Recommend generator?

jscozzFebruary 1, 2011

I am ready to install a whole house generator. When I built the house I did all the electrical and have all loads In want on the generator wired into a separate subpanel with space ready for the transfer switch in between. I am looking for recommendations on what brand will be best for what I am looking for:

1) Approx 20-25 KW (power all loads on a 100A subpanel if necessary)

2) Nat gas

3) Quiet (about 100 ft from neighbor's house)

4) I really want one with some automation... ie. cat-5 interface with PC or iPhone app based monitoring, control, etc., and contact closure interface to let automation system know when unit s running, or even possibly trigger it to turn on.

I have looked at Kohler, Generac, Honda, etc... but would appreciate some real-world experience from those of you who own or install them as to what might be the best for me.

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Ron Natalie

I've got a Generac on my house (propane). It's an 80KVA unit so it's not exactly quiet but not terribly noisy unless you are standing right next to the thing.

There's a computer interface though I've not tried to use it yet. I'm too busy automating the HVAC at this point to worry about the generator.

I do have a handful of WIFI to relay and WIFI to RS-232 things that I have been using for various things. They run a bit over $150.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 2:08PM
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The first one thing to decide is the importance of your standby power needs- if you have a standby set and it fails, what are the results? If you are putting a set in just to avoid discomfort, you will be more concerned with cost and less with the ultimate reliability than a person with more critical needs. If you are like most homeowners, you will end up with a set that is built for and marketed to residential users. They are better than nothing, but NOT suitable for any critical use.

On the other hand, if you have a critical need for power, or you want it really quiet (or both) you will spend more $$ and I suggest you get a reputable generator vendor to actually visit your site and make a recomendation. A good dealer can be far more important than who makes the generator in some cases, but certainly not all. I have made my brand preferences clear several times before, so I'll skip that.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 10:11PM
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I didn't see Cummins Onan on your list. This was my first choice based on performance but I wound up picking Kohler because the authorized Onan service companies were just too far away from my house. I liked that the Onan unit I was interested in idled at 1800 rpm (vs the Kohler that idles at 3600 rpm) - better fuel effiecincy, less wear and tear on the engine, quieter. But in the end, I had to go with Kohler and am very happy with it.

I installed the generator myself but it is a 12kW unit and that is a lot smaller and lighter than a 20-25kW. My unit only weghs 400 pounds and was fairly simple to put it. It is very quiet - air cooled.

If you plan on buying one and doing it yourself, check out the link below. I bought my genset and ATS from them and was happy with the price and delivery.

If you live in a very cold climate, ask about the battery warmer and carburetor warmer accessories. They may offer a computer interface accessory for the ATS as well.


Here is a link that might be useful: Ziller Electric

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 10:32AM
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