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Re: Portable Generators

Subject: Re: Portable Generators
Date: Sat, 20 Jun 1998 10:16:15 -0400
     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.
     My recommendations:
     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.
     Jim Wallace

Subject: Portable Generators
Author:  Non-HP-johnm ( 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

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