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 11-25-2002, 14:43 Post: 45369
Jeff O
2002-11-25 14:43:43
Post: 45369
 Back-up power

Got a questoion, We are moving into a house that frequently looses power during storms. It has a sump pump that needs to be on some type of back up power system. I would also like to power the pump to the cistern and some lights.
I don't have any clue what size or brand of generator to buy, or is there another solution. Thanks in advance






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 11-25-2002, 15:18 Post: 45372
Billy

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 Back-up power

Jeff,
From what you've mentioned, I would suggest a 5,000 or 6,000 kW generator. This size generator will run everything you've mentioned and a lot more. It will handle lights, refrigerator, TV, coffee maker and more, all at the same time. The only thing you couldn't run would be electric heat. It will run an electric water heater but you'd have to turn most everything else off. If you don't mind cranking by hand, you can get one from Harbor Freight for less than 500 bucks (including shipping). The only thing you'd need to check is if your area requires a transfer switch. If not, you can get by just fine without one.

Billy






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 11-25-2002, 16:32 Post: 45374
Art White



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 Back-up power

You could go for a 10000watt contained unit with the switch and not need to be there at all to deal with it or to enjoy it automatically going on and off with the power and not have to worry.






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 11-25-2002, 16:58 Post: 45376
Walt



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 Back-up power

Jeff
Add up the wattage requirement of the appliances you would like to operate to get an idea of the size generator you will need. On your pumps look at the wattage rating plate on the motor. If it is listed as amps multiply the amp rating by voltage to convert to watts(ex. 8.3 amps x 120v= 996 watts). For lights a 100 watt fixture uses 100 watts. For all motor driven appliances you must multiply by a factor of 2 to allow for start-up current. For example a sump pump rated at 10 amps(1200 watts at 120v) would need a minimum of 2400 watts of current to start. Add everthing up and you would arive at a minimum (assuming all were on at once) wattage needed to get by.
As far as transfer switches go you may be able to get by without one but the guy working on the power line to restore your power may be killed or seriously injured by power backfeeding from your generator out to the service line from your home. You really should have a transfer switch installed. If not don't start up your generator without first pulling the power meter out of its socket. And don't put it back in untill you turn the generator off.

There is some really good information to be had at:
www.gen-tran.com

You can buy their equipment at Home Depot as well as generators.
Walt






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 11-25-2002, 17:15 Post: 45377
cutter



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 Back-up power

If you have natural gas available, consider buying a unit that will run on that or convert a gasoline model, and then buy the cut-out switch. It is easy to forget to pull the main breaker and backfeed into the secondary electric and back through the transformer, possibly injuring or killing an unsuspecting lineman. The other method is simply to use extension cords to plug your pump and some lights into them. If that is good for your purpose, Honda makes some nice lightweight portable generators your wife could probably carry around if she had to, they are quiet and durable.






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 11-25-2002, 20:52 Post: 45387
Henry_W
2002-11-25 00:00:00
Post: 45387
 Back-up power

I just installed a Generac 8kw generator and it works
extremely well. It comes with a a transfer switch and
everything is pre-wired for home installation. It will run
on either natural gas or LP. It starts automatically on
power failure and excercises itself once a week.
It is very easy to install and comes with complete instructions.

It will run everything except the central A/C, hot water
heater and electric stove. They are caried by Lowe's and
Home Depot

Henry






Link:   Generac Standby generators 

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 11-26-2002, 05:45 Post: 45394
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 Back-up power

As other mentioned, 5K - 6K will supply enough power for emergency backup and then some. I have a Honda 6500 myself.

However, in selecting a generator it might be a good idea to calculate loads. There would be the continuous load from lighting, running electric motors etc. I say running motors because motors create surges at startup. The generator should be capable of handling a continuous load plus the surges created by electric motors at startup.

A generator that would pop its mains if all motors started simultaneously might be thought of as undersized. Of course, the worst that would happen is that the generator would have to be reset. Granted the chances of all motors starting at the same time isn't huge but the possibility would be an issue if the generator starts automatically and reliable unattended operation is expected. I doubt that the automatic systems are capable of resetting themselves. A sense of a generator's capabilities in operation can be gained by referring to the difference between its peak and continuous power ratings and the duration peak loads can be sustained.

With my Honda, I don't worry about leaving the furnace, water pump and fridge on while running on generator but I do turn off the water heater. Those loads plus some lighting has never popped the mains but I can't be certain if all motors have ever started simultaneously. Some have been running while others were starting though. If we need to run the stove, I turn off one or more circuits they feed motors to make sure they don't come on while the stove is in use. The Honda will support the entire stove on high plus a few lights but it's probably into it's peak rating. It wouldn't be enough generator to cook and serve Thanksgiving dinner but it's plenty for emergency use.






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 11-26-2002, 05:51 Post: 45395
TomG

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 Back-up power

Regarding transfer switches: I imagine that transfer switches are required most places, but an auxiliary geneator panel worked out better for me.


I replaced an existing 60-amp service and fused panel with a 200-amp service and breaker panel and generator backup.
Since I had to rewire the panel anyway, a 60-amp generator panel that runs as a branch circuit off the 200-amp main panel worked better for me than a standalone transfer switch.

A transfer switch has to be rated for the utility service. Two-hundred amp switches are expensive and excessively heavy-duty for transferring to a 20A - 30A generator. I simply wired the existing house to the 60A panel and used the main panel for new circuits to out-buildings etc. It was cheaper than a transfer switch and probably more convient to operate.






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 11-26-2002, 06:46 Post: 45400
Art White



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 Back-up power

Here in our area we just had some homes with power failures for up to four days due to ice. I think that if someone lives in a rural area that they should have a means of stand by power. I also feel that electricity needs to be used as well as directed in a manor to be easily maintained for safety for all. We have had line men injured because of home brew wiring by home owners. I have worked with electricity and will again but I do it to meet codes in the area. I do recommend about a 9500watt generator and get the auto transfer switches needed to do it right so it leaves out the human element. I would not trust my wife or children to it and I do not believe my wife would pull a switch on a manual transfer switch with out a lot of reiforcment verbally while on the phone if I was not right there. When adding these systems if they are a good system they will add value to the property and like wise they can detract if it is just another cobble job.






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 11-26-2002, 07:26 Post: 45402
pmbdabavs



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 Back-up power

If you feel brave enough or know an electrician who can do this for you (preferably), measure the true amperage draw at the main panel ,(DON'T OPEN THE MAIN ELECTRICAL PANEL IF YOU HAVE NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE.IT CAN BE VERY DANGEROUS TO SOMEONE WHO IS UNFAMILIAR WITH ELECTRICITY), for each breaker of the appliances you wish to operate on generator, typically this is done with a "hook on" amp meter(make sure the appliance is on when measuring!)This will give you a true amperage of what the appliance is drawing. After you add all your appliances together you will want to tack on about 25% for power factor and surge. More times than not people either extreemly oversize or undersize their generators. The want adds are full of year old generators that are either too big or too small for people's needs. My advise is to find an electrician friend to help you out or someone who is comfortable with opening up an electrical panel, it may save you $$$ in the long run and get you the right size generator the first time. Yeah , most peoples needs are around the 6,000-8,000 watt range, but guessing is not very cost effective. Hope this info helps.
Peter - NH






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Discussion Boards > Active Subjects > Messages as Posted > Electric Forum

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