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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys. I've brought this subject up before when we lost our power the last time, but now I can't find my old post to re-read everything.

In any event, our power went out for about 48 hours again after a storm on Wednesday morning. We just got it back. We were able to go to our other house, which is about an hour away, and had power there, but we couldn't take ALL of the food from this house to that house, because the other house only has a regular kitchen fridge/freezer combo, and we have two freezers here. So, we lost some stuff, but at least not the expensive meats and stuff.

I've already sent two emails to generator companies in my area. One to a Generac rep and one to a Kohler rep. Since it's after work hours on Friday, I suspect I'll get a call from both of them sometime on Monday.

In the thread I started a few months ago, some of the guys were recommending the Kohler over the Generac, but I forget the reasons why. I'd like to have these things fresh in my mind, and make a list, so that when I talk to the salesmen, I'll have some intelligent questions to ask them about whatever shortcomings their products may have compared to the "other brand". So, please tell me which one you guys have if you have one, and if you'd recommend it or not. I'd really appreciate it with a large investment like this.

Also, even if you don't have either one, but to have input about either of them, I'd appreciate hearing that as well. Thank you! Sooooooo tired of losing our power LOL.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Jeff...do a lot of research on this.....how much juice are you looking for?...to carry the whole house?, or just essentials?
The whole house. If I'm going to spend the money to run essentials, I may as well do it right, and be completely comfortable. I filled out a questionnaire on the Kohler website that asks you what you'd like to power when we lose power from the grid, and I think I checked everything off that we have, including washer and dryer (which we could easily do without when the power is out), coffee pot, central air, furnace etc., just to be liberal with an estimate on how many KW we'd need. It also asks you the square footage of your house, so I thought it was pretty in depth? Not sure if that was as in depth as I need to go or not, but in the end, the outcome said that we'd be fine with 12KW, which just didn't seem right to me, as most people I believe end up with 20-24KW units?
 

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Ask each manufacturer what engine is used for power. I believe you will find out the Generac engine components are made in China and assembled here in Wisconsin and Kohler does not use their own engine. Very Interesting.
 

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Try a search for Generac (not in title) and by you Just Jeff. There are two there that show up. Maybe those are what you were looking for.
 
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Ask each manufacturer what engine is used for power. I believe you will find out the Generac engine components are made in China and assembled here in Wisconsin and Kohler does not use their own engine. Very Interesting.
Who makes their engines? I had read Kohler makes engines in Mississippi, but now a days it is difficult to find origin of manufacturing in many things.
 

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We installed a whole home generator in late 2017. Investigated Generac, Briggs, Kohler, and one other brand I am forgetting off the top of my head. We ended up with Generac. Briggs was exiting the market or changing stuff at the time so that cancelled them out. The other brand was 15% more than any of the others. Kohler and Generac were within $300 on price - Generac was available and Kohler was a 3 month wait. Generac it was….

Key points I learned: 1) These are home standby generators not your Caterpillar or Cummins powered emergency generators for commercial buildings. Don’t expect the moon on a budget. 2) Brand has little to do with horror stories. Every jilted customer will come out of the wood work too tell you how bad a brand is. I figured they all had their quirks, Generac sells more than any other brand so the sad song choir is larger. 3) No brand appears to have anything close to customer service. Chief complaint I saw and heard in my research was no customer service from any brand. BUT ours has been installed for 5 years and I haven’t needed to call customer service so I can neither confirm or deny that part. 4) Choose your location carefully considering snow, maintenance needs, and install expense. 5) Once installed it not likely you will loose power!

As for our Generac, we have a 20kw unit that has a dedicated 500 gallon LP tank. That gives us at least 5 days of full load power plus a reserve. Generac transfer switch hooked up to the shop and house. We’ve lost power twice for extended periods of time (July 2020 and May 2022) and have no complaints about the generator itself. About my only complaint with the Generac is the housing, it sucks, it never goes back together correctly, the lid and insulation split in the wind we have here. Other than that it’s done the job.
 

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We take frequent drives out thu the country side, I am surprised at the number of emergency generators I see installed and a few in town even. I can't tell the brands driving by. Our son has a Briggs which he has been very satisfied with.
Walt Conner
 

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We installed a Generac 16KW whole house unit about 6 years ago after a two day power outage. The local dealer was/is fantastic. Install was very professional, better than others of a different brand locally. Not sure in your area but I dealer has a lot to do with satisfaction. Installation will be key. Little things about what kind of base will they be supplying and how it is placed may indicate dealer professionalism. Take a trip in the neighborhood and see how level some of the units are after a few years.

I have had no issues with the unit. I do routine maintenance (oil/filters) myself. Last fall I had the dealer come to replace the battery, perform valve lash and check for any other issues. He did install some upgraded software at that time (no charge).

I believe the 16KW unit is no longer sold and the current equivalent is 18KW. My understanding our unit has a Briggs Vanguard as the basis for power and runs on natural gas. My needs are basically the same as yours. A couple of weeks ago we had a 12 hour outage with the air conditioner running and all worked well.

Good luck.
 

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I just had a natural gas 20KW Kohler installed this past February after waiting 9 months for it to come in. My dealer/installer handled both Generac and Kohler and he recommended Kohler so that is what I chose. I decided on the whole house and 20KW because it was only little money more than a smaller 12-15kw. Also, had my 1961 service upgraded from 100A to 200A at the same time. We live in an area where our sump pumps get a work out during the thunderstorm season and it has always been a challenge to keep them running during severe storms. It has always been worrisome to leave home (vacations) during this time...not anymore. The generator operation is easily monitored via Kohler's mobile app. Power has went out twice since February, once for 2-3 hours due to a storm and another when a squirrel committed suicide at the transformer. It is really nice not having to sit in the dark trying to decide if you should pull out the portable generator and run extension cords throughout the house.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
20-24kw would be a pretty large unit. Around here it seems most folks who have them have approx 10-12kw or so.

What is your fuel source?
The fuel source will be propane. We've currently got two 500 gallon tanks on the property. One for the house, and the other one is strictly for the garage/workshop. A friend told me that I may want to consider upgrading to a 1,000 gallon tank, because he said that the generators are pretty thirsty. So, that will be a consideration as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you for all of the responses so far guys, they're greatly appreciated. I especially like the input from first-hand users/owners. Thank you. Keep the replies coming please!
 

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In a past life I sold Generac and Briggs standbys, the Generac Guardian was the big seller because it was cheaper but generally required more frequent service. A 12kw and matching transfer switch is all you need if you have 100A service in the house, go bigger if you plan to add a/c, heat pumps etc later. IMHO the most important thing is to consider is a knowledgeable and supportive dealer. He may or may not handle the installation, we didn't but had qualified electricians and gasfitters available that understood our needs. Forget the mass retailer or buying online, that is just asking for trouble.
My last gig before retirement was on the sales and tech desk for the Canadian Briggs distributor. I took a lot of the standby calls from supposedly trained technicians, I finally let calls go from one who asked the same questions on every job he got!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you @RoyM, I appreciate your input! I wasn't sure if most of us (?) are more familiar with Generac more so than Kohler or other brands due more dollars being thrown at marketing, or if there was a legitimate reason why it seems like they sell a lot more generators than their competitors.
 

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Kioti SCUT
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Not sure if that was as in depth as I need to go or not, but in the end, the outcome said that we'd be fine with 12KW, which just didn't seem right to me, as most people I believe end up with 20-24KW units?
"Whole house" to me means a lot more that 12 Kw. It depends on what you have:

electric stove - 50a @240v = 12,000 watts
electric dryer - 30a @ 240v = 7,200 watts
well pump - 20a @ 240v = 4,800 watts
central A/C - 20a @ 240v = 4,800 watts
hot water heater - 20a @ 240v = 4,800 watts
oil furnace - 15a @ 120v = 1,800 watts
refrigerator, freezer, microwave, dishwasher, toaster, hair dryer, coffee maker, washing machine = 1,200 to 1,600 watts each
plus lights & electronics

I would not get less than a 20 Kw unit, but you may not have everything on that list.

The fuel source is very important. You may want that 1,000 tank. Also, in some states propane for heating & cooking is tax exempt, but in others (like CT) propane for a generator is subject to sales tax. And if you have mixed use (stove & generator) on the same tank, the propane company has to charge you sales tax on the whole delivery.

Finally, noise is very important. Some whole house generators are very loud. Most run between 60 - 80 dBA, and there's a huge noise difference between 60 dBA and 80 dBA. You want to be able to sleep with this thing running. Cal
 

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Generack decided to cheapen up there lawn mower engines and put a lawn mower dealer out of business . It will be hard for me to forgive them for that . The one I have seems like a good one but after that they would blow and create a mess for the business to replace .
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Generack decided to cheapen up there lawn mower engines and put a lawn mower dealer out of business . It will be hard for me to forgive them for that . The one I have seems like a good one but after that they would blow and create a mess for the business to replace .
@Bebop would you expound on that please? I didn't even know Generac produced lawnmower engines. Who do they make them for, and under what brand name? Also, how did they "put a lawnmower dealer out of business"? It seems like if this were a common thing, I (we?) would be aware of it already? I'm not saying you're wrong. I'm just either misunderstanding your comments or confused.
 
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