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    biggsgolf's Avatar
    biggsgolf Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Dec 9, 2005, 08:08 AM
    Portable Generator
    I am interested in purchasing a 5000 to 6200 watt portable generator to use during power outages. What are the safety concerns such as rain, snow, how far from any structues must it be used, and can it be placed on a deck? Also would like to here any recommendations as to what model and manufacturer anyone would suggest based on experience. Thanks, Bruce
    labman's Avatar
    labman Posts: 10,580, Reputation: 551
    Uber Member

    Dec 9, 2005, 09:57 AM
    I fell into a deal of a Coleman Powermate 6250 Watts for only $371 at Home Depot. Well it had been used briefly, but returned and inspected at the factory. I figure it would do great when my 100 amp service goes off.

    The problem is, that having the transfer switch installed that is needed to legally connect it into my house wiring, could cost more than that. Without one, the power company guy may not trust you to have thrown the main breaker. He could be unhappy if he came around to fix the power line and found my house lit up and a generator illegally connected. I might be lucky if he just took my meter and told me to call customer service.
    Borewyrm's Avatar
    Borewyrm Posts: 65, Reputation: 2
    Junior Member

    Dec 9, 2005, 10:24 AM
    Not sure exactly what you plan on doing with the generator during the outage. Keep in mind however that using it to run house power without a generator transfer switch can lead to a very dangerous situation and major code violation. That being said I have no real info to give you. We use 2 generators at work. A honda and Kawasaki. The honda has more output and idles much quieter, the kawasaki runs much longer on the same amount of fuel. Partly due to it being a slightly smaller engine but after doing some figuring it is definitely more efficient. I would seriously consider inverting in a house gerator and its related equipment.
    biggsgolf's Avatar
    biggsgolf Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Dec 9, 2005, 10:33 AM
    I only plan on running my fridge, microwave, and TV as I have a gas fireplace.
    nymphetamine's Avatar
    nymphetamine Posts: 900, Reputation: 109
    Senior Member

    Dec 9, 2005, 10:48 AM
    For information on portable generator hazards go to or just look up portable generators on the web.
    Borewyrm's Avatar
    Borewyrm Posts: 65, Reputation: 2
    Junior Member

    Dec 9, 2005, 12:02 PM
    Well the best advice I can give you is purchase 2 heavy duty cords with a built in GFCI. Use one for the fridge and 1 for the TV, exchange the fridge for micro as needed. The generator will most likely have two separately breakered/fused 20 amp locations use 1 cord per. Make certain they are 3 prong (a given if they are GFCI) and in servicable condition. Do not bury these cords nor run them under carpet where heat can build up. Also make sure the generator is sitting directly on the ground and not elevated on a porch or patio. I would also recommend driving a ground rod near where the unit will sit and bonding the generator to this. This could save your life if there is an internal short as well as insure the units integral GFCI's will function properly (if applicable) I have to be honest I wouldn't even charge my tool batteries on portable generator power let alone hook up expensive appliances. Like I said I would recommend using this method only until a proper home generator can be purchased and installed by an electrician experienced in this work. I do understand it is quite a cost compared to a 300 dollar unit... but it is much safer on both your equipment and life.
    labman's Avatar
    labman Posts: 10,580, Reputation: 551
    Uber Member

    Dec 9, 2005, 12:09 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by biggsgolf
    I only plan on running my fridge, microwave, and TV as I have a gas fireplace.
    You may be able to get away with running a few extensions cords in the door. The generator does need to be covered to keep the rain and snow off. I tried cutting a furring strip to about 78'' and using it to hold my 80'' door open a crack leaving room for an extension cord. Worked fairly well. A fridge, microwave, and TV all together might only use about 2400 watts. The fridge and microwave shouldn't have to both be on at once. You could get away with a smaller one than 5000 watts. Smaller units use less gas. A big advantage in a wide spread outage. Gas pumps depend on electricity.

    Without power, I am in bad shape, losing the furnace, well, cook stove, and everything else. I have a wood burning fireplace, but I am not sure I want to depend on it to heat the whole house. I even have to have power to the cable modem, router, and phone adapter to be able to call the power company. I do have a 650 VA UPS connected to a large battery. It seems to me I should be able to buy a simple 100 amp double throw switch that is smaller than my 100 amp breaker box for less than $100.

    Last winter, after an ice storm, some people here were without power for 2 weeks. Luckily it stayed well above pipe freezing temperatures.

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