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Standby resi generator reviews

Posted By: ChicoC10

Standby resi generator reviews - 12/14/11 09:31 PM

What is everyone's opinions on the reliability and feature to price compromise on the latest standby gennys in the 12 to 30K range?

I just wired a 16K Honeywell with auto transfer that looked pretty nice but it isn't even on Honeywell's site anymore. The customer bought it (fine by me) so I didn't have to recommend anything but the install configuration.

I have anther customer who would like recommendations (I'm thinking the 20KW is the best spot for them and seems to stay below the break between air and liquid cooled) and I don't know what to tell them.
I have to say I liked the Honeywell load shedding capabilities but I have no idea whether this thing is going to go poof in a couple of years and whether Honeywell will answer their phones if it does.

Any input?
Posted By: renosteinke

Re: Standby resi generator reviews - 12/14/11 11:51 PM

Anyone who has $30,000 to spend on a household generator+ has .... more money than I! laugh

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: the genny itself is the least important part of the installation. Your priorities ought to be, in this order:

1) Proper design of the entire system;
2) Proper selection of size;
3) Placement of, and access to, the equipment;
4) the specific sub-systems and accessories; and, last,
5) the genny itself.

Regarding the genny, I'd take a reliable small one over an unreliable, cheap, low-power quality big one every day of the week. Or, for that matter, one that requires me to go to any one source for parts and maintenance.

That's my main problem with Generac; their business model centers on boxing you into their equipment. The convenience of a genny-mounted transfer switch pales when you have to replace the thing- and have to replace the switch as well.

Likewise, I cannot stress the value of having a QUIET genny. Sure, the 'sound package' can nearly double the price .... but a loud genny won't get exercised, and an idle genny won't work when you need it.
Posted By: HotLine1

Re: Standby resi generator reviews - 12/15/11 12:26 AM

Well said Reno!!

I would stick with one of the 'bigger' brands, companies that have been around. That IMHO eliminates the 'parts' issues.

My backround as an Ec was 99% commercial, and when I was involved in the brand choice..it was Kohler. I stressed a service contract/agreement with the local area Kohler 'factory guys', as I do not profess to be a mechanic, nor a gen wiz, except for the electrical end.

Remember...ya get what ya pay for!
Posted By: ChicoC10

Re: Standby resi generator reviews - 12/15/11 03:00 AM

Well said? I still don't know which brand(s) I should recomend smile I know many EC's bad mouth Generac and I have already communicated this to my client but I have nothing to tell them as far as what they SHOULD get and why they should spend X dollars more for it.

I know 1 through 4. This isn't my first rodeo.
I have just usually handled 1-4 for customers who have already bought. I never see it again, deal with customer support or get any kind of feedback in terms of actual customer satisfaction.

The Generacs I have done were usually involving service rated ATS's. No lock in to Generac parts that I could see. it looked like any ATS could be used. Unless it's a void of warranty thing.

What I have looked at so far goes from air cooled to liquid cooled at the 30KV point and the price goes up sharply.
I wouldn't want to go any lower than 20KV in this case.

I was hoping for some brand names and some personal experience, good or bad, that could help me plead a case.

Posted By: IanR

Re: Standby resi generator reviews - 12/15/11 04:34 AM

You may want to drop in and ask these guys. They are a very knowledgeable group.
http://www.smokstak.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=6
Posted By: IanR

Re: Standby resi generator reviews - 12/15/11 04:37 AM

Oh BTW even though the site may look like it is geared more towards antique sets (it actually is), they talk just as much about the modern stuff as well.
Posted By: Scott35

Re: Standby resi generator reviews - 12/15/11 07:46 AM

Really wish I could contribute something worthwhile to this Thread, but all the Projects with Gennys were Commercial / Industrial, using Kohler Equipment.

The smallest was a 25KW / 32KVA 208Y/120V 3 Phase 4 Wire Diesel Genny, for extended outages (to carry-over a Server Room during an outage).
If the outage lasted more than 5 Minutes, the Servers and Server Room Ventillation would be driven from the Genny via Open-Transition ATS, and remain in this state until Manually reset.

All others have been in the 230KW (288KVA) to 450KW (563KVA) 480Y/277V 3 Ph. 4W range of Kohler Gensets with Diesel Prime Movers.

-- Scott
Posted By: Meadow

Re: Standby resi generator reviews - 12/16/11 01:38 AM

Id vote cummins onan but it depends on air cooled or liquid cooled
Posted By: Meadow

Re: Standby resi generator reviews - 12/16/11 01:41 AM

If your going to 20kw go for a liquid cooled engine at 1800rpm speed.
Posted By: shortcircuit

Re: Standby resi generator reviews - 12/16/11 01:03 PM

I'm installing two 14KW Kohler RESL models and one 30KW Kohler RESA model. The customers supplied the generators bought online from a internet seller. I also am working on a 17KW Generac for a customer.
The Kohler installations went smooth and the transfer equipment was OK. I like the 14KW kohler model.
I was told that Generac is inferior to others in the quality of the parts used and that down the line it will cost to replace the parts.
I needed to get a authorized dealer to do the start-up and provide the customer with a service agreement, so that will be key to your decision on who is in your area to do this.
I heard the GE 15kw is a nice unit.

shortcircuit
Posted By: renosteinke

Re: Standby resi generator reviews - 12/16/11 03:51 PM

Brand reccomendations .....

Look to who you have in your area - you want a dealer who can service the stuff, and will help you design the entire installation.

Kohler, Onan, Caterpillar ... are all fine businesses.

I can't make it any more clear .... the brand / model of the genny is the most irrellevant detail. In any event, it's the dealers who are in a position to have an opinion on the topic- not the sparky.

Far more important is correct sizing, fuel choice, and the correct ancillary equipment. I would take a correctly designed system with a China Diesel generator over and incomplete design with a massively oversized Cat any day of the week.

Fact is, most homeowners' true 'emergency' needs can be met with a pair of 1000 watt portables with extension cords. (Just enough to keep the furnace blowing and the fridge cold). For that, I recommend Panasonic first, Honda second, Coleman third.

Then again, I do not consider the loss of TV viewing to be an emergency.
Posted By: harold endean

Re: Standby resi generator reviews - 12/25/11 04:31 AM

I have been doing a ton of inspections for resi generators. The problems I see is that a home owner can buy the generator for the same price If not less than the EC can. Now the twist. If the EC buys it, will he provide service for the generator? Maybe if he buys from a larger company. However if the homeowner buys it, most times there is no service guarantee at all. So if I was buying it, I would go to a reputable company and look for the one that offers service to your machine down the road.
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