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Buying a whole house generator for home

After this electric outage which lasted 61/2 days and many others through out the years we have decided to buy a generator as a backup. A day or two is fine, we have a portable gas generator that helps along with oil lamps and a space heater in the winter.

Since we have a 500 gallon Propane gas tank we are interested in getting one that runs on that. We have looked at Generac and Kohler.

If anyone has purchased either in the past year or two what is your review and to anyone that knows about these two manufacturers, which one uses less gas.

Thank you

Re: Buying a whole house generator for home

Brilliant idea. Only trouble: you must keep it top operating condition 24/7, to be useful in time of need. :D

Re: Buying a whole house generator for home

Another reputable brand is Cummins Onan. Despite the Cummins name being associated with diesel engines, they also make propane and natural gas powered generators.

(Disclaimer: my brother works for Cummins so there's a natural bias. :D )

Re: Buying a whole house generator for home

How much approximately would one Cummins Onan generator cost? Do we get discounts if we buy through your brother? :p

Re: Buying a whole house generator for home

Be sure to check consumption. Have a neighbor that has one, when the electric was out for several days theirs kicked in and ran fine but used nearly 3 gals an hour. Of course it powers a very large house, but at that rate it could be a problem after a storm when propane may not be available for delivery.


Re: Buying a whole house generator for home

Cost of running a generator is a real issue.

I recently bought a portable generator to cope with hurricane Irene.

It is 5250 watts and the manual states it will run 13 hours at half load on a full tank. Capacity is 7.5 gallons.

With gas averaging 4 dollars a gallon, The cost to operate is nearly 60 dollars for 24 hours at half load. I can approach half load with just a few things that I would want in an outage so realistically, the cost to operate is going to be higher.

Natural gas may be a bit cheaper but there is no way we can approach the economies of scale that the utility companies have.

Re: Buying a whole house generator for home

JP: OMG! That's a crazy price to pay for 24hrs of power!

We were looking over on this site selling GE generators for home use and they give a ton of information like this:


MFG Brand Name : GE
MFG Model # : 40324HD
FG Part # : 40324HD
Specifications Amperage (amps) : 54.2 A
Amps : 54.2 A
Assembled Depth (in.) : 34.6 in
Assembled Height (in.) : 38.5 in
Assembled Width (in.) : 39.4 in
CSA Listed : No
Color Family : Grays
Depth (in) : 34.6 in
ETL Listed : No
Electrical Product Type : Standby Generator
Energy Star Compliant : No
Engine Displacement (cc) : 803.0
Engine Make : Briggs & Stratton
Engine brand : Briggs & Stratton
Frequency : weekly
Height : 38.5 in
Height (in) : 38.5 in
Hour Meter : Yes
Item Package Type : Cardboard Container
Item Weight : 570 lb
Low oil shutdown : Yes
Manufacturer Warranty : 4 year including parts and labor limited warranty
Operational volume (dB) : 72.0
Product Height (in.) : 38.5
Product Length (in.) : 34.6 in
Product Weight (lb.) : 540.0
Product Width (in.) : 39.4
Rated Wattage : 13000.0 W
Rated wattage liquid propane (watts) : 13000.0
Rated wattage natural gas (watts) : 11500.0
Remote Monitoring : Included
Response time (sec.) : 30.0
Returnable : Non-Returnable
Sound Decibels : 72 dB
Width : 39.4 in
Width (in) : 39.4 in

..But none of that tells me what it costs to run?
I also can't seem to find any info on diesel options?
You'd think a big company like GE would really want to sell you on how efficient they are?

I've sent them an email, I'll reply if they cough up any info. :)

Re: Buying a whole house generator for home

To survive during power outages, I recommend a gas fire place that uses no electricity for heat, and run the generator only when you need to. I usually get 3 or 4 days with my 5500 watt generator. It usually only runs a couple of hours at a time.


Re: Buying a whole house generator for home

Backup power is always a good idea but whole house power is its own set of considerations. Generac usually only warranty hole house generators for about 600 hours. often they don't last that long, not because of the manufacturer but because of the type of engine. Either std gas or LP they run at high speeds and suffer from it. Pls consider a diesel generator in your planning. They are more fuel efficient and cost effective. They also don't have the electrical system to fault as a standard gasoline engine. They are more expensive to buy But worth looking at. Good luck.:)

Re: Buying a whole house generator for home

GENERAC Guardian series generators are warranteed for 3 years . No hour limit . Not sure about their other models .

Re: Buying a whole house generator for home

Diesel more cost effective than Natural gas? Sure about that? I see fuel stability and gelling in cold weather an issue as well.

Natural gas costs about $1.25 per therm. You et 100,000 BTU"s for that. Diesel runs around $4/gallon and delivery 147k BTU's per gallon. Even if the diesel engine is 30% more efficient thermally (not likely that much)... natural gas is still around 1/2 the cost. Less if you factor in the higher up front costs.

Natural gas is supplied continuously and it the delivery is extremely reliable and in unaffected by most natural disasters... and even after severe tornadoes that may have levelled houses, is restored well before electricity.


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