Why I Started My Diesel Standby Generator Project.

A few years back, I built a nice all-electric home in the woods of Pennsylvania.  We literally at “the end of the line” when it comes to electricity.  Any kind of interruption or power line accident almost always ends up in an outage for us.  This I expected, and wrote off as “living in the country.”

At that point, a whole home generator — let alone taking on the engineering and execution of a diesel standby generator project– wasn’t even on my radar.

After we had our first son, power outages during the winter became more and more concerning.  Trust me, I love cutting and splitting firewood.  The problem is that firewood doesn’t make the well pump run.

In 2012, Superstorm Sandy and the long power outages up north really got me thinking about a standby generator.  The winter after, we had a couple bad ice storms with 24+ hour outages each.  That was it for me.

I’m not an engineer by trade, but as you will see, I know my way around a machine.  I’m not a “prepper,” but I am 100% responsible for the health and well-being of my family, and take that very seriously.

First Experiences While Generator Shopping.

When I started shopping standby generators from companies like Generac, Kohler, etc, I wasn’t especially impressed.  It just didn’t feel like you got a lot for your $6000… and that was before installation.  They were highly stressed, glorified lawnmower engines running at 3600 rpm, which is practically redline.

Being an industrial guy with some experience with diesel equipment, I wanted to see the options for diesel standby generators, but 95% of the information out there was talking about diesel generators for industrial applications. (By the way, in this post, I cover the differences from the generator you’ll snag at a big box vs taking the step up to even a used diesel industrial generator.)

Basically, a gas Kohler or Generac will be long dead or on its last legs at 3000 hours… a good diesel generator will barely be broken in at 5000 hours, and you **might** be looking at a rebuild at 20,000 hours.

Disposable toy or a lifetime investment… they’re about the same price.

Information Blackout on Diesel Home Generators.

When it came the information needed to actually take on an industrial standby generator project for a home, there was essentially no information.  So, I did research into the standards, best practices, and codes for large diesel generator installations like hospitals and universities.  Many of them apply at the generator shed level.  I also did a lot of calculations to make sure that I had proper air flow etc, etc.

I am going to walk you through the design criteria and decisions I used in making this beast happen.  Every detail, every cost, everything.  I want to help other families save money and stay safe during power outages.  If you dig what I did and this site so far and are thinking of a genshed of your own, stick around, there’s going to be much more to come.

Really, after you have a picture of the overall project and some information, it isn’t a bad job.

If any DIY job more advanced than hanging a picture frame makes you nervous, consult a contractor or handy extended family member.  (It’s especially good if they like tinkering and can be paid with beer.)  If your singular mechanical achievement involves assembling IKEA, you’re probably not reading this anyway.

I’m going to be breaking out the pages in this site in the order of construction, as well as covering topics I think you would be curious about.

The Jealousy Factor.

Late in construction, I started to see what a cool project it had become.  Like, people coming over and wanting to see the generator before they even came in the house.  Yes, there is a lot of fascination with it and everyone wants to hear it run.  People are genuinely amazed with how quiet it is from outside the Genshed while there is a 250 amp, 99 hp turbodiesel running inside..  It’s also pretty cool to hear the turbo spool up if the heat pump kicks on.

Make no mistake, this thing has a cool factor.

That said, I think more than anything, people are surprised at how practical it is for a home, especially if you are out in the country.  I talk about costs of a diesel standby generator compared to LP/NG in this post.

Yes, I occasionally detail my generator with spray detailer.

Skip ahead to the end.

It has been three years and many outages, and my diesel home generator rig has always performed flawlessly.  The automatic transfer switch changes over from grid to generator so quickly during bi-weekly automatic exercise that I don’t have to even reset my clocks.

Here’s a picture of the final product, and you’ll see loads of photos and videos throughout the site. If it’s interesting to you, I hope you find this site as a helpful resource.

A 67kw industrial Katolight installed as a diesel home generator dieselgenshed.com

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