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When in cold country, I always kept a smallish generator. I like the Honda for quite when it is a small load. But then as I wanted to have other things run, I went for other units from the big box stores. I arranged an extension cord to power the furnace as well as some other things like the frig and a couple lights. I did not try to power them all at the same time but assumed that I would not be sleeping much and would rotate the equipment to minimize the load. One major thing to keep in mind is that you will not be likely to use it enough to wear it out so even a sub-standard unit may be fine. The second thing to remember is that nothing is harder on a power unit than setting unused. Either set a routine and run it up to full temperature every couple months or drain all the gasoline out of it and let it run until it dies. This keeps the gunk in the gas from setting up in the carb. Nothing worse than keeping a genset for years, only to find it won't start when the power is out?
 

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I would not worry at all about the electronics on our tanks when using generators. The stuff we use is far less complex and far, far less prone to damage than much of our house on a normal hot day. Filter motors are very simple items with nothing prone to damage while things like the TV, computer, microwave and dishwasher, etc. now have integrated circuits that are real easy to damage. What is not always mentioned is that power does fluctuate frequently and all is well. We think of storms but then many other things happen. Think of rural areas where there are lots of dairy farms where the coolers and milkers kick in at much the same time. The voltage on a rural line can drop if there are not automatic controls built into things. And small towns or companies don't! In a well designed and built system, the normal summertime AC use should not bother the grid but we all know that is not being done as everybody wants to cut costs. Brownouts and rolling blackouts are getting far too common.
Worry not about the filters or tanks but then it is a good idea to keep the TV, micro, computer and all those other things off the line until things settle a bit. If there is a major storm that takes rebuilding lines, the power may not be really, truly, trustworthy for a few day after it appears power is on again.
 

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I like the idea of laws to prevent power feeding back out from the house but then I also know that it is often not a real hazard to the guys on the line. I was a pole jumper for a few years and it is part of any good training to assume a line is hot until proven it is not. The danger may be more to the uneducated folks who want to get out and help. Too many times, I been driving the back allies and somebody jumps out of the yard to move a downed line so I don't run over it. They have no idea how many times people get killed doing that. That line may be laying just right so that it is still powered but not throwing sparks but when they pick it up, they get the full charge. Big thought is that if you are not trained, don't mess with the down wires, hot or not. The thing may go hot just as you pick it up!
 
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