General Question

Snoopy's avatar

Do you own a generator?

Asked by Snoopy (5778 points ) December 15th, 2008

If you do not, have you ever given serious consideration to buying one…..?

Why or why not?

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24 Answers

jessturtle23's avatar

We own three. They are really good if you live in a place where the power goes down for long periods of time every few years.

Snoopy's avatar

@jess That is just the thing….we lost power for 4 days this summer. A couple of winters ago it was for 2 days.

We are almost ready to get one…..we almost lost everything in our chest freezer this summer. Luckily we were able to get it all to someone’s freezer. The cost of the loss of the food and its replacement would have equaled the cost of the generator.

Its still a lot of money for a “what if….?”

gailcalled's avatar

I don’t but after the past five days, I am seriously thinking of buying one. Are there new generations that are easy to run on propane? My b-i-law fills his tractor with kerosine and runs some sort of Rube Goldberg generator off that. He can use it for a few hours during the day and some at night; but it is labor-intensive.

We had night-time temperatures in the teens for part of this week. It was very difficult but the land had a glittery beauty. The fire department supplied daily bottled water and bags of dry ice, but that presupposed that someone with a chain saw had removed the huge trees that had fallen across most of the secondary roads. And that the power company had sent crews to deal with the downed live wires (which certainly doesn’t describe me tonight).

Snoopy's avatar

@gailcalled I am not familiar w/ all of the possibilities….the one we are looking at runs on gasoline and my husband would hook it into our electric panel.

One of the worst things about the power outages is the not knowing how long you will be w/out power. Luckily the outage this summer was in very mild weather. The winter outage was bitter cold….

jessturtle23's avatar

Generators are expensive but if you take care of them they last forever. We had one for when we were doing construction for our power tools if the people weren’t home or there were no outside hookups and we also use it for camping when we aren’t primitive camping. You can get small, portable Honda generators for a few hundred dollars. I think the longest we went without power was 15 days and it was hot as hell. Our well is electric so we had to hook it up to the fridge and well and that was our really big generator that went to our welder. We hooked it up to our panel but if we turned on too many things fuses would blow.

hypeserver's avatar

My family has actually never owned a back-up generator. Although we like to take precautions, we don’t live in an area where there are heavy storms. Although we do frequently get high wind speeds this does not seem to interfere with our power, cable or phone lines. When recommending if you should get a generator or not, which I’m assuming your next question will be, it really depends on the area you live in. Seeing that you said your power has gone out recently I suggest calling the power company and see if they’re aware of the problem you’re having. See if they’re working on a solution before going out and spending a decent amount of money on a generator.

blastfamy's avatar

We have one. I’m so happy that we do have it. Every so often, when a hurricane makes it up the coast, we lose power like mad. The generator allows us to get work done, and eat by a little more than candlelight. I love it.

osullivanbr's avatar

My family generate large bills. Does that count?

dynamicduo's avatar

Nope, no need for one, I’m in an apartment. My pops has one for the cottage though.

Snoopy's avatar

@hypeserver I think the reliability of our power service is mitigated more by the power maintenance of the lines by our local power company. As kids in the midwest, we never recall losing power for any significant amount of time.

In the area we live in now, the power company seems to focus more on fixing problems rather than preventing them.

@blastfamy I think we are leaning toward purchase. Even if we use it once in the next decade it will pay for itself…

tekn0lust's avatar

I thought the same thing about spending all that money on something I might use. Generally with mechanical stuff if you don’t use it regularly then it doesn’t work when you really need it to.

But I found the Honda 2000i series. I bought one of these and love it! I am able to use it with computer equipment in the field. (I do long time lapse photography). I can use it camping and tailgating and it has enough umph to run emergency power in the house if needed. Granted I don’t think i’d run the fridge on it, but a heater and lights are no problem and this little guy is super quiet and efficient.

That’s probably not what you were exactly after with a permanent connection to your power point, but it has sure worked for us.

Snoopy's avatar

@tekn Interestingly we are to get a bunch of ice today….they are warning of possible power loss.

I think we will be making a purchase. We have looked at the Honda generators. They have been sold out of our area for weeks due to a major power outage a couple of months ago and difficulty w/ restocking w/ all of the ongoing problems in the south.

Thanks for your input!

gsiener's avatar

Consider a solar powered battery backup. Costs more upfront but will generate power everyday, as opposed to a generator which only works when the grid is down.

Snoopy's avatar

Gseiner I don’t think our power will go out that often to rationalize that kind of cost….but for others it might be a good option. thanks!

hypeserver's avatar

If the power company doesn’t seem to be trying to prevent any power outages I would lean towards getting a power generator just in case. You shouldn’t need a large generator though since you probably only want to power some lights in the house. When it comes to the television, ask yourself; is spending another few hundred dollars on a bigger generator REALLY worth it for only a few more hours of tv?

Snoopy's avatar

hypeserver We are concerned only w/ maintaining heat and saving our food….and maybe running a couple of lights instead of only having candles.

hypeserver's avatar

That’s actually a decent amount of electricity you need, but a 5500 Watt generator should do the trick. This particular generator is $699 at Lowe’s. http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=296701–348-30429&lpage=none

Snoopy's avatar

@hypeserver We are looking at a 6500 Watt generator. My husband is an electrician and we know exactly what we want….I was more hung up on the cost of the generator…i.e spending money on something we might or might not need…..

I am now convinced that it is probably something we should get….I am looking at it as a one time payment for an insurance policy.

(the Lowe’s link doesn’t work…?)

hypeserver's avatar

Sorry about the lowes link not working not sure if the url got cut off or if Lowe’s just doesn’t allow hyperlinking. I’m glad you have an idea about what you want. Judging by what you’ve said so far you should probably get a generator, but I’m not exactly sure why you would need a 6500 Watt generator. Altogether with lights, fridge, and heater it comes to about 4000 Watts. Of course I’m not an electrician like your husband chuckle.

Snoopy's avatar

Thanks again, HS. We will use it for running furnace, refrigerator, chest freezer, hot water tank, and minor electronics/lights, etc. on a rotating basis.

For those interested, there are websites that can help you calculate exactly how many watts/size of a generator you will need…

cheebdragon's avatar

We have 4, I’m not sure why we have them, but we do. I hate them, they are so loud…ugh.

Snoopy's avatar

4?! Wow. Do you use them at the same time?

Yes, they are loud. When we lost power in the summer, sleeping w/ the windows open, I nearly went nuts.

We intend to use ours is spurts and not overnight.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Three. One stationary diesel set, 25 kW. Two smaller portable units, 1.5 and 3 kW. The stationary set is very quiet, located in its own shed.

Aster's avatar

Yes. I can’t emphasize the security it gives you in the winter. We didn’t buy it; the previous owner did. It comes on automatically the second the elec goes off. ((-:

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