Step by Step ProjectsTips from the ProsAffordable Remodels
sounds like you need a backup generator for your outages, simple/small ones run a gasoline engine like on a lawn mower, it would need to be connected to your house electrical system by an electrician. Where are you? "time to time" outages for "a day or 2" are unacceptable!
We realize how ridiculous it is for the word "*****" to be rendering as asterisks. We're not sure why it's happening, but we are going to work on modifying our censoring tool's dictionary so that ridiculous stuff like this doesn't happen anymore.
We live in hurricane alley where ***** outages are commonplace. If you don't want to use a portable gasoline *****ed generator (loud + $500) you can get a natural gas *****ed generator (whisper quiet + $3000 to 8000) which hooks up to your natural gas pipe and turns itsef on and off automatically. They also operate themselves once a week or so to stay in top working form, which a portable generator does not. If you elect to use either generators, a professional electrician is required to properly attach them to your house.
Your analogy to the stair-lift doesn't fly- one is an intermittent short-term load while the other is a more frequent higher load. To run a furnace off of batteries over a given time will cost you more than a generator, even a self starting one :( Here in upstate SC we get extended power outages from ice storms every few years so most folks that use gas or LP now have gas firelogs that are designed as much to heat with as they are to look at, and the smarter ones among us make sure the ones we use don't need power to work safely or can be powered with the generators we already have. With natural gas you can get freestanding ventless models that can be put almost anywhere; I'm not sure if LP can go ventless. Some of today's models will keep a whole house warm if not toasty and in an emergency that's enough.
Sometimes the best solutions are not in the direction you're looking in, so always keep your mind open to alternative approaches to the goal you have in mind.
We have a 5KW generator, and a Reliance Protran switch http://www.reliancecontrols.com/Default.aspx
It handles the well pump , several rooms for lights and TV, microwave and furnace. Easy to install.
The simple solution is a dependable generator, well maintained and ready to start at any time. One brand pops up, it's Honda.
A newer alternative may be solar panels if you have the space for it. Of course it would need to connect to batteries to store the energy but it might also be helpful to have a generator on hand.
If it's frequent, I'd get a small transfer switch with it's own subpanel with critical circuits going got it. I almost did this when I upgraded my electrical panel, but our outages are very rare and don;t last long. So I just have a small 2000W inverter generator to run my furnace or refrigerator or TV or microwave and a couple of lights.
So on that panel you put the furnace circuits, the refrigerator, the microwave and maybe one lighting circuit.... I find when power is out, bathrooms are nice to have power in.... just don;t use a hair dryer.
Then use ****** estimators to determine what size generator you need. If they really are frequent, it will be much, much cheaper to install a larger natural gas unit that turns on automatically, than a smaller unit. It's operating cost will be abotu 1/2 or 1/3 of a gasoline unit. But it will cost 3X more to installed.
Also, any permanent generator will need regular service just like your AC system or like a car.
For just the furnaces. You can get a really small cheap inverter generator or even a battery pack with inverter and a small solar panel and just install a single small transfer switch for those.
Personally, I cheated a little and just installed a plug inside my furnace so I can unplug it from my home power and plug it in to my generator if needed.
Remember, with a porotable generator, for them to work properly, you'll need a good ground connection from a seperate ground rod or bonded to the cold water pipes in your home.
Some furnaces won;t even ignite without a good ground. IF you share the ground with the home power, then it won't see that you generator's neutral is tied to it and can give a polarity fault and it may or may not run.
If you're worried about keeping the furnace running when you are away from the house, you could get a UPS (battery backup typically used for computers) but it might need to be fairly large. You'd still need to have a generator, because the battery backup will only work for a few hours.
Tip: to get around the forum's filter, use a zero instead of an oh in the word p0wer.