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Author Topic: Standby generator  (Read 1872 times)

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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
Learning by day, aching by night, but loving every minute of it!! Running HM126 Woodland Mill, Stihl MS290, Homemade Log Arch, JD 5103/FEL and complete woodshop of American Delta tools.

Offline tule peak timber

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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
persistence personified - never let up , never let down

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.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline tule peak timber

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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
persistence personified - never let up , never let down

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.
General contractor and carpenter for 40 years.

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?
'98 LT40HDD/Lombardini, Case 580L, Cat D4C, Ford 851 tractor, JD 3032 tractor, Husky 346, 372 and 562XP's. Stihl MS180 and MS361, 1998 and 2006 3/4 Ton and 2005 1 ton Dodge 5.9 Cummins 4x4's, 1989 Dodge D100 w/ 318, and a 1966 Chevy C60 w/ dump bed.

Offline Chuck White

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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
~Chuck~
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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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Offline pineywoods

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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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Offline WV Sawmiller

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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
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline Magicman

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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.
John Sawicky

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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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Offline WV Sawmiller

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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.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline Kbeitz

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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.
old age and treachery will always overcome youth and enthusiasm

Offline LeeB

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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?
'98 LT40HDD/Lombardini, Case 580L, Cat D4C, Ford 851 tractor, JD 3032 tractor, Husky 346, 372 and 562XP's. Stihl MS180 and MS361, 1998 and 2006 3/4 Ton and 2005 1 ton Dodge 5.9 Cummins 4x4's, 1989 Dodge D100 w/ 318, and a 1966 Chevy C60 w/ dump bed.

Offline Kbeitz

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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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