Whole house standby generator advice...

ekologicalNovember 22, 2013

Hi all,

I've been looking to install a whole house standby generator for a few years. I came real close in 2011, which would have been perfect for Sandy, but alas, I was without power for a week. I was looking at the Generac QuietSource 36kW. It's perhaps overkill for my 4300 sq ft place, but my thinking was this: the 22, 27 and 36kW models all share the same 4-cylinder engine with the 36kW having a turbo charger to produce more power. Fuel consumption would be nearly the same for the weekly exercise cycles and during use, but the extra capacity is nice to have.

Anyway, a simple web search shows online vendors providing that genset with two auto transfer switches (my house has two 150-amp panels, so I would need two) for about $15k. Most quotes are $25k+ for the generator + installation (tax and permit fees not included).

I'm really tempted to buy from the online place, submit the permit applications myself, dig the trench for the gas pipe and electric conduit, build the frame and pour the concrete pad. After all of that, is it possible to hire a licensed electrician to hook it up? I just don't see this as a $10k labor job. My biggest concern at this point is delivery and moving the genset (it's close to 1300 pounds). The online vendor says the genset comes via freight...no lift gate service. I've had a four post lift delivered where I picked it up at the shipping terminal with a UHaul where my friends and I then removed the strapping and unloaded the lift piece by piece. I have also received a 800 pound rotary screw compressor where my friends and I were able to use a handtruck and guide it down the slope to the walkout basement and into the basement (phew!). I have a neighbor who has a trailer, so I was thinking that it would be possible to pick up the genset for the shipping terminal.

Thoughts? Ideas? Any recommendations for other forums that might be more geared for this topic? I'm located in central Jersey (near Princeton), btw.


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Ron Natalie

The gas usage for the weekly test isn't going to amount to much. I've got an 80KVA Generac and even with three years of weekly tests and a few days of actual operation, I've still hardly dented my propane tank (don't use propane for much else).

I doubt you'll having a problem with any electrician competent to do the install having a problem with you doing all the gas line installation, concrete work, and heavy lifting. They'd just have to sub that out anyhow.

Sounds like you've got the unloading dealt with (I'd like to talk to you about which four post you got, I've been looking and a BendPak myself). The other solution I've heard is to contact a towing company with a rollback (flatbed truck). You can transfer it to the rollback and if you can back the rollback close to where it goes, then you can tilt the thing off the truck (they will have a winch even).

To move something like this (I've moved heavy equipment including pipe organs) a great tool (you can rent these) is a "Roll-a-Lift". Essentally it's a pair of hydraulic jacks on rollers that you can lift the unit up and then roll it around fairly easily.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2013 at 5:40AM
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For moving such things, a Bobcat with pallet forks works well. And they are found everywhere.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2013 at 5:13PM
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