From the great region of the country that gave us rock, blues, country, dubstep, and Tejano music origins, not to mention the space program, horns mounted on pickup trucks, and Gilley's (everywhere, now) comes the newest invention and innovation, the Home generator that cools and heats! . A generator that not only heats the house, it acts as it's very own hvac house cooler! And it does all this with aplomb-bob beaucoup energy efficiency! Eureka!

 

If you've ever had a friend put in a generator after a brief power outage to keep their teenage family happy, you know what I'm talking about. Gas, LP, oil, diesel, or gasoline fueled generators are the biggest status symbol, and the worst employment of home energy dollars you can imagine. In the mind of some crazy real estate agent, the above 36 killowatter has been rigged to provide heat and cooling hvac to an entire gigundo Houston home! Only in Texas.

 

For those of us aspiring to live off the grid, here's the answer: How to Generate Your Own Electricity . If you actually read the link, you'll find out that:

  1. You can’t count on it when you need it. You need a battery bank, and you probably should have a back up generator available, just in case, too. [i.e. a backup for your backup? talk about too much redundancy!]
  2. It’s expensive. While the energy is free[it is?], the equipment is not, making the cost of power higher than utility prices.
  3. When it fails, the carbon footprint of non-renewable backup generation is larger than that of a utility company.[this is subject to debate of course]

 

If you do happen to purchase or borrow a small portable generator, please watch out for safety. 

If you try to power too many appliances it will trip the generator's circuit breakers, causing power loss. Be sure what you're powering is within the generator's rated wattage; most transfer switches, if you have one, will make that easier by showing wattage levels.

Please remember to protect yourself against carbon monoxide poisoning[most people will confuse with carbon dioxide, for some odd reason], which kills about 86 people each year--and sends thousands more to the emergency room. Run any generator outdoors and away from the house, far from doors, windows, and anywhere else air enters the house. Never run  a generator in a basement or garage; even with the garage door open, it endangers people inside the house.

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Tags: generator, grid, status

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Comment by Tom Delconte on January 3, 2013 at 10:28am

Hello Curt,

Sorry you are located in an area with frequent power outages, but I'm sure it's a beautiful place to live! Thanks for your comment. Your setup sounds likes it's fantastic, and necessary.

As an avid poster, I'm sure you noticed that a writer for home energy magazine, which most of us can't afford to subscribe to now since the recession, posted a similar topic to mine three hours later. I'm glad to see all of his superb expert input, however, since it's also in the subscription magazine, which most of us would love to be able to look at more, and of course we are grateful for its support of this site and this blog.

My actual experience with coastal Florida indicates that you can have the biggest generator on the block, but when the big hurricane comes, it is best to clear out! I have a picture stuck in my camera of a gigantic generator on a 2 million dollar property in port st lucie, fl. Will post when downloaded. the irony is that in the 1930's the exact area was a primitive fishing camp: Fishing camp before GDC corp.[bankrupt] developed it.

Comment by Curt Kinder on January 3, 2013 at 10:18am

We are 25 miles inland so not subject to the mandatory evacuations typical of beach towns.

Comment by Curt Kinder on January 3, 2013 at 6:13am

All good advice, I live at the very end of a mile long single phase, clothesline-thick power line with perhaps a hundred splices, since every inch of it is surrounded by trees. Outages are common whenever wind exceeds 25 or so...down comes the line, out come the trucks.

We haven't had hurricane force winds since 1964, so when we do, I assume it'll be weeks before power is restored, and having built a strong home, I have no intention of being run out of it for lack of power.

So, we have a 24 kW, 1800 RPM propane standby genny with an auto transfer switch. It is 50 feet away and inaudible from within the home. If the utility hasn't provided a test run opportunity within the past month, I run it myself for a few minutes.

Wouldn't have a home in Florida without a genny.

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