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post #1 of 82 Old 03-01-2019, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
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Small Generator to run a home furnace.

Hi everyone, I know there are a few existing Generator threads here, but each person is asking questions for their own specific configuration and needs, so I thought it best to start a new thread for mine.

We dont often lose power, but we had a big wind storm last week, and while our house didn't lose power, several areas around us did.. Then it went down to 10 degrees F that night! (negative 12 C) If we lost power for even 12 hours on a night like that, the house would get cold fast.. and after 24 hours it would be freezing..So im starting to consider a back-up generator, just to run a few essentials for a rare one to two day outage...especially for the winter months. (a day without power in the summer isnt really a big deal, unless there is a lot of rain (sump-pump)

First, here is my list of wants and needs, from most important to least important:

1. Furnace (gas heat)
2. Sump pump

No 1 and 2 are the highest priorities, furnace for winter outages, sump-pump for summer outages. The rest are “would be nice”, but not essential:

3. Water heater (gas heat)
4. Refrigerator (very low priority)

Pretty much any size generator will power smaller things like a few lights, computer, TV, etc. those don't need to all be on the list. We would probably also want to run smaller things like one light, the internet modem for wifi if cable internet isnt down (but not necessarily the desktop PC, we can get wifi on my wifes laptop and my android tablet) maybe a TV (but TV would be very low priority)

My thinking is veeeeeeery uncommon usage for the generator, based on past history..im talking one outage per decade..seriously! (knock knock knock on wood! )But if that one outage is a few days in the middle of the winter, just being able to power the furnace, and basically nothing else, would be huge.. and for a summer outage caused by a major thunderstorm with lots of rain, just being able to run the sump-pump, and nothing else, would be huge.

So, based on the research I have done so far, my favorite contender is:

Honda EU1000i
1000 watts
about $800
https://powerequipment.honda.com/generators/models/eu1000i

That would do what I want, I think. I would be fine only running one "big" thing at a time, for example, the furnace, plus one light bulb, and the wifi modem. nothing else needed. Then maybe turn off the furnace and switch on the water heater to heat up some water..but never both at the same time.

I do know the EU1000i wont power a refrigerator..I can live with that.

So that's my scenario and desires.
My only real question: Will the small 1,000 watt Honda run a modern high efficiency gas furnace? I think it will, but im reading conflicting reports.. I could maybe go up to the Honda EG2800i for $1,000, but I dont want to go that high if its not really necessary.

I might consider a Briggs & Stratton..but will 90% likely buy only a Honda.

Definitely want an inverter style generator, only, for the furnace circuits and electronics. I will defiantly *not* consider anything sold at Harbor Freight!

I would also hire an electrician to install a transfer switch.
thoughts? thanks!

Scot


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Last edited by sscotsman; 03-01-2019 at 03:40 PM.
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post #2 of 82 Old 03-01-2019, 03:48 PM
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Any inverter generator regardless of brand should have clean enough output to power a high efficiency furnace. The waveform should be identical to city power.

I have an eu1000 and an eu2200. I love the 1000 because it’s soooo lite And I’ve run a fridge with it. But the blower motor on your furnace will likely be too much for the 1000.

I think an eu2200 is the smallest generator that will handle the surge wattage of your furnaces blower motor. If you had a boiler, the eu1000 would have no problem.

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post #3 of 82 Old 03-01-2019, 03:57 PM
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Hi Scot.
I really believe you'd be happier with an eu2000is inverter "clean" power. That 1000 will just do the job. It'll of course cost more but you'll be happy you got it.
As far as the transfer switch.. Does N.Y. allow you to do your own electric work? They're actually very simple to install. I had one in our house when we had a 3000 watt genset. We now have a.Honda em6500sx for whole house. I then installed an isolater that won't allow the main on. It prevents backfeed out to grid and prevents grid power from coming into the generator.
Craigslist is your friend. Lots of people buy then sell them. Both mine were craigslist.purchases.

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post #4 of 82 Old 03-01-2019, 04:04 PM
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Possibility?
https://binghamton.craigslist.org/hv...822208608.html
Or
https://syracuse.craigslist.org/for/...828599884.html

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post #5 of 82 Old 03-01-2019, 04:36 PM
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Hello Scot. To eliminate the need and added cost of an electrician to wire in the transfer switch (additional $$), you could add a circuit breaker interlock like the one below. I added one to my panel and it allows me to use the existing breakers to control which lines are on or off.



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post #6 of 82 Old 03-01-2019, 05:29 PM
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Here's some Estimates on Watts Needed. http://portablegeneratorguide.com/ge...ng-calculator/
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post #7 of 82 Old 03-01-2019, 05:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grunt View Post
Hello Scot. To eliminate the need and added cost of an electrician to wire in the transfer switch (additional $$), you could add a circuit breaker interlock like the one below. I added one to my panel and it allows me to use the existing breakers to control which lines are on or off.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pQpXo4np4k
THAT! is the word I was trying.to think of.
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post #8 of 82 Old 03-01-2019, 05:40 PM
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Scott...I've been powering my house with a 25 year old Generac that is about 5000 watts with a 5500 surge. It runs the boiler, electric hot water, fridge ,freezer, electric stove...in short the whole house...no problem. I back feed the 220 dryer circuit, and make sure the main is off. I don't know if the sine wave is "clean " or not...but in the last 25 years, never had an issue. I'm converting to a smaller generator...3500 watts ..only because I got one that runs on propane.....kind of like not worrying about bad gas in the snowblower....sick of rebuilding that carb!
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post #9 of 82 Old 03-01-2019, 05:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cranman View Post
Scott...I've been powering my house with a 25 year old Generac that is about 5000 watts with a 5500 surge. It runs the boiler, electric hot water, fridge ,freezer, electric stove...in short the whole house...no problem. I back feed the 220 dryer circuit, and make sure the main is off. I don't know if the sine wave is "clean " or not...but in the last 25 years, never had an issue. I'm converting to a smaller generator...3500 watts ..only because I got one that runs on propane.....kind of like not worrying about bad gas in the snowblower....sick of rebuilding that carb!
....yep, propane is the deal for gensets that rarely get used.

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post #10 of 82 Old 03-01-2019, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by micah68kj View Post
Hi Scot.
I really believe you'd be happier with an eu2000is inverter "clean" power. That 1000 will just do the job. It'll of course cost more but you'll be happy you got it.
...
Craigslist is your friend. Lots of people buy then sell them. Both mine were craigslist.purchases.
Agreed on all counts. This isn't a super-mobile application, where light weight is critical. The EU1000i isn't much cheaper than the EU2000i ($800 vs $1,000, I think), but you give up a lot of capability. And when you get an item that you *can't* run, no matter what you try, that's unfortunate.

One of your must-haves is running your sump pump. What size/power motor? What does it draw for current? Startup current for a motor can be double the running current, maybe even higher? I'd be concerned about whether the 1000i could run the sump pump. Jackmels' link estimates 1500W for a sump pump, though I'm sure it varies with the motor power.

You mentioned your natural gas water heater. Does it need AC power? Ours does not, but I know that some have a powered exhaust blower, which *would* require power to operate.

You said you're not worried about the fridge. But if you were out for a day or two in summer, having enough capacity could save a fridge-worth of food.

I love my EU2000i, I bought it for a different purpose, but am now using it for home backup power. I bought it a twin brother last spring, to connect in parallel for double the output. From watching Craigslist, and striking quickly, I got both of mine (in good shape, ready to use) for $500 each. And Hondas have excellent resale value, I could probably make money on them, if I decided to sell.

This is what I've powered, with a single EU2000i (before getting the 2nd one):
- furnace (gas, forced hot air)
- fridge
- lights (fluorescent & LED)
- TV
- 2 laptops
- PS4
- cable modem, WiFi router, etc

I have also run our microwave (1300W output, but draws 1950W). It's a Panasonic inverter-style microwave, so when I turn the power setting down, it actually draws a lower *constant* wattage from the wall. At 40%, it draws about 800W, so we cook that way, for a longer time. Note that most microwaves *don't* work this way. When turned down, they draw their full power, and just turn that on/off. So that style would overload my generator easily.

I turned Eco mode off, to reduce the voltage sag when the fridge compressor comes on (compressors draw a lot of startup current). I have overloaded it once, I think the fridge compressor came on while I had the microwave running.

I really think the EU1000i is too small for what you're trying to do. A Craigslist EU2000i would be a much better solution, IMO, for a similar price. The current EU2200i (like drmerdp has) is 200W more output than my 2000i.

Another thing I like about the Hondas, over Harbor Freight, etc, is their long track record (including in commercial use), and tons of support available online in forums. Including published service manuals. Lots of people have had good results with the HF 3000W inverter, at $650 on sale, but I'm still more comfortable relying on Honda for emergency power. When I need it, it needs to work. I keep stabilizer in the gas, and open the carb bowl drain after use, so the carb sits empty.

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