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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I currently have a portable 7500 KW back up generator that I back feed our 200 amp house panel from a branch panel in my pole barn when we have a power outage. We don't use the high amp appliances in this 200 amp panel during a power outage i.e. electric ovens, clothes dryer, AC and in floor heat. The only 220 volt service we use is for the well pump. All the circuits are energized, but I turn off the breakers for the above mentioned appliances at the same time I shut off the main breaker before plugging in the portable generator.

I would like to have a 10 KW Guardian Series Generac Generator with a 100 amp whole house transfer switch installed so that the generator would energize all the circuits in my 200 amp panel and to continue to not use the high amp appliances as we currently do with our 7500 KW portable generator. A Generac authorized installer recently visited our home to give us an estimate for a standby generator and would only quote the 10 KW generator with a 100 amp transfer switch with 16 circuits selected from my 200 amp panel. This would leave many of the existing circuits without power. The rep said his company wouldn't install a 100 amp whole house transfer switch like I wanted and recommended a 14 KW generator with a 200 amp smart transfer switch. He recommended the larger generator and transfer switch because the next owner of my house might want to run some of the appliances during a power outage that we currently do not. My response was that I'm not concerned about what the next owner wants.

My objection to the 14 KW generator is that it consumes nearly twice as much LP as the 10 KW generator. The rep said to consider the generator running on average at 1/4 load. Estimating the fuel consumption of each generator at 1/4 load and LP at $2.00/gal. It would cost $50/day to run the 14 KW generator vs. $30/day to run the 10 KW generator in addition to the larger generator more quickly depleting my fuel supply during a time when it might be difficult to get a refill.

Finally my question is can I expect to find an electrician or Generac installer to install the 100 amp whole house transfer switch that I want? I don't believe doing so would pose a safety hazard as both generator and transfer switch is protected against overload, but I don't know if the electrical code would prevent this type of installation because it depends on the user to manage their energy use to prevent tripping of either or both the transfer switch & generator breakers.

I'd appreciate some advice here before I request any other estimates as I don't want to waste anyone's time if what I want can't be done. If I were younger I'd do the install myself, but that's not an option now. If I can't get this installed the way I want it, I'll likely just continue to depend on my portable generator.
 

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first things first! welcome to the group!

snap some pix of what you have right now.

so are you looking for automatic or manual on the system?

if you are looking for automatic i would go with a good 200 amp ats.
and make sure it can have the load shed feature as an upgrade.

if the system is designed right you can select what has priority power.
and the load shed makes the decision by priority you select.
you will have a few more bucks in the up front costs...
but in the long run you have choices on what the back up power can be!
it is it designed right..
you can use any electric start generator on the system...

so what area of the usa are you in? just city and state only.

oh yea a 10kw gen will work on a 200 amp ats if it is the right ats!
you will just be limited to the 10kw as the max load... 7,500 watts would be a safe number on that gen set.

so what is the breaker size for the 220 vac well pump?
do you have a make and model numbers for the pump?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
first things first! welcome to the group!

snap some pix of what you have right now.

so are you looking for automatic or manual on the system?

if you are looking for automatic i would go with a good 200 amp ats.
and make sure it can have the load shed feature as an upgrade.

if the system is designed right you can select what has priority power.
and the load shed makes the decision by priority you select.
you will have a few more bucks in the up front costs...
but in the long run you have choices on what the back up power can be!
it is it designed right..
you can use any electric start generator on the system...

so what area of the usa are you in? just city and state only.

oh yea a 10kw gen will work on a 200 amp ats if it is the right ats!
you will just be limited to the 10kw as the max load... 7,500 watts would be a safe number on that gen set.

so what is the breaker size for the 220 vac well pump?
do you have a make and model numbers for the pump?
I'm wanting the standby generator to come on automatically when we have a power interruption. I was intending to go with a Generac generator. I think the 200 amp ats that you're referring to is what Generac calls their 200 amp Smart switch which is not available with their 10 KW generator if you have an authorized Generac installer do the installation. It's only available with 14 KW and above generators. I live in Mid Michigan. The well pump is a 1/2 HP AERO 203 submerged pump with a 15 amp/220 V breaker. I'm not sure what pictures to snap for you. What are you wanting to see? Thanks for your welcome and response.
 

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yea if you are going with the factory boys they set the rules..

i was looking for the start and run current specs for the well pump.
and the duty cycle spec.
are you using a bladder tank? if so how many gallons?

so you are thinking about an ats just off the grid meter?

i would seek out a private gen place.... that way you can get the custom gear you are seeking...

lots of good ats units out there right now.
look at the ones for multi power source.
some integrate solar and inverter.
and then you use the generator for charging the batteries.
just a thought!
 

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The generator company or any electrician will not install a 100amp service transfer switch on a 200 amp service. You Can buy a transfer switch separate from the generator. Whether or not the 200amp transfer switches are even available right now is a whole other question.

The 10kw is A bit small for use on a full service transfer switch, which is why the installer recommended a 16circuit transfer panel with load shedding. You need to keep enough headroom for the generator when it switches on, if your central AC was on before the power went out, what do you intend on doing? Running to the circuit panel to turn off the breaker along with other high amperage breakers before the generator starts automatically in 15 seconds.
 

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Unfortunately, you're in a situation that what you want and what's commercially available aren't compatible. From your description, the Generac rep had the proper solution, though you didn't like it. You can persevere and imagineer an ATS with a smaller generator, picking up various pieces here and there and cobbling something together. Does warranty mean anything to you? Service? Also, to get the kind of automatic load shedding on power failure you want, the costs will surprise you. When you're finished, you'll have a one of a kind, "sorta" ATS configuration. Your objection to the industry standard tried and proven system is LPG usage, compare "usual" outage durations to overall ATS costs and you may be spending a lot of dollars to save a few pennies. Also, what you have now works, how much are you willing to spend for additional convenience? Last but not least, Generac systems don't exactly have the best name in service, warranty, and timely shipping out of needed parts. However, based on cost they have that market tied up. Going with something more reliable is going to cost even more. JMHO
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The generator company or any electrician will not a 100amp service transfer switch on a 200 amp service. You Can buy a transfer switch separate from the generator. Whether or not the 200amp transfer switches are even available right now is a whole other question.

The 10kw is A bit small for use on a full service transfer switch, which is why the installer recommended a 16circuit transfer panel with load shedding. You need to keep enough headroom for the generator when it switches on, if your central AC was on before the power went out, what do you intend on doing? Running to the circuit panel to turn off the breaker along with other high amperage breakers before the generator starts automatically in 15 seconds.
You bring up a good point regarding what's going to happen if high amperage circuits are in service at the time of a power outage. I assumed the appliances would need to be restarted if their power was interrupted and would not come back on automatically, but I haven't actually tested that assumption. It would probably not be true of the AC. I need to consider this point more.

Does a 100 amp transfer switch limit the amperage of a 200 amp panel to 100 amps when power is coming from the utility and that is why you're saying any electrician would not install a 100 amp transfer switch on a 200 amp service panel? You're probably thinking, it's a good thing this guy can't do his own install, but I would know what I was doing before attempting it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Unfortunately, you're in a situation that what you want and what's commercially available aren't compatible. From your description, the Generac rep had the proper solution, though you didn't like it. You can persevere and imagineer an ATS with a smaller generator, picking up various pieces here and there and cobbling something together. Does warranty mean anything to you? Service? Also, to get the kind of automatic load shedding on power failure you want, the costs will surprise you. When you're finished, you'll have a one of a kind, "sorta" ATS configuration. Your objection to the industry standard tried and proven system is LPG usage, compare "usual" outage durations to overall ATS costs and you may be spending a lot of dollars to save a few pennies. Also, what you have now works, how much are you willing to spend for additional convenience? Last but not least, Generac systems don't exactly have the best name in service, warranty, and timely shipping out of needed parts. However, based on cost they have that market tied up. Going with something more reliable is going to cost even more. JMHO
From what you guys are telling me, I think I'm about ready to scrap this standby generator idea until a future date when I'm not able to make it out to fill the portable and when I get to that point, I'll probably be ready to move into a condo somewhere. Thanks for your input. You helped me put the damper on this project.
 

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@rgevans871 : Obviously you are reaching an age where you are not too enthused about running out to the barn to refill your generator.
What if your wife had to do it?
Maybe the propane generator would not be such a bad Idea.
However you can switch the gas genny of yours to a propane unit for less that $200.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
@rgevans871 : Obviously you are reaching an age where you are not too enthused about running out he barn to refill your generator.
What of your wife had to do it?
Maybe the propane generator would not be such a bad Idea.
However you can switch the gas genny of yours to a propane unit for less that $200.
I think my wife has already thought about what if she has to do it. The barn and the portable generator location are not conveniently located near my 1000 gal. propane so that running a line to the barn wouldn't be practical. My largest other propane tanks are 40 lbs located in the 5th wheel and I'd rather carry 5 gallon gasoline cans than those propane tanks. Like I said when I can't hobble out to fill the generator, we'll be out of here or maybe then I'll bite the bullet and put in a standby generator. I want to look at some other brands other than Generac after some of the previous comments about Generac. Of the people I know that have standby generators, they've all gone with Generac, but maybe that's because they seem to be the most well known or they didn't know any better. I think the 10 KW with the 100 amp, 16 selected circuits is probably what I would go with after the input from this forum. Before doing that I'll have to sort out what's associated with each breaker. We did a remodel 10 years ago and our circuit descriptions in the panel got a little jumbled. Thanks again to everyone for helping an old guy sort this out a bit.
 

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@rgevans871: My buddy Bill just replaced a failed B&G 10 KW with a Generac 10 KW and new 16 circuit TS.
The reason he went with a new 10 KW was that the NG feed was too small to provide a larger generator with enough gas to run. Replacing the gas line was going to be a problem.
Bill chose Generac because they are the only generator service in the surrounding area.
Cost to install was $9200.00 (Turn Key)
I was there during the change out and those guys knew their stuff.
The 10 KW single cylinder unit was a stored unit that the installer had on hand.
Do not wait until you need it to buy one. Start looking.
 
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For whatever reason, generators are increasing in price and decreasing in availability. Hurricane season approaching? Texas and other power fiasco's? Washington continues to talk about "aging of the power grid" and nothing happens. State PUC/PSC's continue to soften utility rules?
 

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It might be less expensive and much faster to trench a line to your propane tank than going the standby generator route. The last time I looked, the smaller Generacs were 12 to 16 weeks delivery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
It might be less expensive and much faster to trench a line to your propane tank than going the standby generator route. The last time I looked, the smaller Generacs were 12 to 16 weeks delivery.
@rgevans871: My buddy Bill just replaced a failed B&G 10 KW with a Generac 10 KW and new 16 circuit TS.
The reason he went with a new 10 KW was that the NG feed was too small to provide a larger generator with enough gas to run. Replacing the gas line was going to be a problem.
Bill chose Generac because they are the only generator service in the surrounding area.
Cost to install was $9200.00 (Turn Key)
I was there during the change out and those guys knew their stuff.
The 10 KW single cylinder unit was a stored unit that the installer had on hand.
Do not wait until you need it to buy one. Start looking.
I think your friend Bill may have paid a hefty premium for having one in the installers inventory installed. I just got a quote on May 12th for a turn key installation of 14 KW Generac with a Generac 200 amp Smart Switch and one 50 amp Smart Management Module for my AC for $7640 with the 12 to 16 week delivery that you mention. This wasn't a problem for me being I have the backup portable. As I've mentioned before, the 10 KW is my preference because I'm anticipating our outages are going to longer and more frequent for reasons you mentioned and the threat of cyber attacks on the grid. A 10 KW will enable my LP supply to last longer when it may be difficult to get an immediate refill. I've just begun to look at Kohler generators and it looks like they offer a smart ats on their 10 KW generator and also have a 12 KW. The problem may be that I can't seem to identify any dealers in the Mid Michigan area. I need to investigate this further. Probably not a good idea to mention my recent quote to your friend Bill if he's already closed the deal on his generator.
 

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first things first! welcome to the group!

snap some pix of what you have right now.

so are you looking for automatic or manual on the system?

if you are looking for automatic i would go with a good 200 amp ats.
and make sure it can have the load shed feature as an upgrade.

if the system is designed right you can select what has priority power.
and the load shed makes the decision by priority you select.
you will have a few more bucks in the up front costs...
but in the long run you have choices on what the back up power can be!
it is it designed right..
you can use any electric start generator on the system...

so what area of the usa are you in? just city and state only.

oh yea a 10kw gen will work on a 200 amp ats if it is the right ats!
you will just be limited to the 10kw as the max load... 7,500 watts would be a safe number on that gen set.

so what is the breaker size for the 220 vac well pump?
do you have a make and model numbers for the pump?
yea if you are going with the factory boys they set the rules..

i was looking for the start and run current specs for the well pump.
and the duty cycle spec.
are you using a bladder tank? if so how many gallons?

so you are thinking about an ats just off the grid meter?

i would seek out a private gen place.... that way you can get the custom gear you are seeking...

lots of good ats units out there right now.
look at the ones for multi power source.
some integrate solar and inverter.
and then you use the generator for charging the batteries.
just a thought!
yea if you are going with the factory boys they set the rules..

i was looking for the start and run current specs for the well pump.
and the duty cycle spec.
are you using a bladder tank? if so how many gallons?

so you are thinking about an ats just off the grid meter?

i would seek out a private gen place.... that way you can get the custom gear you are seeking...

lots of good ats units out there right now.
look at the ones for multi power source.
some integrate solar and inverter.
and then you use the generator for charging the batteries.
just a thought!
Gold morning
 

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I have a question on this . If he could find an company to do what he wanted would it even meet code?
thank you
 

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well maybe...
the problem is the factory boys have a set of guide lines they follow...
kinda like the scripted tele marketers!
lol!
the factory has a way of doing things just one way so every thing is the same...
the down fall is they do not do custom work just for the clients exact needs.

that is where the private shops and contractors kick in!
they can help on the one off custom setups.
 

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Let me visit that:
1st for Bill the Company rep for generators shows up.
He then takes the info back to an estimator.
The estimator calls Bill with a price.
Bill agrees,
Then two weeks later two electrical mechanical guys remove the old generator, TS, and the wiring.
They then take a day and a half to set the generator and connect everything essential to the generator electrical.
Then several days later a gas piping crew shows up and connects the gas and sets that up.
A few days later the service guy shows up to set the codes and get it on line.
So, when you have a sole installer, the price comes down.
But then if it is not a replacement and code inspectors are involved then you never know what to expect as there is inspection costs too.
Bill calls today and tells me the generator is running as power was lost for about an hour.
He was very happy as his wife has sever Alzheimer's and they are stuck inside.
He said the new Generac is far less noisy than the B&S.
He is happy.
 

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yea bs is kinda loud on all of the engines they do...
more vibration as well..
glad he is back up and running!
I still think cat would be my choice for a larger gen set...
 
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