How big of generator for home and shop

Discussion in 'Homesteading' started by sweet trav, Jun 24, 2019.

  1. sweet trav

    sweet trav Guide

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    Looking into the possibility of going “off grid” for power or at least having a backup generator...what size is plenty adequate for a 3000sf house and a shop/barn?

    Thanks for any info...completely new to all of this...

    T
     
  2. marbleman

    marbleman Supporter Supporter

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    First off, what kind of electrical useage do you have now? Air Conditioning? Welder? Swimming pool? Electric Kitchen? Electric Heat?
     
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  3. sweet trav

    sweet trav Guide

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    I suppose the generator will run off of propane so im not sure if it would be a good idea to run as many propane appliances as possible or leave propane for generator only and run electric appliances...this will all be for our new house

    No ac...small above ground pool...dont have a welder...wood stove as primary heat source...
     
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  4. Mikewood

    Mikewood Supporter Supporter

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    Look at your main breaker panel. Multiply the main breaker number by 120. Say you have a 150A main. 150A times 120V is 18KW. Now. What can you do without? Most of the time it’s quite a bit on the short term. Maybe you need a AC or heater in one room and a refrigerator. That might be 5,000W. A small portable unit can do that. Add a 100gal day tank and you might go a week on your tank. Longer if the weather is nice. Then again maybe you need 10kW.

    Just keep in mind most generators don’t give you a clean sine wave. Dirty power can destroy electronics fairly quickly. Computers are in everyitng from TVs to washing machines and refrigerators.
     
  5. gila_dog

    gila_dog Supporter Supporter

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    Do you have a well? If so, what is the power requirement (voltage and current) for the pump? In our case the pump requires 220VAC at about 10 amps to run, more to start. So we got a 5KW generator. That runs the pump, the fridge, the freezer and the lights, all at the same time if they come on. We have an electric water heater with a 40 gallon solar preheater on the roof. During a long power failure we turn off the electric water heater and go solar only. We also have some electric heaters in the walls of the house that we use in really cold weather, when the sun and wood heat aren't quite enough. During a power failure we switch off the wall heaters, and rely on the sun and wood heat entirely. For us the main use of the generator is to pump water and keep the fridge and freezer cold, use the microwave for a while to warm up food, and to have lights, and fire up the computer. But we don't run it very long. Maybe 2 hours per day.
     
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  6. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue —- Roughian #7 -— --- Graybeard -— Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Run propane appliances directly instead of making electricity to run electric appliances. Much more efficient.

    A generator is NOT the way to go ‘off grid’ unless you have no other option. It is expensive to buy and maintain and not too efficient, even a good one.

    Solar/wind are the way to go, depending on where you live (not just the state, but the PLACE). Batteries are the most common energy storage device and still are not LONG lived, unless you get something specialized like cell tower or submarine batteries.
    My system is down now because I haven’t moved it from the old place, AND because it needs several thousand dollars worth of batteries.
    Running AC and shop equipment from an ‘off grid’ system will be quite expensive, since they are generally power hogs.
    If you have incentives available where you live, it can change the picture greatly. I had a friend in Oregon who made money off of his system, because of incentives. That is rare now I think.
     
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  7. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue —- Roughian #7 -— --- Graybeard -— Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Years ago I planned and purchased equipment for an off grid system, because of the location of the property. I had a deep well (550 feet) drilled so we could have water. I bought a 10 KW slow speed diesel generator with the plan to run it for maybe 4 hours per day. During that time, we would pump water, and do things like laundry that required extra power. The rest of the time the place would be run off of LED and low power things. I lost my job and the whole thing fell apart. I do still have the solar equipment and the generator though. Hope to use it as a backup system only one day.
    The key to off grid is to minimize power use or have LOTS of money available to make the system work.
     
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  8. L0NER

    L0NER -Gone Exploring- Supporter

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    Blue it sounds like your on the grid now. You should get it and hook it up without the batteries if your grid tied. Should save you a bit on your electric bill.
     

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