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Thread: Seriously thinking about whole house generator either liquid propane or natural gas

  1. #21
    Boolit Master



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    Well, my backup system is pretty crude compared to all of the above. No massive generator, no massive fuel tank..........just a Listeroid 6 hp diesel belted to an 1800 rpm 2500 watt surplus generator. Hand start with a crank, mounted on a rolling frame that's stashed in a corner of the garage. It has a two gallon tank with a five gallon jerry can next to it. Power is transmitted through a heavy cord to a special outlet in the garage to the breaker panel outside. A manual lockout prevents the main breaker from being on any time the generator is in use to protect power company personnel. Pretty simple, huh?

    During the horrible heat wave we had a couple of months back, the power went down. Normally not something really inconvenient, but when the evaporative cooler quit it got hot........really hot. I wheeled the beast out, swung the crank once and it started immediately. I was able to operate my cooler, refrigerator, freezer, a few lights and my tv set. I discovered later that all 2400 households in my little town were without power. The only places still "lit up" were City Hall, the Police Department, hospital and ME.

    That's a feeling of security that's hard to beat.

  2. #22
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by rancher1913 View Post
    so I guess using a double male cord and pluging into the dryer outlet would be wrong
    Yes, double male cords are dangerous to those not familiar with electrical stuff. And most breakers are not rated for reverse feed so its possible to be feeding stuff that has no overcurrent protection.

    I see your screen name is rancher. Most of my friends are farmers and they just have a way of making stuff work! I understand!

    I'm a professional electrician, retired, and a retired lineman. I've had friends injured from generators and this is a personal thing to me. I meant to offense to you personally.
    Last edited by lightman; 09-18-2017 at 10:20 PM.

  3. #23
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by farmerjim View Post
    But it is OK to plug it into the 50 amp welder outlet.
    Yes, that too! See my reply above!

    I'm a professional electrician, retired, and a retired lineman. I've had friends injured from generators and this is a personal thing to me. I meant no offense to you personally.
    Last edited by lightman; 09-18-2017 at 10:23 PM.

  4. #24
    Boolit Master


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    My friend is a disabled vet who had a setup with a 22 KW Generac and a 1000 gallon propane tank. During Harvey, flood water made the tank float and turned it on its side. Water almost got on the generator. His wife had to wade in thigh deep water in the middle of it all and turn off the tank. Lessons learned. Elevate the generator and have the tank elevated and immovable in some type of anchored cradles.
    One of my father's favorite statements: "If I say a chicken dips snuff, look under his wing for the snuffbox" How I was raised, who I am.

  5. #25
    Boolit Master
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    First of all I'd like to thank one and all for responding to my post. Your comments and suggestions are gr4eatly appreciated. House is 4500 sq ft and all electric. There is a gas line near the house but has been disconnected as we are all electric. No meter installed. Seeing as how it has not been used in over 20 years (galvanized pipe direct buried) I have doubts about its structural strength. And the tie in point is about 200' from the back of the house. I'm 70 and have breathing problems copd and asbestosis. I have been using a 6K gas generator in the past but don't like having to store all that gas near the house. Lowe's sells the 22k LP or NG one but kinda have doubt's about their doing the installation. So it boils down to LP and seeing who sells the generac and the transfer switch and installation plus getting a 1000 gal LP tank. Thanks Frank

  6. #26
    Boolit Master
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    There is a huge difference in units in the 22kv area. One type used a 2 cylinder air-cooled engine that runs at 3600 rpm. The other uses a 4 cylinder liquid cooled engine that runs at 1800 rpm. The life of the two eninges are vast as are the difference in price. The 4 cylinder liquid cooled 1800 rpm engine is quiet, low vibration engine based on a GM auto engine that can run almost indefinately. Both can run on propane or natural gas. The 2 cylinder 3600 rpm engine that is akin to a garden tractor motor.

    If your budget allows, the liquid cooled 1800 rpm engine is a forever generator that can power your whole house including your central air.
    The good thing about science is that it's true no matter if you believe it or not. (Neil DeGrasse Tyson)

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  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by samari46 View Post
    First of all I'd like to thank one and all for responding to my post. Your comments and suggestions are gr4eatly appreciated. House is 4500 sq ft and all electric. There is a gas line near the house but has been disconnected as we are all electric. No meter installed. Seeing as how it has not been used in over 20 years (galvanized pipe direct buried) I have doubts about its structural strength. And the tie in point is about 200' from the back of the house. I'm 70 and have breathing problems copd and asbestosis. I have been using a 6K gas generator in the past but don't like having to store all that gas near the house. Lowe's sells the 22k LP or NG one but kinda have doubt's about their doing the installation. So it boils down to LP and seeing who sells the generac and the transfer switch and installation plus getting a 1000 gal LP tank. Thanks Frank
    I would check out the gas line anyway. Galvanized is rare for a NG line as it will flake off and plug orifices. Usually they are black iron with cathodic protection systems. If it is connected on the utility side it should be protected. If not the cost to run a new line should be less than the fuel cost difference.
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

  8. #28
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by AbitNutz View Post
    There is a huge difference in units in the 22kv area. One type used a 2 cylinder air-cooled engine that runs at 3600 rpm. The other uses a 4 cylinder liquid cooled engine that runs at 1800 rpm. The life of the two eninges are vast as are the difference in price. The 4 cylinder liquid cooled 1800 rpm engine is quiet, low vibration engine based on a GM auto engine that can run almost indefinately. Both can run on propane or natural gas. The 2 cylinder 3600 rpm engine that is akin to a garden tractor motor.

    If your budget allows, the liquid cooled 1800 rpm engine is a forever generator that can power your whole house including your central air.
    This is true and I considered it when I bought mine. But the cost was prohibitive. The cost was like buying a riding mower vs buying a car. If you live in an area where you have to use it frequently for long periods of time the liquid cooled unit probably is worth it. My air cooled unit will have a shorter life span but usually only runs for a few hours at a time. We have an ice storm every 5 or 10 years where an outage can last between 40 hours and 2 weeks. My air cooled unit is fairly quiet, we can barely hear it running. My neighbor had to place his near his bedroom and it bothers him some.
    Last edited by lightman; 09-19-2017 at 06:43 AM.

  9. #29
    Boolit Master
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    Friends,

    At our place in rural WV we have a 20KW generator with a 1,000 gallon propane tank. - It does WELL given the frequent power outages up on the mountain.
    (I don't remember the brand.)

    The tank belongs to the farmer's coop & the tank is filled, as necessary, by the coop's driver/truck.
    ("Rodney" also keeps a watch on all the local houses when he is out on service calls/delivery.)

    We like the rig, given that some years that we've been iced in for 10+ days but everything still worked fine.

    yours, tex

  10. #30
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by MT Gianni View Post
    I would check out the gas line anyway. Galvanized is rare for a NG line as it will flake off and plug orifices. Usually they are black iron with cathodic protection systems. If it is connected on the utility side it should be protected. If not the cost to run a new line should be less than the fuel cost difference.
    I suggest talking to the gas company before committing to propane. Around here the gas company will run 100 ft for free. The cost of the service may be cheap enough to off set the fuel cost. I do see advantages to having a bulk propane tank around though. You can plumb into it to run the BBQ grill or heat your shop and even run your lead smelting operation, of just fill your smaller bottles from it. The drawback to natural gas to me was having to fix my yard. I keep a nice yard and I'll be a year or more repairing my yard where the trench is. If you have to run a new gas line consider putting your generator near your electric meter. Plastic gas line may be cheaper than copper wire, conduit and labor.

  11. #31
    Boolit Master
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    Still in the planning stage. Great idea regarding the 1800 rpm engine (liquid cooled) versus air cooled 3600 rpm. Spend enough hours on a riding lawn mower. Seem to remember the lower rpm engines running better,longer and quieter than the 3600 rpm jobs. Again, thanks. Frank

  12. #32
    Boolit Buddy
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    3006guns... Listeroid??? Man, I am jealous. That is my dream generator. I could listen to it run all day long.
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  13. #33
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    They replaced my gas line this summer. No trench. 3x3' hole at either end and they use a pulling machine that pulls the new line in.

    Quote Originally Posted by lightman View Post
    I suggest talking to the gas company before committing to propane. Around here the gas company will run 100 ft for free. The cost of the service may be cheap enough to off set the fuel cost. I do see advantages to having a bulk propane tank around though. You can plumb into it to run the BBQ grill or heat your shop and even run your lead smelting operation, of just fill your smaller bottles from it. The drawback to natural gas to me was having to fix my yard. I keep a nice yard and I'll be a year or more repairing my yard where the trench is. If you have to run a new gas line consider putting your generator near your electric meter. Plastic gas line may be cheaper than copper wire, conduit and labor.

  14. #34
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by samari46 View Post
    First of all I'd like to thank one and all for responding to my post. Your comments and suggestions are gr4eatly appreciated. House is 4500 sq ft and all electric. There is a gas line near the house but has been disconnected as we are all electric. No meter installed. Seeing as how it has not been used in over 20 years (galvanized pipe direct buried) I have doubts about its structural strength. And the tie in point is about 200' from the back of the house. I'm 70 and have breathing problems copd and asbestosis. I have been using a 6K gas generator in the past but don't like having to store all that gas near the house. Lowe's sells the 22k LP or NG one but kinda have doubt's about their doing the installation. So it boils down to LP and seeing who sells the generac and the transfer switch and installation plus getting a 1000 gal LP tank. Thanks Frank
    Great choice. My wife's dad is a commercial/industrial electrician and did the wiring himself. He was not worried about the summer as Northern New England doesn't get that hot but the winter with his heated floors. The more I think about it I'm pretty sure that underground tank is 1,000gal not 500gal as most on here are saying is what is generally used in this situation.
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  15. #35
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    A rough rule of thumb is a 20# propane tank is equal to 5 gallons of gas if you want to do a comparison...

  16. #36
    Boolit Master
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    A few years back, I bought a MEP003A Military diesel generator. This is a refurbished older style genset that is rated at 10K by military specs. It is actually comparable to a 15 to 18 kilowatt commercial generator. It is an air cooled 1800 rpm unit, and is almost bullet proof. It was designed to run anywhere in the world, and run for months at a time. I have 2 central air units and my home is all electric, and it will run everything without really grunting. I was without power for over 10 days after a major hurricane years ago, and decided then that when I could afford it, I was going to have backup power for my house.
    "Those who hammer their guns into plows, will plow for those who do not"
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  17. #37
    Boolit Master

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    I've hooked up some of those surplus generators for some of the volunteer fire departments and police stations around here. They are like most military equipment in that they are over built and are tough and durable. I could have got one for myself except that I did not want to deal with storing fuel.

  18. #38
    Boolit Master
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    I understand, but I also have a diesel pickup truck, 45 horse diesel tractor, and two military deuce and a half multi fuel trucks... Having a couple of 55 gallon drums of diesel fuel under the back awning of the shop is easily used in my case.
    "Those who hammer their guns into plows, will plow for those who do not"
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  19. #39
    Boolit Master

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    Oh yeah, you are all set then.

  20. #40
    Boolit Master
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    Did a little pricing and comparing the 3600 22kw generator versus the 1800 rpm 22kw generator and the 1800 rpm one is about one third more that the faster one. And at one time (before we bought this house) did have a gas line run from the main that runs through the front of the property to where the well pump house is and although there is no gas meter connected the inlet has a gas cock with a lock on it. And still have a short run that was used to feed the house. So I'm guessing that up to the gas cock with the lock the line is still pressurized. Would have to check with the gas company about the status of the line plus any plans to replace it if and when I need the NG for the generator and also a gas meter. Still researching. Frank

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