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I like to buy Kindle books like this before I am making a major purchase. The six dollars I spent on this probably saved me and 100 times that much buying a generator that would work.

My situation - I think it is probably not too uncommon - is that the power goes out fairly often in my neighborhood. We have electric heat, which means that we're freezing in the dark when it does. The most obvious solution seems to be to have emergency backup electricity.

The introduction of the book tells you how that can be accomplished properly. Basically, start with five figures in US dollars that you are ready to spend. Dedicate some of your real estate to siting a generator, and be prepared to invest a little bit of time making sure that the thing is always ready to go.

We wanted to go something cheaper. We have a large, well insulated attic and the generator salesman and implied that might be able to put a portable generator up there. I wanted to know why not. Here is a short list.

1. Start with carbon monoxide. Even if it is in the attic, and vented to the outside, the system still presents a risk. After reading the book I raised my and estimate of the risk.
2. It would be noisy. The book has a pretty lengthy discussion of the noise the generators make. I hear them in my neighborhood, and knew that they were not quiet. The book gives a lengthy assessment of how noisy, and how to do something about it.
3. What kind of fuel. I had imagined gasoline. I learned the gasoline deteriorates over time and storage. You cannot keep it for months on end, ready for immediate use when the crisis hits. Here the book offers alternatives. The best solution would be gas, either from the gas company itself or bottled gas. Diesel is a pretty good solution because it is much more stable.
4. Also on the subject of fuel, I got an idea of the volumes involved. 15 gallons a day is a guesstimate for my situation. At about seven pounds per gallon, that means carrying 100 pounds per day after the attic. There is also the question of where to store that much highly flammable stuff. Up in the attic? Not a good idea.
5. The book gave a definitive answer to another of my questions: how to integrate generator power with municipal power. The answer: don't do it. Either install a transfer switch, whereby either municipal or the generator is the sole power source, or run extension cords from the generator to the essential appliances you need to operate.

So I conclude that the best way to do it is the expensive way - an oudoor generator, away from the house, in a weatherproof shelter, protected from thieves. Get an electrician to wire it properly. When all is said and done, it isn't cheap.

I'm doing a similar analysis of kerosene heaters. Must be more than one way to skin a cat. In any case, this was a very good investment of $6. If and when we buy a generator, I'll be able to ask intelligent questions to be sure we get what we need.
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on May 9, 2013
This is a really neat little book, and very timely. Mr. o'neil seems to know the subject well and his writing is clear, concise and to the point. I was primarily interested in a portable generator to power a well and travel trailer at a remote location. I obtained all the information I needed to call the well pump manufacturer and ask the right questions regarding specifications for an adequate generator for that purpose. I also learned a lot about backup power generators, and am broadening my consideration to include a stationary unit for the same site. This book is very much worth the price for anyone considering purchasing and installing, which he also covers very well, a home generator.
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on December 30, 2012
The Home Generator Guide is a comprehensive manual that I would recommend to anyone looking at purchasing a standby generator. The guide covers every major issue from size, fuel type, manufacturers, engine types, noise, and much more. After reading this book I felt much more comfortable in knowing that I was taking the right steps in acquiring a standby generator for my house.
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on January 28, 2013
Something like this Guide is really needed in the marketplace with more people buying generators to cope with power outages. However, it is too general for many do-it yourselfers (DIYers). For example, it glosses over the need to obtain a county or city electrical permit, when talking to the county building inspectors could result in some sould unbiased advice on what to buy. Also, many DIYers would be interested in learning to calculate the load for a whole house generators for their home.
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on March 2, 2014
This book was a good introduction to pros and cons of installing your own home generator. I think it's worth buying for anyone wanting to get a good upfront understanding of what's out there before they sink a bunch of money on a unit.
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on January 1, 2013
it's probably a great book and exactly what I am looking for to get information about generators before I buy one, but Amazon is so difficult to deal with that I have made the decision to never buy ANYTHING from Amazon.com. I'll find something at a local bookstore, and keep some of the money in our community. You might want to try that also.
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on January 30, 2016
Helpful
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on September 11, 2014
Nothing special but not horrible
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on February 6, 2014
It's a good overview of home generator operations, but it's a little thin on details. Very readable and easy to understand, wish it covered more ground; like per hour operating costs and benefits-- gasoline vs. propane vs. natural gas vs. diesel. How big is too big? How small is too small? Slaving generator outputs together, linking multiple fuel tanks together. Backfeeding vs. hardwiring. You get the idea. Not as comprehensive as it could be, but worth the money. You just need to expand on the details of the topics covered on your own. Still a need for a comprehensive home generator guide.
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on August 15, 2013
This book was very Helpful for my husband and I in trying to make a decision about installing a home generator!
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