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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not certain I'll phrase anything correctly, but here goes--we've been using a hand-me-down Coleman Powermate PM0435001 gas generator for emergency power during extended outages for the last few years (6250/5000-watt). My husband is experienced in the repair and maintenance of small gas engines, so that's a big plus and this generator has never given us any problems.

He generally runs two generator cords from said generator to power 1) upright freezer (575 RW/1600SW) in detached garage and 2) window A/C unit, kitchen fridge/freezer (977.5 RW/2000SW), 20-inch LED TV (old enough, cheap enough to not cry over if it gets damaged), table lamp, box fan, cell phone charging cords. Occasionally, we run a 700-watt microwave, or a coffee pot, or use a spare electric burner. All of these inside items under #2 are plugged into hefty surge protectors. My rough guesstimate is just over 5,000 running watts, but that's including the running watts for the "run occasionally" microwave, coffee pot, electric burner. We've learned that if we have to turn off the A/C unit when we want to use the "run occasionally" items.

Usually we try to extend our gas usage by running gen 1 hour on, 2 hours off. We didn't have enough gasoline on hand for Hurricane Ida and ultimately had to evacuate the 3rd day after the storm. And that round-the-clock babysitting the generator has gotten old.

We're seriously considering the Champion tri-fuel model since we have ng piped to house. He has enough knowledge of circuitry to add 30-amp breaker and interlock kit to our panel and outside receptacle to be able to safely connect to generator.

I've read reviews and heard from local people that whole-house generators have failed people as often as they've provided emergency power. With my husband's knowledge and abilities, we wouldn't have to rely on someone else servicing our generator if we stick with a tri-fuel portable. I've seen several reviews of people not willing to consider this champion tri-fuel because it doesn't offer a 50-amp receptacle. From what I'm reading on forums, if this gen puts out 7000 watts on ng, a 30-amp connection is all that's possible. If we really felt we needed 50-amp receptacle, it seems we would need a 12,0000-watt generator (as in Winco HPS12000HE). As we are in suburbia, I'm thinking the cost and storage of that unit might not make it worth it.

My husband is concerned 30 amps isn't enough. I think he's thinking of adding mini-split unit instead of mounting the window unit. I haven't researched those units requirements yet. I think for what we have been doing the last several years, the Champion tri-fuel would meet our needs (no stocking up on fuel, less set up in event of outage, no baby-sitting generator to the same degree).

Any feedback would be helpful. I appreciate your thoughts.
 

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I think the 30A is enough since that is what I have. I converted my Honda EU7000is to run on natural gas and you do lose a bit of power output compared to gasoline, but I'm only using about 3kw out of the 5kw available. I have a 15k BTU mini split in the basement that only draws about 1kw, and the rest of the house only uses about 2kw. Our large appliances are mostly natural gas...boiler, hot water, dryer, cooktop.

I would strongly suggest an inverter generator. Quieter, more efficient, perfect waveform, parallel capable.

Adding a 50A power inlet and breaker is not really much more than the 30A, so it doesn't hurt to go that route in case you ever want to upsize your gen or parallel more than one inverter gen later on.
 

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30 amps is plenty for most households, especially if you have NG appliances. The addition of the mini split might not be out of the question for a 30 inlet circuit. They are so energy efficient that with basic load management a 7000w generator can run it and other essentials. If you need to run a coffee pot and microwave for breakfast turn off the AC until your done with your other high load appliances.

First thing you want to do is use a good quality clamp meter to measure what the mini split draws.

Run the cable from the inlet box to electrical panel with 6ga (4ga if the run is very long) right off the bat and have the flexibility to upgrade to 50amp inlet box at any time. Personally I recommend doing a 50 amp inlet system from the get go and simply use and adapter to use a 30amp cord if you plan to get that champion generator.

I think that champion is a cousin of the firman trifuel.
 

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well you are asking questions and that is a good thing!
I prefer a 50 amp inlet with an manual interlock.

a big question to ask
what is your location?
city, burbs, or out in the sticks?
do you need 240 vac to run things like a well pump?

yes tri fuel is a great plan!
so what fuels are on the property right now?
natural gas?
liquid propane?
and gasoline you said you had a small amount for the last event.

the big issue with any gen set or gen plan is fuel consumption.
if you are on natural gas it is just the money per hour part as delivery is part of the service.

LP you are at the cost to buy when you fill the tank, and the cost to refill...
but it does store well for long term storage as long as your tank is secure. and no leaks.
and if you are in the city they may not let you store large amounts of LP. part of the local fire code.
we have that here where i live.

gasoline if you can get e-0 gasoline with the proper additives and good place to store it it can last a long time.
but in some areas of the country and towns large amounts unless in a car or truck they will not let you store it with out a DNR permit.
but there are large over 300 gallon mobile fuel trailers to get around that.
just check in with the dot rules for your state.
some use a fuel tank in the pickup bed for 100-200 gallons.

for me i use natural gas as primary fuel now.
we are real close to a pumping station for north south pipe line.
gasoline as second in the plan, the cars and trucks on the property are always full of gasoline.
and lp as the third choice of fuel.

a larger gen drinks more fuel....
i have a plan so i can add more gens if i need more power...
but i use the honda eu2200is gens and can use up to 4 gens if i need that much power.
in winter i can get by with 1000watts.
summer with the air con units 2 gens and cycle the air con from one to the other.

welcome to the group!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks so far for all the answers and good information! We are in SE La in the suburbs and have NG readily available on the property. So far, only making use of NG for water heater, furnace heater, and BBQ. (It's run to all major appliances, I just haven't converted over to NG.) Maybe after we decide on generator, I'll start researching gas cooktops. If my husband hadn't demo'd the gas line for the BBQ, I could have used the side burner instead of electric spare burner. (Eventually having house raised for flood mitigation purposes, so NG line will be rerouted anyway.) Even with the cost of delivery, etc., NG use to fuel generator would still beat what we had to pay for housing when we couldn't stay without power and potable water. I see that several people have had success with 3rd party conversion kits to NG. I had asked my husband a few years ago about that. He asked a friend familiar with it and said it couldn't be done well. Maybe he's not as familiar with it as we thought. I don't understand enough about running inverters in parallel. Is only one plumbed for NG, or do they each have to have their own supply?
 

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cool on the ng on the property!
run a proper large run from the meter at least 1 inch ID on the black pipe to where you plan on running a gen set or gens.
1 inch will run most mid sized gens and up to 4 of the eu2200is honda gens on NG.
pm me for manifold pix and ideas!

several companies out there are doing tri fuel kits.
us carbs has a good kit.
but we mod the kit a bit for a better run.

yea clean water is always an issue during an event as well as sewer if you are in a flood area....
a good storage tank is part of a good plan.
and well done on raising the house! that is always a good idea. just make sure to have a jon boat handy so you can get out.
and make sure the fuel plan works for the new raised house in a flood plain.

and yes on the NG gas grill setup.
some do a whole kitchen area outside. like a summer kitchen of the days gone by.
and yes they make LP and NG refrigerators too!
look at the amish folks for those.
and they also use the refer units from a simi for house cooling or walk in fridge.
i need to snap pix the next time i am south of me here in the amish towns.
 

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Uscarbs trifuel kits work very well and would work on your current power mate generator. If you husband can handle basic small engine repairs, installing a trifuel kit will be pretty easy. Powermates have very high THD compared to most generators these days so a new larger unit wouldnt hurt especially if running NG.
 

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Uscarbs trifuel kits work very well and would work on your current power mate generator. If you husband can handle basic small engine repairs, installing a trifuel kit will be pretty easy. Powermates have very high THD compared to most generators these days so a new larger unit wouldnt hurt especially if running NG.
^ Listen to this man. IMO, drmerdp has the best portable gen setup on this forum:
 
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