willthrill81 wrote: ↑Wed Jan 20, 2021 11:31 am
- They are usually very loud. This is annoying to you unless you can position it where you won't hear the sound much, and it will be even more annoying to your neighbors, especially since they aren't benefiting from the power.
They are definitely not quiet, but are designed for emergency backup power. Hence, when your power goes out and they kick in, most people aren't troubled by the sound and are just thrilled to have them.
In practice, most portable generator end up being just as loud.
During a long-term power outage, the noise is also a beacon alerting everyone within earshot that someone has power and probably other desirable things, potentially making you a target.
This is a pretty bizarre statement. You can just as easily say, for instance, that the presence of a standby generator means that the security system is likely to remain on even during an extended power outage, and the house is a lot more likely to remain occupied, thereby making it less likely to be a target.
- They consume a lot of fuel. Being that a standby generator is providing you with around-the-clock power, it will consume a lot of fuel. If it's being powered by natural gas, this just means that you'll get a big bill at the end of the month...
That's simply incorrect. A 20 kw air cooled natural gas powered generator running at full load would consume approximately 262 cu ft/hr, which translates into 2.62 therms. It's very common to pay roughly 40 cents per therm (plus tax, plus fixed charges), so at this rate of consumption, it actually ends up being cheaper than electricity.
In reality, generators won't be running at full load 24/7, so the actual consumption costs would be even lower.
- They are not a completely 'hands-off' solution. At a minimum, the oil must be changed in them, typically every 100 hours of operation, about every four days. This normally isn't difficult or messy, but it's a vital task that requires you to power down the generator, drain the oil, change the filter, refill the oil, restart the generator, and make sure that everything is good to go. Some may be physically unable or just unwilling to do this.
Yes, most standby generators need to be serviced every 100 to 150 hours of operation, which translates into 4-6 days of a continuous power outage. An overwhelming number of outages that people experience are much shorter in duration.
- Most of the engines used in standby generators are only rated for about 2,000 hours of use. That sounds like a lot, but when you're running it 24 hours a day, it works out to just 83 days of continuous use.
Most engines used in standby generators are rated for about 3,000 hours of use. On average, even with weekly auto starts, most people end up using them for 50 - 100 hours a year. Even if it's 100 hours a year and even if the engine only lasts 2,000 hours, we are talking about 20 years.
- They are fixed in place. You cannot take a standby generator with you if you want to permanently move or even just temporarily go somewhere where you would benefit from having portable electricity.
This can be a disadvantage or an advantage. See below.
- They start and stop automatically, if everything is working properly.
Standby generators, while unquestionably more expensive up front, actually come with a number of very significant advantages, none of which are mentioned in your post.
From a cost standpoint, where I live, standby generators are a sought after high end feature, such that at resale you typically get back about half of what you had paid to put it in. A lot of homeowners insurance companies also provide insurance discounts to people with standby generators, as they reduce losses. No such discounts are ever available for portable generators, as you have to be there to power up a portable (and then have sufficient fuel to keep a portable going), while a lot of losses happen during periods of power outages where the owners are away from the house.
If you have sump pumps, battery backups are pricey and don't last very long. Power outages typically happen during periods of severe weather, which is the time that you need your sump pumps the most. Sump pump failures are extremely common and the resulting damage tends to be very expensive, which is also the reason that all standard insurance companies either do not cover it without an endorsement or provide very low coverage limits. Standby generators alleviate any concerns over these types of failures resulting from power outages and also allow you to eliminate pricey sump pump battery backups, which also only provide rather limited protection against power failures.
The same is true for all other equipment that you have in the house that has battery backups/large UPS systems. For instance, something as simple as a garage door opener no longer requires a battery backup, so you can buy a slightly cheaper one without it. A lot of people spend a lot of money on UPS systems, so that their computer equipment doesn't immediately go down during an outage. With a standby generator, if you need true uninterruptible power (it takes standby generators about 10 seconds to kick in), you still need a UPS, but only a small and inexpensive one. I know someone who didn't think about a standby generator and spent $3K on a fancy UPS to keep his video surveillance system up and running during outages, and that's just one system. A standby generator to power the entire house (or most of it) would've been a more cost effective solution for him.
I already mentioned the self-evident fact that with a portable, you need to be home to bring it out to power it up, need to protect it from the elements, need to have sufficient fuel at the house (during outage periods, you are frequently unable to go out to get more and it is frequently unavailable) and then need to come out every couple of hours or refuel it. With a standby generator, you literally don't do a thing, as it is already protected from the elements, starts up automatically when you lose power, disconnects automatically when the grid power comes back on, has a highly reliable source of fuel (natural gas or LP, which, from an accessibility standpoint, are both far more reliable than gasoline) and is just generally a far more reliable and robust option.
Plenty of people out there obviously live just fine without any generators or just use a portable. If you are, however, comparing a portable to a standby generator, the differences are far more significant than what you've mentioned.