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Which Generator to Choose?

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Looks like a nice unit for sure. Thanks for posting back an update.

I did not catch this thread earlier when you created it but I read through it from the start. Something I was looking for was more detail on your loads and reasoning for that large of a generator. I read iowagold's comment about sizing a generator 50% larger than what your loads are but I didn't catch any reasoning for the detail in your case. Can you explain that?

Why I ask is a buddy of mine has a 15kw for whole house back up and he can run everything. I just picked up a 15kw, I have yet to really load test it here though. If 15kw will run a whole house - AC, refrigerators, lights, TV's, elec. water heater, etc, etc - I am trying to do the math on where your desire for a 40kw unit comes from. Using the 50% larger size than the calculated loads reasoning - that would put the loads based off that calculation at 20kw. What is consuming all that power? Do you run multiple central AC units?
 

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Discussion Starter · #42 ·
I was originally only looking for a 30kw as that is what my required load calculated out at and that was very tight actually. But when I decided CAT was the direction I wanted to go the smallest they offered in my area is 40kw with the C4.4 engine. The reason for this is they stock nearly every single part for this engine and electronics allowing for same day parts and repair in almost all cases. Also the C4.4 engine is used in every gen from 40kw up to 100kw allowing for parts commonality. Another factor that was very surprising to me was the larger 40kw gen actually has very similar fuel burn per kw to the smaller 30kw unit. So while i will burn about 1 additional gallon of fuel per day, running at 20kw (or 50 percent), vs 66% on the 30kw unit, with a 250 gal tank that is nearly inconsequential.

As far as my homes requirements go we are all electric except for we use oil supplemented with wood for heat.

2 3.5 ton central AC units
Electric water heater
Electric range (4 burner) and oven
Electric dehumidifier in the basement
Microwave
Toaster oven
Coffee maker
Dishwasher
Garbage disposal
Electric well pump
Electric Septic pump
Electric fridge/freezer
Electric upright freezer (a second is in the plans)
Electric washer and dryer
The wife's hairdryer/straightener
4300 sq ft of lights
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
The A/C units are 3500 watts each times 2, the stove is 11000 watts with every burner and oven on. Thats 18kw right there alone! I'm not sure how a 15kw could work for a whole house unit without being very load conscious.
 

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That is one sweet generator. Buy once, cry once. I have read that the diesel units are happiest when loaded up. I hope you get many, many good years from that genset. Maybe place some nice evergreen shrubs around it for camoflage. Let us know how it all works out!
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
Thanks! We are thinking about what to put there actually. Our criteria is highly deer resistant and very shade tolerant. Plus we want something that looks natural and not forced like a hedge row.
 

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The A/C units are 3500 watts each times 2, the stove is 11000 watts with every burner and oven on. Thats 18kw right there alone! I'm not sure how a 15kw could work for a whole house unit without being very load conscious.
OK yeah when I read your list it started making sense. The 2x AC units and everything else (heating/cooking) being electric really adds up. However, you could stagger loads to drop draw.

Also, how often is it that you have every burner on the range with the oven on at the same time? I realize if you are looking for head room you are going for the "high number". Not a bad idea, just thinking more realistic loading.

The well pump and septic pump likely draw quite a bit also - especially start up loads. Sorry you have to deal with a septic pump also. Ours is entirely gravity fed, so just the well pump to deal with at the cabins.

The clothes dryer is one of those "nice to haves" but not "necessaries". Of course, your wife might beg to differ on that one. You can string up clothes on a clothesline to dry. Then you're down to the washer load. Country folk and outdoorsmen tend to think differently on those things ;)

As for whole house back up on 15kw - much different perspective on what constitutes whole house. And your list illustrates that. My buddy's place doesn't have 2 AC's, just 1, and they don't have electric heating, aside from the water heater. Big difference. We're all gas here - and that is a good thing as we have fuel piped in that will work for running generator engines, provided the gas is on and doesn't get turned off (that is a huge convenience to have - but., sorry to say, it can not be relied on - no "utility" that is "supplied to you" can be). As far as the loads go - if we did run in to a power issue then trimming loads for running what isn't for a period of time is possible. Or, fire up a 2nd generator for the load. That theory was going to apply to the 15kw - it being the one to fire up when needed - but that would only work if the smaller open frame unit is enough wattage to get us by and that could only work in cooler weather when AC isn't needed. If AC is needed its automatically the big one. The caveat is fuel availability. If we loose natural gas and have trouble getting gasoline or propane we have to ration fuel and the first thing that goes has to be AC, as much as I don't want to admit that. AC makes the difference in and of itself of running the bare minimum vs as much as we have. Even if we loose natural gas we can still cook - propane first, then several camping/bacpacking stoves - white gas and butane. After that we could go to wood and charcoal. So at that point the tiny EU2200i generator sipping gas would be enough to power the "essentials" - refrigerators, lights, fans. Thats the difference of about 20oz fuel/hr to 1.5 gallons fuel/hr, or almost 10 times less fuel (20oz/hr to 192oz/hr for the equivalent 1.5gal to oz conversion). That is 10 times the run time on what fuel we do have. If we had enough fuel to run the big generator for 1 day for AC then loose power entirely that same 1 day's fuel supply for the big one would get us 10 days on the little one. Thats really something to think about. Of course, around the 4 day marks (100hr run time intervals) the unit would need an oil change and plug cleaning - if it was fresh off a new change, sooner depending on how many hrs past last change.
 

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Thanks! We are thinking about what to put there actually. Our criteria is highly deer resistant and very shade tolerant. Plus we want something that looks natural and not forced like a hedge row.
Rhododendrons are very natural looking and do well in shade. They can also grow very large. We had some our by my pool that were in excess of 15 ft tall. I think the deer like them though. A couple of smartly placed eastern red cedars may be a good choice.

 

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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
With a family of 5 we typically use 2 burners and the oven for preparing dinner, but have used all of them. like you pointed out with load management and careful planning it's possible to get by on very little power. In our case however; we have several things going against us. We are on a very old grid here and we seem to loose power very often. It's very inconvenient and my wife and I are over worrying about it. So we want a thoughtless, worry free system. I travel a lot for work and I don't want the family to have any harder of a time than necessary when we loose power.
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
Thanks! Rhododendrons don't last long with the deer around here. We've tried them. I really like the look of the eastern red cedar you sent. have to do more research on deer and shade tolerance. We have a few junipers that are doing well, but they are in full sun. The gen is in a location around large hardwood trees providing a canopy from sunlight.
 

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Thanks! Rhododendrons don't last long with the deer around here. We've tried them. I really like the look of the eastern red cedar you sent. have to do more research on deer and shade tolerance. We have a few junipers that are doing well, but they are in full sun. The gen is in a location around large hardwood trees providing a canopy from sunlight.
You could always place a shed in front of it. This would help deflect noise as well.
 

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well done on the cat!
make sure to make a cover for the control panel to keep the sun off the panel.
and make sure the stack has a flapper or just place a soup can over it when not use to keep the rain snow and bugs out of it.
and mud dauber resistant the air in and out.

they will last a long time for sure!
make sure the battery is a good one and use a good charger with it.
and a sunlight solar charger is good as a back up charger.
they loose .01 amps per day lost in the internal battery if it just sits there...

did you get the cold weather option?
battery heater, oil heater and fuel heater..
and we add on the fuel filter and water separator heaters as well
pm me if you need parts on those
they can be added later for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #53 ·
You could always place a shed in front of it. This would help deflect noise as well.
The gen is far enough from the house and across the drive I'm not too worried about it. It's not really in view from where we are primarily in the house. Plus I'm out of money so a shed is out! lol I'm thinking one nice full pine or large shrub of some kind will work nicely. That eastern red cedar is exactly what I was picturing in my mind so thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
well done on the cat!
make sure to make a cover for the control panel to keep the sun off the panel.
and make sure the stack has a flapper or just place a soup can over it when not use to keep the rain snow and bugs out of it.
and mud dauber resistant the air in and out.

they will last a long time for sure!
make sure the battery is a good one and use a good charger with it.
and a sunlight solar charger is good as a back up charger.
they loose .01 amps per day lost in the internal battery if it just sits there...

did you get the cold weather option?
battery heater, oil heater and fuel heater..
and we add on the fuel filter and water separator heaters as well
pm me if you need parts on those
they can be added later for sure.

Hi Paul,

All your help was instrumental in getting me to this point so thank you again. As you pointed out, I am concerned about the intrusion of nesting insects and rodents on the unit. I was thinking attach some kind of stainless or polymer screen behind every grate on the enclosure. The existing grate has 1 inch square openings so not adequate for exclusion of insects. What are your thoughts on this?

The unit has the cold weather option. As it was described to me by CAT this keeps the internal enclosure completely heated so it's never too cold for any single component.

It also has a battery tender that's run from the house via a totally separate wire and conduit. It's a CAT branded battery with 950 cca. Seems good to me.

There is a flapper cap on the top of the exhaust already.

When you say a cover for the control panel it already has a locking door that has a weather seal all the way around it. Is there some other panel you are talking about?

Thanks!
 

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nope on the cover!
cool sounds like they have you set!
yea fabric screen would work...
just make sure it stays clean.
it can get corked fast with trash during a run if storms...

we have even used air filter material as a drop in for dust etc.
yea fill in what you can for the daubers...
they make all kinds of cool fire resistant stuff...

is it set as an ats setup or manual?
if it was a manual setup.
i would make a cover for the gen set!

and for the noise just use a cheap 80 buck or less chunk of privacy fence to keep it out of site
you can use t posts to put that up fast.
make sure to do the locates before driving the posts.

they are pretty quiet!
all that tier 4 and tier 5 stuff on them.
just a bit of rattle noise till it comes up to temp.
not near what they used to be!

cat makes a good setup.
that is why most of the Iowa utilities like water, phone, cable have now gone to cat gens.
hospitals have switched over from kohler here in town...
lol even our main electric utility has a cat gen on the dispatch tower here where i live!

lol a thought!
they now have that sticker material for cars...
you could do a skin for the gen set to make it blend in!
bricks, fence or wood grain, .... or even all out camo colors...
stealth mode for the new gen set! lol!
 

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Discussion Starter · #56 ·
nope on the cover!
cool sounds like they have you set!
yea fabric screen would work...
just make sure it stays clean.
it can get corked fast with trash during a run if storms...

we have even used air filter material as a drop in for dust etc.
yea fill in what you can for the daubers...
they make all kinds of cool fire resistant stuff...

is it set as an ats setup or manual?
if it was a manual setup.
i would make a cover for the gen set!

and for the noise just use a cheap 80 buck or less chunk of privacy fence to keep it out of site
you can use t posts to put that up fast.
make sure to do the locates before driving the posts.

they are pretty quiet!
all that tier 4 and tier 5 stuff on them.
just a bit of rattle noise till it comes up to temp.
not near what they used to be!

cat makes a good setup.
that is why most of the Iowa utilities like water, phone, cable have now gone to cat gens.
hospitals have switched over from kohler here in town...
lol even our main electric utility has a cat gen on the dispatch tower here where i live!

lol a thought!
they now have that sticker material for cars...
you could do a skin for the gen set to make it blend in!
bricks, fence or wood grain, .... or even all out camo colors...
stealth mode for the new gen set! lol!
This gen is actually a tier 3 machine. Something about emergency standby only requires EPA tier 3. Very happy about that! The enclosure is the sound attenuated model with sound proofing all over the interior walls and muffler. Supposed to be no louder than an air conditioner.

The transfer switch is an ASCO automatic transfer switch. It is absolutely enormous! It seems to keep with the theme of over the top! Lol

9475

9476
 

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Hi Paul,

All your help was instrumental in getting me to this point so thank you again. As you pointed out, I am concerned about the intrusion of nesting insects and rodents on the unit. I was thinking attach some kind of stainless or polymer screen behind every grate on the enclosure. The existing grate has 1 inch square openings so not adequate for exclusion of insects. What are your thoughts on this?

The unit has the cold weather option. As it was described to me by CAT this keeps the internal enclosure completely heated so it's never too cold for any single component.

It also has a battery tender that's run from the house via a totally separate wire and conduit. It's a CAT branded battery with 950 cca. Seems good to me.

There is a flapper cap on the top of the exhaust already.

When you say a cover for the control panel it already has a locking door that has a weather seal all the way around it. Is there some other panel you are talking about?

Thanks!
That's a nice generator Gunenthusiast! I lost a 15 KW alternator last year due to a mud dauber nest. After I installed a new head on the engine, I used perforated sheeting with 1/8 in. holes over the grates that had larger openings. It won't stop ants and other small insects but no mud daubers or other types of wasps are going to get in. I'll put a link to the sheeting I used in case you don't know what I am referring to.
MetalsDepot® - Buy Perforated Steel Sheet Online!
 

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Discussion Starter · #60 ·
That's a nice generator Gunenthusiast! I lost a 15 KW alternator last year due to a mud dauber nest. After I installed a new head on the engine, I used perforated sheeting with 1/8 in. holes over the grates that had larger openings. It won't stop ants and other small insects but no mud daubers or other types of wasps are going to get in. I'll put a link to the sheeting I used in case you don't know what I am referring to.
MetalsDepot® - Buy Perforated Steel Sheet Online!
Thanks for the link! That looks like good stuff. Not cheap though. I agree with Paul, I would be concerned about the airflow. What size holes did you go with? How does the steel they use hold up to outside exposure over time? Does it rust?
 
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