Adventures in Generators

I’ve wanted a better generator since I bought the one I have. It was purchased mid-Matthew in 2016, and was the only choice within a hundred miles. I’ve been seriously looking into upgrades since Florence and its failure to run my air conditioner, despite it not having a problem with either side of the heat pump during my monthly load tests. I have a replacement voltage regulator on hand, which I’m confident will cure that problem. At least until it fails like the last two. Because I insist on making it run everything. And it fries regulators before it pops the main breaker. Which it has also done. Once.

I’ve decided that I want a diesel, both for longevity and easier/safer fuel storage. The problem is balancing cost and output. I can get a 21KW Isuzu-powered unit that will run pretty much everything in the house simultaneously. It costs $8K , plus shipping, a transfer switch, and however much an electrician would charge to tie it into the existing system. And it burns the better part of a gallon an hour at near-zero load.

The other end of the spectrum is a 4.5KW model for $2K (plus shipping) that will power any one major or moderate load. It only uses four-tenths of a gallon per hour at full load. But with that one, I’d have to manually manage every circuit in the house. Want to run the air conditioning? Better make sure the refrigerator isn’t running, and might want to turn the TV off, too. Need to run the water heater? Turn everything else in the house off except maybe one light. You get the idea.

Another option is a 6KW unit of unknown provenance for just under $2K which would allow me to pretty much leave everything on like I have in the past with my current gasoline generator, and only flip breakers off if too much stuff kicks on at the same time. But I don’t trust manufacturers that I don’t know. Hell, presumably reputable brands can be an unknown quantity these days. Take for example my current Troy-Bilt/Briggs that toasted a voltage regulator straight out of the box and seems to have killed another one during Flo.

Then there is the overpriced Generac XD5000E. It’s $3500, give or take, depending on where you get it. And the price tag includes shipping. It is a 5000W continuous/5500W surge, which will handle any one major load, one moderate load, and all the miscellaneous stuff at the same time.

Unlike the aforementioned 4.5KW, I will only have to manipulate breakers if the heat pump and water heater both want to run at the same time. I can plan cooking and clothes washing in order to stagger rest of the loads and keep from overloading the genny without messing with breakers. Yes, 500 extra watts makes that much of a difference.

I’m leaning towards the Generac for one other reason. I have multiple purchasing options that offer 24-month financing deals. Any other option is a pay now proposition.

Decisions, decisions.

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2 Responses to Adventures in Generators

  1. Oldawg says:

    You’re right – those Generac gens are way overpriced! Of course they do come with the covers, but at a high cost. In July I bought a Firman 7500w dual fuel electric start generator at Costco for $649, just as an example. I was looking at a 5500w one Harbor Freight has today for under $500, and they have pretty good reviews. These are running wattages. Lots of used ones available around here (sw Florida) at good prices also – may be in your area too. I looked at diesels also, but gave up because of the prices. Just hate to think of you getting screwed by Generac.

  2. Garandgal says:

    Good to see you’re still around and kicking. I’m pretty much a lurker these days, work takes up a lot of my time unfortunately. Miss ya!

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