Choosing a portable generator

Old 03-14-18, 06:04 PM
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Choosing a portable generator

After the most recent storm where I was left for 6 days without power, taking care of two sick kids, two 70+ year in-laws and having to be careful how much time I take off work for inclement weather, I decided I need something more reliable than my XP4400EH bi-fuel generator which I ran on propane.
It was somewhat underpowered to feed most of appliances I used, but it could support the forced air furnace, refrigerator, lighting, router and modem, LED tv and 2 computers.
I spent the better part of last week looking for a sturdier and more powerful generator, but I am completely lost as what matters and what not. My current one has auto-idle control and that allowed me to go through a 20 lbs propane bottle in almost 10 hours. I don't really have the space to keep it in a shed outside, so the only possible place to keep it is in the garage that is just below the master bedroom. That's why I am not inclined to buying gasoline only generator. Bi-fuel one certainly has the appeal of a cleaner and not smelly power generation. Speaking of cleaner power however, when generator is under load it looked like well above the allowable 15% THD.
However, looking at other options on the market, it seems that 15% is the new norm. At least that's what Champion say for all models not sold at Costco. One sold there brags to have 5% but it seems that most, if not all of their generators have aluminum windings.
I don't want that, for reasons well published on the internet.
I think I want this auto throttle feature and it seems I don't want to invest more than $1,500 for an what-if situation.
Can you help me choose one, under the following criteria:
- output power at least 7500 on propane
- 240V 30A outlet
- copper windings
- portable design
Old 03-14-18, 07:49 PM
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Everyone has their own take on generators.

You do not want to use auto-idle. Once the generator is running keep it at normal speed. The speed of the generator governs its output and especially the cycles it runs at. This is important for electronic equipment and motors.

I hope you aren't using it in the garage. That's dangerous regardless of the fuel type used.

I only use Honda generators so I can't recommend a lower cost one. I use a 5kw to run the entire house as all my appliances are natural gas.

Others will be by and offer their opinions.
Old 03-15-18, 06:33 AM
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{QUOTE]taking care of two sick kids, two 70+ year in-laws and having to be careful how much time I take off work for inclement weather[/QUOTE]

Because of circumstances you have to deal with have you considered a whole house generator fueled by natural gas? This can be expensive ($5000 and up) but it will resolve all your power problems with little or no maintenance.

Is there any possible help with the expense either through insurance (perhaps a loan against a life insurance policy) and or utility/government programs? Consider a home equity loan to help finance the install. Keep in mind that sometimes the financial burden may be better than the physical/mental burden you are now putting yourself through.

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