Industrial Generator for home use

Discussion in 'Homesteading' started by Manzi1, Mar 18, 2019.

  1. Manzi1

    Manzi1 Tracker

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    Anybody using a generator to power up their house? With the Smart Meter / AMI Meters being force fed and few options to opt out with these electric companies this may be an alternative.
     
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  2. Eriogonum

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    In my opinion they are too expensive and unnecessary, there are better alternatives. Obviously I don't know your situation or your goals so don't take what I write as written in stone.

    A minimal solar system will keep the porch light on. Cooking and heating can be converted to firewood, cook outdoors to avoid overheating the house in hot weather. Ditch the AC and adapt. Propane powered refrigerators are still available. A small portable generator for power tools , welder, and vacuum cleaner.

    Washing and drying laundry might be your biggest challenge, it takes about an hour to wash and dry one load. You need to decide if you want spend the time on laundry or the fuel (energy).
     
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  3. Polecat

    Polecat Polecat in a Poke Supporter

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    In 1985, we got hit by a big flood and were stuck down in a box valley for 5 months without any electricity after the bridges washed out. I was in grade school at the time.

    The dairy barn (and dairy cattle) mostly washed away, but there was a big industrial generator there that was used to keep the milk cold, among other things, when the grid power went out.

    My dad and I dug the thing out of the mud, completely disassembled, cleaned, and lubricated and reassembled everything, and hooked it to the house.

    It was enough to power the whole house, my grandad's house, and some other stuff. But we burned through all our diesel fuel in 2 weeks at that rate. Then it was back to lanterns and the wood cookstove.

    I don't think an industrial generator is needed, though. When I electrified this place, I terminated my grid service at a disconnect on my pole, then buried conduit to the house from there. I installed a used manual transfer switch that I scored from a junk pile and rebuilt (it's an industrial transfer switch, but you can make your own with a subpanel box, a couple of double pole breakers, and make a linkage between them so that one has to be off while the other is on), so that I can switch between the grid power and an RV-type plug. That RV plug has a plain old pull-start portable generator hooked to it, that I can switch to and power the house with when the grid is out (which happens a good bit out here).

    That being said, I don't have all that many electrical loads. Refrigeration, the computer, the radios, the answering machine, some anti-condensation rods in the gun safes, two electric lights, and the well pump. My heat, lighting, cooking, and hot water are all propane, kerosene, or wood. I am sure a small generator would still work on a more modern house, but you'd probably have to turn off all your unneeded loads to run the whole house off a portable generator.

    Indeed, you can turn off your main breaker and backfeed your house with a portable generator, through your 240v dryer or oven receptacle, with a custom made extension cord with two male ends, if you don't have a transfer switch setup. Just make quadruple damn sure you turn off the main breaker if you do that, and unplug the generator before you turn it back on.
     
  4. Punisher

    Punisher Supporter Supporter

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    i have a whole house generator. peace of mind my friend. will run on nat gas or propane. next purchase will be 1000 gal tank in ground propane for backup.
     
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  5. Ballenxj

    Ballenxj Scout

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    Good advice Polecat. :cool:
    Refrigeration is your big power consumer, especially since you have heat and light covered by propane, Kerosene, and wood. I camped last October at a ranch with no grid. We heated the house with a fireplace, and used a small generator for light only. The house was wired, but still off grid. We only ran the generator in the evening, using flashlights and lanterns otherwise.
    Back to refrigeration, the house had a very nice propane refrigerator. I guess really, we were not roughing it too much. Another benefit, there was no cell service. :dblthumb:
     
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  6. Polecat

    Polecat Polecat in a Poke Supporter

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    I looked into propane and kero refrigerators, but the cost to run them is really really excessive over the long term. I think if you have to be 100% off-grid (and it's a permanent residence, not some weekend cabin or hunting camp), then solar (and a converted chest freezer) is the way to go.

    (That being said, I use a converted chest freezer for a refrigerator, and it's a real pain in the butt to keep clean. I keep it out on the porch, so I can just upend it and hose it out when it starts getting nasty.)

    I know a couple that didn't have any grid service for several years (the power company wanted $20,000 to run lines all that way). They used a battery bank and inverters like you'd expect with solar, but ran a generator for a few hours every day to charge the batteries. They eventually got on the grid, though. That was back when solar panels were still really expensive.

    But for emergency use? I still think a little 4 or 5 kW portable generator, back-feeding through a dryer receptacle, is just fine. The main thing is to check the oil and let it run for 15 or 20 minutes once a week, or you'll be screwing around cleaning carburetors and pouring gas down sparkplug holes when you actually need it.
     
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  7. Manzi1

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    I'm not a fan of the smart meter nonsense or the 5G while I'm at it. Refrigeration is the biggest consumption. I've read that Greenbank WV has no wifi because of the observatory.
    I would keep a small generator for running tools and stuff like that.
     
  8. Ballenxj

    Ballenxj Scout

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    I have looked in to running a fridge on solar in the past, and it's doable with smaller refrigerators. I suppose a lot depends on how much you want to spend on it?
    Here's a blog I ran across while doing a quick search. http://www.sunfrost.com/blog/off-grid-refrigeration-solar-electric-vs-propane/
    Edit, Be sure to look at their refrigerator section.
    Additional edit, They ain't cheap. I found the price on a fairly standard sized one comes in at around $3400. and weighs about 300 pounds.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2019
  9. RobOz

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    My FIL has a whole house gen-set hooked up to free natural gas. Last month it ran for a week straight after a wind storm zapped the power. I guess you could go off grid with it but the 24 7 noise would get to me.
     
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  10. Polecat

    Polecat Polecat in a Poke Supporter

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    Yep. I'm actually in the next county over, but I used to work for a telco/internet outfit that served part of Pocahontas country (including Greenbank).

    We always turned off the wifi on the routers when we installed internet service. But of course the customers turned it back on. Back in the old days, they had a fleet of vans that they drove around and triangulated signals and served legal notices to people. Even here in the next county over, when I was a kid I got a couple of warnings in the mail telling me to turn down my linear when I was operating ham radio. :p

    I don't think they are as strict about it as they used to be, though. Greenbank is largely obsolete and mostly shut down now. I think there's only one dish that's still used for serious research, and all the rest are used by educational programs for high school and college kids or something.

    I'm a little worried. The NRQZ is the only think keeping city yahoos from buying up property around here and turning this place into the same kind of craphole that they are trying to get away from: Because there's no cell service here. The Sugar Grove radio station shut down several years ago. Now if Greenbank shuts down, which they keep talking about doing, there won't be any reason for the NRQZ to exist.

    I guess everything always changes, and I suppose I don't think the federal government has the right to force an NRQZ anyway. But it's still a little disappointing to think about.
     
  11. Manzi1

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    Thats too bad. I will admit a cell phone is a conveinance but not my main focus. Most of the time I shut it down or go to airplane mode and turn it on when I need to make a call. Some people have a seizure if there's no wifi, LOL.
     

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