About to pull the trigger on a Champion generator...

Ecotech Marine

cmcoker

2500 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 26, 2014
Messages
3,961
Reaction score
4,070
Location
Texas
TL/DR at the bottom.

After going through Winter storm Uri and having both of my tanks crash, my wife agrees a generator is necessary both for my hobby and for our household in general. The watts I have calculated, including allowances for surge, are around 5600W. We will have an electrician out to see about a manual transfer switch for the critical circuits (included in my calculation). I also have some battery backups on the way to power the DC returns automatically if I am not home or until someone can connect the generator.

I have been looking around and found a Champion Generator that will power all our critical circuits with a bit of room to spare while not breaking our budget completely. The generator is a 7,000 running watt, open frame, inverter generator. This is the most cost-effective option.

I have also considered getting 2 of the smaller Champion inverter generators and a parallel kit. This would be more expensive but give us some power if one failed and the option to purchase a dual fuel model that could utilize gasoline or propane.

I was also looking at the Westinghouse iGen4500DF and getting 2 of them with a parallel kit. The dual-fuel model is currently out of stock, and these would be more expensive than the Champion generators.

I like the idea of having an option for propane since fuel storage would be easier, and the odds are I could find one of the types of fuel if I needed more during an emergency.

We are in North Texas outside of DFW, so hurricanes are not really an issue though they have contributed to fuel shortages in our area. Another winter storm like we just experienced, or damage to the area grid from a tornado, a car taking out a transformer, etc., are more the types of issues we expect to be preparing for.

Wondering if anyone has any good or bad experiences with these brands of generators? Any tips or advice about generators also appreciated.

And while I would love a Kohler, Honda, etc., that is really not in our price range, as this needs to address the power needs of a few things in the house besides the tanks.

We also are not sure how long we will be living here, so we are not considering a permanently installed, whole house situation.

TL/DR: Champion generators any good? Buy one to cover the load, or split the load between 2 smaller generators? Worth the extra cost to buy 2 smaller generators to have a dual-fuel option? If Champion is no good, what about Westinghouse? Any other thoughts?
 

Pistondog

2500 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 28, 2020
Messages
2,579
Reaction score
5,192
Consider that fuel is the problem.
Gas is tough during power failures, propane about 3x normal cost for emergency refill, if you can schedule.
Calculate how long your propane tank will keep your house running, obviously load dependant.
 
OP
cmcoker

cmcoker

2500 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 26, 2014
Messages
3,961
Reaction score
4,070
Location
Texas
Do you have room to store large propane tanks at the house?
We are on about 3/4 acre in a rural, unincorporated area. I could see having a large propane tank installed if we stay long term, short term I could fit some tanks in the shed where the lawnmower and generator will be stored or possibly talk my brother in law in to storing some in his shed(s)

Edit to add my brother in law lives next door
 
Last edited:
Top Shelf Aquatics

CanuckReefer

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Nov 18, 2020
Messages
995
Reaction score
1,467
Location
Port Perry Ontario
Hello,
I have used several Champion Gens on my jobsites (electrician) over the years, and imo they are great, reliable units
I have a similar system to what you are contemplating. 30 amp 125/250v inlet on side of house going to a manual transfer switch with about 8 circuits protected. Tank, Fridge, Sump, TV and internet, Furnace and assorted plugs / lights in house.
I installed my system about 3 years back and pair it with a 7125 Firmen Gen. Its only gas, and quite a noisy unit to be honest, but it does the job nicely.
I like the duel fuel aspect you are considering. I was flip flopping on that aspect and then bought the gas only as it was on a big sale.
Also like the integral inverter with the Champion unit you linked. Cleaner power is important for critical circuits. I have to run a UPS in conjunction with my Gen for the tank, which is a bit of a pain.
One other thing you may want to ask your electrician about is the 'Generlink' system. Not sure if you have them in Texas or not, or something similar? I would assume so.... It's a hitch post/inlet right off of your meter socket. Will allow for a generator quick connect , all circuits of the home are covered, but you will need to ensure you shut down or not use anything with a heavy electrical draw like electric stove or dryer etc. I actually would have gone this route if it were more available, and better priced at the time of my installation
Here is the link to it if interested. One of my friends a contractor installs them more often than the pony panels now.
http://www.generlink.com/generlink.html

https://www.homedepot.com/p/GenerLink-30-Amp-Meter-Mounted-Transfer-Switch-MA23-N/301961623

Any questions, don't hesitate to ask.

Also I would say to stick with the one large unit.
 
Last edited:

Biglew11

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
May 10, 2020
Messages
1,122
Reaction score
1,357
Location
New York
You can also run them on natural gas. If you can get someone to run a line and some quick connects outside. You can be plugged in and ready to go in a few minutes, and not have to worry about fuel supply.
 

JGT

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 6, 2020
Messages
1,948
Reaction score
1,602
Location
Northeast
Good choice. I have a dual fuel 5500 watt one. Like the option of either propane or gas. But I also have a 500 gallon in ground propane tank that we have for heating our pool that we never use so I tend to hook it up there.
 

Blue Spot Octopus

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 30, 2016
Messages
2,017
Reaction score
890
Since Texas has a natural gas issue, I would wait on that until it gets fixed, so they sell these upright propane tanks at Tractor Supply, I think they are either 75 gallons or maybe 100, I would not get a bunch of 20-gallon tanks. I would make sure that my water heater is convertible to propane, I would also make sure that your heater is convertible as well. If possible I would put a wall heater in, they come in two different shapes, easy to hide and they do not require electricity. I would set it all up and do practice runs, see how long it take s to switch everything over, a nice 10 PM job, Generally for a ice storm or such you have notice. PS I have a 2000 model Champion innverter style generator, I would get that type and not the cheap construction site units, you can fry some of your electronics.
 
Aquarium Specialty - dry goods & marine livestock
OP
cmcoker

cmcoker

2500 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 26, 2014
Messages
3,961
Reaction score
4,070
Location
Texas
You can also run them on natural gas. If you can get someone to run a line and some quick connects outside. You can be plugged in and ready to go in a few minutes, and not have to worry about fuel supply.
In our recent winter storm, natural gas pressure was an issue and I dont think there is even service where we live.

Since Texas has a natural gas issue, I would wait on that until it gets fixed, so they sell these upright propane tanks at Tractor Supply, I think they are either 75 gallons or maybe 100...
PS I have a 2000 model Champion innverter style generator, I would get that type and not the cheap construction site units, you can fry some of your electronics.
Yes, I am only looking at inverter generators. NG is a no go. I can deal without hot water for now, we just replaced the water heater in the past year.
If I go with a propane compatible, I may look to do a leased tank so the company is responsible for maintaining it. Haven't gotten that far yet. In order to do propane we would have to get the 2 smaller inverter generators, I have only found ones (I can afford) up to around 3100W using propane.
 
OP
cmcoker

cmcoker

2500 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 26, 2014
Messages
3,961
Reaction score
4,070
Location
Texas
Good choice. I have a dual fuel 5500 watt one. Like the option of either propane or gas. But I also have a 500 gallon in ground propane tank that we have for heating our pool that we never use so I tend to hook it up there.
What make/model is the one you have at 5500W, is it an inverter generator or standard?
 

ellisz

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 5, 2017
Messages
78
Reaction score
14
Location
S. Indiana
I have a 7500 watt Champion that I have had for almost 10 years. Gas only but has battery start. I had to replace the battery once but it has always been there when I need it. I have a transfer switch that I plug into that powers the tank, sump room and some of the other keys areas.
 
OP
cmcoker

cmcoker

2500 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 26, 2014
Messages
3,961
Reaction score
4,070
Location
Texas
Standard. I’m doing other key essentials such as well pump, furnace, fridge and some lights/outlets.
Same, thats why the 7000W model is so appealing, it just doesn't run on propane and I'm not interested in any conversion kits.
I have a 7500 watt Champion that I have had for almost 10 years. Gas only but has battery start. I had to replace the battery once but it has always been there when I need it. I have a transfer switch that I plug into that powers the tank, sump room and some of the other keys areas.
Nice, thanks for the input. I believe all the ones I am looking at have an electric start, but also have a recoil if the battery is dead.
 

reefiniteasy

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 6, 2018
Messages
1,082
Reaction score
3,436
Location
Orlando, FL
This is the open frame inverter we have. I love it. Starts up fast and easy.

5E04C7AE-13FB-468A-A03B-1728605CB156.png
 
OP
cmcoker

cmcoker

2500 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 26, 2014
Messages
3,961
Reaction score
4,070
Location
Texas
This is the open frame inverter we have. I love it. Starts up fast and easy.
This is the one that is at the top of my list. Can I ask what kind of load you have run on it and how the fuel consumption is? The specs all list run time at like 25% load and I am unsure what that would translate to when we would be using more than that.
 

reefiniteasy

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 6, 2018
Messages
1,082
Reaction score
3,436
Location
Orlando, FL
This is the one that is at the top of my list. Can I ask what kind of load you have run on it and how the fuel consumption is? The specs all list run time at like 25% load and I am unsure what that would translate to when we would be using more than that.

Couldn’t really tell you. Had it since before last hurricane season and have not had to put it to use. I start it up once a month and run it for an hour or so. It’s the purchase I hope to never really have to use.
 
OP
cmcoker

cmcoker

2500 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 26, 2014
Messages
3,961
Reaction score
4,070
Location
Texas
Couldn’t really tell you. Had it since before last hurricane season and have not had to put it to use. I start it up once a month and run it for an hour or so. It’s the purchase I hope to never really have to use.
Thanks, I have the same sentiment. Never wanted to buy something that I hoped to never use before.. aside from insurance, lol
 

mfinn

likes zoanthids
View Badges
Joined
Jul 22, 2006
Messages
9,137
Reaction score
5,731
Location
Olympia, WA.
While good generators have relatively few problems, planning on using 2 smaller ones seems like doubling the chance of having problems.
Get one good one and have a electrician wire in a separate panel for it.
I use a gentran for mine.
I buy clear gas ( non alcohol added ) and use a fuel stabilizer and do a twice a year fuel change out when it hasn't been used.
 
AS

How important is sand sifting or sand stirring livestock to your reef tank?

  • Very important

    Votes: 238 45.8%
  • Somewhat important

    Votes: 162 31.2%
  • Not important

    Votes: 66 12.7%
  • Not sure

    Votes: 47 9.0%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 7 1.3%
Top