The curse of generators

[FOREIGN (E)MISSION: Noise, fumes from French consulate generators constitute ‘abuse’ of diplomatic immunity, say furious neighbours
I reckon generators should only be allowed in designated areas. So the French Embassy needs to move to an industrial area in the Cape flats…

Yeah I hate generators.
Have 2 neighbors who have gennies. At least they dont run them while sleeping.

Neighbors on the side, added an exhaust pipe and its in their garage, which at least reduces the noise quite a bit, but the fumes are horrid. Luckily on the side of the house where we spend the least amount of time.

Neighbors behind, they just put the genney outside in the open, and it is noisy as hell, but somehow the fumes dont come to our side. But the noise…damn. Lucky they dont run it often, but when they do, you KNOW about it.

As bad as it is, I wish fuel became expensive enough that these people would stop running gennies.

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There probably are by-laws that apply - but this needs stuff to work.

In the UK there is an on-line protest thing because noise by-laws are being invoked to the letter, which makes it hard for musicians to practice (I’m not talking about electric guitar players and drummers, I’m talking about penny whistle players), so that’s probably more than some people want, but it happens because there there is a system not only in theory but that actually works and has outcomes.

South Africa has too long been a country where we do what we want, where we are concerned with rights but not with responsibilities.

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There is a shopping center down the hill from me, 1.2km according to Google Maps. It has a massive Diesel generator that auto-starts at all times of the day or night. It is not terribly intrusive, it’s not like I cannot hear myself think. But I can hear it, even at night, that low constant drone. In some ways it is even useful: reminds me that the power is out. But I wonder how the people who live closer feel about it? If it is noticeable halfway up the hill, it must be very noticeable down there!

My neighbour stopped running his generator. As I’ve said before, he’s the kind of guy who turns off the gas flame when he turns over the bacon, and the generator has been a little fritzy even when it works. He probably gave up on the idea due to costs, and I am thankful for that.

(Now if they can not rummage around in the dagga-tunnel at 5AM, that would be even better, but that is another story).

I’ve heard that people in smaller dwellings sometimes have problems with this. In most places, the idea is that as long as it’s within waking hours, your neighbour will generally be okay with it. But there are places where people buy electronic pianos rather than a decent upright (even though it is more expensive!) because the neighbours will complain, and as an amateur-pianist myself, I would go crazy if someone did that to me!

I actually see that as a plus. We seem to have a fairly common-sense idea of doing what we want in a way that minimally impacts others. At least most of the time anyway…

Very true. The general malaise.

Depends on where you live. Here in my hood in Pta a pigheaded selfish bully mentality reigns.

Love this sentence, but don’t know what it means???
Your neighbours spark up at 5am? Sheez!!

Generator is the sound and stank of failure. In this situation we’re in that is. So hard to talk to a neighbour about it as we’re under duress. I actually saw in the neighbourhood a guy had installed a genny size of a small car right up against the neighbour’s wall with exhaust pipe reaching up. When this thing ran the whole wall became essentially a drum skin and amplifier, could feel the thing in the air 20m away. That’s hectic.

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Well now, a double edged sword if there ever was one. A society of not abiding by any laws/rules, I need not elaborate…


There is a cultivation tunnel next to the house, on my bedroom side. There is nothing weird about this, people often do this to grow vegetables. I’ve seen even bigger ones in other parts of town. This one is a simple steel structure covered with thick plastic. Occasionally, they will put a light in it (an old flourescent lamp that in terms of wattage, efficiency and colour doesn’t do a thing to make plants grow), which can interfere with sleep. Not my sleep. The wife’s sleep. And that is always worse. Hey honey… how about it? Naaah, too tired, didn’t sleep a wink last night!

Anyway, so the end of the tunnel is slightly open, and the wall is only about head-high, so one can see into it from my yard. And we noticed there are some interesting plants growing in it. It is within the allowed limits though.

Also, I have never smelled that characteristic sweet smell I remember from back in student years, so they are probably doing something else with it. Don’t want to speculate, but I do believe there is a market for CBD oil, and it actually does have health benefits that cannot be denied. So, whatever is going on is probably perfectly legal, I just wish they wouldn’t do it at 5AM! :slight_smile:

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I’m fairly new to my hood so I got onto the local forum to ask is there’s a generator policy in place for the suburb. There was an immediate response from the more vocal regulars saying that we all need to be tolerant of each other’s generators (I think…not absolutely sure)
But my impression was they were on their back foot.
I have noticed that there are plenty of houses with lights on and security floodlights during power outages. I’m not sure but I think these houses have hefty solar PV and batteries…
So I think the generator contingent are feeling the heat… :sweat_smile:

Was up north for a week.

Man, Jhb and Pta, that thunder and lightning every afternoon, seriously impressive.

In any case, the gennies all over the show … O. My. Word.

Don’t they know about solar systems!!!

It drove me nuts.

Wanted to go to every person with a gennie sommer in their backyard and tell them about how to get them quieter, there are ways and means to do it … geez man, but it is a PITA.

Thank snot for where we live. None of that nonsense.

I got a 8kVA ‘silent’ diesel gennie (I know, diesel and silent does not rhyme…at all) for free from friend in Rustenburg.
He had too much lip about the ‘silent’ and the diesel fumes in his housing complex :upside_down_face:

Diesel gennies are running at lower revs than these petrol “lawnmower” type engines. :innocent:

Diesel fumes … nothing like the smell of Isuzu diesel fumes at the break of dawn with a cup of coffee in hand.

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Agreed. Always makes me think of early mornings on my grandfather’s farm. When my wife starts our Everest and drives out, and I enter the garage soon after… man, instant nostalgia.

What I hate most about those lawnmower engines, is that slight persistent misfire of a badly maintained unit, and how load changes causes it to first drop out and then later over-rev later as the mechanical governor plays catch up. Of course Diesel’s also have that, but they tend to have much more of a consistent drone.

Oh my yes. I abhor that.

My cousin has a 6.5kva gennie … at least it does not misfire, but dang man, he gets worried starting the snackwitcher. So there is me, “Sit hom aan … Sit. Hom. Aan. … Nike It … you can do it!”.

That drop in revs, then the snackwitcher, on temp, goes off/on/off/on … :rofl:

He also heated his geyser a time or two. That is so much better on the ear. Can hear when his “liter of petrol” is properly used.

He, and all the others on gennies I saw simply do not want to get solar …too expensive “they” say. But they drive very big fuel guzzlers all over the show, short distances and all… THAT is fine.

I get it. I mean, us solar people (and EV drivers too, and even Diesel drivers to some extent) are always harping on about how long term that is cheaper, even if the upfront cost is higher… but honestly, sometimes cash flow is just a more important metric to people. And I get it.

The noise is noisy. A couple of years ago we were in Clarens when load shedding hit. Every restaurant in that place (and quite a few homes) had a generator. It was really unpleasant. All you want to do is have a nice meal and a conversation and you can’t do it because of the gennies. And this was at lunch time. The evenings must have been bad.

Happily that town has now embraced load limiting and so nobody needs to run a generator until we go past stage 4.

I looked at generators at the same time I was looking into solar. Even the “silent” models aren’t that quiet, especially as the load goes up. And then there was the whole business of having to have it wired in properly because I didn’t like the idea of a suicide plug, or of people with even less technical know-how than me having to get the thing running and the power into the home.

Then there were the service intervals for a new generator in order to preserve the guarantee (which, I’d bet, isn’t worth a whole lot anyway).

Solar seemed like a bit more money but a far better bet overall.

A lot of people I know don’t want solar because - they say - it does nothing for the value of of your property, and because you can’t take it with you. If you move home, it’s easy to take a generator.

Where I live, people who rent tend to have generators.

Oh of course you can. Sometimes. You decommission it (and send the city the paperwork for it, since that is needed for the sale anyway), you load it up, and you take it with you.

Although, there are time limits to this. Sometimes you may not be allowed to reinstall that old inverter in a new installation. Sometimes you may not even want to.

But yeah, I’m on team “I get that you chose the sucky option because you had to” here. I get to be sympathetic and maintain that the situation sucks at the same time :slight_smile:

There are ways to sort gennies ito sound … these guys seem to have it down pat:

I don’t … really I don’t. Not when you spend +R6k per month per vehicle on fuel cause yours is newer bigger and cooler than the next oke. You also take extensive holidays.

Then you B&M about the cost of solar sound bliss.

Your priorities are then not aligned.

Sorry, but that is what I saw in Jhb and Pta extended family. In the entire family, there are two of us who have solar … both Victron, just as a titbit. :slightly_smiling_face:

The 3rd one does not count … his inverter is grid-tied, used as a glorified UPS, R3500 jobbie, to run the pool pump off 3 x 550w panel and 24v old AGM bank. 3rd panel on a device for a geyser. At least he tries. Why, he does not want to register in Jhb … cannot argue with “clever” newbies.

Yes, I got an eye-opener, still like them all, but geez man, this gennie “thing”, dis sommer twak man! Thousands down the exhaust pipes cause it is “cheaper”. Note, them gennies, not the cheap Makro ones.