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Old 09-22-2016, 12:37 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by GFC View Post
Have you actually read the HOA's rules about running generators instead of relying on rumors and word of mouth info?


The reason I ask is that we live in a subdivision with a strong HOA. For many years the word on the street was that they prohibited swimming pools. They wouldn't allow them because they have rules against the type/size of fences in the sub. The rules limited fences to 4' tall.


I checked state codes and the codes required a 5' fence. I also checked the HOA rules and there was no mention of swimming pools, just the fence issue. A check with the state disclosed that the HOA could not prohibit fences over 4' when a swimming pool was installed.


I got my ducks in a row, had all my drawings and the applicable state and city codes about fences around pools and went to an HOA board meeting. I presented all my info and told them "Everything I have done is IAW state law and the rules this HOA has in writing as of today. If you deny this application we WILL end up in court and I WILL prevail."


We sure are enjoying our pool, and one of our neighbors is also building one.
Yes, am familiar with them word-for-word. I'm one of the original owners when these condos were built back in 2002, and have been cover-to-cover on them. Here's the actual by-law:

Standard #16 GENERATORS
Rules for Emergency Generators:
a. Generators will only be permitted for emergency power only.
b. Generators may only be used during named storms or disaster power outages.
c. Generators may only be used in the location of the resident’s driveway, with a minimum distance of 10-feet from the building.
d. Generator size shall be no larger than 15KW.
e. Generators may not be installed for permanent use or have any outlets installed into the building.
f. Generators will not be operated between the hours of 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.
g. Unit owners are responsible for ensuring safe operation of their generators and safe storage of generator fuel.
(Adopted by the Board of Directors 10-02-06)
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Old 09-22-2016, 12:54 AM   #22
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I've been through several hurricanes that knocked out the power for several days. After Andrew we were without power for ten days. The first four days I didn't have a genny so I survived with Caframo battery fans. They really helped.

After another hurricane I ran a wall unit, 8000 btu, on my Honda 2000i. It is a very quiet genny. Starting load is what you need to be concerned with. I had installed a hard start capacitor to allow me to run it on such a small genny. Some air conditioners are easier to start than others.

I'll bet if you talk to your neighbors, they'll be interested in getting a generator also.

If you just can't run the genny at night, get the bedroom as cool as you can, take a cold shower and turn on the battery operated fans.
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Old 09-22-2016, 01:26 AM   #23
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Disregarding the cost, would something like a Tesla Powerwall do it?
My thoughts also, as this comes up regularly on the various solar power forums over here in Oz, as solar power here is now all the go - we have a 6kWh system, eg, but the ability to save excess for night use is tempting to get our grid charges down even more. However, the Tesla Power Wall, although designed for this purpose is still expensive here, and the 'expert installers' on the forums always doubt there would be enough storage in one to run the usual household long enough. Certainly to go off grid altogether, anyway. But for shorter periods yes. So, it probably would suffice for you for a prolonged but temporary outage, especially as you mainly want just aircon at night when you can't run a genny, but the cost then becomes the main factor - is it worth it for however many times possibly needed..? If it turns out it was, then you might want to consider setting up with rooftop panels and really going green..? Then you would have power during the day as well most times (after the storm is passed), without even needing the genny.
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Old 09-22-2016, 06:32 AM   #24
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Old 09-22-2016, 07:17 AM   #25
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When I ran into problems with my HOA I found that the simplest solution was to depose the entire Board. That was relatively easy to do. The bad news is that I then became the President of the Board and was stuck with it for years!

The issue was about building a community boat ramp. We now have a community boat ramp.
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Old 09-22-2016, 08:05 AM   #26
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One hassle is batteries have a limited life , even if not used
Which is why adding in solar panels and going the whole hog makes good sense in the longer run. See post above. Sorry the inverter inverted itself, so ran true to form at least.
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Old 09-22-2016, 09:24 AM   #27
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In my garage I have a Kubota diesel 8kW with a car type exhaust going through the wall to the outside. With garage door closed and machine running, you can barely hear it outside the building, even standing next to the exhaust. The aircon condensing units nearby make more noise.

I'm at the end of the line in power company speak. Last one to get power back after a storm. Had to run gennie for three weeks after one storm.

The big complaint is those Home Depot cheapo gasoline units set on driveways running at 3600rpm. Those things are LOUD. My neighbors ran one at night and it kept me up. And it was 100yds from my house. I heard it over my diesel.

Get two or three of those things running on a neighborhood block and the noise is unbearable.
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Old 09-22-2016, 09:33 AM   #28
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Every HOA has a set of covenants that are registered with whatever county agency registers deeds. It is these covenants that determine what can and cannot be done, not the Board of Directors on a whim. The HOA should be able and willing to supply you with a copy of these covenants and any amendments. They should be willing to supply them to prospective home buyers as well. These covenants are designed to protect the property values and quality of life in the neighborhood.


If you really want or need to know what is OK and what is not, you need to obtain and read these documents. Don't rely on rumor or word of mouth.


And as mentioned above, there are occasions where federal, state or local law supersede the covenants. If you believe that's the case, there's no reason to be nasty, just present your proof.


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Old 09-22-2016, 09:40 AM   #29
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It seems your HOA is reacting to an unknown situation. Much better if they would have set a dB noise limit at a certain distance and have anyone with generators abide by that (also any other type of noise, cars, music, etc.). Like a few others have remarked an air conditioner can be louder than a properly installed quiet generator.
OTOH why not get one of those LOUD cheap generators, pull off the muffler and give it to your neighbor who lives next door to the HOA board members and let him run it from 6am to 10pm. May not convince them to change the rules but might make you feel better
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Old 09-22-2016, 10:32 AM   #30
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This is an interesting thread and having had experience with power outages, running a window unit to cool a bedroom and knowledge of batteries and inverter/chargers, I think I can make an authoritative comment.


First the night time cooling load is a fraction of day time. So by all means pick a small bedroom if you can and no more than a 5,000 BTU/hr A/C. With a 10x12 bedroom that size the A/C will run about 1/3 of the time. With a 7,000 btu unit I was able to cool a 15x15 bedroom running half of the time at night.


So that small A/C will require about 5 amps at 120v or 600 watts. Running at half the time for the 10 hour no genset period will require 3,000 watt hours or 3000/12*.9 = 280 AH. To keep from prematurely ruining your batteries you need about 600 AH of battery capacity. Six GC batteries hooked up series/parallel will supply that pretty cheaply, but maybe use 8 to supply the fridge and a few LED lights.


Xantrex (well I hate Xantrex products generally but they do have an economical inverter/charger) has one that should work that costs about $450. See Xantrex Freedom HF 1800 Power Inverter / Charger It has a 40 amp charger which should recharge the batteries if you run the genset during the day, all day. If you only want to run the genset for a short period then you need a bigger inverter/charger with a 100 amp charger. That will double the cost.


The batteries will cost less than a grand and the Xantrex with some wire and fuse will cost $500. Set the Xantrex up near the small A/C and plug it in. Run a wire from a wall socket that will be energized by the genset when it is running to the AC input to the Xantrex. Hook the batteries up with #2 cable if the run is just a few feet, larger if it is longer. Install a 200 amp class T fuse in the positive wire near the battery.


So for $1,500 you can sleep well for as long as the genset continues to run during the day. That will buy a lot of nights at a motel though.


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Old 09-22-2016, 11:11 AM   #31
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Yes, am familiar with them word-for-word. I'm one of the original owners when these condos were built back in 2002, and have been cover-to-cover on them. Here's the actual by-law:

Standard #16 GENERATORS
Rules for Emergency Generators:
a. Generators will only be permitted for emergency power only.
b. Generators may only be used during named storms or disaster power outages.
c. Generators may only be used in the location of the resident’s driveway, with a minimum distance of 10-feet from the building.
d. Generator size shall be no larger than 15KW.
e. Generators may not be installed for permanent use or have any outlets installed into the building.
f. Generators will not be operated between the hours of 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.
g. Unit owners are responsible for ensuring safe operation of their generators and safe storage of generator fuel.
(Adopted by the Board of Directors 10-02-06)
HOAs are designed to help ensure that the residents of the community have a positive living experience. I generally think that those that serve on HOA boards are trying to do the best job they can to serve the needs of the entire community.

I"m assuming that the HOA was formed in 2002 when the condos were built. Since this rule was adopted 4 years later it implies that one of two things happened. Most likely, there was an incident that upset a board member or a community member who then caused the board to adopt this rule. Alternatively, the board could have found this rule while examining other HOA rules during a periodic review of their own covenants and thought it sounded like a good idea. In either case, the board felt that the rule would improve the quality of life in the community and help reduce neighbor conflicts, both good things.

HOA covenants are not like the rules brought down from Mt. Sinai, they aren't written in stone and HOAs have a process for modifying them. Before spending lots of money, this is the approach I would take.

The current HOA rules have a couple key problems. The most obvious is that rule a and b make no provision for firing up a generator to ensure that it works, nor to test an electrical install necessary to make the use of a generator safe. Smart homeowners will pay an electrician to install a panel that will allow them to safely run a generator to power their home. (I was not one of those and simply closed the breaker to the muni power and plugged my generator into an outside outlet. I don't recommend this.) An electrician will need to power up the generator to test the install once completed. This would violate the rule. It also would make testing the generator to ensure that it starts and runs a violation of the rule if there isn't a named storm present or the power is out.

Rule C means that a generator must be moved before it can be used. This may not be possible for all residents depending on their age or physical ability. It also presupposes that a resident's driveway would be clear 10' away from the building in the event of a major storm. We don't know if these condos are free-standing homes, duplexes etc... but a major storm can make quite a mess and could make moving a generator from a garage or storage shed to a driveway all but impossible. This rule would preclude a very nice professional installation of an emergency generator in some other location that could be safer, quieter, and more accessible in the event of an emergency.

Rule C and E combined mean that power cords will have to be used that will be exposed to the elements. We are used to those with our shore power cords, but not every resident will be and with storms often come rain and flooding.

Rule F means that anyone that requires constant power for health related appliances can't run a generator at night. This could be anything from AC required for someone with fragile health (excessive heat can be hard on the heart), a CPAP machine, refrigeration for certain meds that need to be kept cold, and I'm sure other potential situations that I can't think of. Not sure of the topography in your area, but it also means that emergency pumps may not be able to be used at night if they are powered by a generator, increasing the damage caused by flooding, a common issue in major storms.

I would bring these problems to the HOA board and see if they can modify the rules. A decibel limit at the property line for both day and night would be an easy way to do it. There are some loud window AC units out there, use the loudest as the max sound level at night from a generator. If rule C is altered, it would be easy to install the genset in a sound enclosure to make it very quiet indeed.

You may also point out that another option would be to install a large bank of lithium batteries. I hear that Samsung has a bunch they need to get rid of. High energy density, but with a bad habit of catching fire.
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Old 09-22-2016, 01:04 PM   #32
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This is not a difficult eletrical problem to solve.

You need to supply household loads overnight.

You need a inverter/charger just like on your boat. Choose a brand. Oversize the inverter to provide compressor starting capability. For the loads you mentioned I'd go with a 3,000 amp inverter.

Put in a battery bank of suitable size. Your predicted loads are about 1,000 amp hours. Buying a bank of twice that size is probably a good idea for allot of reasons.

Install a sub panel in your home which will be your "inverter panel"

If you have a whole house ATS then your generator, or utility power will automatically charge your batteries.

Easy Peasy
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Old 09-22-2016, 01:15 PM   #33
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I suspect that, if challenged in court, the rule about not running a generator at night would be overturned. This has happened in the past with HOA rules that prohibited specific kinds of noise. The courts found that you can set a general limit on how loud a noise you will allow, but you cannot say "this type of noise is prohibited while other types of noise (even though they are louder) are permitted."
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Old 09-22-2016, 02:30 PM   #34
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This is not a difficult eletrical problem to solve.

You need to supply household loads overnight.

You need a inverter/charger just like on your boat. Choose a brand. Oversize the inverter to provide compressor starting capability. For the loads you mentioned I'd go with a 3,000 amp inverter.

Put in a battery bank of suitable size. Your predicted loads are about 1,000 amp hours. Buying a bank of twice that size is probably a good idea for allot of reasons.

Install a sub panel in your home which will be your "inverter panel"

If you have a whole house ATS then your generator, or utility power will automatically charge your batteries.

Easy Peasy
Again, it would be much less expensive and complicated just to go to a motel when and if the outage ever happens when it's too hot to sleep in the house. Think about it.
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Old 09-22-2016, 02:40 PM   #35
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Disregarding the cost, would something like a Tesla Powerwall do it?
I don't think tesla powerwall is shipping yet. My mother has one on order for her solar installation...

Inquire if it is prohibited or has a noise limit. Generac has some natural gas gen sets for homes with noise enclosures that may work. Burning CNG is quieter than diesel and easier to silence.
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Old 09-22-2016, 02:44 PM   #36
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I don't think tesla powerwall is shipping yet. My mother has one on order for her solar installation...

Inquire if it is prohibited or has a noise limit. Generac has some natural gas gen sets for homes with noise enclosures that may work. Burning CNG is quieter than diesel and easier to silence.
I believe the OP posted the covenants and your suggestion would not be permitted.


Quote:
Standard #16 GENERATORS
Rules for Emergency Generators:
a. Generators will only be permitted for emergency power only.
b. Generators may only be used during named storms or disaster power outages.
c. Generators may only be used in the location of the resident’s driveway, with a minimum distance of 10-feet from the building.
d. Generator size shall be no larger than 15KW.
e. Generators may not be installed for permanent use or have any outlets installed into the building.
f. Generators will not be operated between the hours of 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.
g. Unit owners are responsible for ensuring safe operation of their generators and safe storage of generator fuel.
(Adopted by the Board of Directors 10-02-06)
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Old 09-22-2016, 02:52 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by GFC View Post
Have you actually read the HOA's rules about running generators instead of relying on rumors and word of mouth info?


The reason I ask is that we live in a subdivision with a strong HOA. For many years the word on the street was that they prohibited swimming pools. They wouldn't allow them because they have rules against the type/size of fences in the sub. The rules limited fences to 4' tall.


I checked state codes and the codes required a 5' fence. I also checked the HOA rules and there was no mention of swimming pools, just the fence issue. A check with the state disclosed that the HOA could not prohibit fences over 4' when a swimming pool was installed.


I got my ducks in a row, had all my drawings and the applicable state and city codes about fences around pools and went to an HOA board meeting. I presented all my info and told them "Everything I have done is IAW state law and the rules this HOA has in writing as of today. If you deny this application we WILL end up in court and I WILL prevail."


We sure are enjoying our pool, and one of our neighbors is also building one.
Excellent point. The provision may well be something like "running a generator at night disturbing other neighbors" or "that can be heard". Ultimately, if there was a hurricane and I had a generator, I'd run it and I'd also use it to the benefit of my neighbors. I can't imagine that being a problem and I have no idea what your HOA says they can do if you do it. What's the penalty? A warning? They tell you not to? A $100 fine the second time? Not like they can order you to move or something.
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Old 09-22-2016, 04:07 PM   #38
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Excellent point. The provision may well be something like "running a generator at night disturbing other neighbors" or "that can be heard". Ultimately, if there was a hurricane and I had a generator, I'd run it and I'd also use it to the benefit of my neighbors. I can't imagine that being a problem and I have no idea what your HOA says they can do if you do it. What's the penalty? A warning? They tell you not to? A $100 fine the second time? Not like they can order you to move or something.
The covenants have been posted here several times including directly above your post. It might help to read them.

The penalty? That depends again on the covenants. Possibly a fine, possibly taking the violator to court, incurring court costs and resulting in an injunction.
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Old 09-22-2016, 04:15 PM   #39
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Excellent point. The provision may well be something like "running a generator at night disturbing other neighbors" or "that can be heard". Ultimately, if there was a hurricane and I had a generator, I'd run it and I'd also use it to the benefit of my neighbors. I can't imagine that being a problem and I have no idea what your HOA says they can do if you do it. What's the penalty? A warning? They tell you not to? A $100 fine the second time? Not like they can order you to move or something.

In general it is often better to find a way to happily get along with your neighbors. Even if you "win", or only have to pay a nominal fine, there is a cost in your relationship with your community.
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Old 09-22-2016, 04:29 PM   #40
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The covenants have been posted here several times including directly above your post. It might help to read them.

The penalty? That depends again on the covenants. Possibly a fine, possibly taking the violator to court, incurring court costs and resulting in an injunction.
I see the covenants, missed seeing them earlier. My mistake.

As to the penalty, I don't know what the agreement allows. However, in most cases a convenant violation requires a written notice from the Board by certified mail and then allows 30 days from that date for abatement or remedy. So, written notice not to do it, you stop, the end.

Sometimes fines are allowed but typically from $50-100 per day. Without seeing something unique in his Covenants I'd still find it unlikely that the penalty is severe. There is no going to court until after the 30 days or the fine isn't paid. An injunction only applies to future and is highly unlikely.

I'm not suggesting something that harms neighbors or inconveniences them. I am suggesting that there may be circumstances that the gain is worth the penalty, especially if neighbors acquiesce.

Certainly the severity of the storm is important so it's all speculative and unlikely. Still, with a working generator, I wouldn't go to the time, effort and financial trouble of devising another solution.

I have one question and that is what powers his generator and what duration of time does he have fuel for it. Many are fueled with natural gas piped in and sometimes in bad storms gas is quickly shut off to avoid leaks and other issues.
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