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  • #31
    Originally posted by Hank View Post
    At $10K, I’d rather put the money into solar with battery backup.

    We have solar for the house, but haven’t purchased a battery backup and anti-islanding switch yet. We have a small portable generator in the garage, but haven’t hooked it up to the house electric yet. Probably should do the before / in addition to the battery backup.
    The generators we are looking at use our natural gas line to give us “unlimited” backup power. The number and cost of the batteries + solar panels we would need to match that capacity make solar unaffordable. The technology isn’t there yet.

    Also, if you read the Tesla battery reviews online they have not performed very well. Lots of problems.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by HeyAnesthesia View Post
      We live in PA, and are surrounded by elevated power lines with poorly maintained large trees.

      We have occasional power outages lasting 6-8 hours, but recently lost power for 5 days due to a storm with strong winds. We ended up throwing out about $800 worth of food and my wife took our 3 kids to my parents house to ride it out as our house was very warm without a/c.

      We only recently moved into the neighborhood (<1yr ago), but our neighbors tell us to expect this type of thing to happen once a year or so.

      The question: do we purchase a whole home replacement generator that would use our natural gas line to keep our hvac, electricity, appliances etc running in the event of future outages? We just got a quote for ~$10k all in.

      What are people’s thought on the inconvenience of future outages vs cost of the generator? Should I be worried my pipes may freeze if this happens in the winter and I don’t get the generator?

      other background:
      my wife does a lot of work from home, so she would need to go find a hotel or stay somewhere else for prolonged outages
      we live in our “doctor” house and have no plans to leave
      my wife and I both have stable-ish full time jobs...although nothing is certain with covid

      We would pay cash for the generator...but I would of course rather put the $10k in my kids 529’s or add it to our taxabale account

      input appreciated, thanks!
      For less than 10k installed you could get a Tesla Powerwall that would be able to power your home in the event of a power failure and would require zero yearly maintenance, could be hooked up to solar in the future if you desired and is of course clean energy with no fossil fuels being burnt to power your house. And you'd get 26% back as a federal tax credit this year.
      I personally wouldn't run HVAC on a battery backup because it isn't a necessity and would burn through your storage pretty quickly. But, for everything else it works great and can keep the house running for quite some time. We have 2 powerwalls in our basement tied to our solar system and if we start with a full charge and the power goes out, we're able to power our home for easily 24 hours or more. To determine your needs, just calculate how much power you would be using during a power failure (add up lights, refrigerator, any major appliances you'd need to run such as a microwave, computer, etc). Then you can determine how long a single powerwall ( 13.5 kwh battery) would last you. My house typically uses around 1.2-1.8 kw of electric at any given time. So a 13.5 kwh battery could keep us going for 7-10 hrs no problem. If I were you, I'd get 2 since the federal tax credit is still so good (it's currently being phased out and won't be as much next year and will be gone completely in a couple years). I don't know how much energy your home uses on average per day, but assuming you turn off your AC and you have energy efficient lighting (and you aren't running a pool or hot tub), 2 powerwalls could probably last you an entire day of grid failure. And again, they're maintenance free, they are silent, they are clean, and you get access to the Tesla Powerwall app which is awesome for monitoring your home's power consumption.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by hightower View Post

        For less than 10k installed you could get a Tesla Powerwall that would be able to power your home in the event of a power failure and would require zero yearly maintenance, could be hooked up to solar in the future if you desired and is of course clean energy with no fossil fuels being burnt to power your house. And you'd get 26% back as a federal tax credit this year.
        I personally wouldn't run HVAC on a battery backup because it isn't a necessity and would burn through your storage pretty quickly. But, for everything else it works great and can keep the house running for quite some time. We have 2 powerwalls in our basement tied to our solar system and if we start with a full charge and the power goes out, we're able to power our home for easily 24 hours or more. To determine your needs, just calculate how much power you would be using during a power failure (add up lights, refrigerator, any major appliances you'd need to run such as a microwave, computer, etc). Then you can determine how long a single powerwall ( 13.5 kwh battery) would last you. My house typically uses around 1.2-1.8 kw of electric at any given time. So a 13.5 kwh battery could keep us going for 7-10 hrs no problem. If I were you, I'd get 2 since the federal tax credit is still so good (it's currently being phased out and won't be as much next year and will be gone completely in a couple years). I don't know how much energy your home uses on average per day, but assuming you turn off your AC and you have energy efficient lighting (and you aren't running a pool or hot tub), 2 powerwalls could probably last you an entire day of grid failure. And again, they're maintenance free, they are silent, they are clean, and you get access to the Tesla Powerwall app which is awesome for monitoring your home's power consumption.
        Thanks but we want to run both of our hvacs without interruption (2 zones).. We also want to be able to run everything for 4-5 days. The solar/battery technology is still pretty weak. Some day I hope it’s viable.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by HeyAnesthesia View Post

          Thanks but we want to run both of our hvacs without interruption (2 zones).. We also want to be able to run everything for 4-5 days. The solar/battery technology is still pretty weak. Some day I hope it’s viable.
          Gas is the way to go. However, you might want to run a poll for how many people on the on the Forum have ever been without power for say 3 days or more. Might check with power company as well.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by HeyAnesthesia View Post

            The generators we are looking at use our natural gas line to give us “unlimited” backup power. The number and cost of the batteries + solar panels we would need to match that capacity make solar unaffordable. The technology isn’t there yet.

            Also, if you read the Tesla battery reviews online they have not performed very well. Lots of problems.
            Maybe it's what you're trying to imply with the quotation marks, but gas generators clearly have limits as well. How many kW it can generate and in most cases, number of circuits.

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            • #36
              We have a whole house generator. It is a luxury to always have power when the power goes out. When the grid goes down, it takes about 15 seconds for the transfer switch to throw, the generator to fire up, and the power to come back on. It is all on autopilot. For us the insurance is worth it. We made this decision after freezing in the house during a week long power outage, sleeping in front of the fireplace under multiple thick down blankets. Never again.

              There are so many options for backup power. You can get a cheap portable gas generator to run a few essentials like your sump pump, your freezer, the hot water heater and the air handler on your natural gas furnace. But you have to manually set it up when the power goes off and you also have to head out to buy gasoline frequently to keep it running. I may be stuck at the hospital when there is a natural disaster and I don't want the family to have to deal with that.

              At the other end of the spectrum, you can go crazy and get the 50kw water cooled automatic standby whole house generator that will run all 5 A/C compressors on your 6,000 square foot McMansion for 20k. We have a 22kw whole house generator that will run just about everything. If there is too much power needed, the transfer switch automatically does load shedding, meaning that the upstairs A/C compressor may have to pause for the downstairs A/C to stop running before it kicks on. The generator itself was around $5k to purchase, plus the installation fees. We also had to upsize our natural gas service so that added to the installation cost.

              Looking to the future, higher capacity batteries combined with solar are going to look better and better for backup power as the battery technology and cost improves. And there will also be more electric vehicle to house power systems in the future. For now, most home batteries will only last for perhaps up to a day or so, even if you are frugal with your power usage. If it is summer with lots of sun, your solar connected battery backup system could keep you going for a long time, but on a stormy day in winter, not so much. We already have the natural gas generator, so it becomes a hybrid system. Solar, battery, then gas generator if needed when the grid is down. You need a controller system that can manage all four of these power sources. The other nice thing about battery backup is the lack of a pause when the grid goes down. The back up power is instantaneous without the 15 second delay to fire up the natural gas generator.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by White.Beard.Doc View Post
                We made this decision after freezing in the house during a week long power outage, sleeping in front of the fireplace under multiple thick down blankets. Never again.
                I suppose the other response to this experience would be to leave New York or New Jersey for someplace warmer with lower taxes.

                Heck, if you can’t give up high taxes, high cost of living, and shenanigans in the state capital, there’s always SoCal. At least the weather’s nicer.

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                • #38
                  You will probably get a discount on your home insurance bill. Mine was about 150/year. Not a lot, but it's something.

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