Generators: they are not just for Preppers

Winter and its related storms are coming. If you don’t have a generator, you should consider getting one. Here is my article on them,

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Got one my man. A Yamaha DE 7200

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20+ (25?) years ago we had an ice storm that put 4" of ice over everything over a 3 day period. The area was devastated with power lines, trees, and anything that couldn’t take the weight collapsing. We were lucky, we got our power back in 5 days, but others weren’t so lucky and many were without utility supplied power for weeks.

I vowed to never let that happen again, did my homework and designed a system, bought what I needed and did the installation. I had a 220v plug in welder. I sold it and put in a shed to house a gasoline powered 9k welder/generator. Simultaneously we installed solar panels with a battery backup. It’s been used many times since the installation. A few years ago the batteries were replaced and they should be good for the rest of my life and the remaining life of the panels. I have never regretted the $ spent. Previously the first thing we would miss during a daytime outage was running water for drinking and the flush. No more. Now if we can predict a high probability of an outage I swap us over to the solar system with the mains feeding the power to it. If the mains fail unless we blink we see a slight flicker in the lights and the system automatically switches over to the solar/battery backup system and we don’t have an outage. Well, we do have an outage of the mains, but we have power. If it’s a daylight outage we can run off of the panels and keep the batteries charged. If it’s night I disconnect us from the mains entirely and when the batteries run down I start the generator and allow the house to run off of it and simultaneously charge the batteries. If we have any heavy loads we run them when the generator is running and back off of them when on solar.

The original charge controller was replaced maybe 10 years ago with a more heavy duty unit when it decided to quit working.

Maintenance? The generator requires small engine maintenance, mostly changing oil. The starter battery has it’s own solar charger and panel to keep it charged, and the water needs to be checked 2x a year. The solar batteries need their water checked ideally every 90 days, but I’ve let it go as long as half a year and they’ve taken very little water due to the catalytic caps I have on the cells. Before checking the water I equalize the batteries. Pretty easy maintenance.

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Wow! you have one heck of a system designed and working.

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I installed an off grid electrical system with a Koehler Propane Generator backup. I will probably tie to the grid eventually. Right now it’s between $35-40K to tie in. I have 18 panels hooked up with 24 AGM batteries. 48v system but with one inverter expandable to two. I have more panels but have to build my other ground mount. My well has a solar system to power the pump also.

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We don’t plan on ever tying in. Rates are going through the roof. Why would we? To give them $ so they can tell us what to do, or shut us off? The commies and power companies that caved are being hoisted in their own petard.

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You must be a long way from the nearest hookup ?

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About a 1/4 to 1/2 mile. But part of the cost is to reimburse those who have already paid to bring the service in from the county road. This was a cattle ranch that was sold to a developer (Rocky Mountain Timberlands) who divided it into 40 acre tracts and is selling them. It’s called Pine Mountain. As it develops power moves deeper into the properties.

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In my Area natural gas is King. And most people that have whole home generator are purchasing Generac brand natural gas generators. I have yet to do that but I hope to, dont know how soon though for now my main question is …
How long will 55 gallons of Gasoline last before it goes bad and can no longer be used. I know my Motorcycle has to have stabile or startron put in it every winter. Any guesses?

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I would figure it on my own because I would never pay that…

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When we built our house 15 years ago we had to have over a half mile of line put in . They had to doze a n 1/8 mile of trees and set about twenty poles then run underground to the house . It cost me a whopping $ 25 bucks . We have lost power about four times in 15 years and the longest was 5 or 6 hours . We are on REA power so the cost is low . looked at a solar system a couple of years ago and it was cheaper by far to stick with the REA . We are going to add a generator just in case though.

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Rural Electrification Association

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We have an HREA ,H is for Harrison where the farm is at

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I hope you all know these home/recreational gen sets can only run for 8 hours, then they have to me shut down, oil changed and started for another 8 hours.

Dont matter what fuel it is, your gonna need a super tanker of oil.

You need a 4 cylinder, water cooled gen set. In excess of $ 12-15K

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Looking at the generac propane stand alone .

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I never bought what I needed to match the wave form of the utility 'cause CMP wanted to pay us at wholesale rate for our generating power and charge us to buy from them at retail rates. If our solar had turned our meter backwards I’d have sold them power in a heartbeat.

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Selling to a utility company is a ‘net’ loser. Pun intended. Their reasons are legit. Transport costs and losses are real.

Rural folks are choosing off grid in growing numbers. The REAs are a bit socialist in reality. The high cost of servicing the remote folks is paid by raising rates to the low cost folks. I lived rural virtually my entire life and have put up with outages lasting as long as three weeks. It wasn’t anyone’s fault per se but more of the nature of the beast.

Technology has always been there for off grid power but the low costs of the REAs and CO-OPs made them the easy button. Raising rates to comply with Commies will be a paradigm shift. Many are starting to think as we do. Why would we?

Using Geothermal for the bulk of your HVAC with super insulation values brings solar and wind in to the practical range.

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Gas goes bad quick, be sure to rotate your supply, if you don’t be sure to stabilize and add octane boost

Propane is good as it lasts, but you are at the mercy of a propane supplier and it burns quick compared to gas or diesel

Diesel would be my first choice but has its own problems as well, pricey units, more difficult to start particularity in cold, fuel can gel or grow funk

It all costs money, money that can be tough to part with if its a matter of actual need or potential need, that’s the tough part, may never be needed

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Many of my local friends have put those Generac’s in and love them. The only downside seems to be when they need repair. Getting a tech out, even prior to 2019 took a week plus and parts another couple of weeks then it was always several hundreds of dollars. Though they never went without power during our storms.

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I have 50 gallons of Hi Test and 50 of D I have been storing since covid. Better get it out and put it in the rigs. Hope it’s still good. Problem is gas has doubled since then so probably leave them empty for a while.
Looking at property in WV, some of the listings say free natural gas. Are there any downsides to that?

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