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Author Topic: Standby generator  (Read 2061 times)

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Offline petefrom bearswamp

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Standby generator
« on: March 29, 2017, 09:18:51 am »
Anyone use a propane standby generator?
I have been considering one but find that the fuel consumption is pretty high.
Looking at 22kw fully automatic system to run everything in my house and all but the power tools in my shop.
specs indicate 2.56 gal per hr at 1/2 load and 3.87 at full load.
Propane here is about 2 bucks a gallon.
2 weeks ago power was out for 11 1/2 hrs this would have cost about 59 bucks of propane at 1/2 load.
Seems excessive to me
System without wire is 4200 bucks.
My 5900 watt gas generator which runs all of the necessities used about 6 gal of gas.
switch over to temp power is done manually and a nuisance tho especially in the dark.
Any thoughts and/or suggestions?
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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2017, 09:34:57 am »
Propane generators are notoriously expensive to operate but also reliable.  Gasoline engines are notorious for experiencing carburetor issues.  That leaves Diesel.  :)
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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2017, 09:41:15 am »
We went diesel with a 30 day fuel tank.
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Offline LeeB

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2017, 10:20:25 am »
I use an 8000 watt gasoline burner that I bought at HD. Subaru engine I think. Don't remember the price but I think it was around $1200. Been several years back. Battery start and a manual disconnect. Runs the well, lights, and freezers/refridges. Will be able to run the stove and heater too now in the new house because they are propane and only need power for the igniters and blower. Old house was all electric. Won't pull the AC but such is life. I plan on putting in a couple of mini spits to replace the outdated central unit so it may actually pull one of them. I've been more than happy with it so far. I start it up once a month and then shut off the fuel valve and let it run the lines dry. Never had a problem starting it up. It has run for days at a time and uses less than 5 gal a day.
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2017, 10:46:06 am »
Pete,

   I have a Guardian (Generac motor) 17KW hooked to natural gas. It ran for 11 days 5 years ago when we had a big Derecho. Only time I shut it down was to change the oil or check the oil. ATS works fine and cranks 10 seconds after power goes out. Also starts automatically weekly and runs 10-12 minutes to charge the battery. I'll never be without one.

   Not sure about the cost of propane use but the summer 5 years ago I think my combined electric and gas bill that month of the outage was less than normal. One real advantage I have is that when the power goes out my neighbors are rushing around trying to get gas or diesel for their small gensets and fuel is also hard to find as the gas stations typically can't run their pumps. When you think about the cost of propane, I assume natural gas is not an option for you, also think about the cost of the food in your refrigerator and freezer. In our case we have a well so no power also means no water, no heat (Electric fans and switches on our gas baseboard heat) or fire protection. We had neighbors stored a lot of meat in our freezer and came up for water and showers every couple of days in our big outage.

   My rotor and stator (?) recently failed in an overnight outage apparently because of debris getting in the unit and I found my local Generac dealer (Boweco Electric in Beckley WV) were extremely cooperative and responsive and got it back up and running and my homeowners covered all but the deductible.

   Unless you have extremely dependable power in your area I highly endorse owning a whole house standby genset with ATS. Good luck.
Howard Green
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Offline Ox

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2017, 11:19:52 am »
Something else to consider is that a propane engine will live much, much longer than a gasoline engine because it burns so clean with no carbon or sludging.  The engine oil runs cleaner and lasts longer as well because of basically no contaminants from gasoline or diesel fuels.  Natural gas engines enjoy the same benefits. 

Gasoline and diesel fuels really are pretty dirty fuels when compared to the other fuels mentioned.
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Offline Andy White

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2017, 11:41:20 am »
We had a Generac 22KW installed two years ago, and a 500 gal. propane tank. Tank was filled to 80%. We have had several outages and the hour meter shows 134 hours. The gauge on the tank shows 70%. Good mileage for mine. Several neighbors have the same, and their mileage is similar. A great unit for sure.

 

  

  

  

 

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Offline sawguy21

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2017, 11:58:19 am »
That likely won't be an issue given the number of hours a standby normally runs. Still, the convenience and peace of mind a propane or natural gas generator with an ATS offers cannot be beat. It will kick in by the time you get out of bed and get your pants on and will be there if no one is home. If you average that 59 bucks over a year it is pretty cheap insurance even if the power goes off two or three times which is rare.
A gas powered portable with a manual transfer switch is the cheapest and certainly will work as long as the owner is willing to put up with the inconvenience of manually starting and shutting down. The biggest problem here is ensuring an adequate supply of clean fresh gas, running out in the middle of a storm kinda defeats the purpose. I used to sell standbys, one of my customers was concerned about the natural gas being cut off in the event of an earthquake which is a risk on the west coast. I replied that loss of power would be the least of his problems. ;D
Andy, is that the generator's permanent location? I would be concerned about that a/c sucking in exhaust fumes.
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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2017, 02:05:43 pm »
None of the air that is circulated by the AC condenser is transferred to the inside of the home.  It sucks in the sides, cools, and is blown out of the top.  There is no hazard.

I am liking the natural gas option.  During outages that is certainly more dependable than standing in a line at the gas station with a jug in hand.
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Offline Ox

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2017, 02:32:17 pm »
One more thing I forgot to mention earlier:  propane and natural gas don't go "bad" like gasoline and diesel will eventually.  It will always be ready to fire with no gumming or varnishing or corrosion.  Out of the latter two diesel has a longer shelf life.  If you keep the water out of it so the nasty algae don't get into it diesel will probably run for decades later as is evidenced by starting old abandoned diesels with the old fuel starting and running them!  Of course, this is the old diesel recipe and not today's...who knows with today's fuel.  Good thread.
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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2017, 02:42:08 pm »
  Pete, if you get by with a 5900 watt then maybe you should look at a smaller propane that won't use as much fuel. Having a bunch extra sounds good but it isn't always wise to go too far oversize as when your only using a small load that bigger generator is using more fuel. Figure out what you really need/want to run during an outage and get just a bit more.
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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2017, 02:52:18 pm »
1/3 , 2/3 rule of thumb.
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Offline Ox

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2017, 03:53:43 pm »
 ???
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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2017, 04:05:35 pm »
figuring your continuous average load , above 1/3 and below 2/3 capability of the set is sweet. Purchase accordingly for your calculated load. Cummins , years ago put out a blurb to help select a gen set and that was pretty much the gist of it.Ran gen sets  nonstop on my last boats and that's what I remember. Cheers Rob
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Offline sawguy21

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2017, 04:52:26 pm »
Add up all the loads that potentially will be in use at any given time. The furnace and a/c obviously won't be on at the same time so use the a/c figure which is higher. Now add a minimum of 25% to estimate the size you need. 7kw was the smallest we sold, it will handle the basics in most homes. 12kw is the smallest that should be considered for whole house use and would be the minimum if a well pump, sump pump etc is involved.
Make sure the generator and transfer switch are compatible and properly sized. Some of our customers had issues when they hooked up in a house that had a previously installed ATS, the two couldn't 'talk' to each other or they went elsewhere for the ATS to save a few bucks.
Purchase from a reputable dealer and ensure the electrician and gas installer are familiar with the system. Normally the dealer won't get involved in the installation but may be able to recommend people who are reliable. After sales service is critical to ensure the unit functions properly when it is needed.
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2017, 06:26:27 pm »
   I am not sure about the noise level of the gasoline or diesel options but the natural gas option is dang quiet! The fiberglass case is very well noise insulated. I first saw and used them in Haiti and said then I had to have one when I got home and I did. Unless I am next to mine when it cranks for its weekly self-test/run I very seldom even hear it. We used a lot of the big diesel gensets in USMC and on our project in Cameroon and other overseas projects and they were very loud.

   Oh yeah - I have lost power and I have lost natural gas (back when my line over the creek was exposed - I have since buried it under the creekbed) but, so far, I never lost both at the same time.
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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2017, 07:34:13 pm »

A nuisance in the dark. Naa... If your unit is electric start then put
a battery minder on it and a couple 12 volt led lights. When the electric
goes out just flip the led's on. I run gas but I like the idea of LP because
you can let your unit set all year and it will start right up.

 

 

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2017, 07:58:44 pm »
Diesel powered 10 KW, steel case , lead lined-very quiet. Fuel transfer pumps and filters for in and out and wheels for mobility. 100% reliable for the last 17 years. We built two home sites with this little guy and it just keeps on going. The sets in my boats would last only a couple of years even with good maintenance. Rob

  

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Offline Roger2561

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2017, 08:30:36 pm »
We had a full house emergency generator installed about 15 years ago when my dad's health was deteriorating due to emphysema.  He had to be home alone while I was at work and I always worried during the cold times of the power going out and no heat in the house for him.  So, an emergency generator made by Generac was installed.  It's LP fired, will start automatically when power is lost to keep the house warm and to give me a piece of mind.  Another important thing to keep in mind is the food in the freezers and fridge, you don't want it going bad.  The longest it's ever run is 5 hours due to many trees being blown over during a severe thunderstorm.  Every Saturday it comes on automatically to keep the battery topped off.  It takes synthetic oil so I change it every other year along with the oil filter.  Roger 

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2017, 08:51:29 pm »
Tule,

   Glad you had good service but I am certainly a proponent of natural gas followed by propane over gas or diesel. If you do have a major/long term outage you will have problems finding fuel, and the few stations open often ration what they sell.

   BTW - Pete, et. al, you might check with your homeowners insurance to see about coverage. In my recent repairs one of the first questions my insurance asked was if it was a permanent or temporary installation. When I told them it was a permanent installation, along with repair tech explanation of the cause, they never batted an eye in covering the repair costs.
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Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline Andy White

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #20 on: March 29, 2017, 09:05:32 pm »
After hurricane Rita hit south east Texas, we were without electrical power for six weeks to the day! We had 2 -7000watt gas generators. I searched for gas the first week every day after work. Gas was 4.05 a gallon, and I used 10 gallons a day running the well on one gen. and the few necessary circuits on the other. Needed one of these Generac's  then!!  Just fill it and forget it.       Andy
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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #21 on: March 29, 2017, 09:27:30 pm »
WV, you are 100% right- but that applies to any fuel . Certainly something we have thought about. Rob
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #22 on: March 29, 2017, 10:23:46 pm »
Tule,

   Yes but as mentioned several times in this thread the propane is less affected by degradation than gas or diesel and with the readily available tank size it is easier to store several weeks supply and know it will remain ready for use.

   For the events like Andy describes everyone except lucky folks with uninterrupted natural gas will all have problems but with a big propane tank you have more response time to react.
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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #23 on: March 29, 2017, 10:36:48 pm »
Again a good point . All of the gas and  diesel fuels at my place need to be treated with fuel additives immediately anyway or nothing runs.Probably where I am at( CA.)  I'm more worried about the ability of major suppliers being able to pump at all in the event of an EMP or dirty bomb in the neighborhood. So.......That leaves plan B.  Rob
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Offline florida

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #24 on: March 30, 2017, 06:33:49 am »
We don't have natural gas available around here so it's usually propane. We've installed several 25KW whole house units ad they work like a charm. However, propane has a downside. Typical tank size for a 25KW is 1,000 gallons. A friend of mine has one that, except for the weekly 15 minute run check, hasn't been needed for almost 10 years. For those 10 years he's had $3,000.00 worth of propane stored in his backyard. That's a lot of money to keep tied up.
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Offline LeeB

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #25 on: March 30, 2017, 06:58:28 am »
I haven't really checked too deep into it, but the gasoline burners can be converted to propane. Hasanyone done this and what are your thoughts on it?
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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #26 on: March 30, 2017, 07:36:03 am »
Pete, quite a few of the propane fired generators in this area.

One story I hear often is "the start-up is so quick, most times we don't even have to reset the clock on the microwave"!   ;D
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Offline petefrom bearswamp

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #27 on: March 30, 2017, 09:19:48 am »
Wow great responses.
I'm sure I can get by with a smaller setup, but generac units in smaller capacities dont use that much less fuel.
Not sure of all requirements for my needs. but i want to operate my well pump, 2 freezers,  3 fridges, 3 garage door openers, my outdoor boiler with all the circulator pumps for my baseboard heat, lights in the house and shop, TV, microwave, a small electric water heater in my shop, and a small electric heat unit in the shop bathroom.
 Havent tried running my mini split AC yet, but maybe will be offset by not using the furnace.
My little guy wont run my hot tub, so a bigger unit would be nice. as would the automatic change over.
Generac has a calculator for sizing, I will go to that next.
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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #28 on: March 30, 2017, 09:28:47 am »
One potential gotcha for using propane..some propane suppliers will not fill tanks other than their own..They say liability concerns, but I think loss of tank rental/lease charges. My supplier refuses to fill the 30 gallon tank on my rv..which by the way powers a propane genset...
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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #29 on: March 30, 2017, 09:39:02 am »
Chuck,

   Sorry to burst your bubble but most and I know my Guardian genset has a 10 second delay to avoid power flickering on and off. My clocks do go off in any outage.

   Good points on amount of fuel stored and associated costs but that is decision we all make. If you are using propane for cooking, hot water and/or clothes dryers not such a big issue as it will be used anyway but if only purpose is genset ... I admit I am spoined with natural gas I only pay for after I have used it.

   I filled 6- 5 gallon plastic gas cans a couple days ago for mower, ATV, mill, etc and cost over $82. If running a genest that might be 2-3 days constant use as I understand.

   There are plenty of places around here who provide propane to the public and just sell by the pound/gallon and don't restrict to their own bottles. The big suppliers may only fill their big tanks. It is something to consider and check.

Howard Green
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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #30 on: March 30, 2017, 09:41:14 am »
Pete, rather than calculating couldn't you just turn it all on and use a clamp-on ammeter?  Many units capture/record the highs and lows.
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Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #31 on: March 30, 2017, 09:41:25 am »
Timely thread.  I am off grid for my cabin.  I also have to have a hydrant (water pump) for my required fire sprinklers.  The system needs to run 10 minutes pumping 32 gpm at 35 psi. (or something very close to that).  The system will be dispensing 330 gallons of water in the event of a house fire.  So, I had planned on an inverter running the large pump (2hp) from my battery storage bank.  However, the building department is requiring a self-starting generator to be available should the batteries not be fully charged.

I was considering propane as it has a shelf life, unlike gas.  However, I'm up at 5,600' elevation and generators  (gas engines) are derated as you go up in elevation - correct?  The generator may be used to top off my batteries in prolonged cloudy days when the wind turbine doesn't keep up.  There will be no "standby" or "backup" use for this generator since all my lighting will be 12v and cooking / refrigeration will be propane.  There is no need for an ATS (no utility service).

I've also heard that a gas unit can be converted to propane - so just a matter of getting the right size in an auto start model?

Does a propane unit need to be fired weekly for any reason other than to know it works and to top off the starter battery?  I could see solar keeping that charged and when it is cloudy, it is typically very windy at my property - so never run?  A 2hp motor (at 240v) is drawing about 11 amps (IIRC).  How big of a generator would be necessary, keeping in mind my elevation?  Once I get that worked out, then sizing the propane tank.  I figure a 10 gallon would be sufficient - big enough for the required run but not so big as to tie up a lot of capital!  Plus, I can keep that stored/installed under the deck with my "kitchen" tank.
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Offline pineywoods

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #32 on: March 30, 2017, 09:59:59 am »
There's another option nobody has mentioned. Lot's of chicken farmers around here. Most of them have a skid mounted genset of fairly large size, set up to run off a tractor pto. If you have a diesel tractor, most likely have a diesel tank handy. Fuel in it gets turned over frequently so no long term storage problem.. I bought a new 10 kw generator head for $300, intending to build a tractor pto drive train, somehow never got around to it ....yet....Most engine driven welders will also produce several kw of 110/220 ac power. Makes a good excuse for buying a welder..
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Offline sawguy21

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #33 on: March 30, 2017, 12:20:27 pm »
That would work if you don't mind leaving the tractor running for up to days at a time to provide power and you still need to frequently refuel. To answer ljohnsaw's question, the generator fires on a test cycle to ensure it starts and the systems are all functioning properly. The battery is kept up by a trickle charge supplied by the utility power.
The Generac Guardian and Briggs and Stratton standbys I am familiar with are not designed to be used as a backup for solar systems or as primary power sources. They need utility power and an ATS to function as designed, any other application will void the warranty. Most licensed electricians won't hook them up any other way due to liability concerns.
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Offline Onthesauk

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #34 on: March 30, 2017, 12:34:41 pm »
Not sure if they are still available but a few years ago we bought one through Costco for the fire department.  Propane, big enough to run a three bay fire hall, automatic start up.  At the time I think with panel and installation was under $3,000.
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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #35 on: March 30, 2017, 12:51:33 pm »
Pete,

   I forgot to respond earlier but as to items to hook up, my 17KW unit came a power box with 3 - 220v amp breakers (I run my pump, oven and dryer off those which is all my 220 items), 3-15 amp 110v breakers and 3 - 20 amp 110v breakers which do both reefers, the dryer, computer, TVs, sewing room, kitchen, 3 of the bedrooms, etc. We have ours hooked to code and I have about 3/4 of the items in my house hooked up and left off the lower priority areas that are less used. Realistically I could have doubled up on several areas and run the whole house since we don't run everything at one time anyway with just me and my wife here most of the time. I am sure the larger units come with a larger switch box but we survive very comfortably with ours. Look at what you need and buy the size unit you need.
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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #36 on: March 30, 2017, 04:55:03 pm »
All this talk got me looking on E-bay at the LP engines. Someone listed a
tar trailer for sale. In his postings he said that if it did not sale that he was
going to part it out. I sent him a message that I would be interested in the
LP Carburetor & Regulator. He ended the auction and put the Carburetor & Regulator up for sale. I got it for $45.00. So now I guess my generator will
be LP.

 

 
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Offline sawguy21

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #37 on: March 30, 2017, 10:16:37 pm »
 :D :D I don't think I know anybody that can top you for scrounging.
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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #38 on: March 30, 2017, 11:28:11 pm »
If converting from gasoline to LPG would the generator still be able to put out the same KW's?
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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #39 on: March 31, 2017, 12:23:40 am »
My generator is 5kw. I think if I tighten the spring on the gov.
that I will still get my 5kw after the conversion.
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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #40 on: March 31, 2017, 01:01:27 am »
If converting from gasoline to LPG would the generator still be able to put out the same KW's?

As long as the conversion is done right it should put out comparable power. Regular car engine conversions make about the same HP on LPG.

Methane (natural gas) burns with less energy, so converting an engine to that might drop you 20% or so.
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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #41 on: March 31, 2017, 02:10:42 am »
I really like the idea of converting to dual fuel capacity as I have both fuels readily available. Any thoughts on or experiance with this product?

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #42 on: March 31, 2017, 07:39:33 am »
Chuck,

   Sorry to burst your bubble but most and I know my Guardian genset has a 10 second delay to avoid power flickering on and off. My clocks do go off in any outage.   

I don't know that from personal experience, I'm just saying what I've heard! 

Just sayin'!
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Offline 21incher

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #43 on: March 31, 2017, 08:20:51 am »
A couple of weeks ago we had a windstorm that took out power for many and Costco got in a truck load of 9k generators that could run on both propane and gas with no conversion. I thought it was a great idea so you do not have to worry about stale gas from sitting. It looked like you just had to turn a valve to switch and could use whichever fuel that you could find in a emergency. Plus the propane option will not kill people that do not run them in a safe location. :)
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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #44 on: March 31, 2017, 08:28:54 am »
I hate the thought of relying on a gasoline engine in an emergency. I'd go with propane if I already had the tank. Our just be done with the grid and go solar.
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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #45 on: March 31, 2017, 08:35:33 am »
Many if not most of these gasoline engines don't have shutoff valves anymore.  This is the secret to keeping these engines running.  When putting them up for more than a few weeks, turn off the valve and run the carb dry.  They'll run again even with crappy old gas as long as that crappy old gas wasn't sitting in the carb.  Better yet, drain the whole system dry and just pull the engine over a few times every month or two.  And keep mice and critters out of it.  Lay bait blocks all around.
We certainly put up with a lot of crap just to have some tools and self sufficiency, don't we?
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Offline petefrom bearswamp

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #46 on: March 31, 2017, 08:43:44 am »
Bit the bullet and bought the 22kw Generac guardian
I got a discount of 87 bucks for sending a check vs credit card plus will be getting a 3100 pound pressure washer as a bonus. comes with a whole house 200 amp auto switch box
propane vs natural gas, natural at full load, 310 cu ft per hr, propane 140, half load 216 natural, 93.2 propane, plus output is 22kw propane and only 19,500 natural.
I will be installing myself with help from my retired NYS elec and gas friend for the electrical and another retired friend who was in the propane business. I plan to purchase the tank, not sure of size yet he will advise me and he can get me a tank at a discount.
As I understand it the propane supply has to be properly sized or the gen wont function well, 10-12" water column, starts at full load, 350,000 btu per suppied spec.
I went with this for the convenience, dam the expense.
My wife is 9 yrs younger and I should depart this mortal coil well before her and she wont have to worry about power outages which we seem to have several of every year.
other items it is recommended that the unit be shut down every 24 hrs of continuous operation I assume to let it cool some
I think I read that the test interval can be set longer if desired as can the switch time from utility to generator.
Here the power will attempt to come back on a few to several times before going off completely.  WV I dont know if 10 seconds delay will be enough.
also propane vs natural Im sure natural is substantially cheaper, but not an option in bear swamp.
I am excited to get the install done.
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Offline Ox

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #47 on: March 31, 2017, 08:52:20 am »
 8)  The piece of mind will be worth it. 
Shut down for how long after 24 hrs?  Is it maybe to just be extra cautious and to check fluids, etc.?  I'd break it in on regular oil then change to synthetic and never give it another thought for a couple hundred hours!
It's a good feeling knowing that you're able to have the same style of life after a power outage.
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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #48 on: March 31, 2017, 09:50:54 am »
We have PP+L here for our electric company. One of the workers told me
that if a tree or something shorts out the line the automatic circuit breakers
will try to reset 3 times. After the third time they wont come back on until
the short is removed.
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Online tule peak timber

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #49 on: March 31, 2017, 09:58:38 am »
Pete,

   I forgot to respond earlier but as to items to hook up, my 17KW unit came a power box with 3 - 220v amp breakers (I run my pump, oven and dryer off those which is all my 220 items), 3-15 amp 110v breakers and 3 - 20 amp 110v breakers which do both reefers, the dryer, computer, TVs, sewing room, kitchen, 3 of the bedrooms, etc. We have ours hooked to code and I have about 3/4 of the items in my house hooked up and left off the lower priority areas that are less used. Realistically I could have doubled up on several areas and run the whole house since we don't run everything at one time anyway with just me and my wife here most of the time. I am sure the larger units come with a larger switch box but we survive very comfortably with ours. Look at what you need and buy the size unit you need.
Can you share more info about your genset/transfer switch? Make , cost , engine particulars ?Your fuel tank size. Thanks Rob
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #50 on: March 31, 2017, 10:27:56 am »
Pete,

   Congratulations. You will not regret this purchase. I bought mine because I was working overseas and my wife was here alone or with the kids and every few years we'd have an ice storm take down the lines and she would be without power for up to a week sometimes. I was in some warm climate or on the road in a hotel with heat and light and running water. I'd think long and hard about changing that self start function as it only runs about 10-12 minutes and the fuel savings might be insignificant compared to the dependability of it cranking every time. The time delay does handle most of the power company restart attempts.

Rob,

   Attached below (If I can figure out this new to me function) is a couple of pages from my manual with the specs you asked for I hope. I have the 17KW genset. As mentioned elsewhere since I am on Natural gas I get a little less power than if I was using propane but it is irrelevant to me since it does what I need. Also with natural gas I have no tank. The switch box and all the cable needed to hook up came with the generator. It is sized for the unit.

   I ordered the genset and they shipped it and dropped it off here at my house. I had already had my plumber Tee into my existing gas line and run a line to the outside where I was going to put the generator. He installed a ball valve so everything was ready when we went to hook up (actually a year later as I waited to buy the genset after running the line as my wife took an LOA and joined me on a Norway assignment for a year). My buddy from the power company came over and hooked it up one afternoon.
Howard Green
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Offline Bill Saf

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #51 on: April 01, 2017, 02:26:34 pm »
I thought I would put up some numbers for you so if your thinking of getting a hole house genset from generac you could use this to size your tank and know run time of the genset. 500 gal LP tank @ 80%= 400gal you need to run the genset on vapor. The Exercise cycle will use 0.4 gal  at 25% load 1.4 Gal per hr or 11 days 24Hrs per day, at 50% load 2.1Gal per hr or 7 days at 24hrs per day, at 75% 2.9 Gal per hr or 5 days per 24hrs per day, at 100% load 3.6 Gal per Hr or 3.5 days 24hrs per day.The numbers are based on a lp tank with 400 gals in it. the 22KW genset has 999.cc ohvi v twin air cooled engine.

Just my .02 cents
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Offline petefrom bearswamp

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #52 on: April 01, 2017, 04:16:51 pm »
Bill may I assume that full load will be called for only rarely?
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Offline Ianab

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #53 on: April 01, 2017, 05:13:30 pm »
You might never need full capacity.

That's when the AC is on, and someone is cooking dinner in the oven and cooktops, and the fridge and freezer are both running, and the vacuum cleaner, and then you come in and turn on the coffee pot and draw another 1500W on top of that.

We have an electronic power meter than will display the whole house load. Just looked and it reads ~4.5 kw. But that will include 3 kw for the hot water heater. 1.5 is the more normal load of the various appliances that are running. Alternatively I can push it up to ~9kw if I go and start cooking, but that's only a short term thing. House has a 60A 240V main fuse, so ~14 Kw would be "full load"
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Offline Bill Saf

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #54 on: April 01, 2017, 06:08:08 pm »
the things that will pull the most power are some of the things you and I would not think would. Like the refridge, freezer, AC unit, any and all motors, coffee makers, toaster, electric heat, electric hot water tank, electric stove ( last three are genset killers if the genset is to small or border line ) just FYI a refridge runs at 50-75 watts but needs 750-800 watts to start. if I was to make a pot of coffee some toast and the refrideg and freezer kicks in the genset will see 4600 watts for a sec or two
then see 3100 watts. you need to size for the biggest draw for when things start +20% and round up to next full KW. I have a owb it pulls 40 watts if I had the pump go out and I had to turn the coils on the ele furnace the coils will pull 19.1 kw to heat the house and if I was making coffee, toast well you see where its going Id be over 22kw and the hwt not on yet

Just my.02 cents worth

Bill

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #55 on: April 02, 2017, 10:41:27 am »
I remember microwave ovens using more amps than I expected, along with the automatic defrost cycle that most fridges have today.
Deep well pumps will burn out and fail if the generator isn't big enough to swing through the startup amp draw.  This is where a heavy flywheel comes into play.  There will be no problems with your big 22k generator setup.  :)
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Offline petefrom bearswamp

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #56 on: April 11, 2017, 07:34:44 pm »
Generator came today my pal is coming tomorrow to start the electrical end.
on the propane end I am still trying to decide whether to lease tanks or buy.
If i buy tanks propane may be cheaper over the long run I am told.
One local supply co. will install 2-120 gal tanks for 200 bucks and initial fill at 139.9/gal, but market price after that along with 72 bucks per year lease fee.
Another local co will fill my tanks for 165.9 for the foreseeable future.
Best price I hav efound so far for 120 gal tanks is 495 bucks plus freight for asme tanks which do not need recertification.
Any thoughts and/or advice on this?
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Offline Texas Ranger

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #57 on: April 11, 2017, 08:54:57 pm »
We have a 15kw that runs everything but the central air, windows units use less power.   250 gallon propane,, lasts about two days are bit more,, depending on what we run.  After Ike we filled three times in 6 days.  But it was worth it, and insurance paid for the fuel.
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Offline petefrom bearswamp

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #58 on: May 25, 2017, 08:09:30 am »
Got the hookup completed 2 weeks ago.
Had a micro burst and rainstorm come thru last Thursday while we were on our way home from a plant buying trip.
Generator was running when we got home.
Power was out 23 hrs and I had the propane company fill the tanks \.
Used 23 gallons, at 39 bucks and change.
Not too bad IMO.
I also lost 5 nice cherry and one large Hard maple.
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Offline samandothers

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #59 on: May 25, 2017, 09:05:02 am »
Pete
Sounds like a just in time installation!  Glad it performed well. We plan same for future house.

Which tank size did you go with?  How did you know the quantity of LP used?

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #60 on: May 25, 2017, 09:10:55 am »
Too bad you needed it,but I am glad it was there for you.
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #61 on: May 25, 2017, 09:58:45 am »
Pete,

   Glad it worked as planned and you also have a better feel for the operation costs when you do have to use it. That's actually a little higher than I'd have expected but way cheaper and more comfortable and more convenient than a hotel room.
Howard Green
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Offline Dave Shepard

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #62 on: May 25, 2017, 11:29:27 am »
We have a 15kw that runs everything but the central air, windows units use less power.   250 gallon propane,, lasts about two days are bit more,, depending on what we run.  After Ike we filled three times in 6 days.  But it was worth it, and insurance paid for the fuel.

I ghink there is something wrong with your numbers. Five gallons an hour for 15kw is too much. My 25kw diesel only burns 5 quarts an hour when loaded heavy. Even taking into account the difference in energy density, that is way off.
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Offline petefrom bearswamp

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #63 on: May 25, 2017, 06:51:06 pm »
I have 2 120 gallon asme certified tanks.
Propane companies  only fill to 80 percent here so get 192 gallons.
I know the use because the tanks were refilled yesterday and took 23 gallons so should last 8 days with continual use.
I left all breakers on including my hot tub to test the use.
If a prolonged outage happens, I will shut off all but the essentials as I MAY  be able to do without my daily hot tub soak..
I didnt go with diesel because of the degrade over time of the fuel which may sit in the tank for many months or even years.
Unless of course you have a lot of outages.
Here only one or 2 a year usually of short duration.
Main reason for this install is to put my honey's mind to rest when I'm gone. I am 9 yrs older.

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Offline sandsawmill14

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #64 on: May 25, 2017, 07:27:03 pm »
Wow great responses.
I'm sure I can get by with a smaller setup, but generac units in smaller capacities dont use that much less fuel.
Not sure of all requirements for my needs. but i want to operate my well pump, 2 freezers,  3 fridges, 3 garage door openers, my outdoor boiler with all the circulator pumps for my baseboard heat, lights in the house and shop, TV, microwave, a small electric water heater in my shop, and a small electric heat unit in the shop bathroom.
 Havent tried running my mini split AC yet, but maybe will be offset by not using the furnace.
My little guy wont run my hot tub, so a bigger unit would be nice. as would the automatic change over.
Generac has a calculator for sizing, I will go to that next.

i havent red the whole thread yet but the way i size for standby is figure the average kw used for the year BUT check by the month for spikes in usage in the summer or winter should be the peak then size the genny at or maybe 5% above peak  and for my on personal use it would be  diesel engine period they will start period ;) if i were closer to town so i could have natural gas might change my mind but i doubt it :D i have serviced so 30+ year old gennys that start instantly when you flip the main to trick the ats but mind you they have less that 1000 hrs on them  ;) we get alot of bigger units out of hospitals when they upgrade that have 200-300 hrs on them some are nat gas but most are diesel mounted on a 500-1000 gal fuel tank depending on the size of unit  :) i was looking at a couple of cat units today one was a one was a 650 kw with a 3412 engine and the other was smaller with the 3406 but i didnt read gen tag to check the kw but i would guess it was 200-250 kw there was also a nice little elliot genset sitting there but i didnt look at it to even know what type of fuel it was it was likely a 20-25 kw judging by the size of the cabinet it was in :)

 sorry about the rambling  but my point was (before i got sidetracked  ::) ) figure what size genset you need and put it in dont just go by whole house  :) it may not be big enough or it might be twice what you need and with gennys you want all you need but you dont want more than you need or the fuel will cost you more for nothing  from now on ;)
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Offline woodmaker

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Re: Standby generator
« Reply #65 on: May 30, 2017, 07:52:26 am »
I went with a 12k diesel standby,but tied it to my furnace fuel oil tank. I have a 200 amp manual transfer switch that runs the whole house.My thought was that i almost never have gas around,but I could run a long time if i drained fuel from dozers,excavators,etc in an emergency.In the winter i treat my heating oil tank with Howes,just like the diesel equipment.
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