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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all!

New member, love the forum. I am in the market for a small inverter generator 2000-2500W because the power company has decided to turn off our power during "fire season" every summer now, as they don't want to get sued like PG&E did when their equipment starts fires. We also live in earthquake territory and I know a big one will hit soon enough.

I am only really concerned with running my fridge in either of those situations, and the internet toys and TV during the scheduled blackouts. I think 2000-2500W should be enough.

I've looked into the market pretty deeply. I want a Honda, and can afford it, but for my needs, I feel like so many positive reviews of the "other" brands out there make me feel like going cheaper is a fine decision. I appreciate any feedback.

My questions are related to "features" that feel like they should matter but apparently are not included on top of the line models like the Honda or a Yamaha. So... should I care about these things?

1. Dual Fuel. My better half is a little concerned with storing gasoline. If we have an earthquake and are without power for 7 days or more, I will need a lot of gasoline on hand to keep my fridge running for that long. A 20 pound (or two) propane tank seem like they may stretch my power needs for a longer period of time. Am I wrong in thinking this? I know propane is not as efficient as gas, but isn't it safer and easier to store in large quantities?

2. Fuel shut off. Wen generators (and some others) will run until the carb is out of fuel automatically. This seems helpful! Why would I not want this? Yamaha has an easy-drain plug to drain their carbs. Why don't others?

3. Fuel gauge. Westinghouse has fuel gauges on their small inverters. Why doesn't anyone else? Are we supposed to just run them dry and then refill as needed? It seems weird that fuel gauges are not included on every model. Curious as to the reasoning here.

I think that's all I'm really interested in at this point. I have yet to find a model with all three of these features so I'm a little dumbfounded. I appreciate you taking the time to read all this.
 

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I have a Wen inverter that I got not long ago. It's the GN400i. It's a frame inverter rated at 3.5k running watts and 4k surge watts. That should be enough power to run most of the items you need to operate in a power outage. Just under a two gallon fuel tank, with gauge, and with a fuel shutoff valve. I don't know if it can be converted for use with propane, though. But, it's less than $400 on the Wen website. Good reviews as well.
 

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Propane isn't cheap, primarily because of the tanks it comes in. It does last almost indefinitely in storage. Most of us get by with regular gas, a few five gallon cans, added StaBil or other fuel preservative and it's good for a year. Simply dump in your vehicle, add preservative and refill cans. If you go with propane derate the rated wattage by 10-15% (I forgo which)

First step in buying a generator is determine the "usual" frequency and duration of outages. Second step is determine what you need to get through one. With those facts, you can determine size of generator and evaluate which fuel you're comfortable with. Depending on whether outages are an occasional thing or a fact of life where you are would indicate the quality of unit to buy. Honda is the best, no question, if you can afford it and outages are regular if not routine go that route. Where I am they're occasional, so no need for a Honda.

Running a generator "dry" under load isn't good for the generator or the items being powered. Gas has an advantage as the gauge will tell you when to disconnect, shut down, check oil and refuel. I don't use propane but assume that you can make an estimate as to how often you have to change tanks. During an outage I only run a generator 12-14 hours, shut down and next morning fuel, check oil, etc. Guess I'm conservative but don't like a small engine running with everyone asleep. The frig will stay cold during the off times, particularly since it isn't being opened as everyone is asleep.

Running a gas generator dry is to empty "most" of the fuel from the carb which lessens carb issues.
 

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lots of good tri fuel kits out there.
us carb has a good kit.

super LARGE lp tank can be tricky when in an earth quake area!
most run the grill tanks to 100 lb cyls for the little gens.

also think that if you are on gasoline that getting fuel can be a trick during an event!
closed roads, no power at the gas stations near by etc.
Iowa folks found that out during the dechero last aug 2020!

a few things to think on when planning a system.
how long can the power be out?
days or months? that depends on how remote you are.

cost per hour of running. a small eu2200i gen runs a long time on 6 gallons of gas when using the extended run system.
larger gens as the only gen, you are locked in at a higher per hour gallon per hour rate.
for me i load shed and use up to 4 of the eu2200i honda gens.
and i am tri fuel so i have choices for fuel source.

fuel storage, gasoline will store ok if you have a good home farm style gas station system.
and buy ethanol free gasoline. and treat all gasoline!
we use staibil with 2x the dose.
or use the VP fuel for even longer storage but it is pricey stuff per gallon.

gasoline has good energy per foot of space.
works best for off grid areas as you can refill your self.
they even make fuel trailers for fueling heavy equipment.
lots of gallons as a drive to buy fuel solution...

during an large outage event they may have a max gallons on your purchase...
and your credit cards for payment may not work if the internet is down..

just a few things to think on when doing a plan!
make a list,
make a plan,
and live like no other!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the responses! It seems like a fuel gauge would be a good addition to these inverters. I wonder why Westinghouse is the only brand doing it consistently.

I agree about earthquakes, I fully expect to not be able to have power for week and that includes being able to purchase gasoline. If I'm running a generator (not all the way through the night) I'll surely need more than 5 gallons to get through a week. I'm not sure pure gas is even available here but based on my frequency of need I think regular gas/propane would be the way to go so that I could put the regular gas in my cars when it is time to use it.

I'll have to learn more about tri fuel kits, load shedding, and the extended run system. Appreciate any more feedback!
 

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You are asking some good questions. Since you know you're going to have outages I would lean towards either a high quality Honda or Yamaha (Yamaha inverters have fuel gauges). I know cost is a thing but reliability is paramount here- this is for your family.
Just so you know if you get a Westinghouse, WEN, Briggs etc. small inverter these are all badged and not built by them. No biggie, all are from China or Vietnam. If you get a good one fine, if you don't try again. That was my experience, bought a Westinghouse with all the features and it failed after 2.5 hours- sent it back. Went Yamaha and may get another one for redundancy.
That's my other point, buy 2 Westinghouse IGens for redundancy if you can afford it. I would even buy 2 Honda's knowing an outage is guaranteed.
Your other concerns about gasoline availability are wise but the 2000- 2200W class generators sip gas. Two or three 5 gallon gas cans gives you a lot of run time with these misers. Converting to propane will void the warranty if found out. Still propane is a great option, but you will lose output- propane de-rates the engine by about 10%.
Whatever you buy, run-in/test it for 5-10 hours and change the oil.
Good luck and report back on what you decide.
 

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if you by the right tri fuel kit you do not see much loss in power.
at least on the inverter gens.

gasoline is the better fuel for remote areas.
and you can do marine tanks for extended run.

yes on multi gens!
i have 4 of the eu2200i gens and 1 of the eu7000is.

the point is to make a good plan, have spare parts.
and be ready for the worst.

also think on a gen shack or gen shed.
the shack is nice as you can do a steel door to secure the gen .
just make sure to store the gasoline in a separated from run area.
for gasoline systems we do a double door shack with a divider wall so no chance of explosion.
both sides have sealed fans for venting.
 

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Here is my take on being a generator owner:
First off a generator is an item that you pay little attention to until that moment when you are in the dark and realize it is time to crank it up and get the power going.
You expect your little jewel to be ready to go when you need it, but you have to look for it in the corner of the garage.
However buying a reliable unit is often left aside thinking you cannot spend the $'s so you buy the cheepo.
Then back to the time of need when your el cheepo is going to be a stubborn beast and let you down.
Believe you me it happens even to the best of us.
Do not believe me? Just look at the posts and then think about your choice.
All of us think we have made the best choice, then Bam! We are in the cold, flashlight is dead and the wife says "I told you to get that Honda and you Mr. Smarties would not listen.
My friend chose a Honda in 1985 that was expensive. Today I have it and it purrs like a kitten. I started to sell it and the wife pitched a fit. "Don't you dare sell that Honda!"
My 14 KW Generac died a sudden death in 2019 and I had the Honda ES6500 as a backup. It was in the low 30's and not a time for generator failure. That Honda kept us warm and I could tell by the look on my wife's face that she was happy.
You came here looking for advice, and it looks like you are on track, but get the best and do not look back especially when the wife can be in one of those moods.
 

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GRIN!
most of our hondas get better care than the wife!!
lol!
I had to go there!
i agree on the plan for the worst!
a good spare gen set is always a good plan B!

and is nice for when you need to shut down plan A to service it during an outage!
just remember things do not go as planned during an outage...

spare parts is a good plan!
 

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You are right about spare parts Paul.
I ordered a spare AVR for the Honda.
The cost was minimal compared to an emergency need.
 
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