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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    7,261

    Default Backup generators

    For those of you who do generators routinely:

    What line of generators do you like for a larger house? Need to look at some options for a large house with two 200A panels. We'll be looking at backing up the whole house and (maybe) just reshuffling the panels so we back up one panel only.

    Too many products out there, need to narrow it down to a couple of solid manufacturers with good price/performance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Houston & Washington Texas
    Posts
    11,892

    Default Re: Backup generators

    Quote Originally Posted by dgbldr View Post
    For those of you who do generators routinely:

    What line of generators do you like for a larger house? Need to look at some options for a large house with two 200A panels. We'll be looking at backing up the whole house and (maybe) just reshuffling the panels so we back up one panel only.

    Too many products out there, need to narrow it down to a couple of solid manufacturers with good price/performance.
    We are currently installing a 60KW generator Kohler in one house almost completed and a 20KW Generac in another house just completed . My vendor (below) tells me the Kohler is a better unit.

    http://www.generatorsofhouston.com/index.php

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    7,261

    Default Re: Backup generators

    Thanks Allan. We're probably looking in the 20-40kW range.

    Edit: Allan, do you pour concrete pads for your generators or use their plastic bases? Some manufacturers (Kohler included) suggest the built-in plastic base is adequate, but I'm a little skeptical.
    Last edited by dgbldr; 09-28-2012 at 06:27 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Bellbrook. Ohio
    Posts
    1,737

    Default Re: Backup generators

    We use Kohler generators - we are getting asked more and more about them.

    We always pour a pad - the specs dictate the size and there is typically an opening in the slab to bring up the gas line and take out the electrical lines.
    -Dan

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Houston & Washington Texas
    Posts
    11,892

    Default Re: Backup generators

    There is a fairly high end 'hood I build in that also has setback and sound restrictions for generators. (By the way, Bush I lives here).

    http://tanglewoodhomes.org/wp-conten...tor-Policy.pdf

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Northwest Indiana
    Posts
    5,576

    Default Re: Backup generators

    dg,

    I get mine from Ziller, they're in your neck of the woods;

    http://www.zillerelectric.com/

    I install the Generac 20k (actually 17k on natural gas), with their load shedding switch.

    The Generacs have a built-in pad.

    Tom
    Last edited by tjbnwi; 09-28-2012 at 09:57 PM.
    http://chicagocraftsmen.org/2011/06/261.html

    Check with the AHJ, what we say doesn't matter.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    157

    Default Re: Backup generators

    For residential size generators you basicly got two choices- Kholer and Generac. I would pick the one most available. Here it is Generac.

    I would always recommend a concrete pad and let the owner decide.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    7,261

    Default Re: Backup generators

    Tom, are you using the gens with the little 2 cyl air cooled engines? Never used those. How do they perform? Are they loud? Big step in price from those to the water cooled GM I4 and V6 engines.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Northwest Indiana
    Posts
    5,576

    Default Re: Backup generators

    Yep, 2 cylinder air cooled. According to Generac, they manufacture their own engines for the generators.

    No issues with the engines, Generac did have a run of bad LCD panels. Problem has been corrected and they cover them under warranty for up to 3 years. I have heard Kohler had some main breaker issues on their 20k units. To the best of my knowledge that has been corrected also.

    Fairly easy to install. Most important thing is gas supply. All so far have needed a higher capacity meter. One needed a new line, quote from utility was 20k to upgrade the line. You will need a gas pressure gauge to do the final adjustments.

    They are louder than a central AC unit. I believe Ziller has the db listed.

    Don't forget you most likely will need a permit.

    I want to try the vertical GE. Just because. Also Generac makes a lot of rebadges, Honeywell comes to mind. Execpt for color, they are exactly the same.

    Tom
    Last edited by tjbnwi; 09-29-2012 at 07:36 PM.
    http://chicagocraftsmen.org/2011/06/261.html

    Check with the AHJ, what we say doesn't matter.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    7,261

    Default Re: Backup generators

    Yes in most jurisdictions I need 3 permits, not one. Building permit, for placement, easements, noise, etc. Then electrical and gas piping.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Northwest Indiana
    Posts
    5,576

    Default Re: Backup generators

    Our permits come on one page with the apporperate boxes checked.

    Make certian you use the flex gas hose supplied with the generator. It connects hard pipe to regulator. I've seen a snapped regulator due to it not being used.

    You should also sell a service contract with the sale of the generator. Someone has to change the oil and service the battery.

    I set them to test run once a week, they report back to a module in the home. I had one report a clogged air filter after 4 15 minute test runs. It was a software glitch, Generac updated the software remotely.

    Tom
    http://chicagocraftsmen.org/2011/06/261.html

    Check with the AHJ, what we say doesn't matter.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Houston & Washington Texas
    Posts
    11,892

    Default Re: Backup generators

    Quote Originally Posted by dgbldr View Post
    Thanks Allan. We're probably looking in the 20-40kW range.

    Edit: Allan, do you pour concrete pads for your generators or use their plastic bases? Some manufacturers (Kohler included) suggest the built-in plastic base is adequate, but I'm a little skeptical.
    We always install generators on concrete pads, and because flooding is an issue we raise them minimum 12" above grade.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Northwest Indiana
    Posts
    5,576

    Default Re: Backup generators

    dg,

    This is an install that we had to reshape the landscaping on. The rock provides good drainage around the unit.

    This is a 20k on natural gas, so 17k. It came from Ziller.

    (Someday I'll learn to take better photos)

    Tom
    Attached Images Attached Images
    http://chicagocraftsmen.org/2011/06/261.html

    Check with the AHJ, what we say doesn't matter.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Backup generators

    Hi Forum,

    Newbie (to the forum) here. Renovating a house in Jersey which includes installing a 14kW Generac generator. My HVAC contractor suggests using the Nexus controller which provides load shedding capability - he claims this protects the HVAC equipment which will be hooked up to the generator. My electrician and I were only planning on using the standard transfer switch.

    Thoughts? Opionions? Thanks!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Northwest Indiana
    Posts
    5,576

    Default Re: Backup generators

    Put in a 20 if there is a concern for overload. Your 14 is only 13 on NG.

    How many AC condensers? What tonnage? Natural gas, LP, electric furnace?

    POCO service amperage?

    I would shed the AC condenser, not the furnace.

    What are the HVAC contractors concerns?

    Tom
    Last edited by tjbnwi; 11-04-2012 at 03:19 PM.
    http://chicagocraftsmen.org/2011/06/261.html

    Check with the AHJ, what we say doesn't matter.

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