Backup Home Generator

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I've been looking at getting a generator for my home, inside the Power Shutoff Zone deep up Mission Canyon. I am wondering if anyone has installed a Standby Home Generator? I see the commercials for Generac generators and we personally have with their small portable unit (GP2200I) as our current backup, but their home units are newer. I've heard positive reviews from Cumming, Yamaha, and Kohler who also top generator producers consumers rave about. Anyone locally with home generator or a backup power plan? I'm looking for reviews, sound level output, are you able to get a maintenance technician out to SB, natural gas vs diesel.


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rwelsh Sep 27, 2019 03:11 PM
Backup Home Generator

Wow. You would think we all lived in the back woods of Kentucky by this conversation. Hard to believe we live in a super wealthy sophisticated town in the USA and we are all worrying about this. Something seems really wrong if our utility companies can't keep the power on. Power through fear.

Eggs Ackley Sep 28, 2019 05:44 AM
Backup Home Generator

Propaganda will get you nowhere. "Power through fear".... what a line of crap spoken like someone from the backwoods of Kentucky. You keep worrying as long as you please, I'll keep the light on for you.

a-1569600469 Sep 27, 2019 09:07 AM
Backup Home Generator

We are having a pair of 13KV Tesla Powerwalls installed in our Mission Canyon home in the next month. This required a SCE Service upgrade, (for which SCE provides a $3000 credit) and permitting, but I cannot in good conscience put another internal combustion engine into service. We have a moderate sized solar array, an electric vehicle and so are eligible for Time of Use pricing, which is very favorable. We been working on this for 6 months to design and permit the whole thing, so start now for 2020. There is currently a 30% federal tax credit, and if the State would get off its butt, there should be State incentives kicking in next year too. Don't buy another engine to manage a problem that has been greatly exacerbated, if not caused, by internal combustion engines!!

Eggs Ackley Sep 28, 2019 05:48 AM
Backup Home Generator

Batteries...there are less costly options than overpriced powerwalls. Costs over service life of ten to twelve years are net positive. With solar even less. What are your annual ice vehicle costs?

a-1569610138 Sep 27, 2019 11:48 AM
Backup Home Generator

I wish we could all afford the initial and ongoing costs of going green with rooftop solar, 13KWH battery bank, electric car and all-electric home. The batteries and solar panels have limited service life, so we need to budget for that on top of permits, installation and routine maintenance. I'm sad that so many of us have few options for emergency electricity other than a few hundred bucks for a gas generator that will power a refrigerator and lights for 6 hours on a gallon of gas. About the amount of gas used to drive 30 miles in a small car. Is that about the distance from Mission Canyon to Costco and back?

a-1569601732 Sep 27, 2019 09:28 AM
Backup Home Generator

@9:07, can you share the monthly average amount of your current electric bill? What is the estiamted total net cost of adding the Powerwalls (ie, what will it cost you out of pocket after rebates, etc.)?

shorebird Sep 27, 2019 09:05 AM
Backup Home Generator

Seems like this could be a timely topic for a class in the Adult Education Programs.

a-1569599623 Sep 27, 2019 08:53 AM
Backup Home Generator

We're going to try to bypass need for a generator, we'll see how that goes.... we're going to clear out our freezer and refrigerator and use them less now as long-term storage and more as old-fashioned day-to-day cold boxes. We have frozen milk cartons of water on several shelves in the freezer and refrigerator. food wastage from spoilage is our main concern. We do have three koi in an old backyard pond, and water aeration for them is the more pressing other concern.

a-1569601780 Sep 27, 2019 09:29 AM
Backup Home Generator

@8:53, your description is how people live in Haiti. Sigh.

a-1569595385 Sep 27, 2019 07:43 AM
Backup Home Generator

Good answers already. I live in Hope Ranch where Edison seems to be shutting down power a couple of times a year to upgrade lines and of course there can be power outages in windstorms. I had a Generac natural gas generator installed by Powell Electric and they handled the layout and permitting and recommended a great guy for maintenance who comes up from ventura for annual service. Another thing you could consider is a Tesla Powerwall or similar system. They won’t power your house for days but might be good for overnight outages.

a-1569594667 Sep 27, 2019 07:31 AM
Backup Home Generator

I have a neighbor who has a turbine genny that can power a small city. After the mudslides i saw a fuel truck backed into his driveway refueling his 6,000 gallon diesel tank and was in awe that he literally powered his entire 12,000sf house for 2 weeks. I say screw the neighbors bitching about a small hum, i had a jet airplane running and was just jealous.

racjax Sep 27, 2019 07:27 AM
Backup Home Generator

We just had installed a 20kw generac (Honeywell branded) generator. It will run on natural gas. Bought from Costco. The challenge for people will be getting someone to install. The permitting by the city is rather complex due to both building and zoning involved. Ours got final sign off this week. You will need both a plumber with gas line certification and an electrician. My husband has a medical device so that was a motivating factor.

a-1569592997 Sep 27, 2019 07:03 AM
Backup Home Generator

We installed a fairly large (23 KV) Generac system 2 years ago after suffering many power outages. It is powered by natural gas. We consulted with a very competent electrical contractor, Ari Izhak of the Electric Touch Company in sizing it as well as installing. He was excellent in educating us. Since then, it has operated flawlessly in many subsequent outages.

a-1569567663 Sep 27, 2019 12:01 AM
Backup Home Generator

I got a Honda EU2200i 2200-Watt Super Quiet Gas Power Portable Inverter Generator for $1,009 on Amazon, then also got a suitable cord to run from it indoors to periodically power my fridge, computer, lights, and fish tank air stones. And a no-spill gas can, and some Stabil to put in the gasoline in case I don't need it for months. It is remarkably quiet, especially on "eco mode" but if the whole neighborhood goes silent it would seem louder. I also got a bike lock to secure it from theft, and some LED work lights. If the planned outages don't get ya the earthquake might, and now I feel prepared for either. I've got canned food and water and big dogs, my neighbor has guns, and we think we will weather through the upcoming just fine.

a-1569562319 Sep 26, 2019 10:31 PM
Backup Home Generator

Okay. Don't know about the OP, but you guys have talked me out of getting a generator. One thing I don't want to do is pollute my air anymore that it is already. Just have to tough out those outages and eat up the ice cream before it melts.

John Wiley Sep 26, 2019 06:07 PM
Backup Home Generator

Consumer Reports just did an extensive review in the last few months. Between that and online reviews (including the often inaccurate Amazon ones that CU also reported on), we got a 3.1kw (3.4 "startup) Champion inverter pull-start "recoil" type from Home Depot online for a bit less than $900 (they've gone up since, presumably due to CA demand). I haven't looked at the waveform yet to check the probably "modified square wave" shape (some worry about appliance damage), but it did fine starting up our 1.2kBTU ac and we've previously run the fridge during an outage using just our $40 1kw inverter hooked to the car battery. For short outages starting with that's my current strategy, only firing up the "quiet lawnmower" Champion if it looks likely to be more than a few hours. As for fire risk, the current generators have a spark arrest screen on the exhaust. That needs cleaning, the ethanol adulterated gas needs to have an additive and still be replaced periodically along with starting up the generator occasionally. The electric start ones have extra hassles with the battery, plus another point of failure in that and the starter. Ours is easy enough to start that a ten year old could do it. Thanks to all who replied with useful info.

oops Sep 26, 2019 05:22 PM
Backup Home Generator

to answer the original question - Costco sells a Champion Duel Fuel, Quiet, Inverter generator. Delivers in 2 days. Love mine, worth the investment given how may time our power goes out.

Eggs Ackley Sep 26, 2019 04:46 PM
Backup Home Generator

You need PCC Batteries and an inverter. Way more useful than a genny. Use to offset peak use electricity charges, help pay for itself. No fuel to store/refresh. No weekly cycling. No noise. Small footprint.

PitMix Sep 26, 2019 02:02 PM
Backup Home Generator

If you are trying to limp along in an emergency, your biggest draw will be your refrigerator. The minimum generator you need for a medium refrigerator is one with 800 W that is able to provide a current of 6 amps. Home Depot has a 2200W generator costing $1000 that runs for 8 hrs on 1 gal of gas and is rated for 15 amps. So should be enough. You could run your refrig and other stuff with that one. You just have to figure out how much stuff you want to run and how much you want to spend on the generator.

a-1569531693 Sep 26, 2019 02:01 PM
Backup Home Generator

"The California Health and Safety Code and District regulations prohibit emissions of air contaminants that cause nuisance or annoyance to a considerable number of people, or that present a threat to public health." S.B. County, how to file an air quality complaint: https://www.ourair.org/complaints/

Z Sep 26, 2019 01:57 PM
Backup Home Generator

Short amswer: No. Installation of a back-up generator is a job for a professional and they need to make an on-site survey before making a recommendation. A better idea might be a high-quality and quiet Honda or Yamaha (there are a few others) 2 or 3 kW machine in a cleared/safe area with a heavy-duty extension cord (#10 or 12 wire) to your refrigerator/freezer. It would only need to run a few hours (in several episodes) per day to keep your adult beverages cold and ice solid.

SantaBarbaraObserver Sep 26, 2019 01:46 PM
Backup Home Generator

Most home backup gens run on NG, not gasoline or diesel. They are much more quiet and their exhaust less noticeable as NG burns pretty clean. They are also $6-10k and must be installed by a licensed electrician, and a factory trained contractor and plumber. Dont forget the permit fees, the zoning requirements and the concrete pad for it to sit on and the gas connections, etc. etc. etc. But first and foremost, good luck getting a call back from any local installer. I have left numerous messages with all the Generac, Honeywell and Kohler factory listed ones and not a single call back in months of trying. I am going to wait and see how things play out this year instead.

Eggs Ackley Sep 26, 2019 04:34 PM
Backup Home Generator

Generac makes dual fuel (NG/propane) models

PitMix Sep 26, 2019 02:03 PM
Backup Home Generator

NG might not be available after an earthquake. For emergencies is it better to get some gas bottles or go with gasoline?

a-1569530585 Sep 26, 2019 01:43 PM
Backup Home Generator

It will extend the power outage for days and days, as Edison will have to make sure that EACH generator has not electrified lines, accidentally. Edison will not just willy-nilly turn the power back on for everyone; just won't happen. Too much chance of explosions, fires, killing of people and pets. It only takes -one person- who has incorrectly and unsafely installed a generator. Edison is trying to limit their own liability.

Channelfog Sep 28, 2019 03:35 AM
Backup Home Generator

Pitmix, Unless the frequency of the generator is synchronized to that of the grid, all Hell breaks loose. The much larger grid dumps massive power into genset causing extreme, instant destruction and fire. Back-feeding SCE from your genset can kill or injure linemen. A Manual or Automatic Transfer Switch is the ticket as they are designed to break contact with one before making contact with the other.

Eggs Ackley Sep 26, 2019 04:37 PM
Backup Home Generator

Not sure you have your facts right. Backfeeding the grid endangers the utility workers. That's why licensed electricians do this kind of work.

PitMix Sep 26, 2019 02:05 PM
Backup Home Generator

Definitely have to go turn off your main before you start the generator as you do not want to electrify the grid with your small generator. Would that fry the generator if you tried that? The hardwired generator and solar panels systems have an automatic disconnect for the main during emergencies.

Flicka Sep 26, 2019 01:32 PM
Backup Home Generator

My friends in Fiddletown (northern CA) have had a generator for years, it automatically kicks in when the electricity goes out (fairly often) and they have had no problems. The ones that are horrible to us are in campgrounds used by people with their rolling condos, RVs, that can't get along without their TVs, lights, etc. No respect for neighboring campers who have to listen to the racket they make. Why not just stay home!

a-1569530700 Sep 26, 2019 01:45 PM
Backup Home Generator

Stay in an RV just once and you will be hooked. We keep our noise to a minimum, and almost always turn off the tv by 10 pm(ish). Our favorite spot is at Carp State Beach! We love it there because of how close beach access is...verrrry close it is. Plus, it is just a short drive for us.

a-1569529811 Sep 26, 2019 01:30 PM
Backup Home Generator

Homeowner's insurance will probably pay if a generator starts a fire that damages the policyholder's house...I think. Read your policy.

a-1569530065 Sep 26, 2019 01:34 PM
Backup Home Generator

1:30 - will homeowner's insurance cover fire damage caused to surrounding buildings when you negligently set up and run a generator because SCE shut down their power to avoid liability?

a-1569526884 Sep 26, 2019 12:41 PM
Backup Home Generator

I really wanted a generator, and had an electrician and a AC guy over. Setbacks are required, and my house is close to neighbors, so I would have had to install the generator in my back yard. Ka-ching...Ka-ching. The lines to the house must be buried, and it's a bottomless money pit, with no assurance it will be adequate when needed. And then there's the pollution and noise, and my neighbors would begin to glare at me. So far, I've decided against.

a-1569526566 Sep 26, 2019 12:36 PM
Backup Home Generator

Don't forget the fuel needs of these generators is huge. If you still have access to your home during a power shutoff you can obviously make a run to get your gas cans refilled as needed. But if there is a fire and there are evacuations your choices are to stay, or leave, but they won't let you back in during mandatory evacuations. So if you evacuate your generator will run out of gas quickly. but if you stay you *might* be able to have a friend give gas cans to the firemen and they'll shuttle gas to your place during their duties. I've had good luck with this but don't imagine the firemen would be as cool if the entire neighborhood needed them to make gas runs. The other option is to store *lots* of fuel at your home, which has its own challenges.

a-1569531537 Sep 26, 2019 01:58 PM
Backup Home Generator

After going through four mandatory evacuations in ten years, I'll never leave my home again unless it is is burning to the ground. Anyhoo, how about them generators?

a-1569527851 Sep 26, 2019 12:57 PM
Backup Home Generator

12:36 - Emergency power shut off doesn't always been evacuations. I think people are concerned about when we have the SCE power shut offs, then how will they power their homes. No one gets evacuated during these, it's just the power is shut off to avoid liability. Their equipment can't start a fire if it's not turned on. So, that means we have to figure it out on our own for up to a few days if they shut down the power. Anyone staying behind during mandatory evacuations and running a generator should be dragged out and arrested.

a-1569526198 Sep 26, 2019 12:29 PM
Backup Home Generator

FEMA: "If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air immediately.” Locate generator outdoors away from doors, windows and vents, that could allow CO to come indoors.” https://www.fema.gov/news-release/2004/09/28/portable-generator-warning-danger-use-care

a-1569526023 Sep 26, 2019 12:27 PM
Backup Home Generator

This one looks good. Amazon: Honda 662250 EB2200i 2,200 Watt Portable Inverter Generator by Honda 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews Price: $1,159.00 & FREE Shipping

caretaker Sep 26, 2019 12:25 PM
Backup Home Generator

Does anybody know of a back up power system configured to be powered by a plug-in hybrid vehicle?

PitMix Sep 26, 2019 02:08 PM
Backup Home Generator

I believe you can set up your plugin to be a storage battery for your house. You would need an inverter to convert the DC to AC. I don't know if your charging system can be set up to do that for you. And you would have to check out how long you could run things from the relatively small battery capacity associated with your plugin. Would be better to have an all electric vehicle for this.

a-1569525890 Sep 26, 2019 12:24 PM
Backup Home Generator

The max is 9%. That's the risk reduction of fire started by power lines. 9%. Fires started from generators will be higher than that. Fires not reported because nobody could call 911 because power was turned off pre-emptively, frightfully high. So, when a generator starts a fire...who will jog to the nearest fire station to get help?

a-1569526319 Sep 26, 2019 12:31 PM
Backup Home Generator

12:27 - because we all know what SB/Goleta cyclists do: run stop signs and red lights. We don't need anymore carnage if we've already got a generator-started wildfire going. Please walk carefully to the fire station.

a-1569525802 Sep 26, 2019 12:23 PM
Backup Home Generator

Where to store the gasoline is what I worry about. Or maybe just siphon it out of your vehicle's gas tank in time of crisis? Umm. . . that lovely taste of gasoline. Here's info I found in reviews: "We tested the best home standby generators on the market this year. We highly recommend that you take a look at the Briggs & Stratton 40445 8000-watt. These handy machines are made to automatically power on when the grid goes down and they’re experiencing a soaring level of popularity as faith in the electrical infrastructure goes down."----------For a mere $4,300+change (Amazon, free shipping)

a-1569525060 Sep 26, 2019 12:11 PM
Backup Home Generator

12:04 - AMEN! I don't understand how everyone is just fine and dandy with the Third World power grid we have. Shut it down if it gets too hot and windy?? Fix your gear! We pay enough! Back to the point, PLEASE be careful in choosing/setting up/using/maintaining a home generator. Having hundreds of people desperately trying to fire up their generators which may easily be set up incorrectly, will pose a greater risk of fire than just some hot wind and powerlines. BE CAREFUL.

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