Anyone know about generators and woodpiles? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I'm stumped on where to start looking for a good generator. I did see one post about 'get a commercial generator', but does anyone know what brands are best? How expensive are they in the Pacific Northwest? Who's got the best selection?

On woodpiles, since I've never heated with wood more than one fire's worth for entertainment as opposed to serious ongoing heating, how much is enough for say, three months of steady heating (and I presume some cooking as well)?

-- Karen Cook (, September 28, 1998


Karen try the following sites for a diesel generator:

China Diesel Imports Diesel Generators Sets:

Honda Generators:

Kohler Generators:

To determine the generator size you need try going to the following site:

Have you give any thought to a water purification system?

-- Mitch Callis (, September 28, 1998.

A cord of wood measures 4' x 4' x 8'.(someone please correct me if wrong) Here in Md., a cord of hard wood, (oak,etc.)cost approx.$125. Given ideal conditions, a person could heat a home all winter for 3 cords or less

-- Arthur Rambo (, September 28, 1998.

Generators -- educate yourself at the web sites listed above, then start making the rounds of Home Depot, Sam's warehouse, your local dealers (see under generators in yellow pages). For many gensets, additional electrical connections are needed to hook into a home power system. Find an electrician, or ask for references from the palce you buy the genset. Firewood -- if all you've done is one fire for an evening's entertainment, you are in a world of hurt if you think you can magically begin heating and cooking with wood overnight. First, a fireplace isn't the answer for general heating -- most fireplaces actually cool a house down because all that hot air rushing up the chimney sucks in cold air around windows and doors. At a minimum, you need a fireplace insert -- better, a stand-alone airtight woodstove. Make sure your chimney can handle regular stove use -- which means an inspection by the local fire marshall or a chimney cleaner. Fuel wood use depends on where you live and the energy efficiency of the structure you're heating. Here on the coast of Maine, I've burned up to six cords of seasoned hardwood during a winter to heat a small three-bedroom house. In the past I've bought it tree-length and cut and split it myself. I understand cut and split wood is going for about $125 a cord now. Books have been written about heating with wood. I suggest you find one and read it carefully. Best wishes and good luck.

-- J.D. Clark (, September 28, 1998.

Have been using wood as our main source of heat for 9 yrs. Elev.2,000 ft. Most winters max 1 cord worst winter 1.5 cords. Wood stove is not only used for heating but in power outages we use it for cooking on. We put foil on top so we don't damage the appearance. Have 3 cords to get us through winter of 2001. Suspect wood will get real expensive next fall. Currently at $150 cord. Have a Generac 5000 generator. Bought at Costco this year for $450. Have seen them at Walmart also. Don't forget to get a heavy duty extension cord for your generator.

-- Eastern Sierra Foothills (, September 28, 1998.

Before you invest in a generator, ask yourself how and how much fuel can you store safely. A 5000 watt generator will use about 5 gallons of fuel for every 8 hours of operation dependent on load. Gasoline can be difficult to handle in large quantities (more than a few garages go boom every year). So ask yourself what is it you want to do. There are better and safer options for lighting. Its an impractical option for long term refrigeration (think about a propane powered fridge if you must). In survival terms, your money would be better invested in water purification, food, weapons or gold.

-- R. D..Herring (, September 28, 1998.

The amount of wood you will need is not going to be easily determined by those of us who wish to help since none of us live in your neck o' the woods. My brother in NH uses 3-4 in a season in his Jotl (-5 SP). We used 4 in an Ashley and a flat top camp cook stove for one season in Central New York. The old, old rule of thumb "Apile as big as teh house" probably doesn't help either. Suffice it to say, you will probably not heat the whole house, and willl probably learn to live in the 2-3 rooms heated and will learn to enjoy the inside of the winter or expedition sleeping bags you will end up buying.

THis winter might be a GREAT time to experiment and see just how much wood you burn in a 3 or 4 day period, and then multiply by about 100, and then round UP to the nearest ODD (or EVEN) number of cords (Tennesee Windage as it were). And be sure, as you do the math that you are working with 128 cubic feet as a cord, and are considering DRY or SEASONED HARDWOODS and not SOFT woods as pine spruce or other needle bearing/evergreens.

As someone said, there are a million books on wood-burning, get 3 and read at least 4!!


-- Chuck a Night Driver (, September 29, 1998.

By the way, you need to start cutting wood THIS winter and early next spring so it will be dry, seasoned, and efficient for the NEXT winter. We try to get oak and ash - seem to be the most popular choices around here amongst people who heat with wood, and to my surprise, there are a lot of them!

-- Melissa (, September 29, 1998.

If your going to store gasoline take a look at Chevron's web page. It has very good info.

-- Sierra Foothill (, September 29, 1998.

Be **real** careful buying "cords" of wood.

Unscrupulous salepeople know most people don't know actual size of the "cord" of wood, and so they sell a "short" cord: too short in stacked length, too short in height, and each "log" is cut 2-4" too short. You look at the stack in their "yard" and it looks huge - and so buy it "by the cord". But the "volume" they sold isn't the same "volume" you think you bought.

So they have no intention of selling you an actual cord of wood.

And then they don't even load all of what they claimed they sold you.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, September 29, 1998.

Someone told me another way to measure a cord being delivered is a full size pick-up (8' bed) loaded to the top of the cab

-- Arthur Rambo (, September 29, 1998.

Wood: Up here in Canada- I have farmhouse and heat with wood furnace mostly. Use 18 cords a year. Begin burning early October through to April. Buy a load of wood 'dregs' for $450 Canadian and friends help cut in at a wood bee - takes 2 hours. Have to cut it, pile it to dry it, then cart it, load it into basement, then pile it again and then carry it to furnace then finally take out the ashes. As we say here-- alot of heat in wood! (Now have backup cook stove)

Generator- have Generac 5500- intend to use 1/2 hour a day if needed for water mainly. Have drilled well and need that size to get water as submersible pumps have heavy wattage requirements to get going. Getting lots of Y2k practice lately because of storms knocking out power. Good luck!

-- Kevin (, September 29, 1998.

Newspaper Logs! Here's directions from a book everybody should have, "Making the Best of Basics," by James Talmage Stevens:

Four newspaper logs last about an hour and produce heat equivalent to a comparably sized stick of wood. No smoldering or flying ashes. Average daily paper will make 2-3 logs. Sundy paper will make 7. On pound-for-pound basis, approx. same heat as wood.

Clean Burning Version:

Divide paper into sections (five double sheets per section for each log.)

Fold sections to half size, approx. 12 x 15 x 1/2 inch thick.

Fill laundry tub 3/4 full with water and add 2 tablespoons detergent to speed saturation. Place newspaper sections in tub and allow to soak for about 2 hours until papers have absorbed maximum amount of water.

While we, roll sections individually onto a 1-inch metal or wood rod, squeezing out excess water while amoothing down the ends and edges.

Tie with a metal tie-wrap near ends and middle to hold roll intact while drying.

Slide rolls off the rod and stand them on end to dry, tipping the rolls slightly to allow air to circulate thru the center of the roll. The log should be approximately 12 inches long and 2-4 inches in diameter. They are ready to use when completely dry.

-- Faith Weaver (, September 30, 1998.

When checking out generators, don't forget Onan. I'm told they are very good. Onan is also a very common generator used in motor homes. A 6KW will run you about $2,000. A good transfer switch (10 breaker pre-wired) about $650 and a conversion kit from gas to propane about $400. Do these prices sound high? low? about right??? I have been told that Generac's don't match up to Onan (except that the price sure sounds better - about 30% cheaper).

-- Dave Harris (, September 30, 1998.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ