Gas vs propane generator?

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Gas vs propane generator?

Post by ER-HI-GU on Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:02 am

Anyone have any experience for/against propane generators?

Thinking about getting one for the house.
- 6000~8000 watts or more
- Connected to the house via manual transfer switch

I've used gas generators before, was wondering if propane is easier to maintain when stored and during use.

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Re: Gas vs propane generator?

Post by Beladran on Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:06 am

All I got to say is diesel.....

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Re: Gas vs propane generator?

Post by ER-HI-GU on Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:30 am

Why diesel? Will check on cost of a diesel generator, if not to bad then it could be an option.

I don't have much experience with diesel. Was thinking of propane for long term storage of fuel (6-12 months) or even connecting it to the house gas line.

Also want the generator to last 10-15 years or more, but with proper maintenance and storage pretty much any generator would do.

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Re: Gas vs propane generator?

Post by shoeshooter on Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:38 am

Propane. Fuel will store for years. With that size generator you can get a 100 - 200 gal tank and be good for many days of run time. Even with ethanol-free gas with stabil you're looking at a few months at best.

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Re: Gas vs propane generator?

Post by sand_man on Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:57 am

Either one can be wired in to kick on when the power is out.

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Re: Gas vs propane generator?

Post by treedog61 on Sun Aug 26, 2012 12:59 pm

I have a conversion kit for my generator that converts it to propane. With this kit, it can run on either. Haven't got it all hooked up yet. Gonna get a tank and set it in the yard.

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Re: Gas vs propane generator?

Post by southernfire97 on Sun Aug 26, 2012 4:36 pm

Propane for a whole house unit. Diesel will get algae in it way too quick, fuel treatment will delay it but it will still happen. Propane is the much better choice.

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Re: Gas vs propane generator?

Post by turable.shot on Sun Aug 26, 2012 5:48 pm

treedog61 wrote:I have a conversion kit for my generator that converts it to propane. With this kit, it can run on either. Haven't got it all hooked up yet. Gonna get a tank and set it in the yard.

You lose about 10% output rate (for each move), going from gasoline to propane to Nat. gas.

I might have the propane and Nat. Gas reversed, but the the % is still the same.

Just for general info.

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Re: Gas vs propane generator?

Post by vblackwell on Sun Aug 26, 2012 6:58 pm

I test 21 Diesel and Natural gas generators at the hospital every week. Natural gas runs great but it does make the engine run alot hotter than diesel. Make sure if you do install one that it can get plenty of fresh air or it will over heat. Turable.shot was right. You will loose about 10% + or - on both LP/NG. If I were you, I would hook it directly to the house natural gas. That way you know its always there read to run. Also, you need to load test all generators to 30% of its load rating at least once a month.

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Re: Gas vs propane generator?

Post by shoeshooter on Sun Aug 26, 2012 8:42 pm

Here's a link to an article about propane power:

http://ericpetersautos.com/2012/07/15/dont-depend-on-just-gas/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EricPetersAutos+%28Eric+Peters+Autos%29

This is a conversion kit maker:

http://www.propane-generators.com/


I don't presently have a generator (I did when I lived on the coast).

I'm still searching for propane fuel consumption data, e.g. how long can you run a 5k generator on say, a 20 lb. LP bottle. Can anyone help with this?

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Re: Gas vs propane generator?

Post by bubbat on Sun Aug 26, 2012 9:55 pm

shoeshooter wrote:Here's a link to an article about propane power:

http://ericpetersautos.com/2012/07/15/dont-depend-on-just-gas/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EricPetersAutos+%28Eric+Peters+Autos%29

This is a conversion kit maker:

http://www.propane-generators.com/


I don't presently have a generator (I did when I lived on the coast).

I'm still searching for propane fuel consumption data, e.g. how long can you run a 5k generator on say, a 20 lb. LP bottle. Can anyone help with this?

Found this on Consumer Reports
"Most portables use roughly 8 to 22 gallons of gasoline a day, compared with four to eight 20-pound tanks of propane for portable models. (A 250-gallon tank for stationary units can run 8 to 15 days.) "

Reading the spec on some generators, most 5k-7k are rated at 1gal/hr at 50% load for LP

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Re: Gas vs propane generator?

Post by ER-HI-GU on Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:15 pm

Loss in output only applys to converted generators? 5K gas unit converted to LP will put out 4500K +/-

Was thinking about connecting generator to the houses LP, but does the gas stop flowing when the power goes out? Other than a break in the gas line, has the LP supply to residences been interrupted?

1-2 day outages in the tropics is a minor issue to deal with, but the restaurants and businesses back home were setup to run independent of the utility grid which made things more bearable.

How reliable is the power in the Ridgeland, MS area? How often does power go out for more than 2 days?


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Re: Gas vs propane generator?

Post by PhillipM on Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:39 pm

ER-HI-GU wrote:Loss in output only applys to converted generators? 5K gas unit converted to LP will put out 4500K +/-

Was thinking about connecting generator to the houses LP, but does the gas stop flowing when the power goes out? Other than a break in the gas line, has the LP supply to residences been interrupted?

1-2 day outages in the tropics is a minor issue to deal with, but the restaurants and businesses back home were setup to run independent of the utility grid which made things more bearable.

How reliable is the power in the Ridgeland, MS area? How often does power go out for more than 2 days?


To clarify, LP is propane (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) in portable cylinders to run your grill or a 250 gallon + silver tank in your back yard serviced by truck. Natural gas is piped to your home and remained available during Katrina's aftermath.

Before Katrina, I'd have said power never goes off in Ridgeland for more than a few hours. There were many who burned their last drop of gas running a generator to save some food during Katrina only to be left with no gas and no food.

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Re: Gas vs propane generator?

Post by ER-HI-GU on Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:06 am

Thanks for clarifying. I have absolutely no experience with natural gas.

Only grew up with gas, Liq Pet, charcoal/firewood.

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Re: Gas vs propane generator?

Post by PhillipM on Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:27 am

ER-HI-GU wrote:Thanks for clarifying. I have absolutely no experience with natural gas.

Only grew up with gas, Liq Pet, charcoal/firewood.

Natural gas is odorless and colorless and burns very clean, like propane but with less BTU, if I recall correctly. Due to new technology called fracking, the cost of natural gas has dramatically dropped in the last couple years. I recently installed some signs on the new vehicular natural gas pump at the Flying J truck stop on US80 at US49 in Pearl. I wonder how much use it will get?

If it were discovered today, the EPA and greens probably wouldn't allow it to be used.

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Re: Gas vs propane generator?

Post by moredes on Tue Aug 28, 2012 9:22 am

My choice was propane over natural gas (NG) and diesel. Diesel was never a consideration; storage longevity, expense, its' energy output and the fact that its' cost can fluctuate wildly (partly) according to political climate ruled it out for us.

Economic factors vs. storage capacity were the main consideration in our choice between NG and propane. We can run for more than twice as long on the same amount of propane. Here's the advice we used:

While propane is sold and delivered in gallons, it can easily be converted to cubic feet, which is how natural gas is measured for delivery. The cubic foot unit of measurement pertains to both natural gas and propane in their vapor forms. Provided that 1 cubic foot of propane contains 2,516 BTU and 1 cubic foot of natural gas contains 1,030 BTU, it is accurate to say that propane contains over twice the usable energy content per cubic foot (2.44 times more). Applying these numbers to compare the energy values in real-world examples, we'll use a 100,000 BTU/hr furnace to demonstrate the comparison.


100,000 BTU/hr furnace will use about 97 cubic feet of natural gas (100,000 á 1,030 = 97.1) in one hour
100,000 BTU/hr furnace will use about 40 cubic feet of propane (100,000 á 2516 = 39.7) in one hour


from:
http://www.propane101.com/propanevsnaturalgas.htm

Yesterday, we had the tank topped off for $2.59/gallon. In July 2010 it was $2.39/gallon, so the price is fairly stable.[quote]

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Re: Gas vs propane generator?

Post by ER-HI-GU on Tue Aug 28, 2012 11:37 pm

Thanks for all the help.

Will save up for a LP/NG generator enough for the whole house, but first have a manual transfer switch installed with a 220 outlet to plug into.



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Re: Gas vs propane generator?

Post by profiler999 on Mon Sep 03, 2012 7:03 pm

I have a natural gas 40kw that puts out 37 kw. Automatic transfer switch with a manual over ride switch should it break. Love it. Best money I have
Ever spent!

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Re: Gas vs propane generator?

Post by OleTimer on Sun Dec 02, 2012 9:59 am

In my opinion the choice of generator depends on many variables, its intended purpose, and the range of scenarios in which you need it to be functional. Some considerations:

For a stationary installation LP gas is probably best because of gasoline and diesel fuel storage issues already discussed, plus in many scenarios the piped nat gas supply will shut down. Thus a large on site storage tank (LP) is a better bet.

If you need to be able to pick and and leave with your generator then your best options are diesel or gasoline. Gasoline generators are generally smaller and lighter than diesel. How you'll transport will be a consideration.

Diesel generators have a bit more flexibility because they'll run fine on home heating oil (its virtually the same blend without the tax on transportation fuels). If you're on a farm you probably already have a diesel fuel storage tank for farm equipment.

Gasoline will probably be the most available fuel, but it will also be in greatest demand.

Since I live in the city my choice is a large but portable gasoline generator that I can transport in the back of my truck if/when I need to relo to my back up location. I keep a two week supply of stabilized gasoline that I store in transportable containers. I rotate the gasoline every 6 months by burning it in my truck and refilling my storage cans.

If I lived in the country with little need of a "bug out" plan I'd probably choose a propage generator. If I had a farm and already had diesel fuel stored for farm equipment then I'd have a diesel generator.

Then there's dual fuel engines that expand options, but that's a bit more complicated.

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Re: Gas vs propane generator?

Post by rrussell on Sun Dec 02, 2012 12:38 pm

For total shtf scenarios, a small inverter can be wired up to the breaker box excluding all 220 appliances and unplugging everything in the house... hooked to a deep cycle battery, this will power the light bulbs of today for weeks using some level of conservativeness... the 220 appliances can be wired into a generator selectively according to need, giving the generator and its fuel a much longer life... the inverter is easily transported, batteries are quite heavy, but not as heavy as a large generator or fuel, and if fuel is not obtainable for a long period of time there will be plenty of vehicles abandoned with hot batteries in them... I've wired a cabin, with no exterior power supplied to it, set up a 950watt inverter and a hot deep cycle battery to run lights, radio, tv only... left it hooked up with everything off and the radio and tv unplugged for six months... walked in, turned it all on and it ran for two weeks of 30 minutes each day using the tv/radio, and a light in each room that was being used while it was used... I setup a solar charger for the battery soon after and now the cabin has lights, tv, and radio and hasn't ran out yet because it charges itself each day... that was in 08 and its still running on the original battery, inverter, and charger... just an idea that may help...

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