Portable Home Generator Questions

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If you have Propane or Ng get a Tri fuel unit, gas goes bad and filling it and storage is a pain. a 3600 rpm gas unit of Honda motor quality is worth maybe 2-4000 hours, cheap motors you get much less life, the cheapest around 300 hours. How you load it will determine alot of its life. 10 days running full will wear out some units, the biggest life increase is low rpm 1800 and lower but those are alot more money commercial units.
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On 1/22/2010 3:22 PM, James wrote:

starting 7350. Transfer box, as others point out, requires only one 240 plug and will power my furnace, well, refrigerator, 2 small freezers and some left over for some TV and lights. Big items like AC, electric stove and hot water heater were left off circuit. Unit is noisy but less than half price of a Honda but in the 4 years I've had it, it's probably been run less than 50 hours. I store the unit full with two 5 gal cans of standby gas. You don't need to run the generator full time, like when you are out of the house or asleep. Living in a state like Florida where gas stations may be out too, then you need to store a lot of gas but not here in Delaware. Guess it depends on where you are in NC.
If we had gas, a gas generator would probably be preferred as it would be cleaner and maybe get by with less frequent start-up intervals.
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Of course, during a power cut, you try to use as little electric as possible. Partly to save fuel, partly cause you don't want to stand out like a lighthouse in a harbor. And all the moths, I mean, neighbors, will magically fly over and ask to come in and watch TV.
Natural gas or propane might also be quieter than gasoline.
Whatever your choice, chain it securely when it is running. Generators are a very high theft item. If possible, don't leave it out past dark.
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Christopher A. Young
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snipped-for-privacy@nospamfdn.com says...

Here is a site with excellent comparisons of different fuels:
http://www.nooutage.com/fuels.htm
--
Dennis


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Do Diesel engines of the size for a home generator-I'm guessing in the 10 HP range, use glow plugs to start? And can they be easily started manually. I would imagine pulling on a rope against the compression of a Diesel, and trying to spin it fast enough to start would be difficult at best. Just curious. Larry
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After last month's ice storm in North Carolina, I have decided to invest in a portable generator.
CY: You, and at least a few others.
After some research at various sites, I am certain that around 8 kw will fit my needs.
CY: How'd you get that number?
In terms of efficiency and fuel use, which generator type is best..... gas, diesel, or propane ?
CY: Diesel and propane are more efficient, and the fuel stores longer. They are more expensive to purchase.
Has anyone here used a tri-fuel generator, such as the one made by Northern Industrial Tools ?
CY: No.
How can one safely and properly store 150 gallons of gas ? I figure this is the maximum amount that i would need in any severe storm. I am aware of the use of Stabil, and I would also "rotate" the gas at least once a year.
CY: You'd want to check wtih the local building codes people. If there are no such people, please consider a diesel generator, and a 275 gal tank of home heating oil. It's essentially the same as diesel, but it's a different color. Since you're not using it for motor fuel, no worries.
Has anyone here used a propane generator ? If so, how well did you like it ? What model have you used ? If you have not used one, do you know of one on the market right now, in the 8 KW range ? (I find that all the propane ones I find are much larger generators, up to 12-15 kw or higher).
CY: Larger isn't necessarily a bad thing. If a generator runs at part load, there is less wear.
In terms of fuel usage, is a gallon of propane about the same as a gallon of gas ?
CY: Gal of propane is less, I think. During a power cut, you want to run as little as possible, so your power cut electric needs are different than your grid power needs.
I need 6 120 volt circuits, and two 240 circuits. The 240 circuits are needed for hot water, and water pump. Will this mean that I will need 3 distinct power cables run from my generator to the transfer switch in the house ? Are these pre-manufactured cables in given lengths, or will my electrician custom make cables ??
CY: Should need one cable, and a good electrician will do all of that.
If I use a propane tank, it may well be 50 feet lower in elevation than my generator, and up to 100 feet away. Will the propane travel an uphill run like this ?
CY: Propane, also called LPG, is a compressed gas. Released to the air, it flows down hill. In the tube from the tank to the generator, it will EASILY flow uphill.
What is your favorite generator in the 7-8 KW range ?
CY: No preference.
-------------------------
Well, that should be enough questions for now !!
CY: Naah, there's plenty more questions.
Thank you in advance for any comment or advice !!
James
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## See imbedded comments
James wrote:

## Money is easier to store than gasoline. Hurricane Yikes made a believer out of us regarding sufficient fuel on hand (every gas station for 60 miles was without power to pump fuel). We now have oodles of gas cans and plan, when the forecast is for bad weather (hurricanes for us, ice storms for you), to get them filled in advance of the storm. We figure, after the storm passes, we can use the gasoline for our vehicles.
## If you go for propane or diesel, you'll have to muster a different strategy.
## If your generator uses one gallon per hour of gasoline, I'd think 50 gallons would be sufficient. First, you won't be using the generator 24/7 - there will be times - like when you're sleeping - you'll shut it down or you can have 'roaming blackouts,' two hours on, one hour off, or other rationing techniques. Second, when you get down to your last five or six gallons, you can forage for more fuel.

## The number of circuits and so forth is handled by your transfer switch; there will be ONE cable from the generator to your distribution panel. You can have a cable custom made, but cables do come in standard lengths (10', 25', 50', etc.). They ain't cheap!
## The 120v outlets on the generator are for use at a construction site or similar where there is NO distribution panel. The builders plug their saws and compressors directly into the generator. For emergency power, as in your situation, these outlets on the generator are typically not used.
## Footnotes: 1. Plan on some method of anchoring your generator against theft. 2. A couple of 100' extension cords are nice so you can accommodate your neighbor's minimal electrical needs (refrigerator, TV,...). 3. Generators are generally louder than the hinges on the gates of Hell. If you DO pay a premium for a quiet one, its only advantage is that you can better hear your neighbors' loud generators. 4. In these difficult financial times, I see several ads for generators on Craigslist at substantial savings. People seemingly are turning their seldom used assets into cash. You might find a bargain. 5. You can dispense with the transfer switch by adding a double 50-amp circuit breaker to your panel and wiring it to an external plug. If you do this, you'll need an interlock (Google for) to fit your panel. The interlock switch prevents the mains to the pole from being energized by your generator.
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HeyBub, your comments are very very helpful and informative. Many thanks !!
James
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I have always wondered why states (especially those prone to hurricanes, storms, snow storms) do not require that ALL gas stations have a simple backup generator so they can pump the gas that is in their tanks. And, of course, once the generator is started they can use their own gas pumps to keep filling their generator gas tank to keep it running.
I always think how stupid it is in a natural disaster emergency that people who need to evacuate can't get gas because the gas at the gas stations is unavailable simply because the gas station doesn't have the power to pump its own gas.
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Not only that but they dont make any money when they have no power.
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ransley wrote:

Most stations here in South Fl. have added there own generators. They learned a lesson after the 3 big ones a few years ago. I still have 40 gals. locked in my shed.
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Chuck wrote:

You are rotating your stock, right? Even in brand new non-cruddy cans, it does not store real well. Pour a can in the car, go top off the car with fresh, refill the can, lather, rinse, repeat. I don't know what the specs say, but emergency gas over a year old would not give me a warm fuzzy feeling.
-- aem sends...
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aemeijers wrote:

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That is sort of what I do. I have 3 plastic cans that hold 5 gallons each. It usually takes about 2 gallons to mow the grass, so during the mowing season I use the gas out of one can and rotate to the next one. I also use some of that gas for other small engines such as the pressure washer and chain saws. I have a seperate 1 gallon can that I use for oil/gas mix but it is filled from the larger cans. When I go to fill an empty can, I put the Sta-bil in the empty can and go to the gas station. That mixes it up while it is being filled and some on the 3 mile trip back to the house. The gas is rotated very quick in the summer and not usually over 6 months old through the non mowing months.
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Must be worth the expense of the generator, then?
Please replace the gas every year. Pour the old stuff in your car, and buy new. Gasoline does go stale.
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Christopher A. Young
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I put Stabil in all my gas cans. I use the gas for the mowers and it seldom get over 5 months old. When you exercise the generator, you need to have some load on it. I use a portable heater for this purpose. You also need to let it run long enough to reach full operating temperature. After you shut it down, top off the fuel tank. don't forget to change the oil at least once a year.
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Jim Rusling
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

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Not only that but they dont make any money when they have no power.
+++++++++++
It just seems like a no-brainer to me. Gasoline at gas stations is a vital commodity in a disaster and no-power situation. It could even apply in certain "homeland security" (what a joke that is) situations, so they could spend homeland security funds to help gas station owners pay for the initial generator setups.
And, the states could even impose certain no-gouging and even-distribution laws that they could put into effect in a declared emergency. They could authorize, for example, that in declared emergency situations the gas stations could charge an additional $1.00 or so per gallon as an incentive for them to stay open at least until they run out of gas, and re-open when they get more gas if the emergency still exists and the power is still out. And, the emergency regs could limit the size of the fill-up per vehicle to 5 or 10 gallons each. That would help prevent all of the gas stations at the very epicenter of the disaster from selling out all of their gas to too few people. By limiting the size of the fill-up, people would be dispersed at to a wider geographic area and could refill their tanks when they are perhaps 100 miles further away from the disaster center.
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I realize it's fun to play dictator, and dictate how the country should run. But, please remember that the free market and freedom is what made the USA great, in the past. And lack of freedom is much of USA's problems, now. Freedom, the market, profit, supply and demand. To me, that's the answer. Your "no brainer" demonstrates lack of brains. Or maybe lack of understanding how the USA used to work.
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Christopher A. Young
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