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  • Most cost-effective portable generator

    I live in FL and we are in the midst of the sales tax-free period. I am considering a 5-7KW portable generator. I know the Honda's/Yamaha's are quiet and energy efficient, but come w/ a hefty price tag. Are they worth the $ or are there more cost-effective units out there?

  • #2
    I'm in Wilmington,NC home to Bertha, Fran, Bonnie, Floyd, oh, I've lost count. I have a Generac 5 kW with a Tecumseh engine that I position in a small "pump house" outside my garage. It has served me well and I only gave about four bills for it at Sam's club. I powers the fridge and the freezer, I cook on the grill. Occasionally I'll run a couple of box fans to suck the hot air out of the house after night fall. I cannot see investing $1000 on a unit that gets use only a week or so out of the year. Any more and I would invest in a permanent mount, auto start and transfer unit. No portable unit I can think of will poer anything more than basic appliances, so why get one that is more than 5kW? The sparkies may have that answer, but what I have has served my basic needs through numerous storms.
    The setup:
    The pumphouse is plywood panels that screw together to house the generator, but break down for off season storage. The attach to the 4X4's I have set for the fence. I run a 25' #12 extension cord from the house through a 1" conduit in the garage wall to a 15a power strip in the garage. Yes sparkies, I drove an 8' ground rod with a bare #6 right beside the pump house. When it's going to hit the fan, I fuel the generator run the drop cord and give er a yank to make sure it starts. I only put in about .5 gal of gas. If we are projected without power for more than 10 hours, I will up the gas to 2 gals and run whilst the freezer cools and another hour or so for the fridge. If the event passes with mimimal damage and loss of AC(power not Air conditioning) I run the .5 gal out and drain the carb to store the unit for the next event. I run Castrol Syntec for oil and change once a season or 25 hours.
    Last edited by Roadrunner; 05-21-2006, 06:22 PM.
    Only a surfer knows the feeling. Billabong ca. 1985 or so

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    • #3
      I, too, have a Generac. My personal opinion is that when you need the generator for emergency purposes, the sound doesn't bother one bit. The important question is: What do you intend to run with it? That is where size is important. I live in Northern Mn. and have had to use mine 3 days running when the huge transformer at a substation went ou in the middle of winter! Fortunately, I have a 10kw unit and a transfer switch, so I can run about everything. Decide what you need and then check the units for capabilities. HTH.

      Jim

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      • #4
        I live in South Florida too RoseRx. I've had a Briggs and Stratton 5250(5.25Kw) for two seasons and it's been doing the job nicely. It has a 10HP motor and a 7 gal tank that will run it for around 10 hours, as long as I use my electricity conservatively. Last year I had a transfer switch installed and it was the best investment I could have made.

        What does it allow me to run? The whole house except the central AC/heater. It doesn't have enough surge amps needed for the initial start up of the compressor. What's in the house to run?? Electric stove, refrigerator, 2 aquariums, 5000 BTU window AC,all the lights and outlets. What don't I run?? I don't run the stove, window ac, electric clothes dryer, or electric water heater together at the same time. The use of these appliances sorta revolves around the water heater. I'll run the water heater for a few hours a day to keep it hot and then I can use the others seperately as needed. A small inconvenience for all the comfort it brings.

        My suggestion would be to buy as little as possible. If central AC is a must have, just make sure you have enough surge amps to handle it.

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        • #5
          RoseX: Please check the tax-free small print. Last year, I think it only covered generators under $500. If that is the case this year, that may limit your decision. The store will have the info on whether or not what you want falls in the tax-free guidelines. Just don't want you to get an unpleasant surprise when you go to buy!
          Practicing at practical wood working

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