Quick question about generators!

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by BailyTheFox, Jun 29, 2019.

  1. BailyTheFox

    BailyTheFox Monkey+

    Hello guys, I have a quick question about what generators you guys may recommend for a small 650 sq ft house. Our main concern is it being able to power at the very least our refrigerator and stove during power outages although one that could do more would be nice. Our price range would be up to about 350-400$ because I don't want to have to take too much out of our savings for it. We very narrowly missed getting badly screwed here in the big bend area by hurricanes the past 2 years and I really want to get a generator before we have another barreling towards us.

    Also we have a well for our water, would our generator be able to power the pump too or are well pumps separate from the houses electricity? Sorry if this is a stupid question because I have no basis of knowledge for how this stuff works. Otherwise what would be a good way to store some water without taking up too much space (our house is tiny)?
  2. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey+++

    A water barrel or 2 will go a long way. Plan on using at least 3 gallons a person a day, and get you some good camping filters at the minimum. I know that our house power runs our well, but could not say for sure about yours. Good luck!
    Gator 45/70, SB21 and Meat like this.
  3. Out in the woods

    Out in the woods off-grid in-the-forest beekeeper

    In our home, teh power grid normally goes down at least once a month.

    Every home has a generator.

    A very common setup is to have two generators. One large unit that can powere everything, and one small unit.

    When the grid goes down, people run their small generator. It can power PCs and lights for 8-hours on one gallon of fuel.
    Then once a day, they start-up their large generator, so they can do laundry, flush toilets, wash dishes, and take showers. The big generators will usually consume a gallon of fuel every hour. Refrigerators and freezers are only ran for one hour a day with the big generator going.
  4. Merkun

    Merkun furious dreamer

    BtF, a gennie cannot care less about the size of the house, it's all about the electrical load. Add up the nameplate wattages of all the things you want to power in a grid down situation and see what size machine you might really want. You'll need to consider motor starting demands, but we can talk about that later.
    Meat likes this.
  5. Borrego

    Borrego Monkey

    Gator 45/70 likes this.
  6. 3M-TA3

    3M-TA3 Cold Wet Monkey Site Supporter++

  7. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    You won't find a 300-400 generator that will run a stove, if you mean an electric stove....just won't happen. New, all 400 bucks is gonna buy is something in the 'run a few lights and charge a cell phone' range. Even the smallest Honda EU1000i will set you back 800 bucks new, and it's only 900watts. That 'might' run your fridge if the compressor motor doesn't take too much startup current.

    To run a fridge, some lights, well pump, you need to get in the 2000 to 4000 watt range, so start pricing them for that size. Avoid the cheap ones with Briggs engines IMHO....waste of money if you plan to use it more than a few times. And keep them maintained.....run once a month or so, or when the Big Blow does come, you'll find out your generator needs a carb rebuild because it sat around and gunked up.
    Dont, Gator 45/70, Alf60 and 2 others like this.
  8. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I like peeling bananas and (occasionally) people.

    I agree that using a generator to fire up an electric stove is really not the best way to go.

    You'll have to pay much more for a larger generator, and use much more fuel as well for every hour you run it.

    Diversify. Go with electric for the fridge, say. And switch to LED lights.

    Then buy a two-burner Coleman camp stove--used--from a yard sale, thrift store, or auction. About $10 is the going rate for pristine-used. The $25 or more you save by not buying new will buy a lot of propane canisters.

    Since you won't be carrying the stove around in a backpack, get the adapter that will let you draw from a 20-lb propane tank. It will be MUCH cheaper. Find about five the same way you found the stove: just shop around until you find one cheap, preferably with a lot of gas still in it. When most people get rid of their 20-lb tanks, they just want them gone, so they dump them cheap or for free.

    Curb Alerts are good: A lot of rusted-out barbecues go to the curb with perfectly good tanks still attached. And they all have the necessary adapters.

    It's okay to use an electric water heater if you put in a solar pre-heater to reduce the electric use to just "topping up" the temperature. The one I put in my house has been saving me $100.00 or more a month in electricity for years.

    But better by far than electric for an off-gridable house is a gas-fired water heater. Use the same solar pre-heater and you won't use much gas at all.

    And you won't need the grid.

    The less juice you need, the less your generator will have to run--and the less noise it will make. When no one else has electricity, there's only one generator they'll all want to steal: yours.

    Put a highly effective muffler on it, and build it a sound-proofed dog-house for it to live in.

    Bolt it down to the kind of foundation a pair of bolt cutters can't touch. Be creative. An ordinary chain will never be enough.

    You can have a lot of fun beating the meter-man.
  9. SB21

    SB21 Monkey+++

    Get ya a propane powered water heater. All you’ll need to power it is , propane, water flow , and a couple flashlight batteries. I’d also try and go with the diesel generator.
    Gator 45/70 likes this.
  10. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    Forget about the stove.

    I have a generator that can run a stove and a well pump at the same time but it's like a $4,000 generator and I wouldn't use it to run the stove.

    Take some of that money and get a craigs list propane grill with a side burner to replace an electric range when power goes out.

    I run my refrigerator off a power inverter or uninterruptable power supply. Using a generator to run a fridge will just use all your fuel because they need to run for a long time to get cold and stay cold.
    When a generator runs at no load versus full rated load only roughly doubles it's fuel consumption. So if I run just a refrigerator off my little 7kw generator it will suck down about 1 gallon of fuel every 3 hours. If I run everything in the house off the generator it might use 1 gallon every 2 hours if that.
    3cyl and Gator 45/70 like this.
  11. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Folks in your AO would be better off with a small to medium size battery bank, grid charged, and an inverter to operate when grid is down for short periods. The larger generator could also charge the batteries if the grid is down for an extended period.
    Thunder5Ranch and Gator 45/70 like this.
  12. Borrego

    Borrego Monkey

    I just saw that you're running a stove too? Yep, ditch that baby, you'll be $$$ ahead in the long run. Our off grid BOL cabin is only 600 sf and I went with a Premier propane stove, got it for about $500, best money ever spent. Propane water heater (tanked), but an electric refer. You need to think about spending a little more $$ now and doing this right IMHO...
    SB21 and Gator 45/70 like this.
  13. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    +2 Hondas are da swizzle!
  14. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    Need to know PUMP voltage and what type to answer with true knowledge , water is so important over toast
    Motomom34, SB21 and Gator 45/70 like this.
  15. All good advice. Now I have a question. Are furnaces still available that use a thermal pile? Bad part, pilot light. Good part, no connection to grid needed. And in a home, why not use an lpg or propane kitchen range? Hank Hill, from Strickland propane can help with getting you what you need.
    SB21 and Gator 45/70 like this.
  16. BailyTheFox

    BailyTheFox Monkey+

    I'll look into writing down the wattage of the things we'd want to power

    I read Hondas are the best, the price scares me a bit however. I'll definitely look into if a payment plan is possible for us. I should be getting promoted to a better paying position at work welding tool boxes soon so I imagine i'll be able to do it then.
    Noted with starting it up once a month, the last thing i'll do is not take care of an expensive piece of equipment.

    I've read about the solar pre heaters being really handy and helping use less gas/electricity to heat water, I'm not sure where we'd put one however. I'm just renting for now, hopefully in the next few years we'll be moving and buying property in Tennessee and I want to go off grid there. I'll definitely forget powering the stove too, we've been planning on getting a propane grill for awhile so i'll look into trying to find one sooner rather than later. We were also thinking of making a nice little shed for the generator.

    How does a power inverter work? I was thinking rather than running the fridge 24/7 on the generator I'd turn it on once a day and refrain from opening it in between to keep things cool.

    I'd love to replace the stove but we're renting right now and have a small list of important stuff we're trying to get squared away that need to take priority, as others stated a propane grill can be used to cook instead during an outage so i'll be looking on craigslist for one.

    I'll see if my landlady knows the voltage and stuff, otherwise I'll take a peek at it and see if there's a tag on it anywhere with the info.

    Thanks for your replies everyone, you guys are always quick to answer and incredibly helpful.
    Gator 45/70 likes this.
  17. BailyTheFox

    BailyTheFox Monkey+

    I hear he sells propane and propane accessories
  18. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

    Dump anything that is basically a dead short to create heat from what you will power with a generator list. Coffee Maker, Toaster, electric griddles, skillets, hot water heater and range. Those are all power hogs. I have a a harbor freight Predator 8500 that was I believe in the $550-$600 range and despite the breaker not breaking and the small fire in the truck bed :) It has proven to be very reliable since with some modifications. It will power eight 24 cu ft chest freezers, 1 30 cu ft refrigerator, a 15000btu AC running a KoolBot, LED Lights and a desktop computer and be right at around 47 of its 49 amp rating. (After my mods and upgrades closer to 70amp rating with good breakers now) Next up is the big Generac 17,500w it will power a stove and all those dead short items but it is a gas hog. Finally the main farm Generator and fairly new is a 48,000w propane generac runs quiet and in test powers everything nicely Drawback is it is going to burn you $13,000-$15,000 depending on where you buy it. Here is a page with the specs but it is nice, main power goes out and 15-20 seconds later this unit kicks in, runs off a 1200 pound set tank devoted to it and is very low maint. compared to gas or diesel jobs. I have it split 3 ways 50 amps to the warehouse and freezers, 100 amps to the cabin and 50 amps to the commercial kitchen (Won't fully power the kitchen but keeps me in business during extended outages. Generac Protector 48kW RG04854ANAX Liquid Cooled 1 Phase 120/240V LP/NG Standby Generator New

    But for what you want is a occasional use dependable small unit. Scratch the power hogs and run the basic high efficiency gadgets (That Enrgy star stuff) and Good Generac under $1000 will serve your purpose or a not so good LOL may catch on fire if you overload it predator for $600-$800 would work. I don't get into the technical crap, I do stuff and then say it works or it fries the unit, or it overloads it and you get to test yer fire extinguisher :) Much more qualified people on here that can give you the nuts and bolts of why things explode :)
  19. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    KILL-A-WATT meter is what is needed , HFL has them 20$ to tell the better truth , labels lie and so are the BS yellow EG stickers
    Deep well or jet pump , HP to depth and 220Vac or 120Vac , its on the control box or buy a DVM Gurl,,
    learn to use it ,,, it's EZ as you get older !!
    Motomom34 and Gator 45/70 like this.
  20. Altoidfishfins

    Altoidfishfins Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    Agree with Crusin'
    I can't live without my DVM, or more precisely DMM (Digital Multi-Meter).

    If you're going to live off-grid, you need to have a good general working knowledge of electrical, plumbing, and probably some basic construction.

    Most off-grid homes are too far out of the way to be calling a plumber because your drain is clogged or you have a leaky faucet.
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