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Old 02-12-2018, 12:28 PM   #1
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Default Emergency Generators

I'm considering having a 20,000 Watt emergency generator installed for my home in Meredith. Any suggestions/recommendations on Generac vs Kohler with automatic transfer switch? Thanks.
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Old 02-12-2018, 12:47 PM   #2
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Hi, Perform a search. There has been a lot of discussions on this forum regarding generators!

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Old 02-12-2018, 04:16 PM   #3
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I installed a 20kw Kohler generator with a 400 amp transfer switch back in 2001. The unit is power by a water cooled Ford inline 4 cylinder engine. The generator provides emergency power for the house and free standing garage.

The generator performed with only two minor issues over the last 17 years. One was covered by warranty, the other required replacement of an exhaust pipe. I am not sure if water cooled engines are still available in Kohler generators. It was designed to offer power for longer periods of time.

The engine maintains constant temperature by use of a block heater that circulates antifreeze. It cannot be disconnected without setting off a low temp warning tone. It adds approximately $90 a month to the electric bill during the winter months which I consider the units biggest negative.

Good luck with your choice.
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Old 02-12-2018, 04:32 PM   #4
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Do check where the engine is manufactured.

Do check how long that the engine has been manufactured.

Some switch engines continuously therefore parts/repairs if needed may be more difficult or time consuming.

With anything, make sure that there is someone local who can repair if needed.
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Old 02-12-2018, 04:48 PM   #5
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Default Emergency generators

I hope Iím not hijacking this thread by asking for a recommendation for someone who services generators. Our last servicer told us we were all fixed and in good shape only for our generator to fail New Yearís Day when we had a power failure. We were in FL and are still assessing the damage. Should I have been suspicious when we were never invoiced?
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Old 02-12-2018, 06:19 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by jgrif6180 View Post
I'm considering having a 20,000 Watt emergency generator installed for my home in Meredith. Any suggestions/recommendations on Generac vs Kohler with automatic transfer switch? Thanks.
Koehler, and if your looking for someone to install, Generator Connection. Get their service plan as well as it is totally worth the peace of mind. Canít say enough about their service after the sale, great people to deal with.

It's Always Sunny On Welch Island!!
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Old 02-12-2018, 06:29 PM   #7
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I too installed a 20kw generator from Koehler. We did it through generator connection and could not be happier. A 20kw takes a lot of prophane so make sure you get two tanks. Have it cycle every three weeks to save prophane. Get a prophane warmer also. The maintained plan is great. They come out once a year and change your oil and plugs and do all the yearly up grades. To me it was worth it.
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Old 02-12-2018, 06:35 PM   #8
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I went with a Kohler 14KW air-cooled generator, running off propane, with transfer switch installed as "service entrance," meaning that when in operation it supplies anything in the house. When I added up the power use of various "must have" things plus some "be nice to have for mostly normal living" things, I still was well below capacity. Of course one could overload it, with simulataneous use of high-draw things, like hair dryer (1.2 KW), oven (?, but high), microwave (1.5 KW), clothes dryer, and so on. But then I could always turn off the hot water heater breaker at the panel (4.5 KW) and gain a huge margin right there. Hot water recovery could wait until other activity is over.

One of the things that tipped the scales for me (Kohler vs Generac) was reading that the Kohler unit has hydraulic valve lifters, whereas the annual maintenance service description for a comparable Generac unit said the valve clearances had to be checked. A little thing, but I do my own annual servicing, which amounts to oil change, check the air filter, and perhaps check the spark plug gap. We don't have outages that often and usually are of short duration, so most hours on the meter are from the weekly 20-minute self-test.

There was a problem with the inlet propane valve as delivered, requiring replacement (under warranty), which was handled by Rowan, authorized by Kohler to install and service. I found him easy to work with and competent. I'm sure others are as well qualified. In the two years since startup, I haven't had any problem at all with the unit. After talking with Rowan, I did buy/install myself a carburetor heater, which prevents icing at low temperatures. The unit is fueled by a dedicated 500 gallon propane tank. That size was specified by the gas company. A tank half the size would not have enough surface area to absorb heat from the ambient air at 0 F temperature to vaporize propane at a rate needed to run a 14 KW generator at full capacity. There was no other propane service in the house, so the tank was required. To minimize cost, I dug myself the trenches for propane line to generator and electrical lines from generator to junction box at the house. The inside wiring was mostly installed at construction time, in anticipation of having a standby generator at some point. That took four years, but that was procrastination on my part.

Last edited by DickR; 02-12-2018 at 06:45 PM. Reason: Add info.
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Old 02-12-2018, 06:41 PM   #9
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Default Right Size

I just installed a 14KW, Propane powered, Kohler Generator, with an automatic transfer switch. This installation features "load shedding" capability. This will enable you to run a smaller generator, that if need be, will shed heavy loads. A/C units for instance, or other heavy load systems, and still handle the rest of your needs.
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Old 02-13-2018, 08:39 AM   #10
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20kw seems a bit much, no? How big is this home?
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Old 02-13-2018, 11:37 AM   #11
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I just had 16kw Generac with transfer switch installed at the Lake house, great experience with JP Carter Electric
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Old 02-14-2018, 07:25 AM   #12
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Suggest you consider an inverter generator for cleaner power that works better with digital equipment or things with electronics in them (a lot of stuff these days). Maybe most of the larger generators are inverters anyway but you might want to ask. My smaller and older generator, for example, does not have inverter technology and my microwave does NOT run well on generator power.
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Old 02-14-2018, 06:04 PM   #13
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Default Buy from someone who services!

One piece of advice learned the hard way: Buy from someone who services the unit. We bought from a solid electrician who did the install but then said 'find a certified maintenance person to service it'. Turns out they are not easy to find and in high demand, and it did not help that we did not give them the benefit of the original sale. This was on a Generac.
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Old 02-16-2018, 05:33 AM   #14
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All I can say is 12 of us in the neighborhood just recently had Generators installed. 9 of us went with Generac and 3 went with Kohler. When I researched them. I found that 65% of the people in North America purchased Generacs. 1 huge suggestion is to make sure you order it with the Heating kit and if it's your second home install the monitor device so you am monitor the generator when your not there. This way you can rest assure you will not have any problems especially in the winter months. So far we are all happy.

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Old 02-16-2018, 06:06 AM   #15
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Default Emergency Generators

I also have a Generac and recently we lost power for 3 days and the generator ran perfectly. I am extremely happy with my choice.

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