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Kioti SCUT
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The “db” rating is a logarithmic scale, not linear, so even an increase of a few db is a huge increase in noise/volume. Why endure the disruption needlessly when there are manufacturers who pay attention to noise attenuation?
Well said!

70 db is 10 times louder than 60 dB.
80 db is 10 times louder than 70 dB.
90 db is 10 times louder than 80 dB, or 1,000 times louder than the original 60 dB.

Honda has some very quiet generators, 52 dB to 65 dB, but most are small portables. Their inverter line is extremely quiet, <50 dB, but far too small. Cal
 

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I'm curious now. Would you care to elaborate? What impressed you with the Kohlers and WinCo's more than the Generacs specifically? And since you've only been "out of the loop" for 3 years, I would consider your information to be relatively up to date.
The WinCo air-cooled units were powered by Honda or B&S Vanguard, which both are a definite upgrade over the Generac. They had a more no frills and simpler electronics setup, similar to the old square Generac units, which were of better quality than the new ones.
The Kohler units fell somewhere in between in my opinion. The case itself was possibly lower quality than the Generac, but otherwise seemed more well built.

With any of the brands, if you get cold temps where you live, I would highly recommend a cold weather kit. For a Generac, this consisted of an oil filter heater sleeve, and a heated battery pad. The other brands may have something similar, or the Generac kit could probably be adapted to work.

It has been a few years, so there may be some changes I'm not aware of. Most commonly replaced items on a Generac were: batteries/battery chargers, controllers, choke solenoids(the newer models had a completely different airbox design that was a big improvement). We had a run of generator stators for a while there, but Generac even replaced some of those out of warranty.
 

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Although I have no idea of the make of the unit, The last Generac i installed has a neighbor diagonally across a 4 way intersection. What ever his generator is, you can hear it in the house that has the Generac over top of the Generac unit.
I know the guy that has it, I just never walked over to see what it was. Very loud from several hundred feet away is all I can say.
 

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What ever it is it is automatic, starts as soon as a power failure happens. So I would assume it has some kind of enclosure.
I may have to walk over one day just to see what it is.

But then we all know what assume does.
 

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I have 10 neighbors, we share over 100 acres so don't really see any houses except the one across the road about 1,000 feet away. My very old Generac 12kv runs every Thursday at 12:30pm for 12 minutes. It has the Generac GT-990 V twin engine running on natural gas. I usually don't hear it start or run on Thursdays unless I'm outside and on that side of the house. It is a bit noisy standing next to it but not from a distance. Have the auto switch over panel so that is nice.

So far it has been running just fine. Oil and filter change is due in July. Runs the essential circuits for us but not the AC. It is never above 67 degrees in the walkout basement so we are good to go there. Winters, it also powers the furnace so we don't freeze. Not sure what I'd get if and when I replace this old beast.
 
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We had a 20KW Kohler installed about 1-1/2 years ago. It has an automatic transfer switch, and 3 modules for our 2 AC units & Tesla charger. If I understand correctly, once the generator starts & has stable power, the modules connect one at a time, monitoring for stable power & the load before turning on the next one, so as not to overload the generator. I didn't see the need for the one for the car charger, but it didn't add much to the cost. The generator is sized to handle everything in the house, and the 2 AC units. I think the car charger would be too much if the AC units were running, so having that 3rd module means I don't have to worry about unplugging the car if the generator comes on & the AC units are running.

We also opted for the wi-fi connection, so we get alerts when it starts/stops, and if there's a problem with it.

It's only had to come on twice, IIRC, and worked fine.
 

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Well said!

70 db is 10 times louder than 60 dB.
80 db is 10 times louder than 70 dB.
90 db is 10 times louder than 80 dB, or 1,000 times louder than the original 60 dB.

Honda has some very quiet generators, 52 dB to 65 dB, but most are small portables. Their inverter line is extremely quiet, <50 dB, but far too small. Cal

Good post and another rule of thumb is noise and power double or half every 3dB.
 

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To me, I've run both Kohlers and Generacs and it really just comes down to the maintenance they get. I've seen both quit because they were left to run out of oil, get infested with mice or clogged up with mud wasps and I've seen both run well because the owners took care of them and had them regularly serviced, whether they do it themselves or through a service. As an owner, what are you prepared to do for your equipment? If you do it yourself, it probably doesn't matter as much other than the availability of parts and/or materials but, if you're going to use a service, buy one that is serviced locally/conveniently and uses domestic parts where possible.
 

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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.
We built our house in 2015 and had a Generac 22kW unit installed. It's been used a couple dozen times, flawlessly, since then. The transfer switch does it's job automatically, and no problems. We did have a warranty claim, which the Generac-authorized electrician handled without incident. We live in northern MN, so I had the battery heater installed, and that was the part that had crapped out, frying the battery in the process. I cleaned up everything, he installed a new wiring harness for the heater and everything has been fine for the last five years. I have recommended these units to several other friends who have all installed them and I have heard no negative stories from any of them. We are in a rural area, so ours runs off propane, and we are always surprised how little propane is used when checking the tank after an outage. Thumbs up from me.
 
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My comment was in response to another that encouraged the op to pay attention to noise ratings. Even if I lived in the country with no neighbors, I’d follow that advice. The “db” rating is a logarithmic scale, not linear, so even an increase of a few db is a huge increase in noise/volume. Why endure the disruption needlessly when there are manufacturers who pay attention to noise attenuation?
That being said, the difference between 70dB and 80dB SPL is not a huge difference. However, as noted, the SPL level is a logarithmic method...I can assure you that while that 10dB difference is quite noticeable, it's likely not objectionable. Now going from 110dB to 120dB it's a seemingly HUGE difference! 120dB to 130dB is the difference between really loud and painfully loud. The difference between 60dB and 70dB is very insignificant. The more important stat would be SIL (Sound Intensity Level).

In the country, the ambient noise level...or noise floor can be quite low. The same is true in the city, though it will generally be a bit higher noise floor. If you have a genset making 75db in the country with a noise floor of 45dB then you have 30dB of gain over the noise floor. In the city a 82dB genset may actually seem less offensive since the noise floor might be 55dB...a 27dB gain over the ambient noise floor...interesting isn't it?

My take is this...if it's keeping me going I don't care if it's got a straight pipe on it!!
 
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I have a 21 KW Generac here paired with a 500 gallon tank. It does everything that is needed winter or summer, even runs the A/C in summer. It has saved us several times when power outages ran for several days.

On a new install see if you can get the dealer to throw in a discounted three year service plan. I have continued to keep my plan. It’s about $300/year with two programmed maintenance sessions per year included and all parts (including a battery after five years).

I also run the cooking range and a gas burning fireplace on LP and I don’t see the need for a tank any greater than 500 gallons. The generator is not that thirsty. I should be able to easily go for a week without needing a fill.

My neighbor got a whole house Generac but went cheap on the storage tank. He got a 100 gallon rental bottle so every power outage of a couple of days or more has him sweating getting a propane truck down his driveway.
 

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jeff: By no means am I a generator "expert", but here is my two cents worth. I have a generator as a backup for my off-grid power system. I have used a Honda gasoline generator since 1997. It is VERY reliable. In 25 years of use, it starts up every time I needed it, which cannot be said for some other brands. This doesn't mean you can skip the maintenance or store it with fuel that has methanol in it. I believe that Hondas are the Cadillacs of generators. For temporary power outages, IF you limit your power consumption, such as not running the vacuum along with a washer, or the oven along with a dryer, you can get by with a smaller unit, such as a 5000 to 6000 watt unit. Just my knowledge from decades of Honda use.
 

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I have a few HONDA 2000s and a 7000 ...all work great, but too small for a whole house ...I use the 2000s at job sites where there is no juice ..the 7000 is for the house when we have outages ( fortunately , that is not too often) and it is quiet and economical, but I think it is the largest that HONDA makes...it will carry he boiler, but not the AC :(
 

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Well said!

70 db is 10 times louder than 60 dB.
80 db is 10 times louder than 70 dB.
90 db is 10 times louder than 80 dB, or 1,000 times louder than the original 60 dB.

Honda has some very quiet generators, 52 dB to 65 dB, but most are small portables. Their inverter line is extremely quiet, <50 dB, but far too small. Cal
This is incorrect...though the Honda gensets are quite quiet.

It takes on the order of a 10dB increase to be perceived as TWICE as loud.

70dB is twice as loud as 60dB. The numbers are not consistent though as SPL is not a LINEAR scale. It is close enough to use this measure between 70db & 120dB. Beyond 120dB, it will take less increase in SPL to be perceived as twice as loud.

You can also get sound propagation "boundry reinforcement" if the unit is right next to a building it can make the sound 3dB louder in the direction opposite the wall. Sound also decreases over distance fairly rapidly. I could get into some rather complex formula's for this, but then we'd have to have a good calculator or at least take our shoes off...LOL

Now, I think what you might have been referring to is that in audio, it takes on the order of 10 times the power to play something twice as loud. For every 3dB increase in SPL it takes twice the amplifier power. For example, if you have a speaker rated at [email protected]/1M...meaning it takes 1 watt of amplifier power to produce 90dB at 1 meter from the source, it takes 10 watts to reach 100dB SPL. To reach 120dB you now need 1024 watts...or ten times the power of the 100dB level at 10 watts. If the speaker was capable...very few are...it would take 2048 watts to gain another 10dB to 130dB. We have only doubled the sound level 3 times, yet we have went from 1 watt to over 2000 watts to do it.

Please do not use home speakers to verify this...you will likely have a woofer now lying on the floor and a small fire...or both...LOL! I highly recommend using higher end professional (Audio PA) equipment for verification...and hearing protection!!

I have used, installed, tested and reviewed audio equipment for over 25 years.
 
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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!
I've used both but I ended up with Kohler. Seemed to be built a touch tougher. Generators should run at about 60 percent load. Any less and it's a waste. I don't know your load but your dealer can help you figure it out. We have a resort in Canada with a huge lodge, 7 cabins and a boat house with electric minnow tank. 4 freezers. 4 refrigerators an we run the whole thing on 25 kvw at about 45 percent.
Don't Overbuy for warm and fuzzy. I weld with 220 in Canada also and power tools.
 

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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.
Hey Jeff,
This is a good question, here is my feedback.

I am an electronics tech, I am familiar with both generators. I have a Generac at my house, I have friends that have Kohler, both are really reliable and run really well. Here are some things to consider from my experience:
  • I have a Generac 13KW nat gas generator. In short, it has been nothing but terrific. Care has been changing the oil, air filter, and a couple easy to do adjustments (like speed). I installed it in 2005, and it has kept us thru many power outages, a couple of them were 3-day events. Didn't miss a beat. (we get 1 to 3 power outages a year). It does have a little bit of rust on the bottom of the cabinet on the outside, that's about the only complaint I have. The area where I have it does not see a lot of sunlight.
  • Friends with Kohler, very much the same. No issues, very solid and reliable.
  • I can tell you that Generac seems to deal with service with their dealers, and it seems that getting parts outside of the dealers is impossible. I have not needed that, so no issue yet. If/when I need a new generator, I might consider Kohler because of that, however this thing has been bombproof so it will be hard to change. I like the option of fixing things myself which I most often do. So if you are a 'fix it myself' type of guy, you may want to consider Kohler. Otherwise, find a dealer that services Generac (not all do) and has a good reputation, then sit back and don't worry.
  • If I remember right, propane delivers a bit more energy than natural gas, so you may get a KW or two above rated if running propane.
  • Propane and Nat Gas powered generators are remarkably simple. You have an airbox, then the rest of the engine. Because of that they are pretty reliable. Do your maintenance, err on the side of changing oil early and you will get alot of life out of it. It's now 17 years later, I still have trouble seeing the oil level on the stick after an oil change because the oil stays squeaky clean.
  • THIS PART IS IMPORTANT - when sizing the generator most people try to go 'whole house' or get almost every thing in the house on it. If you are looking just to ride thru the occasional power outage and cost is not of concern this may be the option for you. HOWEVER, what most people do not consider is this: Duty cycle during an extended outage. I deliberately sized my unit to run essentials and have a bit of over head for some 'nice to haves'. I have a 3,000 sq/ft house, run it just fine on a 12KW unit. I could have done a 'whole house' at 20KW+, glad I didn't. Here is why:

If you have an extended outage, your gas bill will be expensive. Like I mentioned we have had ~numerous~ 2-3 day outages where the generator was running non-stop. Our gas bill was indistinguishable month-to-month when we had those events - really impressed my wife who watches that stuff like a hawk. IF you are experiencing multi-day outages frequently, or getting a generator to get thru a potential 'SHTF' event (down for weeks) you may want to consider that especially if you are having propane delivered - will make that last twice as long. I have nat gas so when the power goes out there is more for me - no issues, a virtual continuous supply.

The smaller KW units are cheaper, are widely installed (means parts are available), and run terrifically well. Some have optional features which you will be easily ready to afford as opposed to getting a big unit. Those are not cheap.

Do a survey of what you can and can't live with. I live in PA, can do without the AC. Not without the furnace. Need the septic pump. Can do without lights in the kids bathroom. I can say that when the lights go out we don't really miss much. We were the envy of our neighborhood. We had lights as they were loading up their freezers to take to other people's houses....till they got their own generators. :)

Good luck with your installation.. Hope this helped.

BJ
 

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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.
I just had a Generac 22kw whole house install this past winter. So far, we have had it power our house four times, the last being about a week or two ago. You didn't mention what state you live in, and unless you're in MI, I can't really recommend a Generac dealer. But I will tell you that the outfit that installed ours did a top notch job, and price wise, beat all others. Included in our package was whole house surge protection, an oil heater for winter months, battery tender, extended 7 year bumper to bumper warranty (I believe that was a promotional thing as the standard is 5 years) and free service for one year where they do an oil change, air filter, and general maintenance (which any handy person can do). The Generac app for your phone is fantastic. You can monitor your house from anywhere, turn the generator on/off, and view many different status' and reports regarding your unit. My unit turns on every Wednesday at noon for 5 minutes to do a self test. It sends me a text (and email) upon start up, and when it is finished, another text and email letting me know the status and if anything failed. Generac seems to be the "go to" in our area, as nobody I know has anything else. Total cost, with installation and materials was 10k (they originally sized my house for an 18kw I believe, but going up to a 22kw was only $500 more, so I did) There was a wait list for some sizes (not mine) as well as a wait list for installation. I recall it was about 3 months. Also, we did have to call our natural gas company and have them install a larger meter. Some companies do this for free, others charge. That cost me $600. And there was also a wait list for that as well. The unit is super quiet and sits just to the side of our bedroom window. My wife is usually home when it does a start up every Wed, and actually has to go to the bedroom window to listen if it's running. In an outage, power is restored within 15-20 seconds (a bit longer in at around 20-30 the winter) I was only home once when we lost power. I was on my computer early one Sunday morning when the power blinked off, then on again a few seconds later. I figured it was just a bump and continued what I was doing. Then it hit me...did we just lose power? I went upstairs to the bedroom where the wife was still sleep, and sure enough, the generator was running. The transition back to line power an hour later was seamless. I didn't even know it until I received a text from my generator that all was well. Hope this helps a bit. Good luck!
 

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@Just Jeff
I have a old Onan 7.5 kw that runs on propane and serves me well for my home. We have oil fired heat/hot water, a 375’ deep well for water, (uses a 3/4 hp 240 volt pump) and the usual suspects for lights, AC and refrigeration and freezers.
7.5 kw is enough to keep the necessities on along with a few goodies.

I might humbly suggest you make a visit to Smokstak.com, there are forums for Kohler, Onan and others. I am sure you will get some of the good, the bad and the ugly.
In the Onan forum where I hang out there is a wealth of former ONAN techs as well and gaseous tech, diesel techs and electrical guys.
Very helpful, also in the manual section, again relating to ONANs, are some gaseous installation manuals that have a wealth of detailed information on installation, consumption and comparison between LP and NatGas.

Good luck!

-BobC
 
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