Consider the climate where you live. In our area, we underwent a
massive power outage in January; we were out for two weeks at our
place, while some people were out for up to a month. Generators were
being brought in from everywhere, but not all would run well in the
cold. Some models made in Arizona really couldn't handle sub-freezing
temperatures here in Ontario, Canada, for example. The crankcase
breather tube would freeze and then oil would blow out wherever it
could (like where gaskets used to be); also the carburetor would
freeze up. People learned to re-route the exhaust heat to the
appropriate areas to prevent this, but in the middle of trying to keep
yourselves living in your home you don't need that kind of hassle.
1. Honda motor or similar - for fuel efficiency, as well as
reliability. Alternately, a big gas tank. Remember when it runs out of
gas, you get to deal with it by flashlight or candle.
2. 2000 watts will get your furnace fan motor running, assuming
there's a way to get its fuel in. (In our case we have a wood furnace,
so this worked. If your furnace runs on town-supplied gas, you'll
likely be able to carry on as well.)
3. If you have a submersible pump for your well, it's likely 240 v,
and the smaller generators only have 120. No running water was by far
the biggest pain of all. Eventually, you just have to flush those
4. Electric start is good if your wife is not mechanically inclined.
There may come a time when she needs to use it. In our case, if I
hadn't been around, we simply would have had to have moved out.
5. I think around 5000 watts is a good compromise, but you really have
to consider what you're doing with it. Bigger=less portable, but less
portable=more power=more creature comforts.
6. Forget about hot water.
7. I think the low oil thing is because the usage could be continuous,
and if it seizes something drastic may have to happen, such as the
need to find a new place to live.
Can't really speak to your other questions, but hope this helps.
Subject: Portable Generators
Author: Non-HP-johnm (firstname.lastname@example.org) at HP-USA,mimegw5
Date: 19/06/98 5:58 PM
Oh Boy. The Year 2000 bug looks like a boon to my shop!
My lovely wife (a systems analyst at a rather large trucking company)
came home last night after one of her many bouts with Y2K paperwork
to announce that we should have a good supply of food and supplies
on hand when zero hour hits.
In particular, she said that we should have a portable generator, too!
Well, well. I've been eyeing these for some time, and a serious concern
had been the "wife acceptance factor". Now that thats no longer an issue,
What should I buy???
There are several makes/models/power ratings/options to choose from.
My usage would be to power the furnace (gas), freezer, a few lights,
and possibly a TV and satellite receiver. If it was small/quiet enough,
I might want to take it with me to the race track for power there.
- Most have low oil shutoffs - is this important? My lawnmower doesn't burn
enough oil in one season to need oil added. Why should a generator?
- Are Honda engines worth the extra price?
- Is diesel better than gas? (I have no other diesel equip now)
- Is electric start a worth while feature on larger units?
- Is it safe to run electronic equipment on gas generators?
- What else do I need to be concerned with?
John "with permission to buy" Miller