After 34 inches of snow here NW of Denver and 3 days without power, I'm ready to purchase a generator, more importantly DW is also! Never mind that it has been eight years since the last such outage (and that was only 21 hours.
My thought is that I could get an engine powered welder that could also be used as an emergency generator! I would like one that could power a Mig gun, and possibley Tig also as well as stick. Could I power my Lincoln 155 from it.? I would like at least 6kw of emergency power. Any chance of running it off natural gas with a switchover to liquid fuel.
Eventually, if Xcel ever permits net metering, I might run the generator (or welder) from natural gas and reclaim waste heat (only if liquid cooled).
JANATHON1......FIRST WELCOME ABOARD..........WELL 6000 WATTS, I THINK I WOULD THINK ABOUT A 8500 TO 10000 WATT WELDER GENERATOR.............PERSONALLY I THINK 6000 IS KINDA SMALL TO RUN A HOUSE FROM...............BUT HEY IT IS YOU CALL AND DEFINATELY YOUR MONEY...........WITH THE CORRECT GENERATOR YOU CAN MIG, TIG, AND RUN YOUR FURNACE.......... OK THIS IS MY 2 CENTS WORTH............. ROCK.................
6000 will run a home fine as long as you are not running electric heat or hot water. I run pwoer with a GS 8000 and have way more stuff on than a home ever would and one of the main reasons for aux power is 3 hp well which uses almost half the power of the unit. In a normal home a 4000 is fine, especially if it is hooked up right and some sense of load balance has been considered. An 8 or 10 is always better though,, more is better but more costly to operate.
The first thing anybody considering a generator needs to do is get their hands on an Amprobe and determine how much power they actually need.
I just hooked up a 70kva pto driven unit for a guy who had calculated his load, with the help of the "electrician" who sold him a 200 amp service. Oddly, he was a bit disappointed when I snapped the meter on the lines and he was only using17 and 23 amps respectively.
Another important consideration in a standby generator is frequency regulation. I learned the hard way during an ice storm that my new oil burner wouldn't fire properly because my generator was making 63hz power rather than 60hz, and the electronic timer wouldn't the burner fire.
Also, you want a machine that runs 1800rpm rather than 3600 rpm for longevity of operation.
Beware of the units that "idle" to save fuel, many items in your house will not tolerate the lo frequency power these units make, and don't draw sufficient amps to trip the idler.
A good quality generator will last a lifetime, and is worth the extra investment up front.
You also don't need to blow a few hundred on a pretty box called a GENTRAN, as you can make it yourself with a bunch of 3 way switches.
There is one BIG thing to remember about generators, they need to be regularly exercized, or they won't convert fuel to electrons when you need them most.
Since many of the air cooled gensets rely on the lube oil for a lot of their cooling, ol needs to be changed every 12 hours, unless you like changing connecting rods.
Finally, stay clear of Coleman and GeneCRAP if you don't like flushing $$$$ down the toilet. Both are short life machines.
I agree with Franz about the power needed for outages. And if it a gasoline unit it does need to be ran often and with a good dose of Stabil in the fuel. We have went over the issue of transfer switches on electric forum and is pointed out, 3 ways are not listed for transfers though and I personally think most people could make the furnace a plug and recept and run a couple cords where they are needed or get an approved transfer switch. I am with you on the idle thing too, I set mine on hi and let it go although I have enough stuff running it wouldnt idle down anyway. Yup, the sparky did the guy a favor with the 70kva didnt he? Unless the guy was milking cows and running silo unloaders thats a bit much. 4 to 6 is plenty for a home bu that was one of the reasons I bought first small portable welder. I had a SA200 but it had no AC power and I was going to get a PTO gen, then fig out that welder made more sense for me. I see farmers getting Miller Big 40 and often think its overkill and a Bobcat or Trailblazer makes more sense.
I have yet to find the location in NEC that permits splices within the breaker box that is necessary to accomodate the Gentran units. While the Gentran Box itself may be compliant with code, as soon as it is installed, and splices are made in the breaker box, the service becomes technicly non-compliant.
Other than the micky mouse meters, a box like Gentran can be built for under $30-.
I have to agree that plugs on things like the furnace and well pump are a great idea, both for temporary genset operation, and as a safety disconnect when working on the device.
During our famous 91 ice storm, it was sad to see the number of people with a motorhome in the yard, generator running, and a freezing house with a flooded basement for the lack of prethinking. The cost of being ready is nothing compared to the cost of cleanup afterward, and being ready is money well invested in my book.
Another thing more than worth mentioning, Have a good chain and padlock ready to lock your genset to something that can't be easily moved, odd as it may seem, there are people who will steal a genset during a power outage. They even come equipped to move an unattended Big 40.
Why cant you splice in a breaker box? Where is it disallowed? I have seen them but never installed one. I think you wire to it and to circuits. However the use of 3 ways is disallowed because it is not listed by manufacturer for that application. Code says to be installed as listed.
This topic has come up a number of times. The answer is the same every time...buy the welder generator. It does not cost much more than the generator. Probably the best thing about it is that you will use the welder now and then and keep the battery charged and the fuel fresh. It will always be ready to run when needed. A welder with a 8000 to 10000 watt generator will handle most household needs during an outage as well as all your stick welding needs. Don't expect to run the electric stove, central air, and electric dryer all at once though. If you want just the critical stuff like sump pump, water pump, refrigerator, freezer, and furnace along with a few lights, then 8000 watts will do.