Power outage

Just got power back after our 4th power outage since we moved here in September of last year.  4 in less than a year.  Admittedly the causes of each has been different and none lasted more than 5 hrs, but thats not a good way to start out the first year of living here.  We’d been planning on putting in some kind of solar/wind/battery backup system, but costs are a bit prohibitive so its something we’ve been setting aside moneys for (as well as keeping a close eye on Clarian Power).  But we may have to look into putting in a generator of some kind sooner than that.  Heat in the winter (and potentially some basic cooking) isn’t a problem thanks to the wood burning stove, but powering the basics is. 

Sigh, yet another expense we weren’t planning on this year!

Anyone reading this have any suggestions as to brands, styles, types, etc?

6 Comments

  1. Comment by DaddyBear:

    I have a Troybilt generator that's been pretty rock solid. We also bit the bullet and bought a battery backup for our sump pump which has saved our bacon a few times. The good part of this is that it starts working automatically so you don't have to be awake or even home for it to keep your basement dry.

    If you wire a circuit for your generator so you can use your home's wiring instead of snaking extension cords everywhere, make sure you have someone install a transfer switch so that you don't accidentally feed power into the local grid and fry a lineman.

  2. Comment by James A. Zachary Jr.:

    Ours is a 5600 watt Sears Craftsman. It has been a good workhorse so far…

    I'm toying with batteries and solar…

  3. Comment by ZerCool:

    First of all, figure out what you want/need to run on the genset.

    Have a well? The well pump will likely be your single highest starting draw, and could pull as much as 50-60A for a second or two. Obviously, that's not a steady load, so it's best to run the well pump, fill jugs/tubs/pans etc, and then shut it down.

    Other items that need to be considered are the fridge/freezer, a couple lights, and maybe a radio.

    I have a Champion 3500W genset that will run anything in the house *except* the well pump. They are usually on sale at Tractor Supply or Gander Mountain for $279-299ish. No complaints thus far.

    (I'll stop here before I write an entire blog post in your comments.)

  4. Comment by Ruth:

    No well (or there is but its not hooked up) & no sump (no basement either).

    We do have a slightly older chest freezer, new fridge, and standard kitchen appliances. We were figuring putting the kitchen, freezer, and probly the master bedroom on backup power.

    The transfer switch would probly not be optional, hauling out extention cords every time the power goes out would get annoying really quick.

  5. Comment by ZerCool:

    Alright, you're still within “reasonable” then. Essentially, you should total up the wattage of everything you want to use at any given time, and then double it. Buy a generator around that capacity.

    Ex:
    three 75w lights (225w)
    freezer (150w)
    fridge (150w)
    radio (25w)
    microwave (1500w)
    = 2050w

    I'd be looking for something in the 3500-4500w range.

    Keep in mind safety (CO poisoning is a VERY real danger with generators) and fuel usage/storage.

    We keep 40-50gal of gas on hand at any given time, which will run our genset for about a week straight. Also keep enough oil for a couple changes and a spare plug or two.

  6. Comment by Ruth:

    that makes sense. And is a bit more affordable than I was afraid I was looking at.