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We share a well with three other lots/homes. About 1100 ft. down and all good so far - water is excellent.

Some are concerned about grid power loss in possible emergency situation and are thinking about installing a power switch/generator setup to run the well pump, pressure systems, etc., with generator to be powered by propane. Thinking that a 10k peak generator would be needed.

If you have done this work or know it well, what would you install (the electrical equipment) and how much should we expect to spend for components and installation?

Good alternatives to the above?

All knowledgeable info will be appreciated - the sooner the better. Thanks.


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Buy a generator with at least twice the capacity you believe you'll need. "Need" for power will expand to meet or exceed the supply, no matter how much wattage you start out with!


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I opted to go with a portable generator for my setup.

I just had a reliance brand 6 circuit transfer switch installed - switch and installation was a little over $600 by an electrician.

You'll get all kinds of opinions on generators, I ended up with a duel fuel electric start inverter generator by Champion for $800

Bought a #100 lb propane tank from TSC for $189 and had it filled for $79. I think I also spent $30 on an adapter.

If I had to do it over again, I would opt for the 10 circuit transfer switch because its only $50 more and I didn't get everything I wanted on the 6 circuit.

The setup I have now is good for about 10 days running 8 hours a day. I chose propane because it will last for years without any effort and I didn't want to try to track down gasoline if my neighborhood doesn't have power.

With this setup I can't run my A/C and I have gas heat. If I lived in a hurricane area, I would have gone the few extra thousand dollars and got a dedicated Generac. I can probably run a well pump without issue but I'm probably on the low end with my $800 generator

Last edited by KFWA; 11/08/22.

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we haven't had a good generator thread in at least five weeks.

So go Kohler and don't look back.


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What are the power requirements?

What is total amp draw of all systems and what are the motor starting amps?


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Originally Posted by 12344mag
What are the power requirements?

What is total amp draw of all systems and what are the motor starting amps?


This

If you can afford it have a Back up to the Back up Generator
I have a limited Solar system with (8) 200 amp hr Batteries with a 30 amp 120/240 Inverter that can be added on.
A 8750 watts Gas generator
A 12,000 watts Duel Fuel generator
And a Lincoln Vantage 400 Diesel welding machine that puts out 17,000 watts 220 3 phase and 11,500 watts 220/120 1 phase

My girl wanted me to get another one.
I told her we have enough for the time being.

Never run a generator at max out put. It will not last very long if you do so.

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Not enough information to provide a reasonable answer. We would need rated HP of well pump, any other power needs that would have to be considered besides the pump power- heat in the pump house, lights, etc.... and whatever other information that might help make an informed decision.

In this particular case you will need power for the pump, possible a heat source in the pump house if you are in an area that gets freezing weather, a receptacle for service technicians to use , and a light in the pump house if it is big enough for a person to get into to service the pump and equipment. This means you will need a small electrical panel with several circuits and all that goes with it- grounding, service from the primary power source, a transfer capability, and access for whoever is going to maintain the equipment.

Bob


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A typical 20k whole house generator with transfer switch installed with an existing propane tank in our area is about $10k. You might get away with a smaller generator, but it won't save you much. The labor and transfer switch are still the same.

If you want to be frugal, install a 500 or 1000 gal. cistern at each house. Take turns filling them over a week or so. You can buy a jet-pump from Home Depot that you can connect to your house water supply line. Add a T, and valve accordingly. The jet pump can suck/push water 15-50' depending on the model. You don't need a pressure tank. They run on 120 or 240. If you lose power and big box store 5000W generator will easily be able to run the jet pump. Worst case, is drop a bucket in the cistern and pull the water up manually.

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Went with a natural gas Generac 9k generator about 4 years ago.
Didn't feel we needed a whole house unit, but wanted power to all the important things we depend on.
It runs our well, furnace w/ AC, stove and ref. TV's, Computers, and about half the rooms with lights and outlets.
Comes on once a week and runs for about 15 minutes, longest it's been needed has been about 7 hours so far.
Worry more about it's need in the winter, than summer. We can live with the heat, but not the temps that will freeze your pipes. It's not instantaneous, but the very short delay only affects our digital clocks.
I look at it as another type of insurance policy.


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Do you, or any of the other houses have their own underground water holding tank or does each house just have a pressure tank supplied by the well?

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I had failure to start in; generator, lawn tractor, lawn mower, outboard motor, Jeep, weed eater, chain saw, and rototiller.

It seems that storing machines is a problem...More than 98% of U.S. gasoline contains ethanol.


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Originally Posted by Sheister
Not enough information to provide a reasonable answer. We would need rated HP of well pump, any other power needs that would have to be considered besides the pump power- heat in the pump house, lights, etc.... and whatever other information that might help make an informed decision.

In this particular case you will need power for the pump, possible a heat source in the pump house if you are in an area that gets freezing weather, a receptacle for service technicians to use , and a light in the pump house if it is big enough for a person to get into to service the pump and equipment. This means you will need a small electrical panel with several circuits and all that goes with it- grounding, service from the primary power source, a transfer capability, and access for whoever is going to maintain the equipment.

Bob

+1

Plus other configuration parameters. Portable vs stationary equipment. Auto start/stop and transfer vs manual.

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Storm is headed to east coast again....

Last edited by mtnsnake; 11/08/22.
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Reliance transfer switch and portable generator, I have tri-fuel Champion and mine is hooked up to natural gas. Transfer switch $600, generator $1200 and labor $250.

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I have a couple of generators, but have never really used one in an emergency. Most I have done was run one intermittently to keep the fridge cold after a hurricane.


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CCCC;
Good afternoon my cyber friend, I hope that besides the generator calculations that you and yours are well and life is, as close as possible, as it should be.

You've received some very good advice so far and I'll do my best to not repeat it.

For background, when Y2K was coming up onto the scene another family member and myself went down the rabbit hole with generators in somewhat separate directions as it turned out. After that I worked for a medium sized construction company that had a few different portable generators as well, so here's what we learned.

Your plan for propane as a fuel is sound. Do the fuel consumption calculations and then double your minimum.

Diesel - in our part of BC - will still work in an 40 year old tractor after being stored in a drum for 18 years. We strained it - that's all.

Gasoline might be usable after a couple years with fuel conditioner in it and it might not.

Member Hotrod Lincoln suggested doing the calculation on your required power needs and doubling it. That seems to be sound advice on several levels in my opinion.

At work we had a Multi Quip Whisper Watt that had a 3 cylinder Isuzu diesel in it which was fantastic even though the boss picked it up at a Ritchie Bros. auction so it wasn't fresh and minty by any stretch. It would run a pretty active jobsite with crews working on a pair of duplexes with about 10 gallons of diesel a day - as close as I can recall.

Speaking broadly and I'm cognizant of how slippery a slope that can be, I've had way more success getting Isuzu and Cummins diesel engines to "come back from the dead" or at least out of a coma than all the others, by a fairly large margin. That said, I'm not a HD mechanic so the sample size is admittedly small.

The gasoline generators at work were much less efficient and at least one with Yamaha power so maybe it was a Coleman had the generator itself melt down in a magnificent fashion.

Again as mentioned the smaller ones and maybe the big ones too don't like to be run at max all the time.

That Whisper Watt seemed to take abuse that the smaller portables just couldn't.

We see a lot of Onan units out here on hospitals, care centers and for backup supply on civic water systems. I don't know if that's because they're good or cheaper however, sorry.

Personally I went with a PTO powered setup because small engines are the bane of my existence and I can usually get my tractor running most days. As well then it's not another engine that needs maintenance - BUT - as it is used for other things around the property I am decreasing it's lifespan too, so a double edges sword there.

Hopefully that made some sense and was useful to you or someone out in the ether space/inner webs this afternoon.

Good luck and all the best.

Dwayne


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Had and used a small portable the keep the fridge and a few lights working. 2 weeks w/o power prompted change. 21kw pto generator for the tractor cost a bit over 1 grand, hookup to the house was about $300.


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If ya value your frozen & cold goods.......and heat if needed

You'll come up with sumthing

I had my electrician install a X/fer switch in my main panel........$320

Plug in my portable Wen 3800I if & when I need it

If I was 40 YO.......I'd have an on demand whole house NG unit ready to go

Buy direct from Wen.....free ship & no tax

https://wenproducts.com/collections...le-inverter-generator-with-fuel-shut-off


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Had a Kohler 20kw installed. One thing to remember if the power goes out and your not home, your screwed.

A stand by generator with an automatic transfer switch, comes on 7-9 seconds after the power goes off.


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We have used small gasoline powered ones after storms and used a couple window unit air conditioners to get by for years. Bit the bullet early this year and bought a 22kw whole house standby that runs off natural gas. Unit was about 11 grand but a friend hooked it up for nothing. Spent the extra and bought the 4 cylinder water cooled 1800 rpm unit. No problems so far. Has 5 year warranty. It can run everything including a 5 ton central unit which is important where I live.

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