Propane Generator Question

Re: Propane Generator Question

PostBy: stockingfull On: Sat Feb 28, 2009 10:13 pm

Great thread for us coal burners.

I'll be following on the load arithmetic but have but one observation to offer on power choice. My wife has a house in south FL and, when Wilma came roaring through there in '05, EVERYBODY was out and getting gas became a BIG problem. So, since propane gens can typically run for days on the kinds of supplies we usually have in fixed tanks, propane is worth the extra first-cost and installation effort, IMO.
stockingfull
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Yellow Flame
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Re: Propane Generator Question

PostBy: bear creek burnout On: Sat Feb 28, 2009 10:24 pm

I have a 15k Generac propane fired generator that works great. It's tied into a transfer switch and operates automatically after loss of power in less than 30 seconds. The unit runs itself every week for about 15 minutes.
Since the labor costs are the same regardless of the capacity, I suggest you install the biggest your budget will allow so that you can add on just about everything you need.
bear creek burnout
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: 503 Insert

Re: Propane Generator Question

PostBy: JB Sparks On: Sat Feb 28, 2009 11:58 pm

ashcat,
Since the ice storm this past Dec. i have installed a few gen.sets for folks.

If you have propane already on your property then propane is absolutely the fuel you should use. Propane gas does not go bad with time. Always ready to go.

Grainer sells a 7kw and 13kw unit complete with automatic transfer switch and panel that includes up to 16 positions for breakers. the 7kw model that i have been recommending goes for $2300 approx. which includes gen. and transfer switch.
It comes set up for nat. gas but, the kit to change it over to LP is included. You provide all wiring between Gen. and switch. Directions are very good so if your handy you could install it yourself. If noise is a concern just locate gen. as far as you can away from the house. The unit has a Briggs and Straton engine. If memory serves i think the noise level is about 75 db.

Hope this will help in your decision

Jeff
JB Sparks
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman - Chubby
Stove/Furnace Model: Harman: SF160 - Chubby Sr.


Re: Propane Generator Question

PostBy: Ashcat On: Sun Mar 01, 2009 12:41 am

Thanks Jeff. If you please, can you give a sense of what installation costs run? Those directions better be mighty detailed for me to consider working with electricity :shock:
Ashcat
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 983
Coal Size/Type: Nut/Blaschak

Re: Propane Generator Question

PostBy: djackman On: Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:33 am

Take a look at a used Onan or Kohler commercial sets that runs at 1800rpm instead of the more common 3600rpm screamers, you ears will thank you after a short run time. The sound-enclosed units cut down the DB's at the expense of cooling the equipment, not a good trade IMHO.

A 15kw Onan JC series would be good unit and can be found for $1k-$2k on greedbay. Most are dual-fuel (liquid/gaseous fuel) and parts are available thru Cummins (if needed) and they can be fixed with not much more than a screwdriver and soldering iron. I've bought and sold a few Onan JC and DJC (diesel) sets, the most repair I've ever done to one was mouse damage in the control box. Many served time at remote radio repeater towers and were designed to run 24/7 with little to no maintnce.

Parents have a 7.5 Kohler powered by a flathead 4 cyl water cooled motor. It replaced a 1971 3kw Grainger 8hp B&S 3600rpm screamer that was run on natural gas. Personally I have a Onan 12.5kw powered by a Wisconsin V4, natural gas.

For a generator that you may need to run 24/7 or for critical use I'd avoid anything powered by a lawnmower engine. Onan motorhome sets also make good standby generators, the old CCK (3-4kw) or NH (6.5kw) sets powered by an Onan twin cyl are a descent midpoint between lawnmower stuff and commercial grade.

Most commercial sets have a common control circuit that can interface with common ATS (Auto Transfer Switch)

It's worth mentioning that your propane tank needs to be big enough that it can vaporize enough propane for the genset in the coldest weather.
djackman
 
Stove/Furnace Make: 1980 vintage Tarm
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Re: Propane Generator Question

PostBy: coal berner On: Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:11 am

Ashcat wrote:Coalkirk, what brand is your 15kW air-cooled? When you say you wish you'd have gotten the larger, quieter (liquid-cooled) unit, is 15 kW not enough for your needs? Or is the sound during "exercise" too much?

Here is some info on the Generac Gens and Auto & Man transfer switches


http://www.generac.com/Products/Residential/Residential.aspx
This link is broken, either the page no longer exists or there is some other issue like a typo.
coal berner
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1986 Electric Furnace Man 520 DF
Stove/Furnace Make: Electric Furnace Man
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Re: Propane Generator Question

PostBy: JB Sparks On: Sun Mar 01, 2009 6:43 am

Ashcat,
I have recommended the Grainger supplied Briggs and Stratton gen. set mostly because of cost and simplicity of design.
If money is not a factor i would agree with others that an Onan is a better quality unit. I have also installed a Generac set and have had on problems with them, they are about as loud and about the same cost as the B&S. When i ordered the B&S from Grainger i had it the very next day, another reason for recommending them. The idea is to have power available should it be needed and to do it without breaking the piggy bank. In reality Gen. sets don't get used that much, it's just when you need them you really need them. Around here some towns were out of power for 12 to 14 days and now that the big storm is over you probably won't need a gen. for a long time. Which is exactly why i like the idea of nat. gas or propane as the fuel of choice, it doesn't varnish up creating a maintance issue. These units do a weekly 20 minute runtime of the engine only and if there is a problem there is circuitry to let you know that manitenance is needed. Pretty nice units for the $$$. If you don't know about electricity and engines your better off having it installed by professional contractors that will be available for maintenance and trouble shooting when and if needed.

I think most electrical contractors would install your system for you for about $800 to $1000 plus $4 or $5 per foot for wire, pipe, and labor to run between gen. and switch. This is just a ball park, cost will vary depending on locations and complexity of the install. The longer the run the bigger the wire size should be. The last one i just installed i used # 6 THHN wire in 1 1/4" pvc pipe on a 7kw unit, we installed the unit a 150' from the house, don't want to have to worry about voltage drop. That doesn't cover the cost for ditching and fuel hook-up usually done by others.
JB Sparks
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman - Chubby
Stove/Furnace Model: Harman: SF160 - Chubby Sr.

Re: Propane Generator Question

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:12 am

If you have propane it is definitely the way to go, it will not have the maintenance, stability and cold start issues of gasoline.
coaledsweat
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea

Re: Propane Generator Question

PostBy: coalkirk On: Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:55 am

Ashcat wrote:Coalkirk, what brand is your 15kW air-cooled? When you say you wish you'd have gotten the larger, quieter (liquid-cooled) unit, is 15 kW not enough for your needs? Or is the sound during "exercise" too much?


The 15kw is enough, it's just noisy. The liquid cooled models run at 1,800 rpms and are much quieter. I also suspect the liquid cooled units will outlast the air cooled ones. But for the minimal use it gets, it probably won't be a factor for me. It's a Generac.
coalkirk
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000
Coal Size/Type: antrhcite/rice coal

Re: Propane Generator Question

PostBy: Ashcat On: Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:18 am

Thanks to all for your input. I'll look into Generac in addition to Guardian. The install cost range is helpful, JBSparks--thanks again.
Ashcat
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 983
Coal Size/Type: Nut/Blaschak

Re: Propane Generator Question

PostBy: Paulie On: Sun Mar 01, 2009 12:42 pm

Coal fired steam is an option. Since reading this thread I started poking around, only one system ready to go and that would
have to be retrofitted with a stoker. If you have a steam boiler, you are half way there. Your generator would simply be another zone. Not going to help if you need it now, but kinda cool to see what can be done. ;)
Paulie
 
Stove/Furnace Make: leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Pioneer

Re: Propane Generator Question

PostBy: Ashcat On: Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:05 pm

Interesting, Paulie--any idea how much electricity it produces? Turbine?
Ashcat
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 983
Coal Size/Type: Nut/Blaschak

Re: Propane Generator Question

PostBy: coalkirk On: Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:18 pm

Ashcat wrote:Thanks to all for your input. I'll look into Generac in addition to Guardian. The install cost range is helpful, JBSparks--thanks again.

Guardian is Generac. Mine is a guardian.
coalkirk
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000
Coal Size/Type: antrhcite/rice coal