The house we live in now has a whole house generator. They are not cheap, and I am not sure I would have put one in, but it is an absolute wonderful luxury that I am not sure I now wish to live without when we move, and we will probably put one in. We tend to be pretty frugal people. Our vehicles are a 2004 and a 2013. It’s that nice to have power when the electric goes out. Brief 10 second or so outage, then the generator fires up and power everywhere.
If our past experience is anything to go by, you can count on it. I can’t recall so much as a flicker with our power supply after installing the generator. To the extent that my husband…he of short memory and willingness to go without a shower for nearly a week…was complaining it was a waste of money. When we came to sell, realtor reckoned that it was definitely a “value added item”
I’ve had a similar, though not exactly the same, experience. After Hurricane Wilma, we didn’t have power for about a week. And that wasn’t fun at all. So I purchased a generator (5500 watt, 8500 starting watts), four 5-gallon containers for gasoline, and a bunch of long extension cords. That would be sufficient to power one of our refrigerators, our laptops, modem, and router, and a toaster oven, and some lights. And maybe even a portable air conditioner unit if necessary.
Sure enough, since that purchase in 2005/6, we’ve not experienced much power outage at all, certainly nothing longer than a few minutes over all those years.
The funny part is that the generator is still in the original box, I’ve never opened it or started it. The gasoline that I put into the canisters periodically has all been used in our vehicles (and in my pressure washer). And the extension cords are still in their packages in a cabinet in the garage. Since adding photos is so easy now, here are some.
A little separate from generator costs…saw an old friend in Starbucks last night. He is living in a woman’s home at a very low rent. He has the main house which is 5000 sq ft. She has the guesthouse over the garage. Just how she wants it.
She has limited funds. Her personal story is a big mess.
The hot water heater went two weeks ago. My friend is showering at the gym. He has offered to pay for some of a new hot water heater since is rent is so low.
In reality you could say she, the landlord, is sabotaging everything in her life.
A new hot water heater installed is over $6k? Why…well…The house is 5000 sq ft. There are five full baths. Code is two 50 gallon tanks. She needs both. It is over $6k to do the job up to code. She has two radiator heating systems in the house, my friend was not clear if the water heaters run off electric or not.
If she sells the house unmaintained as it is, the next people would only pay for the lot and tear down the house to build something new.
His rent is $625/month.
The water pipes in the guest house over the garage burst last winter. She keeps the inside temperature low and the uninsulated pipes froze. The pipes were running through the garage not exactly an outside wall. The house is a mess from top to bottom…but my friend in the main house is mostly unaffected.
Back to generators, having one is a good idea.
The house was built in the late 90s. There are over 200 of these houses in the neighborhood. The divorcees gain these houses but the upkeep is staggering.
We have a friend of the family who was divorced back in mid 1980s. She is now in her 80s. She is still spitting bullets and living in the larger house of their marriage. By hook or by crook she remains there and bitter to the end.
You are making sense. But that is not how people in these situations act.
Out of the box, there won’t be oil in the crankcase
Many - but not all - mfrs will include a sealed quart (or whatever) of 30W (or whatever) in the carton. In that case, you’re great. But if they didn’t, and you only find this out at hurricane-thirty…you’re stuck.
Also, firing the new appliance up helps to make sure you know the tricks, and if you happened to buy a lemon (I bought a DOA pressure washer once…replacement worked just fine)
FWIW, I have a new-in-box window unit air conditioner in the barn. Just in case the power goes out when it’s an August 105 degrees and wildfire-smoky outside, I can use it with one of the air purifiers in the master BR to create a life raft providing clean and cool air, not quite yet having to abandon the chickens and property to take ourselves and dogs to an evacuation center. But, when the $350 AC unit arrived I pulled it out, plugged it in to the generator-covered outlet and made sure all was good. I then resealed, put in a large plastic bag, and stuck it outside.
As far as the generator: I did just what you describe for years. But, a few years ago, I upgraded that system as follows:
A basement transfer switch. Now, no long extension cords through doorways. Instead, the generator cable goes to a socket on the outside basement wall. Inside, the switch transfers input from the house breaker panel to the essentials: kitchen, BR, LR plugs; the furnace blower; the sump pumps, the basement freezer.
A dual-fuel generator: propane, or gasoline. The nice thing about this is, propane is forever. It doesn’t get stale. So, I have several small and a few larger portable propane tanks that add up to plenty to run the essentials for around two weeks. (This arrangement also allows me to run the generator with a load semiannually to be sure all stays well). Then, if the power stays out longer than I have portable propane, I can pour gas in the virgin tank and run it as long as I have gasoline.
And, I change the oil every two years…even if only five more hours on the meter
FWIW. (And I still have the cables and extension cords around, because)
And, when test running the genny, run the gas entirely out of it. If you leave gas in the tank, over time, it turns into gummy deposits, fouls the fuel system, and then it won’t start without a tear down and cleaning of the fuel system. When I was a kid, I always changed the oil in the lawn mower and ran the tank completely dry in the fall. The old Toro never failed to fire the next spring. My aunt loaned her snow blower to a neighbor for one season. He returned it in the spring, but had not run the gas completely out of it. The blower would never run again. My aunt gave it away, rather than spend $$$ to clean out the fuel system.
For some reason I keep dreaming about it, but find myself unable to digest such a large investment which I hope I never have to use.
Well, if it makes you feel better, looks like you couldn’t get one right now anyway.
Per the WSJ today:
"Generac Holdings Inc. said its dealers are struggling to keep up with orders for backup generators, leading the company to lower its sales forecast while customers wait months for installations.
"The Wisconsin-based manufacturer opened a new factory in South Carolina last year and has overcome supply-chain bottlenecks and labor shortages that constrained generator production during the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, the company says it needs more dealers and electricians to install its generators as customer orders pile up."
And yet every time I open up Facebook I am greeted with at least one, often two ads to buy a home generator, either from Koehler or from Generac. (Yes, I searched a few years ago for such, but if they can’t install the why are they advertising them so heavily?)
It’s a good question. Probably because they want you to sign a contract and hand over a hefty deposit. Then in a year or two they will get around to delivering and collecting the rest of the money.
A similar question goes to the automakers. Why do they keep advertising their new EV models? They can’t deliver them anymore, and they can’t even take orders because in most cases they’ve all been “presold” through a year or two.
A whole home generator probably doesn’t make sense for a lot of people. Some, yes, but nothing close to a majority.
A smaller, less expensive generator to run a refrigerator, some lighting, and perhaps power a gas or oil heater, could make sense for a lot more people.
In my particular case, neither makes much sense at all. Power outages for me are rare and short. More than an hour without power is a real newsworthy event. Those events are rarely less than a year apart, and often 2 or 3 years apart.