Enduring Sunday's 6.5 earthquake was no big deal... I only lost one picture window. The real hassle was being without power for 16 muggy hours. If that happened very rarely I'd be happy with my little 6000 watt Costco special that runs the reefers and a few lights. However, Hawaiian Electric Company's newest generator is 30 years old and they just haven't kept pace with growth on the island. That results in ever more frequent outages lasting up to 30 hours (recently).
So, I think it's time for big honkin' generator to serve the whole house. I've been looking at the Generac line and I'm considering a
35,000 watt unit to serve my 200amp home. I'd appreciate any info or suggestions that any of you have to offer. I'd like to run it off Natural gas with LP gas as a backup.
By using a manual transfer panel you do not have to power all your loads at once. We have a small (5000w) generator which can run some lights and refrigerator OR some lights and our well pump. During an outage, when we want to use water, we just turn off the fridge breaker and turn on the pump breaker for a little while. It's not great but we get by with a much smaller generator. By the way, the National Electrical Code allows you to do this as long as it is a manual transfer. An automatic one becomes "emergency" standby power so the generator has to be capable of powering all of the loads simultaneously.
I have a 7KW Generac running on LP. I don't know about the bigger models but switching from LP to natural gas on mine requires partial disassembly of the unit. You would also need a valve arrangement that would prevent LP flowing into the natural gas line or natural gas flowing into the LP tank.
but I want to be able to run AC and more things as
frequency of problems that our antiquated power company
A few thoughts:
That's what we did in our home in CT many years ago, Bruce. Our BP was only 100 Amps at the time. I installed a Winco 8kW auto-start, auto-transfer genset. The Winco worked ok using NG only. There were too many service problems for me to recommend another Winco though. Poor design had the electronics too close to the manifold, resulting in th need for frequent replacement of timer modules and such. In 18 years I overhauled it twice, the second time having to rebuild the cylinders.
Kohler's 35 kW model has a *very* quiet housing. Friends of ours have used them for years and say they've had very few problems. You might also want to look at Onan. They're reputed to be very good as well.
For my purposes manual transfer is unacceptable. If you don't want to power everything, simple install an E-panel after the transfer switch. Any circuits on that panel will receive backup power. Less important circuits left on the primary BP will go dark until public utility power is restored. These would include non-essential loads such as power in the work shed, irrigation pumps, spa heater and probably 1/3 to 1/2 of your utility outlets.
Make sure you provide power to the dishwasher and laundry room, as well as the fridge, stove and nuke. These draw lots of current for short periods but make "roughing it" a lot easier during a prolonged outage.
We had an electric range / oven plus the usual assortment of toaster-ovens, microwave, etc. I chose not to power the stove from my genset. During outages that lasted around as 9 or 10 days (after a terrific series of T-storms ravaged CT some years ago) we managed quite well without it.
BTW, some months ago someone from CHA asked about my TCP/IP controlled power strip. I promised to ship it but couldn't find it for a long time. During one of my few good days I recently tore into the garagasaurus and found the thing. If that was you, please let me know. I'd be happy to send it along.
Portlock Rd is one of the rare areas on Oahu that has underground NG lines. While Hawaii Kai does not have gas lines, the gas does come all the way up Kalanianaole Hwy to Portlock. I used to have NG when I lived on Niu Iki Cir too which is also right off Kal Hwy by Niu Valley.
On Tue, 17 Oct 2006 15:42:41 GMT, "BruceR" wrote (with possible editing):
We have a 16kw diesel with a 200 amp automatic transfer switch. The generator runs every Saturday at 11:45 am. I picked diesel so that I could run off of 1 fuel - the same as is used by the boiler and furnace - we have a 2000 gal tank in an insulated underground bunker. It runs EVERYTHING including two air conditioning compressors, oven, clothes dryer, etc. I believe I could have made it smaller. I have had virtually no trouble with it since it's installation several years ago. I soundproofed the thing by building it in a separate indoor enclosure equipped with two motorized louvers - 1 in front of the water cooled radiator and one up high, baffled to supply intake air. (I am in northern New England). Construction included soundproofing material purchased especially for generators.
I think 35kw is WAY too large. Since you have gas, I'd use that with propane as a backup (you said you had earthquakes).
of it) now although I wouldn't need to run all the
Hmm. I think I was also confusing your home with Bob Green's palace. Who is in TX and who is in HA??? :^)
You probably only need 15-20 kW. My 10-room home with attached office ran well in southern New England (read: "ice and snow") using only 8 kW. The only major load we didn't power from the genset was the stove.
When I get around to installing a genset on the current hovel, it will probably be in the 20-25 kW range. That should handle both A/C handlers, the pool/spa, lighting and appliances. Again, I won't bother powering the electric range. With a gas BBQ and a couple of microwave ovens I don't need it during a power outage. Fortunately, outages in Sarasota rarely last more than a few days.