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Old 09-21-2016, 04:38 PM   #1
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Battery power for home during power outage

This isn't a "boat" question but I'm confident one of you folks can point me in the right direction.

In the event of a power outage, our HOA does not allow a generator to be run between the hours of 10 pm and 7 am. Down here in Florida, that makes for an extremely uncomfortable night. In the event of a post-hurricane situation, where we may be without power for a few days, I'll have plenty of power during the daytime hours to power most of the house. I've installed a 10-circuit transfer switch in the house and have a 7,500w generator.

I am looking to get a window air conditioner that I can set up in the bedroom to sleep at night. Power consumption on an 8,000 BTU AC unit is about 700w/6-7 amps . Double that to 1,400w/12 amps to allow for more choices.

My question is assuming 12 amps, running 9 hours:

1. What type of batteries?
2. How many of them?
3. What size inverter?
4. How to charge them during the day off of the gas generator?


If anyone can point me in the right direction (think "Batteries For Dummies") I would greatly appreciate it.

Jim
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Old 09-21-2016, 05:14 PM   #2
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What if you have a medical issue that requires AC? Can they stop you from saving your life?

My wife sleeps days and I installed a Costco purchased floor AC that looks like an R2D2, it is a one ton unit and draws 9 Amps AC, so figure at least 110 Amps DC at 12 VDC. That is a LOT of current.

I would look into other options, such as moving out of any HOA property. Do they let you fly the American flag? Perhaps a swamp cooler, but isn't Florida humid?

At any rate, why do you have to lose your frozen food and sleep in the heat in an emergency because some ninny on an HOA board says you have to be financially hurt?

Fire that bitch up and screw 'em.
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Old 09-21-2016, 05:25 PM   #3
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1400 watts at 12 volts is 120 amps, time 9 is 1000 amphours so you need a 12 volt bank of deep cycle batteries with 2000 amp hours of capacity. Assuming six volts batteries for a minute, like golf carts or L16's, that's 20 200 amphour batteries.
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Old 09-21-2016, 05:38 PM   #4
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Thanks George,
So following up on your post, what would be a recommended inverter/charger? Would I base my minimum on the 1400w or would I want something more in the 2000w or bigger size?
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Old 09-21-2016, 05:42 PM   #5
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1400 watts at 12 volts is 120 amps, time 9 is 1000 amphours so you need a 12 volt bank of deep cycle batteries with 2000 amp hours of capacity. Assuming six volts batteries for a minute, like golf carts or L16's, that's 20 200 amphour batteries.
That looks about right. However if you were to invest in that size of battery bank you might as well go all in and invest in solar and wind generation to give you more options.

Do you lose power a lot where you are? If this is a recurring thing then there are a number of issues you may want to look at including where you are living. That size of battery bank is a lot of money, space, and some maintenance to cover something that may not or rarely happens. If you lose power for a day you can crank your AC run by your generator to get the house cooled down and then sleep downstairs for a night or two. Not super comfortable but certainly possible, and probably better than investing in a DC house bank.

If the concern is for a major weather event where the region could be without power for days at a time then that is altogether a different matter. If this is the concern, I would just run the generator and after everyone puts their lives back together then worry about the HOA folks.

There is a lot we don't know about your situation. Is this a rule to keep folks from having relatively park an RV in the neighborhood and run a generator 24/7? Was there an issue at one point that prompted this rule? Have you talked to the HOA to find out what the issue is?
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Old 09-21-2016, 05:54 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by tcpip95 View Post
This isn't a "boat" question but I'm confident one of you folks can point me in the right direction.

In the event of a power outage, our HOA does not allow a generator to be run between the hours of 10 pm and 7 am. Down here in Florida, that makes for an extremely uncomfortable night. In the event of a post-hurricane situation, where we may be without power for a few days, I'll have plenty of power during the daytime hours to power most of the house. I've installed a 10-circuit transfer switch in the house and have a 7,500w generator.


Jim
That is a rule for the normal course of events. I'm sure they figure you can survive one night without or go somewhere else. However, rules like that are quickly suspended in the event of a hurricane. I'm sure they don't allow building materials to be in the yard and wood plastered over the windows and plastic over the holes in the roof and many other things in normal conditions, but post hurricane, I wouldn't worry. In fact, I'd be helpful to my immediate neighbors who don't have generators and allow them to spend time with me or put some of their food in a freezer. They'll be very happy you're breaking the "rule."

They must be sailboaters saying you disturb the anchorage. lol. I can assure you the others, if they don't have generators, will be trying to buy them if without power.

You've already got the solution. I wouldn't spend lots of time, effort and money on more to cover a hurricane you may never see.
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Old 09-21-2016, 05:57 PM   #7
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That looks about right. However if you were to invest in that size of battery bank you might as well go all in and invest in solar and wind generation to give you more options.

Do you lose power a lot where you are? If this is a recurring thing then there are a number of issues you may want to look at including where you are living. That size of battery bank is a lot of money, space, and some maintenance to cover something that may not or rarely happens. If you lose power for a day you can crank your AC run by your generator to get the house cooled down and then sleep downstairs for a night or two. Not super comfortable but certainly possible, and probably better than investing in a DC house bank.

If the concern is for a major weather event where the region could be without power for days at a time then that is altogether a different matter. If this is the concern, I would just run the generator and after everyone puts their lives back together then worry about the HOA folks.

There is a lot we don't know about your situation. Is this a rule to keep folks from having relatively park an RV in the neighborhood and run a generator 24/7? Was there an issue at one point that prompted this rule? Have you talked to the HOA to find out what the issue is?
I'm in SW Florida. We have not been hit by a hurricane since Wilma back in 2005, and Charley the year before, so the occurrences are very rare. Having said that, when we did get hit, we were without power for days - and in many locations, weeks. I bought the generator two years ago, and wired it in to the house as a precaution. Fortunately, I've only had to use it once (other than to test it) and that was only for one day.

The rules for the HOA are in place for noise purposes. Everyone will have their windows open at night because there will be no A/C, and so the rules are there for the rest of the people who want to sleep without having to listen to everyone's generators running all night. It has been raised at HOA meetings, and the bottom line is - they're not going to change the rules.

I agree it's a lot of money for something that (knock on wood) has not happened in 11 years.

I have not committed to actually doing this, and there are other alternatives that I could do - including running my diesel truck (to use the built-in 400w inverter) to power a couple of fans, but would prefer NOT to do that. I could also do something as simple as getting a couple of these and charging them during the day:



https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

They won't get me to a window A/C unit running overnight, but they also won't set me back $2,000 - $3,000 or more either.

So I'm doing my due diligence to see what the dollars and effort would be to do a battery bank. Not knowing what's involved, I first need to figure that out, then make an informed decision. I really am appreciative of everyone's responses.
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Old 09-21-2016, 06:07 PM   #8
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I would inquire what the noise level limit is and see if a sound enclosure is available or could be built to silence the gennie...maybe put in a pond and pipe exhaust underwater?
There are gas/propane fridges...anyone heard of propane A/C???
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Old 09-21-2016, 06:09 PM   #9
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I would inquire what the noise level limit is and see if a sound enclosure is available or could be built to silence the gennie...maybe put in a pond and pipe exhaust underwater?
There are gas/propane fridges...anyone heard of propane A/C???
Bacchus, that idea of asking for the noise level limit is great. I could build an enclosure to deaden the sound considerably. That's one I'll have to look into!
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Old 09-21-2016, 06:20 PM   #10
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Disregarding the cost, would something like a Tesla Powerwall do it?
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Old 09-21-2016, 06:56 PM   #11
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Disregarding the cost, would something like a Tesla Powerwall do it?
I believe that is one of his intended markets.
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Old 09-21-2016, 07:03 PM   #12
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tc...

"There are gas/propane fridges...anyone heard of propane A/C???"

Apparaently they do exist and have for awhile but haven't really "caught on"

Here's a report... everything you wanted to know about gas/propane A/C

Assessment of Propane Fired Gas Air Conditioning, Heat Pumping and
Dehumidification Technologies, Products, Markets and Economics
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Old 09-21-2016, 07:05 PM   #13
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What if you have a medical issue that requires AC? Can they stop you from saving your life?

My wife sleeps days and I installed a Costco purchased floor AC that looks like an R2D2, it is a one ton unit and draws 9 Amps AC, so figure at least 110 Amps DC at 12 VDC. That is a LOT of current.

I would look into other options, such as moving out of any HOA property. Do they let you fly the American flag? Perhaps a swamp cooler, but isn't Florida humid?

At any rate, why do you have to lose your frozen food and sleep in the heat in an emergency because some ninny on an HOA board says you have to be financially hurt?

Fire that bitch up and screw 'em.
OK, this post is stupid on so many levels and does nothing to help the OP. Before you write about HOAs, you should understand how they operate and their purpose.

For the batteries and inverter, you need to know the current draw of the air conditioner including any start up surge. You need an inverter that will handle this much current and you need a bank of batteries that can supply the needed current for the number of hours the air conditioner will be running. Remember that 15 amps at 120 volts AC is roughly 150 amps of DC from the batteries. Also remember that the batteries should not be discharged more than 50% of their capacity.

The question you should ask the HOA is, do the covenants prohibit running a generator or do they impose sound level limits? Could you enclose the generator in a building or garage and add soundproofing and a muffler (with their approval, they will know you are up to something if they see lights on in your house and no others)?

I used to service a building that had cooling provided by ice. During the night time when electric rates were low, equipment froze a large quantity of water into ice. In the daytime when electric rates were higher, cooling was provided by blowing air over the ice instead of a traditional air conditioning system. A variation of this would be interesting and might solve your problem.

I understand why your covenants prohibit running generators at night. Some can be very loud and annoying. Think of anchorages you might have stayed in. Remember, the covenants were in place when you bought your home so you can't really complain.


PS: It occurs to me that you could spend many nights in a local motel and still be ahead financially than if you try to buy and maintain a battery bank and inverter just to run an air conditioner occasionally.
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Old 09-21-2016, 07:11 PM   #14
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Invite your neighbors to come sleep in your air conditioned home and you'll get no complaints as the community shelter.

We're fortunate that we have no HOA, but we've only run our generators for their monthly tests and they've come on for five minutes or so a couple of times.
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Old 09-21-2016, 07:17 PM   #15
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If you extended your closest neighbors an extension cord at night from your genny, would they still turn you in? Your HOA is crazy. There will be chain saws, tractors, and hammers pounding all night after a big storm.
Another thought is a Honda inverter series 2000w to run a room A/C after hours. They are very quiet but you can still make it quieter with a foam sound box.
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Old 09-21-2016, 07:37 PM   #16
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If you extended your closest neighbors an extension cord at night from your genny, would they still turn you in? Your HOA is crazy. There will be chain saws, tractors, and hammers pounding all night after a big storm.
Another thought is a Honda inverter series 2000w to run a room A/C after hours. They are very quiet but you can still make it quieter with a foam sound box.
You can't hear our generators beyond property lines any more than you can our air conditioners. Now, I don't know how close the homes are where he is, or if there are trees or fences.
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Old 09-21-2016, 07:47 PM   #17
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Greetings,
Mr. tc. I think someone mentioned "swamp cooler". Run the fan off batteries...
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Old 09-21-2016, 08:20 PM   #18
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Lets go back to the original post.

What you will need to cool the room during the day is very different than at night. First, I'm wouldn't cool the master suite; it's the guest bedroom. Second a 5,000 btu AC unit will keep the room cool with maybe a 30% duty cycle. Simply, you have no sun heat loading at night. The room is cool already as you have been running the AC unit all day. I'm guessing 100 to 200 watts per hour for 9 hours. After figuring inverter loss 2,000 watts equals 200 amps of energy, I'd bank 6 Trojan T105s for a 660 amp bank.

Have a better Idea. Go buy the 5,000 btu window shaker; install it in the guest bedroom window, and buy a power consumption meter. The meter is good for up to 15 amps and will show you how many watts you consumed over night. Then do a test run by sleeping in the room with the central AC turned off and the window unit plugged into the power consumption meter plugged into the wall outlet. No more guessing; you will know how much stored energy you will need. Between the AC unit and the meter, you will probably invest less than $300 in the experiment.

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Old 09-21-2016, 08:41 PM   #19
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All,
Thanks for all of this.

@OC, your experiment is brilliant - and you're right - very definitive.
@HighWire - very true about the cleanup stuff that would be going on, day and night.
@WesK - thanks for the sanity check
@Bacchus - I think it's time to test the HOA's source for their generator ban. What constitutes "too loud?".
@BandB - excellent point about it not being "normal course of events"
@dwhatty - PowerWall is a great idea. Saw it mentioned about six months ago and thought "who the hell would need that at home"
@RT - you never let us down! Thanks for the video.

And the HOA probably is made up of a bunch of blowboaters!
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Old 09-21-2016, 11:14 PM   #20
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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.
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