Whole Home Portable Backup Generator project Part 1 – the DuroMax XP13000EH portable generator

I recently purchased the DuroMax XP13000EH portable generator. It is portable in the sense that it does have wheels. If you don’t have a trailer with a ramp, i wouldn’t expect to be carting it around anytime soon. Its big and heavy. The unit weights ~260 lbs with no gas. Gas weighs less than water at about 6 lbs per gallon. With an 8.3 gallon gas tank add another 50 pounds and you are right at 300 lbs. fully loaded.

My plan is to keep this generator in the garage and roll it outside and plug it into the house when outages occur so i really don’t have to move it more than 25-50 feet. It has some fold down handles and newly improved solid tires to prevent flats from becoming a problem in an emergency. To do this right, I am going to have to pull some heavy wiring in schedule 40 PVC conduit under the house and install a “power inlet box” (NEMA SS2-50P receptacle) as well as installing a manual generator interlock kit on my outside electrical panel. The entire setup will be rated for a capacity of 50 Amps at 250 volts AC.

A few of the many items i am collecting as i prepare for this project. (6 gauge stranded THHN wire…still waiting on my black wire…1.5″ diameter concrete dry core bit with SDS compatible auger, interlock kit, and 50 amp generator connection box)

More on the actual generator… I was looking for the biggest portable generator i could find at a reasonable price with a high approval rating from end users. Home depot sells the XP13000EH for $1,399.

The Generator is powered by a 500cc OHV Engine and with 10,500 watts of running power and the ability to surge up to 13,000 watts, this generator can power household essentials such as lights, small and large appliances, and your home’s central A/C system. The fully loaded power panel features multiple outlets including (2) 120V GFCI protected household outlets. Also on the power panel are individual breakers to prevent overloading and keep everything safe. $1,399 met my budget for the things we need to power in an emergency. This unit is both EPA and CARB approved for operation in all 50 states if you need to care about those sorts of things.

The next step up in size (the XP15000) 12500 running watts with 15,000 starting watts moves up in price to $2,999! From a math standpoint you start to get into some other cost considerations too. 15000 watts divided by 240 volts is 62.5 amps. At this point to meet NEC code depending on how far your wiring run is you are looking next size larger wiring. Note: thick wire gets expensive really quick. I’m also not sure how this largest model gets away with a NEMA 14-50 receptacle from an engineering standpoint which is rated at 50 amps unless the unit can’t supply 100% of its capacity from the largest outlet. Maybe an electrician out there can answer this.

The XP13000EH came boxed and strapped to a pallet. You will need to do some assembly such as putting on the wheels and handles. A small tool kit with wrenches was included.

The generator has an electric push button start which is another great feature for ease of use. One thing i did realize upon firing up the generator for the first time is that it is noisy. However, after thinking about this in depth its sort of like having a 500cc motorcycle parked outside all day running. If you need lots of power, physics says you need a big motor. (you can’t get somethin for nothin!…1st law of thermodynamics)

Front panel view of generator showing buttons, breakers, receptacles, and switches
It also has a pretty blue fuel tank!
Rear view of the Duromax XP13000EH

I also REALLY liked that this is a DUAL fuel setup runs on gasoline or propane. Propane and Natural Gas are excellent choices for emergency fuel if you have access to it.

Why? Propane Gas can store infinitely in a portable tank or Natural Gas can be piped to the generator for almost unlimited use at a very low cost. These fuels also do not create large carbon deposits when they burn so your engine and carburetor stay cleaner meaning longer service life for your investment.

Since this is dual fuel (propane & gasoline), it will require a modification to run off Natural gas which i eventually intend to also do. I have my eye on a kit from http://www.nashfuel.com/ is selling a conversion kit on Ebay for $109.99

view of the components that make up the Nash fuel duromax natural gas conversion kit
Natural Gas Conversion Kit Duromax XP13000EH Generator 13KW LP 20HP Dual Fuel LP

This Kit essentially turns you Dual Fuel setup into a Tri-Fuel setup and will allow your generator to run on low pressure propane, low pressure natural gas, or gasoline.

We will explore connecting this and other similar generators to a home electric panel in Part 2.

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