Artwork for podcast Around the House® Home Improvement
New Power Generation with Generac and Jake Thomas. Are you ready for a storm or hurricane?
Episode 132614th May 2022 • Around the House® Home Improvement • Eric Goranson & Caroline Blazovsky
00:00:00 00:47:33

Share Episode

Shownotes

As we depend more and more on electricity to power our homes and cars we need to have reliable power. It doesnt matter if you have a solar power system....you need to have a way to store that power. If you dont you still need something to power it when the power is out. We dive into this discussion as we get into storm and hurricane season with Jake Thomas from Generac. With more and more power companies in the Western US cutting power during wind storms and then with hurricanes in the South and East Coast this show will help you understand what system might be best for your home.

Thanks for listening to Around the house if you want to hear more please subscribe so you get notified of the latest episode as it posts at https://around-the-house-with-e.captivate.fm/listen

We love comments and we would love reviews on how this information has helped you on your house! Thanks for listening! For more information about the show head to https://aroundthehouseonline.com/

We have moved the Pro Insider Special on Thursday to its new feed. It will no longer be on this page. You can find it and subscribe right here: https://around-the-house-pro-insider.captivate.fm/

Transcripts

[:

[00:00:12] Caroline Blazovsky: the house, the New York Metro area. And when it does go down, it's problematic because we have such a concentration of people. So it's just a big.

[:

[00:00:29] Jake Thomas: So if they call right up the east coast, like last,

[:

[00:00:37] Jake Thomas: out for summer. No. Crap. I'm just helping me get ready.

[:

[00:00:49] Caroline Blazovsky: just waits for things to happen to Caroline. That's the process.

[:

[00:00:54] Eric Goranson: something. When it comes to remodeling and renovating your home. There is a lot[00:01:00]

[:

[00:01:06] Eric Goranson: Welcome to around the house with Eric G and Carolina. This is where we talk. Home-improvement interior design, healthy homes and everything about your house every single weekend. Thanks for joining us. Hey Caroline.

[:

[00:01:21] Eric Goranson: Hey man. This is a great subject today because even though I'm out in Portland, Oregon, it's something we deal with all the time.

[:

[00:01:33] Caroline Blazovsky: Oh gosh. I'm in New Jersey, New York Metro area. And it seems that we can't get through. Without two or three major power outages anymore. And so everybody's got to have a generator. I mean, otherwise you're pretty much sunk.

[:

[00:01:56] Eric Goranson: This is pretty amazing. Welcome to around the house. [00:02:00] Jake Thomas, big Wiley Generac. You guys are awesome. And uh, you guys have done a lot. And keeping things going for people out there. Thanks for joining us.

[:

[00:02:14] Eric Goranson: Well, let's talk about this because I tell you what it's been very interesting out there with so many things change and , there's this big push with electric appliances, electric cars.

[:

[00:02:36] Jake Thomas: Absolutely. The more electrical appliances that are going on the grid every day is just taxing it more and more. So it's not surprising that you're seeing more and more outages, especially where you're at Caroline.

[:

[00:02:53] Eric Goranson: no kid. And then out here where I'm at, where I'm on the west coast, of course. So I'm dealing with those power outages at the, [00:03:00] uh, power company is cutting down for us when it's fire season or wind.

[:

[00:03:14] Jake Thomas: So, um, in the last year or two, California has seen a very large uptick in demand for general.

[:

[00:03:27] Jake Thomas: coast. It's right. When you need the air conditioner the most.

[:

[00:03:33] Eric Goranson: Exactly. Well, I'll tell you what I can tell you what the problems that we run into in my area, and Caroline can attest to this because, you know, as a healthy home expert, we have a lot of just regular gas, power generators out here. So when I lose power, I walk outside and it smells like somebody's. What are your old lawnmowers on an outside?

[:

[00:04:05] Jake Thomas: They always see, I mean, portables are a good temporary solution. When people lose power, it's, it's typically a knee jerk reaction and they go out and buy a portable and then, you know, hopefully they connect it.

[:

[00:04:33] Jake Thomas: You don't have the storage issues and it works all by itself. So you don't have to drag this thing out of the garage, out into the rain, plugs cords into it. You know, all the things that you love to do in the middle of.

[:

[00:04:50] Eric Goranson: I drag it out. I have to drag it out there and plug it in. I have the correct transfer switches done correctly, but it's never easy.

[:

[00:05:09] Caroline Blazovsky: And I see a lot more with millennials. I think Eric's generation and beyond. Eric's what I call a he's always prepared. Right? So if there's a disaster, you want to call Eric and have his number right in your keypad. Cause he's gonna know what to do, but for a majority of the people out there, my clients are younger millennials.

[:

[00:05:48] Caroline Blazovsky: If they're looking into getting one?

[:

[00:06:13] Jake Thomas: Um, hopefully they know that they have to keep their fuel, um, stable. So that's one thing that a lot of people don't do. You know, I bought a generator and it's been sitting in the garage for the last two years and I'm going to pull it out. And man, it doesn't work because it been stabilized. The fuel in the fuel got stale.

[:

[00:06:49] Jake Thomas: But. If you have somebody that is not mechanically inclined or, you know, they want the easy solution, or maybe they're not able physically to pull [00:07:00] a portable generator out of the garage. That's where the automatic standby solution comes in and works perfectly. It's permanently installed. It's wired to your home's electrical panel.

[:

[00:07:28] Jake Thomas: So your, uh, your customers didn't even have to leave the couch in the middle of an outage.

[:

[00:07:52] Eric Goranson: Well, I'm not storing 30 gallons of unleaded fuel around the house because that stuff, if you buy it from the gas pump and don't treat it, , [00:08:00] 90 days later it's pretty toast. , a lot of those things inside that gas is broken down and you got some skunky gas. And so there was a lot of me making trips to go find a place that had power to get gas.

[:

[00:08:24] Caroline Blazovsky: And if we learned anything during hurricane Sandy, especially in the Northeast, if you want to get gas, sometimes you just can't. So having some type of alternative fuel generator is really important, whether you have a try fuel, which Eric knows I like to talk about, or if you have actually your Generac or whichever brand you choose right.

[:

[00:08:52] Jake Thomas: Yeah, you guys hit the nail on the head. I mean, to your point, Eric, you have to find a gas station that has power to be able to pump gas. [00:09:00] Then you have to deal with the, uh, the lines to get the gas, right.

[:

[00:09:26] Eric Goranson: It makes so much more sense to do this correctly at this point. And. Especially when we're seeing, you know, it was just a few years ago, you would see, you know, storms and emergencies are one thing. But now that we're starting to see across the country, these power companies that are going, Hey, you know, we've got a situation where we've got high winds.

[:

[00:10:04] Eric Goranson: And we're going to have more power outages probably, and not.

[:

[00:10:27] Jake Thomas: Which is, and the west half of the country, and also in Texas, Florida, actually really all over is really picking up steam where you can take solar and pair it with storage. So you actually can run your house off of sunshine is what we'd like to call it. So you're basically storing the solar energy and you can use that in an outage as well.

[:

[00:11:02] Eric Goranson: No, Kevin and that's, that's a good way to go, especially where, solar over the last number of years has become so much more prevalent.

[:

[00:11:21] Jake Thomas: it's typically, uh, our system will give you 18 kilowatt hours of power.

[:

[00:11:43] Eric Goranson: And I will always have my margarita is going, but yeah, the hot tub might be a little bit jumping the shark.

[:

[00:11:52] Eric Goranson: But yeah, that's, that's a lot of power in being that if it's a sunny day or, or you've got, , unobstructed panels with no snow or, or [00:12:00] anything like that, you're still generating power during the day. So that's continuing to store that as the days go on. If you've got. You know, multiple day power outages, correct?

[:

[00:12:10] Jake Thomas: And depending on, you know, the municipality, there's even some, um, electrical companies that allow you to sell energy back to the grid, but that has to be approved by the various, uh, electrical providers, um, when it's commissioned. But yeah, you're absolutely right. When, when the sun is shining, you're storing power and then it's there when.

[:

[00:12:58] Jake Thomas: Uh, I don't know that would be dependent [00:13:00] upon the electrical company, but we have some seen some people that will, when it goes into a peak rates, manually transfer over to the backup solar power. That's been stored to get them through that rate because then they're not paying anything back to the utility company.

[:

[00:13:23] Caroline Blazovsky: So Jake for a standard homeowner, let's say you have a house. That's, let's just pick a house. Cause they know it's going to range on the sides of the home, but say you had a 2,500 square foot home.

[:

[00:13:39] Jake Thomas: So, let me ask you a couple of questions to clarify that because you have, if it's an all electric home, you're going to need a much larger unit than if it's a home that's mainly fired from, uh, say like natural gas or LP for the appliances.

[:

[00:14:20] Jake Thomas: They could more than likely get by with a 22 or 24 KW air cooled unit, or maybe even a little bit smaller. If they went with a load management now, 22 KW retail. For eight, about 6,200 bucks. Okay. So your installation, that's the thing that can vary a lot because depending on where you have to place it. So we're not going to be blowing exhaust into openings or windows or anything like that.

[:

[00:15:12] Eric Goranson: Nice. Well, yeah, you're right, Jay.

[:

[00:15:22] Jake Thomas: Yeah. Commodities are not helping anybody.

[:

[00:15:40] Jake Thomas: And that's, if she can get the materials correct. Or

[:

[00:15:48] Eric Goranson: Now he's starting to get to that point. So that's the other issue, that seems trusting part. And what I liked though, too, about is, is your generators like that are so much quieter and so much [00:16:00] cleaner than something that a traditional you're going to be rolling around and plugging into the front of your house or back here.

[:

[00:16:30] Jake Thomas: And so that's, that's, that's significantly quieter than a portable. The other cool thing about. The Generac product is we also have what we call a low speed exercise. So in order to make sure that these things are maintained, uh, every you can choose if it's a week, every other week or monthly, these units start up and run for five minutes by themselves to keep all the seals, lubricated, to keep everything in tip top shape, make sure it's going to be ready in the time of emergency.

[:

[00:17:07] Caroline Blazovsky: and it's something you just get used to Jake, like, I guess here in the, in the Northeast, we all have them now. Right. Cause it's just become part of our culture.

[:

[00:17:24] Eric Goranson: What's cool with that though, is that's just the, you know, to give people an example, if you don't know what decibel rates are, that's kind of about the average dishwasher.

[:

[00:17:37] Jake Thomas: Absolutely. And quite honestly, that's when you don't want to hear it, right? Yeah, absolutely. When you, when you, when you lose power, it's the sweetest sound in the world. I can

[:

[00:17:51] Jake Thomas: name.

[:

[00:18:19] Eric Goranson: And you're seeing all these things changing over the last couple of years where you know, that. Lean on electricity is huge. And you guys are going to be able to provide solutions for that because not only when you lose power, you're going to be losing power around the house, but you're also going to lose that ability possibly to charge that car up, to go hit the workplace

[:

[00:18:42] Jake Thomas: Exactly. So, I mean, it's, it's, it's really kind of interesting because with the big push to go green with electric cars, I mean, there used to be a bell curve where, you know, towards the middle of the day, going down into dinner, that was going to be the peak usage time. But now that Belcher just got [00:19:00] extended because as soon as people get home, they're plugging in their cars and they're charging them up.

[:

[00:19:24] Jake Thomas: We've actually seen a mobile charging station where they took one of the standbys and this is not a recommended application. We put it on the back of a trailer and they would actually drive around to charge cars that ran out of charge, like on the freeway. It's just wild. That's incredible.

[:

[00:19:42] Caroline Blazovsky: the introduction of the pandemic, and then all of the things that have happened over the last couple of years, A lot of companies are seeing just innovation and different ideas coming up.

[:

[00:20:00] Jake Thomas: Well for us, we saw a very big trend of the home becomes the sanctuary, right? So that's where people live, play, learn, work. And if they don't have power, they can't do anything like that.

[:

[00:20:34] Jake Thomas: We've got, we introduced some new load management that actually allows you to use a smaller generator with, uh, some load management capabilities, as opposed to a bigger generator to save on cost to consumers. So we're trying to make it more affordable every day. So the other part of it is, you know, with, with the push towards green and also again, the home is a sanctuary or sanctuary.

[:

[00:21:18] Jake Thomas: Not good for emissions or something like that. But now, instead, if they did, if they didn't have a, uh, a solution before now, they can go the clean route and still have backup power. So we're attacking all aspects of this,

[:

[00:21:44] Eric Goranson: Cities and counties and states are pushing to eliminate to get natural gas out of these new development neighborhoods. And now that they're trying to push those into, you know, an electric only power situation, they're really trying to also [00:22:00] tie their hands on putting in like a natural gas. Generator because they don't want to put natural gas into that neighborhood.

[:

[00:22:19] Jake Thomas: Sure. Um, I'll use Florida as an example, Florida is a very, very prevalent to having all electric homes.

[:

[00:22:53] Eric Goranson: Nice. That works out pretty good. And that's, that's a good thought. And, uh, and the only, the only disadvantage is is that. [00:23:00] Traditionally costs a little bit more than what natural gas is, but at least you get power, so you can power the home and your electric vehicles and everything else. But I like to also, if you actually put that in with, uh, back in that, up to sunshine, that also is a good addition to that mix.

[:

[00:23:44] Jake Thomas: Right? Think of it that way. It's a bucket of power, but the generator is a pump. And if that bucket starts to get low, you can pump it right back up and then shut the generator down. So you're only using it for a little amount of time, but then you're fully covered a hundred [00:24:00] percent. So there's, there's a lot of cool different applications that we can do.

[:

[00:24:27] Eric Goranson: And now you're not running it 24 7 to buy.

[:

[00:24:41] Eric Goranson: man. That would be great for people , living off the grid, they've got the cabin someplace , we're where it's hard to get power up there.

[:

[00:24:50] Jake Thomas: Yep. That's cool that, that only came out probably about six months ago. So we're, we're constantly innovating and we're always bringing new things [00:25:00] and new solutions to the market.

[:

[00:25:11] Eric Goranson: You know, I see with portable generators. Cause you know, it's the most common generator you see out there for backup because people like to run down to their home improvement store and grab whatever's left available when the power goes out. But I see so many people doing that. And then they've got these really light duty cords coming in the house.

[:

[00:25:46] Jake Thomas: Sure. Um, so we touched on a couple of them already, right?

[:

[00:26:13] Jake Thomas: It can take that exhaust and blow it up into soffits into the home. So really the placement on, on where you're running, this is probably the biggest key. Now you're absolutely right on the extension cords. A lot of people buy the ones that you use to plug in your Christmas lights or something like that to run some of the bigger appliances.

[:

[00:26:56] Jake Thomas: Okay. You always want to shut the generator down, let it [00:27:00] cool down and then fill it up. Because if people splash the gas on a red, hot muffler, then they're looking at a fire situation, which is very, very dangerous. Um, I mean, typically you want to run the generator in an area. That's not going to be in a giant puddle, right.

[:

[00:27:38] Jake Thomas: That's going to be on your generator. And then it's, it's, it's a lot less to worry about not tripping over cords and whatnot. So one other thing that I will touch on is. A lot of the generators out there are going towards adopting a COO sense safety shutdown. So that was something that a Generac actually championed in the market [00:28:00] and, and, uh, everybody else is following suit.

[:

[00:28:21] Jake Thomas: So that's an addition. Yeah. That's becoming a standard in the marketplace. So I would say for any of your listeners, um, as long as you're not buying in a rush, like you said, taking anything that's left on the shelf, uh, consider, consider a unit that has co sense to protect the.

[:

[00:28:56] Eric Goranson: To so many people seems ridiculous, but obviously there's not enough [00:29:00] education out there for people to still do it and get hurt or, or even worse by doing it. It just, it floors me every time it happens. And it's, it seems like it's every year you see those news.

[:

[00:29:15] Jake Thomas: We're part of the portable generator manufacturers, association PGME, and we pushed this change through that group. So all of the other manufacturers that are part of that group are, are doing this as well. So it's, it's an industry wide push. And I think Jake, you

[:

[00:29:37] Caroline Blazovsky: It's not in close proximity to your windows and your air conditioning, but you have to remember and keep in mind your neighbors as well. And people don't always do that. They just go out and they hook the generator up, not thinking about, you know, the older neighbor that's down the street, that's breathing in the fumes from their unit and it may be causing, , breathing issues or whatever.

[:

[00:30:02] Eric Goranson: I've also seen where it can be a problem. If you go out on that, uh, maybe that back covered patio and you've got roof fence to go up in Salford, Vincent air up into that.

[:

[00:30:31] Eric Goranson: Pretty simply by just getting up into that addict space.

[:

[00:30:51] Jake Thomas: It's permanently installed. The installer knows exactly how to install it. So you don't have the emissions issues, uh, getting into the house. Uh, we also recommend [00:31:00] a co detector for any generator, if it's going to be a portable or if it's going to be a standby within the house. So that, that way, just in case they still have that other layer of.

[:

[00:31:21] Jake Thomas: uh, for portable generators for generators in general, what you typically have is you've got your oil in your face. Right. That has to get changed in depending on, uh, for a standby units.

[:

[00:32:01] Jake Thomas: Okay. They don't know that they should probably have a maintenance contract to maintain its

[:

[00:32:19] Eric Goranson: And that way they can set it and forget it and let the professional come take care of it. And that way, you know, the maintenance is done correctly.

[:

[00:32:32] Jake Thomas: Yes, uh, on generac.com, there is a thing that we call the dealer locator and people can, well, first of all, people can go onto the website.

[:

[00:33:03] Jake Thomas: They can go to our dealer locator. And that also works off of zip codes. So people can put in their zip code and select a radius as far as how far away they want to pull people from. And it will pull up all of the dealers that are in their area and also lift out or list out their level of status with Generac, because we have different levels of status as far as the dealers go for a technician, certification, installers and all that other fun stuff.

[:

[00:33:33] Eric Goranson: Boy, that's the easy button right there. Cause then you can get the right people out there and people that are actually trained on the product versus somebody standing out there reading the instruction, booklet, which is never a good thing. When you've got somebody that's putting in something that says.

[:

[00:33:47] Jake Thomas: Eric. They never read the instruction booklet, you know that? Yeah. That's

[:

[00:34:13] Eric Goranson: I'm still budgeting in a, uh, uh, a better solution for me, because I still don't like having to grab the, you know, grab everything and take the cord and the generator outside and get it going. Uh, I'll be doing one of these days doing a serious home backup power system after we do our addition. But to me, if you're working from home, if you're going to have that electric car, it's kind of a necessity in my book.

[:

[00:34:44] Eric Goranson: Caroline too. You've been running into that same thing up there in the, in New Jersey. You've been really battling the power as well. Cause I can't tell you how many times you and I are on the phone and it's like, oh, power goes out. I got to call you.

[:

[00:34:56] Caroline Blazovsky: we have issues with flooding. We have issues with, you know, obviously [00:35:00] hurricanes and nor'easters and all of that stuff. So it goes out quite frequently here. I'm sure Jake knows it's it's the New York Metro area. And when it does go down, it's problematic because we have such a concentration of people.

[:

[00:35:13] Jake Thomas: Yeah. And with the active storm season, they're predicting this year and they're saying that there's going to be nine hurricanes. Four of them are probably going to make landfall. So coach

[:

[00:35:36] Eric Goranson: I mean, it's really, I have some great content and a lemme popcorn. I'll be right back.

[:

[00:35:49] Eric Goranson: Some will happen with the show. That'll be great now it's, it's amazing, you know, in a year, right.

[:

[00:36:09] Jake Thomas: Yeah, we're, we're seeing a number of challenges, um, in the, uh, believe it or not in, in some of the New York upstate areas, they still have some of their natural gas infrastructure being delivered via wooden pipes, as opposed to metal wellness.

[:

[00:36:57] Jake Thomas: So we were. It's kind of [00:37:00] problematic. So Generac when we did our, our redesigns couple of years ago, and it's been a standard for all of our product moving forward is just like any furnace. Um, our units will run on three and a half inches of water column. So you don't have to worry about fuel pressure issues in low pressure areas.

[:

[00:37:21] Eric Goranson: Wow.

[:

[00:37:41] Jake Thomas: Sure. Um, so I mean, we've had generators running for weeks at a time, um, to be quite Frank, but what we recommend is every 24 hours or so you take the load off the generator, turn the generator off and just check the. Okay. I mean, any small engine is going to use a [00:38:00] little, it's going to consume a little bit of oil and if it does get low, I mean, if it has an automatic, low oil shut off, so you're never going to damage it if you wait, but you always want to have.

[:

[00:38:21] Caroline Blazovsky: That is such an important tip. Thank you. Now. See,

[:

[00:38:34] Eric Goranson: So it's just a good time to do that at the, you know, 24 hour mark. Right.

[:

[00:38:59] Jake Thomas: [00:39:00] Right. But, um, they can run for any number of days.

[:

[00:39:15] Jake Thomas: I don't know. You guys have been pretty thrilled as far as hitting me on a lot of stuff. I mean, the only other thing that's that I would touch on is when people are, if the, if there are in the market for.

[:

[00:39:51] Jake Thomas: And then they, they, they don't think that they can afford. But if they use an air cooled unit with some of our load management systems, [00:40:00] they could take a, say a demand from like a 27 KW, which costs $10,000 down to a 22 KW that's $6,000. And the installation is also about half the cost. It would have been for a liquid cooled unit.

[:

[00:40:27] Eric Goranson: That's great, man. That is great. Yeah, it's, it's something it's, it's funny. Cause it used to be, you just kind of go on a website and take a peek and go, okay, that's it.

[:

[00:40:38] Jake Thomas: this. Yeah. And , one other really cool thing that I didn't mention is about two years ago, we made all of our generators wifi onboard. So they can actually, once when it's at, when it's installed at your home, it jumps on your network and then there's a mobile app that you get for free [00:41:00] that will actually tell you the status of your generator, whether it's ready, if it's going to exercise or anything like that.

[:

[00:41:24] Caroline Blazovsky: You love that Eric Eric's eyes. I can see it in his eyes. I know him so well now he's like, Aw, home tech.

[:

[00:41:41] Eric Goranson: And if things are good or they're not, uh, I love that level of communication from a generator. It's, it's smart.

[:

[00:42:01] Eric Goranson: I like that. That is awesome. Yeah. So there you go. Hey

[:

[00:42:25] Jake Thomas: Great question. It really depends on the amount of money that you want to spend. 'cause, you know, I would say 15 years ago, a lot of people, but limited circuit switches in where selected maybe up to 16 circuits that they'd back up. But as customers got more savvy, they realized for a couple of hundred bucks more than that, I can back up everything in my panel.

[:

[00:43:06] Caroline Blazovsky: really. It's not a priority, Jake.

[:

[00:43:19] Jake Thomas: And if you have an electric dry. That's also a pretty big draw. So hopefully you can, you know, put up a clothes line or something like that. If it's not raining outside. That is true. Other than that, it's, I mean, people are, are putting in putting all the circuits on there.

[:

[00:43:49] Eric Goranson: So it's super efficient. And not a lot of dry. I went from natural gas to that, and I tell you what, it's nice because I can be running the generator and it's not a huge. [00:44:00] Yeah,

[:

[00:44:17] Jake Thomas: And when they're just at home, you know, watching TV, reading a book or whatever, with a couple of lights on the standard average draws, like three KW. Wow. And then even if you go on turn the microwave on or something else, you know, it comes up a little bit, but you really sizing for the spikes. So. A lot of like the resting voltage that you typically use in a house it's actually lower than a lot of people think.

[:

[00:44:59] Jake Thomas: Oh, [00:45:00] exactly.

[:

[00:45:11] Eric Goranson: Really smart. Really smart Jake Thomas Generac. Thanks for coming on today, brother.

[:

[00:45:21] Eric Goranson: are guys.

[:

[00:45:25] Caroline Blazovsky: and I'm Caroline.

[: