Here are the full details on my Generac RG027 Generator install including all the issues I encountered.
If you have not already, I would suggest you read these two articles first
The Generator is a Generac RG027 installed by Generator Super Center in Houston, TX, costing around $20,000. It will power EVERYTHING in my house and will spin up and switch power in around 10 seconds when the power goes out.
Moving on from above articles, I went ahead to start to prepare for the generator install. I marked out where would be a good spot for the install. It has to be 2 feet into my property and not near any soffit vents or windows. Luckily around the back of my garage was a perfect place, and its right next to the gas meter.
In some of these pictures you may notice my electrical service is not yet moved, but I knew it would end up here in the end. I had to cut down a banana tree and relocate a plumcot tree (Which lived!). I put some cardboard down the size of the pad they were pouring to get an idea of location
The Plumcot tree was a little close, so I dug it out and moved it elsewhere
Now I had that done, I went ahead and ordered maintenance items. Who knows how the supply chain will be, and since these things last pretty much forever, I figured I'd stock up
After doing that, I just had to wait. Between the above pictures and the generator being installed, all of my electrical got moved, and I got my solar installed.
Eventually after a long 6 month wait, I got a call out of the blue asking if they could come pour the concrete pad for the generator, and install the generator the very next day. I had them hold off on the generator install until after the weekend, as I wanted to give the pad a good time to dry. I really don't think giving it just 18-20 hours would have been long enough
Then on the Monday, the generator finally arrived
They got to work digging the trenches and getting everything installed
By about 1PM everything was done and ready for the electrical and gas inspection
The electrical side of things came out great, I can't really fault anything they did
The gas on the other hand, looked a little iffy. I thought this was temporary supports for the gas pipe. Turns out this is what they intended to leave...
The pipe was not level, not straight with the pad, the Unistrut they hammered into the ground was completely crooked (And Unistrut is not rated for in ground use last time I checked)
I phoned them and asked them to come and neaten it up, as that install looks terrible
The next hurdle was inspections. The City of Houston inspector for Electrical came out and passed with the exception of a load calculation sheet. He wanted it stamped by an engineer, but it was only signed
The gas inspection was the next day, but it rained. So they could not see any of the pipes
In the end I went ahead and used a cheap bucket head shop vac before the inspector came again, and got the trench mostly cleaned out. And it passed inspection
The inspector agreed that it looked bad. He said it was all acceptable from a code perspective, but it wasn't great. He suggested I simply buy thinner strut, and put it on the other side of the pipe and anchor it to the pad. It seemed like a good idea, so I went with it. I had already waited a week and got no word on them neatening up the gas pipe, so I just went ahead and did it myself
I really don't know why they didn't do this from the start
This is the end outcome. They also never came back to fill in the trench for the electrical, I did mention it to them, but with rain forecast the next day, I just went ahead and did it myself. Having a 2 foot deep trench in your yard isn't really ideal.
They came out after it got inspected and completed the final setup which just involved checking the connections and getting the controller turned on. They also went through how the automatic transfer switch works etc.
I got my solar installers to come back and reconnect the solar (Line side tap inside the Generac ATS). I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.
At this point you would assume it would all be done, however it was not. When I first looked up the generator I saw it used 360CFH of Natural gas, that's 360,000 BTU's. The gas meter at my house is a 250CFH meter running at standard gas pressure.
You probably can already see the issue here, because just the generator ALONE uses more gas than the meter is rated for. Some places will state that these meters are actually good for 1.25x the capacity, but even that is under the 360CFH the generator wants.
Not only that, but I also have a gas furnace (100CFH) a Gas Water Heater (60CFH), a gas dryer (30CFH) a gas grill etc etc etc. You can see that this is a problem, and the meter I have is very clearly not sized to run a big 27kw generator AS well my usual loads. In total was are at over 600CFH of gas load on a meter rated at 250CF.
When a neighbor got a much smaller air cooled generator installed, they didn't upgrade his meter either. I was pretty sure his meter was undersized, but without knowing all the details of his appliances there is no real way for me to know. So when the salesman came out to give me a quote, I requested they upgrade the gas meter. They said that because its a liquid cooled generator, they automatically upgrade the gas meter. I wasn't really sure of the logic there, as the fact its liquid cooled makes no difference to the amount of gas being used (In fact, the liquid cooled models are more efficient, so a smaller liquid cooled model will use LESS gas than the equivalent air cooled model) but I didn't really care, as long as it meant my meter would be upgraded.
While I was waiting for the generator to come in, I called them asking if they would get with the utility (CenterPoint Energy) to get the meter upgraded before the generator gets installed. They told me (Correctly) that CenterPoint want the generator to be installed on site before they upgrade the meter. So I waited
Well since the generator is now installed, I went ahead and called the installer and asked them the status of the meter upgrade. They then dropped the bomb on me that they decided I didn't need a meter upgrade... Uh okay. I already paid you $20,000 and I have an undersized meter. You need to upgrade my meter.
They said they would, and they would submit payment to CenterPoint. This is something they had already claimed they had done. So they must have lied before.
So I'm waiting around for CenterPoint, weeks and weeks and weeks go by. I hear nothing. At this point I'm under the impression that we are waiting on CenterPoint Energy. And there is no way to get in contact with the department that upgrades the meter. you need to hold for an hour to get a regular rep, and then they request a callback which never happens.
Eventually after months of not being able to get in contact with them, I submit a complaint to the City Of Houston regarding CenterPoint Energy. They clearly have some pull with CenterPoint, as I got a call back the very next day! BUT they told me the installer had NOT paid. At this point it had been nearly three months.
I called the installer, who told me they would pay by the end of the day. Called back in the morning, it had not been done. Got told then it would be by the end of the week. End of the week comes, still nothing. At this point I got fed up and paid CenterPoint myself, and requested they refund me the $350 cost for the meter.
A week later, CenterPoint came and upgraded the meter to a 400CFH meter and bumped the pressure to 2PSI. This gives me over 900CFH of gas capacity.
So now its all done! Well, nope.
During this time I installed GenMon (More below, I suggest you check it out)
If you read that, you saw I first powered the Raspberry Pi with PoE, which meant I never touched the battery. But then I switched to Fiber, and needed to tap into the generator battery, that's when I noticed this
The installers had run down the positive battery terminal with an impact, and completely cracked it.
I called them out, and they replaced it with a cheap clamp on connector
I really don't like this, and I want either a crimped or soldered connector to be put on there, or for them just to replace the cable ($60 cost)
I never heard back from them asking for the cable to be replaced, at this point I think they are just sick of me finding problems. I plan to correct it myself, and just never bother recommending the installers.
Here are some pictures of the final outcome
Here is one of the main reasons I got this model. The engine is not made by Generac, but Mitsubishi. Its a 2.4l Inline 4 automotive engine.
If you want more details, I highly suggest you read this post I made about Genmon
Here is a short video showing how fast it spins up. Flipping the utility disconnect simulates a power outage
Here are some common questions I've gotten
Why did you buy it?
Where we live in Houston, TX we are often hit with hurricanes and big storms that can knock out the power, and in February 2021 we had a winter storm which caused widespread outages. This was the final nail in the coffin which prompted me to buy it. Dealing without AC in a Houston Summer is not possible.
How much did it cost?
Right around $20,000
How long did it take?
Right around 6 months, mainly due to Generac Backlog. From what I hear, they were hit hard with the chip shortage, COVID and then the Texas freeze caused very high demand.
Why a 27kw?
I wanted a liquid cooled generator, and the liquid cooled comes in a 22kw model, a 27kw model and then up from there. The 22kw model was just $500 cheaper than the 27kw model. So there was no point giving up 5kw for $500. A 27kw generator running on Natural Gas actually only provides 25kw of power, which means the 22kw produces just 20kw. 20kw would not be enough if I turned on all the loads in my house including the AC's and electric range. If I dipped down to that level, I would be required by city code to add load shed devices to stop my AC if needed.
why liquid cooled?
The liquid cooled models are MUCH more reliable and can operate for longer periods of time. The liquid cooled models have a 2.4l Mitsubishi engine operating at 1800RPM and cooled by a radiator. The air cooled model have a custom Generac made 999c engine running at double the speed, 3600RPM and just cooled by air. When its the middle of Texas summer and is over 100 every day, which would you want?
I actually wanted a Kohler generator. The Kohler generators were all much more backlogged, the Mitsubishi engine made this Generac palatable.
Why did you choose these installers?
They are the largest Generac dealer in the nation I believe, and could get stock before the others. My neighbors used them and were happy.
I think that's all. If you have any more questions, feel free to reach out.