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Old 08-11-2020, 05:40 PM   #1
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Default Generator Recommendations?

For 20 years we have lived in NH without a generator, but are now considering installing one. We already have a propane furnace, so the likely candidate would be adding a propane powered generator. Any recommendations?
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Old 08-11-2020, 05:54 PM   #2
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For 20 years we have lived in NH without a generator, but are now considering installing one. We already have a propane furnace, so the likely candidate would be adding a propane powered generator. Any recommendations?
Koehler, utilizing “The Generator Connection” for install and yearly servicing. 20KW will run everything you have...

Good luck!

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Old 08-11-2020, 06:11 PM   #3
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Maybe four years back I finally put in the Kohler 14KW standby unit. When the house was built back in 2010, I had the electrician provide wiring for eventual installation of the generator, so setup was fairly easy. The transfer switch went in the basement next to the electrical panel. The service line from the pole and the lines to/from the generator go to the switch, and the output from whichever source is supplying goes out to the panel. I had to have a 500 gallon propane tank installed, as nothing else in the house used it. The size was determined by the surface area needed to absorb heat from ambient air at 0 F to vaporize propane at a rate needed to support full 14kw output.

The 14KW is quite enough to support the whole house with normal usage, without having to have a subset of "essential" services handled by a separate panel that powers only those while leaving other circuits in the house dark. I tallied up the "must haves" and added some of the "maybe will come ons" and got to 7-8 KW for most of the time. An electric hot water heater will take 4.5, a microwave or clothes dryer maybe 1.5, a hair dryer 1.2, electric range a few (depending on usage, something easily controlled during an outage). It isn't hard to imagine going hog wild with use of power-hogging appliances and causing the breaker out at the generator to trip. Some awareness of what things are in simultaneous use during an outage is required.

I picked the Kohler unit instead of Generac mainly because of what I read in their documentation. The Kohler has hydraulic valve lifters, needing no periodic adjustment, while the Generac manual calls for annual checking of the valve clearance with a feeler guage, requiring removal of the valve cover and likely replacing the gasket when done. I service my own unit each year, doing the oil and filter change and checking the air filter. Most usage is just the weekly 20 minute self-test, so the air filter has stayed pretty clean.
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Old 08-11-2020, 06:56 PM   #4
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For 20 years we have lived in NH without a generator, but are now considering installing one. We already have a propane furnace, so the likely candidate would be adding a propane powered generator. Any recommendations?
I have a 20kw Generac that I love. Two years ago we had no power for 3 days and ran like a champ the whole house and I have 2 220 panels. It’s also connected via internet to my service company to monitor.


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Old 08-11-2020, 07:10 PM   #5
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Default Generator

We have a Generac that was installed in 2005. It has never failed to start. I change the oil each season, usually, and did replace the battery a couple of years ago.
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Old 08-11-2020, 07:55 PM   #6
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We have a Generac 14kv at home and I just found out the other day that there had been a fault and it had not run its weekly test since May. Apparently when it starts it surges and that caused an over voltage. I just happened to check the log when I was walking by it the other day and when I started it up manually it cranked for quite a while before starting. The repair tech said it's not that uncommon and a manual start will clear the fault. If we had lost power last week I'm not sure the generator would have started. Just something to be aware of.
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Old 08-11-2020, 08:22 PM   #7
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Installed a GENERAC 20kw in 2016, runs self check every 2 weeks for 5 minutes, runs on propane, best thing we ever did!
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Old 08-11-2020, 10:03 PM   #8
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In 2004 we installed a 6KW Dayton standby propane generator. A few things were noit fully powered, dishwasher an clothes dryer, electric oven, primarily. Cook top is gas. No central AC, but window units are fine if we lose power in the summer. Sounds like most companies oversell these days. Our house is 3200 sf, oil HW heat. 65 KW is fine. Big request in 2004 was to keep the computers running. Damn! When the power lines go down, so do the Comcast lines.
Anyway, most don't need 14-20 KW.
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Old 08-12-2020, 06:33 AM   #9
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We have a Kohler PRO7.5E portable and had the house wired for it: external connector wired to breaker panel and transfer switch interlock. Cost for generator plus electrician was about $2,200. I do have to start it, plug into the house and activate the transfer switch. Generator is 7.5 KW starting and 6.5 KW operating.

All outlets are powered however can't run electric dryer or more than one electric stove burner. The rest is good to go; water pump, oil heat boiler with domestic hot water, heat pumps, all lights, etc.

Looked at a Kohler stationary, good product. We don't have propane; if installed fuel delivery trucks will not come up our driveway in the winter to refill after an extended outage.
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Old 08-12-2020, 07:26 AM   #10
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We have a Kohler PRO7.5E portable and had the house wired for it: external connector wired to breaker panel and transfer switch interlock. Cost for generator plus electrician was about $2,200. I do have to start it, plug into the house and activate the transfer switch. Generator is 7.5 KW starting and 6.5 KW operating.

All outlets are powered however can't run electric dryer or more than one electric stove burner. The rest is good to go; water pump, oil heat boiler with domestic hot water, heat pumps, all lights, etc.

Looked at a Kohler stationary, good product. We don't have propane; if installed fuel delivery trucks will not come up our driveway in the winter to refill after an extended outage.
Similar to the above, I bought a Generac portable with 12k starting and 10k running. Of course I have to wheel it out the basement walk out, plug it into its 50A outlet which is connected to a transfer switch with all our power needs. It takes literally 2 minutes to set up and flip the transfer switch.
We run the office/internet, TV, boiler/hot water, well pump, basement outlets/lights for a freezer, refrigerator, electric range, garage door openers and living room outlets. The bathrooms and new addition (bedroom and bath) stay dark and we use a battery camping lantern to light those areas.
I can’t say enough good about the Generac. It starts (electric start) and runs without a hitch, last week being 2 outages of 18 hours then 4 hours 2 days later.
My wife and I are comfortable in any outage situation. Next best thing would be a larger, fully autonomous standby with the whole house powered but we are extremely happy and grateful for what we have now.
By the way, the cost for our setup was in the $1600-$2000 range including the transfer switch, cables and outlet and not counting storing 15 gallons of gas. My brother who is a master electrician, did the transfer switch install and didn’t want to charge me but I gave him a couple hundred for his trouble.

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Old 08-12-2020, 07:28 AM   #11
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There is a pretty substantial cost difference having a whole house automatic failover generator solution vs having something that is portable, a little more "manual" and sufficient to handle essential needs.

As you explore options the price points may be part of the decision making process.
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Old 08-12-2020, 08:40 AM   #12
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There is a pretty substantial cost difference having a whole house automatic failover generator solution vs having something that is portable, a little more "manual" and sufficient to handle essential needs.

As you explore options the price points may be part of the decision making process.
Its also important to remember that not all portable generators are not equal.

Most people who buy manual/portable generators opt for a standard and low cost portable, which "can" be a problem if you have very modern appliances or sensitive electronics.

Unfortunately the alternative, inverter generators, are much more expensive than the same size standard generator.

I purchased a Honda 7000 watt inverter portable generator and it cost me double a good similar but non-inverter model, and more than 4x the cost of lowest cost similar size non-inverter portable generators/

So my only comment is know what you needs are (quality of power required, not just total watts) and do your homework and carefully research all the models you are considering.

As for the Honda EU 7000 iS, it has been a flawless performer and I have no regrets. Just wish it was not so expensive,,,

ATB
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Old 08-12-2020, 10:49 AM   #13
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Its also important to remember that not all portable generators are not equal.

Most people who buy manual/portable generators opt for a standard and low cost portable, which "can" be a problem if you have very modern appliances or sensitive electronics.

Unfortunately the alternative, inverter generators, are much more expensive than the same size standard generator.

I purchased a Honda 7000 watt inverter portable generator and it cost me double a good similar but non-inverter model, and more than 4x the cost of lowest cost similar size non-inverter portable generators/

So my only comment is know what you needs are (quality of power required, not just total watts) and do your homework and carefully research all the models you are considering.

As for the Honda EU 7000 iS, it has been a flawless performer and I have no regrets. Just wish it was not so expensive,,,

ATB
Good point. I did consider the 7K Honda for that reason. At the time the Kohler was highly rated by Consumer Reports and was found to have clean power:
Quote:
Delivered more than enough wattage to power our test appliances and handled surges very well. Provided especially clean power with consistently high voltage. Easy to start and has some helpful features. Includes electric start. Has fuel shutoff. Includes low-oil shutoff, which protects the engine from overheating if the oil level dips too low. Also displays a low oil light to tell you why it shut down.
The Kohler was several hundred $ more than other brands but less that half the cost of the Honda.

I have a smaller Honda 2000i inverter generator and it is great (2X price of others). As it does not have to run at constant speed, the Econo mode throttles down when demand is down. Saves fuel and much quieter.

Alan
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Old 08-12-2020, 11:05 AM   #14
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Koehler, utilizing “The Generator Connection” for install and yearly servicing. 20KW will run everything you have...

Good luck!

Dan
What does a set up like this cost? Have considered it for a couple of years. Thanks
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Old 08-12-2020, 11:12 AM   #15
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What does a set up like this cost? Have considered it for a couple of years. Thanks
It’s been a while but I want to say $8000.00 + or - which included all permits, 500 gallon propane tank, trenching and full install. Their annual service is well worth the money and peace of mind. They have been nothing but spectacular to deal with since install!

Edited to add, I believe Rymes gave me the propane tank at no charge since I am using their service for fill up....

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Old 08-12-2020, 11:15 AM   #16
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I recall being in the hardware store during an extended outage. On the phone: "No sir we're all out of gas cans, and none of the gas stations near us have electricity, so no gas."

Another time: "Can you come start my generator? Tony's is on a business trip and I don't know how."

Choosing and installing the generator is only half the game. Sounds like most of the postings here are male generated (oops). The women all like the one that comes on in 30 seconds after power loss and they don't have to touch a thing, never mind pour gas outdoors in a snow storm.
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Old 08-12-2020, 11:26 AM   #17
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XRC700's post is spot on, if you buy a cheap generator you will be putting your high end electronic at risk due to the wide "dirty" sine wave they put out. The older Genercraps were notorious for this and those gensets were used on many products that didn't bear the Generac name. Case in point, I have a 6500 watt Husqvarna generator with a Honda engine and it is a classic case of false marketing, the Honda motor is the GC series and meant to compete with the more cheaply built Briggs motors while the genset is actually a Generac. I bought it because it was reasonably priced and fit my needs while I built my home. I never however use it to power my high end stereo or electronics! By the way you should also never use a generator's auto idle when running power tools as the low amperage when engaging the tool start up will definitely do harm to your tools.
If you are thinking of installing an automatic whole house generator don't do so without first getting a quote for a solar array with backup. The solar backup will cost more initially but pay you back many, many times over as the years pile up and eventually all of your clean power will be coming to you for free.
Here is a link for an excellent short video on the SolarEdge StorEdge back up system. We've installed many of these for happy clients but they do only provide backup for about 5,000 watts of essential loads (refrigeration, circulators, water pump, internet and maybe a few outlets). Most folks can get by comfortably during an outage on just this lower priced solution but maybe you want it all. There is a newer EnergyHub version of this system now becoming available and that is capable of backing up the whole house (200 amp main electrical panel), plus it also has an input for an auxiliary generator. Why would you need the generator? Suppose you had a bunch of guests up for the holiday week and there was a major ice storm and then constant flurries as the cold front followed through (yup... typical NH winter weather). Because the solar modules would be covered by the snow flurries it wouldn't take all that long before the batteries might be drained and if you only had solar as a backup you'd be sunk. But if you had a small roll around generator (I too favor the Honda inverter models) all you would need to do is fire it up long enough to re-charge the batteries and you could continue to party on like full time rock stars with the stereo crankin' and everyone safely online. 99% of the time however the solar modules would do all of the re-charging, so a generator isn't really necessary. We have two recently installed off-grid systems on Gansy Island capable of generator input, but at this point neither has a generator ...yet. One of them will have a mini-split installed soon and come fall I think that they may finally need install the Kohler 12RES propane generator that matches their projected loads perfectly. Even then the generator will only run long enough to meet the loads and recharge the batteries, so 98+% of the time all will be quiet and fully lit.
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Old 08-12-2020, 11:49 AM   #18
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When you have to use the generator, check the tank level. You may need to call for an extra delivery.

Good luck!
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Old 08-12-2020, 12:10 PM   #19
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NH.Solar Said..."By the way you should also never use a generator's auto idle when running power tools as the low amperage when engaging the tool start up will definitely do harm to your tools."

This is so true! Anyone drawing water from the lake with an electric pump should never ever use this feature or you will drastically reduce the life if not burn out your pump!

Dan
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Old 08-12-2020, 12:18 PM   #20
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When you have to use the generator, check the tank level. You may need to call for an extra delivery.

Good luck!
Yes, the propane companies will let us get dangerously low at times. When we switched to propane for our heat, we buried a 500 (should have done 1000). We had a 120 at the house and a 120 for the Morton building. I moved the house 120 to the Morton building and hooked it up in parallel but always keep one tank's valve off. I can move that to the house with the tractor if needed. Good to have close to a 100 gallons in reserve.
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Old 08-12-2020, 12:49 PM   #21
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Four years ago I did receive two quotes for a Kohler 14 KW standby generator. Included were all hookups and two 120 gal propane tanks installed. The two quotes were $9,400 and $10,098 with the Generator connection being the lower.

Alan
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Old 08-12-2020, 01:07 PM   #22
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Itís been a while but I want to say $8000.00 + or - which included all permits, 500 gallon propane tank, trenching and full install. Their annual service is well worth the money and peace of mind. They have been nothing but spectacular to deal with since install!

Edited to add, I believe Rymes gave me the propane tank at no charge since I am using their service for fill up....

Dan
Thanks. Very helpful. I have a 1,000 gallon propane tank so I am good from that perspective. Definitely would want the annual service if I was spending that kind of money.
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Old 08-12-2020, 02:03 PM   #23
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Koehler, utilizing “The Generator Connection” for install and yearly servicing. 20KW will run everything you have...

Good luck!

Dan
I second this! We had one installed this year. The Generator Connection is top notch. Also keep in mind that having a whole house generator installed is considered value adding to your home. They say you get 150% back in additional value to your home. So that $10k generator brings you $15k I’m home value.
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Old 08-12-2020, 02:42 PM   #24
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I dug my own trenches, one for propane and one for electric, each about 50', and I poured the concrete pad myself with specs from the manufacturer. Don't know what I saved, as I just said "I'll do it" when the installer asked if I wanted him to do it. I should have paid him to do that stuff, but I was a lot younger then. The 500 gallon tank belongs to the propane company, no charge, and no connection fee since I was swapping out a smaller tank that they owned as well. We fill once a year.
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Old 08-12-2020, 03:44 PM   #25
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Agreed on keeping an eye on your propane levels! Our power went out with the tropical storm recently. Standby generator (Briggs & Stratton Fortress 12kw) automatically kicked in after 30s-1m and ran like a champ until 10pm when our propane ran out! Thankfully power was restored by 2am this time.

We went with 12kw for pretty much whole house power (we just have to run bigger power sucks one at a time)
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Old 08-12-2020, 04:44 PM   #26
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Agreed on keeping an eye on your propane levels! Our power went out with the tropical storm recently. Standby generator (Briggs & Stratton Fortress 12kw) automatically kicked in after 30s-1m and ran like a champ until 10pm when our propane ran out! Thankfully power was restored by 2am this time.

We went with 12kw for pretty much whole house power (we just have to run bigger power sucks one at a time)
Correct me if I am wrong but, can’t propane tank levels be monitored remotely?


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Old 08-12-2020, 06:37 PM   #27
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I second this! We had one installed this year. The Generator Connection is top notch. Also keep in mind that having a whole house generator installed is considered value adding to your home. They say you get 150% back in additional value to your home. So that $10k generator brings you $15k I’m home value.
That's the same sales pitch they give for solar. There's no proof of that but it is a nice selling feature..
My son just bought a 5 year old house in Avon Conn and it has a back up generator. He paid 135K less than it cost to build it. The generator didn't help the sale in this case. He would have bought the house even without it.
What they say about real estate is true, the 3 most important things are, "location, location, location."

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Old 08-12-2020, 08:52 PM   #28
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Correct me if I am wrong but, canít propane tank levels be monitored remotely?


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Yes they can. I researched this with eastern propane but the cost of the equipment is paid by user. Makes little sense to me if they are selling me gas.
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Old 08-12-2020, 08:56 PM   #29
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I went with Generator Connection also when I rebuilt my house. I got a Kohler 10KW installed for $5,500. Great piece of mind when I’m in MA during winter storms knowing the heat is on.
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Old 09-03-2020, 05:04 PM   #30
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I decided to go with The Generator Connection and a 20KW Kohler. Thanks for all the input.
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Old 09-03-2020, 06:10 PM   #31
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I decided to go with The Generator Connection and a 20KW Kohler. Thanks for all the input.
You wonít regret that decision!

Good luck!

Dan
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Old 09-03-2020, 08:26 PM   #32
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We just had a 10K Kohler installed by Generator Connection. They were very organized and professional. We agonized whether or not it made sense to get one since power outages are supposedly rare here in The Weirs and our community has underground utilities.

We always had one - but a Generac- in our former home. but we lived in the woods in a rural area and constantly lost power and for long periods of time.

We decided that best to be prepared because things can change on a dime (look at the pandemic- who would have thought?). We have propane tanks for our furnace so we did also have to have Rymes come to do the connection.

We got 3 estimates and theirs was the most competitive and their suggestions were the most practical.

I was just disappointed that I could not have my electric stove/oven on it like I did in our former home. We lost power on holidays sometimes and it was good to be able to cook that turkey anyway!

The only other things not on it are the central ac, the dryer and the dishwasher.
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Old 09-03-2020, 08:39 PM   #33
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We have a Generac 14kv at home and I just found out the other day that there had been a fault and it had not run its weekly test since May. Apparently when it starts it surges and that caused an over voltage. I just happened to check the log when I was walking by it the other day and when I started it up manually it cranked for quite a while before starting. The repair tech said it's not that uncommon and a manual start will clear the fault. If we had lost power last week I'm not sure the generator would have started. Just something to be aware of.
We have Amazon Alexa remind us to listen for the generator test to come on on our designated time and day! This way we remember to make sure we hear it. Of course, we are home year round- not snowbirds.

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Old 09-03-2020, 08:51 PM   #34
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I decided to go with The Generator Connection and a 20KW Kohler. Thanks for all the input.
Going into our 4th winter with a 20K Kohler from generator connection. Great install, service and performance through several power outages.
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Old 09-04-2020, 07:41 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by map View Post
We just had a 10K Kohler installed by Generator Connection. They were very organized and professional. We agonized whether or not it made sense to get one since power outages are supposedly rare here in The Weirs and our community has underground utilities.

We always had one - but a Generac- in our former home. but we lived in the woods in a rural area and constantly lost power and for long periods of time.

We decided that best to be prepared because things can change on a dime (look at the pandemic- who would have thought?). We have propane tanks for our furnace so we did also have to have Rymes come to do the connection.

We got 3 estimates and theirs was the most competitive and their suggestions were the most practical.

I was just disappointed that I could not have my electric stove/oven on it like I did in our former home. We lost power on holidays sometimes and it was good to be able to cook that turkey anyway!

The only other things not on it are the central ac, the dryer and the dishwasher.
Happy for you, but you correct. Power outages in the Weirs are few & far between...like years.
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Old 09-04-2020, 07:52 PM   #36
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We have Amazon Alexa remind us to listen for the generator test to come on on our designated time and day! This way we remember to make sure we hear it. Of course, we are home year round- not snowbirds.
We had the tech change the test day to mid week when we're likely to be home. It's right outside my wife's office and she's already commented that she has heard it power on.
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Old 09-04-2020, 08:20 PM   #37
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We have Amazon Alexa remind us to listen for the generator test to come on on our designated time and day! This way we remember to make sure we hear it. Of course, we are home year round- not snowbirds.
I have the Generac 20kw with cell service. Myself and Power Generator receive emails and texts when the generator test starts and stops.


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Last edited by joey2665; 09-05-2020 at 06:34 AM.
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Old 09-05-2020, 06:17 AM   #38
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Anyone using or have seen a solar backup system in the area?


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Old 09-07-2020, 08:00 AM   #39
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Anyone using or have seen a solar backup system in the area?


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I had a quote for one recently. Decided to go with the solar without battery backup, as we already have the standby generator. If we didn't have the generator, we may have considered it further however the price/technology doesn't seem to be quite there for residential just yet. It would have been +$10k for battery backup that would run for <8hours (and battery lifespan was only in the range of 10-12 years).
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Old 09-09-2020, 01:12 PM   #40
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Happy for you, but you correct. Power outages in the Weirs are few & far between...like years.
Several weeks ago with a storm their actually was a power outage, but not in our development. The next road over did lose power for several hours.
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