Sunday, August 28, 2011

Backyard Tech – Extreme Edition: Generators

Having a basement that’s prone to flooding, we were way overdue in adding a generator to our flood fighting arsenal. We’re fine as long as the sump pumps run, but if they stop working, disaster ensues. We finally bit the bullet after we remodeled Man Town this past year.

I knew nothing about generators when we started looking, but after a little research, and some professional electrical advice, we came up with a plan. Our main concern was the pumps, but we also wanted something that would help us out during those ugly winter Nor’easters that we’re prone to around here. There’s a great Wattage Estimation Guide on the Honda Power Equipment website that helped us out a lot.

We settled on the Honda EG5000. It’s big enough to hook up to your house via a transfer switch and run quite a few devices, and yet small enough to still be considered a portable. It’s from Honda’s Economy line, which means it has the power of the more expensive models, just fewer frills. No key start, no wheels, no fancy panels. It does, however, pump out 5000W (4500W rated) of power, both 120/240V, via a nice variety of outputs (two 20A 125V outlets, one 20A 125V locking plug, one 30A 125V locking plug and a 30A 125/250V locking plug).

It’s powered by Honda’s commercial grade 389cc engine, which is relatively quiet (73dB), and it has some great features that you won’t find on cheaper generators, like DAVR (digital automatic voltage regulation witch prevents power fluctuations) and Oil Alert (the unit shuts down the engine before you hit the add level). It also comes with a 3 year parts and labor warranty that’s valid for both commercial and residential use.

I bought mine from a Honda dealership (Parkway Cycle), rather than on line, because I wanted one that was assembled, bench tested, and ready to rock and roll. It has an important job to do, so I did it right, and you should too.

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