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Back-Up House Battery/Generator Conundrum

14 years ago

This is my first post to this particular forum, so pardon if it has been covered before.

We're building a home in NY State in an area known for short power outages and voltage sags. Most of our neighbors have installed back-up generators, and advise us to do likewise.

In my research, I have found whole-house battery backup units by Gaia, that, properly sized, claim to run all critical circuits for hours or even days. They claim brownout/low voltage protection, and instantaneous switchover in the event of a failure (neither of which a genset can do). So my understanding is that much like a computer UPS, home electronics are protected. An option is to connect the controller of that unit to a generator, and it will cycle the generator when the batteries need to be recharged (in the case of an extended outage). The battery option is expen$ive, and even more w/the generator.

A second option is to forego the battery bank and install a propane-fired generator, with a cutover switch that will automatically take the house off-line (to prevent dangerous backfeeds into elec co lines) w/in 30 sec of a failure, and run the house. A full-sized generator is a big user of propane, but no one has been able to correlate load to consumption. Certainly, demand on the generator wd be far less with the batteries supplying most needs, and history is that most outages are less than a day anyway, and maybe the generator would hardly be called for service.

Then there's the issue of where to site the generator. We are burying a 1000 gal propane tank on the way from the utility drop to the house, and I wonder if that wd be the best place for the generator pad -- near the access road to the property (so it can be serviced), near the propane tank (for hi pressure fuel), and away from the house (for noise). But then, the generator would be 175' from the house, so I don't know if that wd affect the hookup between the generator, the service main drop, and the in-house panel.

I wd appreciate feedback from anyone with experience in this area.

Thank you! --Mark

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