barn and in a blizzard, it is hard to get out and hook to the main panel fighting the snow and drifts, so we finally got a generator just for the house and well.

                      You may check into older welders and see if they would work for the generator part for what you need.

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                      • #12
                        look at "6115 - Generator and Generator Sets, Electrical"

                        code 6115 is for generators on the US Gov surplus sales site... about 500 at listed currently..

                        http://www.govliquidation.com/list/c7210/lna/1.html

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by hosspuller View Post
                          If this if for emergencies... consider your well pump first. Without water, your horses and family can't stay in place. Many well pumps require 220 volts. The Honda EU 3000 Inverters are very quiet for camping but don't produce 220 volts. You'll need to step up to the 5000 or 6500 to get 220 volts. That size is getting too big to be portable by a single person ... Unless you're the Hulk.
                          Indeed.

                          The EU6500 will produce 220V but it comes a price (about $4500 retail). And it is not a "lightweight" at 260 lbs., dry (fuel capacity is 4.5 gal).

                          When planning a lot folks don't realize that they can manage their loads by not running everything at once. During the day you need water, some lights, cooking power, and maybe the TV. At night you can run the freezer, 'fridge, and maybe a small A/C. Flush toilets at night using buckets of water. With some planning you can open the 'fridge or freezer only a few times a day. Make ice at night and use ice chests for daily needs.

                          No electricity is a real Papa India Alpha. But it can be done for a few days without serious issues.

                          G.
                          Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by fordtraktor View Post
                            The recent storm, while it did not hit us at all, hit my family hard in WV and has made clear to me that I really need to buy a generator now, before we need it, to have on hand for emergencies. We have well water so I need something large enough to run the well pump, the refrigerator and the freezer for a couple of hours a day.

                            How much generator do I need? I don't want to spend thousands unless it is absolutely necessary but want to have enough to get the job done.

                            Anyone use an inverter from their truck for this? My brother has one and it has been useful to help friends, but I'm thinking it might not be heavy-duty enough for a long storm at your own farm (week without power, etc.)
                            You will need a 4,000 watt generator at the very least to run your well pump. You will also need to be able to tie into the well's electric to run the pump.

                            We got slammed here in western Loudoun - lines and poles down everywhere. Even though Dominion Power has been out here for two days, we probably won't be back on The Grid until the end of the week.

                            That said - we're doing just fine. We have over 2,000 gallons of captured rain water (which we treat with pool clorine) that feed off the building downspouts for daily livestock water, and the barn washer (bucket filled). Now that water is being put to use for cowboy showers, filling the toilets, etc. We keep a few sealed buckets of well water in the barn at all times for emergency use in the house for consumption only. We change them out once a week, clean and refill and seal. If we need more, we either purchase it by the gallon from the store, or boil our rainwater. Thus far we haven't had to do either as one of our neighbors has a whole house generator that pumps their well, and we just borrow as needed.

                            We use my endurance camping equipment - bottled gas stove, etc. for cooking. My endurance generator - for when I'm at endurance rides for extended peiods of time - sometimes a weekend, sometimes a full week - is a Honda 2000 watt super silent work horse. It has been running 16 hour days almost non-stop since the storm on Friday running: the fridge, the internet equipment, the house fans, and recharging all the mobile devices - and being super quiet throughout, and barely consuming any gas at all. It is humming gently behind me in the yard while I sit in a screened-in canopy on the deck, a big fan blowing cool air on me while I type this on a tablet via my wi-fi internet - everything running off the generator.

                            My horse trailer LQ uses a solar recharging battery and 1200w inverter - we've been sleeping in the LQ because it is much cooler and more airy - plus we have silent power to run lights, fans, etc. at night.

                            I have small inverters I carry in each of our vehicles - they run off a car battery - but their wattage is only big enough to power a laptop, and/or a small fan. I'm using a 400w inverter (hooked to a car battery that I recharge with one of the portable solar panels in my LQ) to run a small fan in the upstairs office. That's about the extent of their useage.

                            We used to have a 5000w generator to run the well, but so rarely used it, and when we did it sucked gas like there was no tomorrow, and was so earsplitting noisy you couldn't hear yourself think and would running screaming a mile away and STILL hear the bleeping thing, that we finally just sold it and stocked emergency water in buckets.

                            We adore the Honda. They are expensive, but they are top of the line, easy to start, silent, completely portable (carry by hand), and brilliantly efficient.

                            Hope this helps!
                            Last edited by gothedistance; Jul. 2, 2012, 07:11 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Honda. They are more expensive but they are darned reliable and for emergencies you need something that'll just start and run. We ran ours on the shift principle and had a propane wall heater, woodstove and city water so we only needed lights, TV and the fridge and freezers. We tried getting by on a Generac that cost a fifth of the Honda but it either broke down or refused to start every time we really needed it, so that meant a trip to town, buying ice etc etc.. We just happened to have the money when the Generac crapped out for the fifth time and got the Honda that day. Well worth it.

                              We did not use the generator when we had the ice storm because it needs to be out of doors and at the old house it stayed happily in the carport, no suitable outbuilding here. We had sub freezing temps so power was really only needed for the lights and maybe the hot water heater if we'd wired it into the house, but we hadn't.

                              I think ours is the 5000, it has little wheels and wheelbarrow like handles, but definitely not a one person job if you have to lift it.
                              Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                              Incredible Invisible

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I will have to check with DH, but we have one that is possibly a Generac? and 10500 crank/8000 run watts. It runs our whole house simultaneously. The only thing it doesn't appreciate being on is our electric dryer.

                                We have a 3 bed/2 bath ranch with a well, electric water heater, propane heat and central air, plus the aforementioned electric dryer.

                                I believe DH paid around $1400 for it at the local contractor supply joint (he buys there regularly for his business - he is a contractor).

                                Of course, since we have purchased it the power hasn't gone out, lol.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Thanks everyone, great information here to think about. Personal Champ, the power likely hasn't gone off because you are prepared. No fun in that for the fates.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    We have a 7500 generator. It runs the wells, fridge, freezer, some outlets in our kitchen, a window AC unit, and water heater. In the winter it can also handle the furnace. We had an electrian come out when we got this place and all we have to do is flip the mains from regular to generator power.

                                    We had this same system in Wisconsin and now here in WV. It has more than paid for itself.

                                    It is comforting to know that the ponies can be watered and basic needs of the humans met. You really don't realize how much you rely on stuff until you are approaching 50 hours down!
                                    www.Somermistfarm.com
                                    Quality Hunter Ponies

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      We have a generator we bought from Tractor Supply before Hurricane Irene last year. I forget how big it is but it does our entire house, well pump, and septic. It was about $800. The motor is a Honda.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Somermist View Post
                                        We have a 7500 generator. It runs the wells, fridge, freezer, some outlets in our kitchen, a window AC unit, and water heater. In the winter it can also handle the furnace. We had an electrian come out when we got this place and all we have to do is flip the mains from regular to generator power.

                                        We had this same system in Wisconsin and now here in WV. It has more than paid for itself.

                                        It is comforting to know that the ponies can be watered and basic needs of the humans met. You really don't realize how much you rely on stuff until you are approaching 50 hours down!
                                        You folks have power back? We're still down over in Kearneysville... looked like HF got hit pretty hard though?
                                        Nudging "Almost Heaven" a little closer still...
                                        http://www.wvhorsetrainer.com

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