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I'm researching generators as a storm backup. My energy needs: start up gas furnace, keep smaller refrigerator running, a couple of lights, internet. Propane seems to be quieter, more convenient and and less polluting. Does anyone have any words of wisdom?

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My parents moved to the NJ coast and after Hurricane Sandy they got one that hooks up to the gas line.

We have a 7kw Generac Guardian and are very pleased with it. It's wired into the house so it goes on automatically when the circuit panel senses a 10 second lapse in power coming in from the grid. We heat with propane so had the propane company come and run a line from the tanks to the generator, which also runs on propane. We've got 8 circuits on the generator which doesn't power everything in the house but does power a substantial portion of it.

I'm pretty sure that Generac does make the kind of generator that you wheel out and "plug in" when you need it, and that arrangement may be less costly than what we did.

It's not the noisiest generator I've heard, but it can be heard outside on the side of the house it's located on. I used to live next door to someone with a gasoline generator and this one is way quieter than that.

We've lost power a number of times in the 3 years we've had it and "Old Faithful" generator has been a real blessing, have to say. 

I hope that's helpful. Good luck with your research!

Thanks, Pamela. I had heard that Generac is a good brand.

Hi Joan,

Have you bought a generator yet? I just moved to beacon and do not know how likely power goes out around here ( hope never ). I am also researching and looks like there is something call a transfer switch that I need to have which I don't in my electric panel for the generator to work. My furnace runs on oil and the B-dry too. I am not too familiar with all these and trying to have my common sense works for me ...and getting a generator is what I think I need to do but do not know which one.

Hi Raz,

The power will go out from time to time, but never for very long, in my experience, and not for the whole town at one time (I've been here since '08). In the past I've gone to a friend's house to warm up, but now I have a pet and I wouldn't want to leave him behind. As for a transfer switch, would you need one for a portable generator? I'm bumbling along with this.

Thanks for your response. I am not sure if I need a transfer switch but a friend of mine was talking about it. Sears is running a sale and I will ask them when I am there tomorrow.

Looking into this one..has good reviews

It really pays to do your homework when choosing a generator. The brands are less important than getting them from a reliable dealer that will offer customer support or servicing when needed. Perhaps the most important thing to know going in is what your real emergency power needs might be. If your power goes out frequently, an automatic whole house system might be wise although expensive. This is especially true if you are running critical medical devices or a home made time machine. It is very important to note that any system connected to your home circuitry MUST have an automatic switching device that prevents power from flowing from your house back into the service grid. A qualified electrician should be consulted if you plan to power your home system with a standby generator so that you do not kill anyone working to restore power in the neighborhood. If you only plan to power a few appliances, you can do so with a portable generator using a dedicated extension cord to that appliance. This is a much less expensive proposition although more of a hassle running cords through the house. You will also need to do a little math and figure out the wattage of your necessary appliances. Lights do not take up a lot. Most furnace pumps and ignitors require more power but can vary widely. The biggest energy beasts are refrigerators and televisions. Appliances like refrigerators use a lot of wattage when the motors start up, then taper off in the amount they draw. Having one big motor or several smaller ones overlapping operation can overload your generator and shut it down. To run a bare bones compliment of appliances your looking at a minimum of 4000 watts. Just a few lights and recharging phones and computers, you can maybe get away with 2000 watts. Most stand by systems are roughly 10,000 watts plus or minus. it should be noted that most gasoline powered portable generators are very noisy and smelly. The neighbors will hate you unless they are plugged into it as well. Honda makes a great series of very quiet generators but they are twice the price of your average Home depot models. If you do not plan on using these often, gasoline is a poor fuel choice since is has a shelf life and is easily contaminated. Propane is better but more for permanent standby generators. If you have natural gas, that is the most convenient and readily available. Never run a gasoline powered generator inside your house, basement or garage. You will kill somebody with carbon monoxide build up. There are ever increasing options for using your car for emergency power, especially if it is an newer model hybrid.

Wow! Thanks for taking the time to write such a comprehensive answer, Ed. Very informative.

Ditto. Very helpful to know. Thank you.

Hi all,

I want to underscore what Ed said about getting a qualified electrician. Installing a generator is the province of a licensed electrician. That person can point you in the right direction as to what will serve your needs best. He/she will also know what is needed to apply for the Electrical permits from the Building Department that you will require to have that work done. It's the only safe way to go.

Here's another option I'm learning about...if you go solar, you have a battery that will carry you through a storm. Anybody have experience with this?

Generac Guardian series home back-up/alt power gen - gas fueled automatic transfer - I think they have an option to notifyof pwr outage via cell phone  Mannino elec here in Pok is a dealer - there are low power models for EMERG power - just a couple of lights the regrig and furnace ONLY - but they have residential models up to 35 KW? I think that is the max for RESIDENTIAL - then there are the comercial versions 45 KW and WAY up to power the whole neighborhood - these are diesel powered

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