Indoor Propane Generator

Indoor Propane Generator

PostBy: Ashcat On: Sun Aug 30, 2009 12:48 am

Propane produces no carbon monoxide--only carbon dioxide and water--and propane generators for indoor use are available. I am considering a portable tri-fuel (gasoline, propane, natural gas) 6000 Watt generator. I have a submerged 300 (or 500?) gallon propane tank in the yard that I no longer use for heat--only hot water and cookstove. When burning propane, I could run it indoors, but I like the portability and flexibility of being able to run on gasoline (outdoors), too. I'm wondering if I could tap into (or steal) the propane line to the hot water heater in my basement to run the generator indoors. The engine is an 11 HP Honda OHV, producing 72 decibels at 20 feet. For large generators the recommendation is usually to not rely on a low-pressure propane feed, since they need a good and steady supply of fuel. I assume the line to the water heater would be considered low pressure.

Here's the generator I'm looking at: http://www.generatordepot.us/winco-hond ... pss6h.aspx . The existing electrical panel is close by--about 15 feet from where the generator would be. I'd put a transfer switch there to run the well pump, and basement and first floor lights and outlets. At full load, the engine burns 1.9 gallons of propane per hour.

Anybody have an opinion about whether a low pressure line would run such an engine reliably? Can the line to the water heater be shared--for example by removing the cap at the bottom of the propane supply to the heater in the picture below?
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Ashcat
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 983
Coal Size/Type: Nut/Blaschak

Re: Indoor Propane Generator

PostBy: 009to090 On: Sun Aug 30, 2009 8:48 am

I think if you run it in the house, your going to have condensation build up. Propane exhaust, if not vented, has alot of water. After your windows fog up, you may find water droplets on your ceiling, and it'll begin to rain inside. I still wouldn't want to breath any of the exhaust.
009to090
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM 520 HighBoy
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: DVC-500 x 2
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Rice

Re: Indoor Propane Generator

PostBy: WNY On: Sun Aug 30, 2009 8:56 am

I would still vent it outside, any problems in combustion could cause CO into the house. Why chance it with your life.

http://www.propane101.com/carbonmonoxideandpropane.htm
WNY
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90K, Leisure Line Hyfire I
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Re: Indoor Propane Generator

PostBy: Poconoeagle On: Sun Aug 30, 2009 9:09 am

I agree with Chris. Yes that feed pipe is sufficient to supply the gen. usually the gen will come with a pressure regulator. it should give the spec i.e. 11lbs or 15 lbs ect. different regulators are avail.

the muffler usually has small holes tapped for sheet metal screws to add on a additional flame guard or extension. I would plumb a 1" npt pipe and exhaust it up and out the wall, hence it could be disconnected and used outside if needed. the amount of moisture the exhaust produces will be profound if vented inside. note: it would be wise to provide a fresh air source also .....

you might find it more sensible to buy a rubbermaid smaller storage bin/lawnmower shed and keep it outside then just open the doors and lift the lid when in use.
http://www.globalindustrial.com/gcs/pro ... paignId=WI
Poconoeagle
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Buckwalter & Co. , EFM520
Stove/Furnace Model: No. 28 Glenwood 1880, Alaska

Re: Indoor Propane Generator

PostBy: Ashcat On: Sun Aug 30, 2009 9:49 am

Thanks for the helpful responses. If there's any chance of CO (and WNY's article indicates there is, without ideal fuel:air ratio), best to have it outside/vented to outside. Not to mention the indoor rain :D

My wish would be to somehow use the propane supply tank for the generator, so I'm trying to figure the best approach to doing that. Another way, instead of having the generator indoors, may be to get a supply line plumbed off the line from the tank to the house, before entering the house. Then, the electrical connection from the generator to the transfer switch would have to brought inside for a long (maybe 70 feet) run to the main panel. Is that feasible? That way, I could change fuel to gasoline without moving the generator or making any other changes. One way or another, looks like I'll be poking a hole in the foundation, no?
Ashcat
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 983
Coal Size/Type: Nut/Blaschak

Re: Indoor Propane Generator

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Sun Aug 30, 2009 9:50 am

Outside the house.

That cap where you are thinking of connecting to is at the bottom of a moisture trap. If you connect there you'll need to use a tee and provide another moisture trap below the present tee.
Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
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Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert

Re: Indoor Propane Generator

PostBy: Poconoeagle On: Sun Aug 30, 2009 11:11 am

A tee off the house feed will feed the gen and 3/8" copper is enough, 1/2" for sure. poke a hole thru the foundation, 70 feet is no problem with correct guage wire. Like wood -N-coal said, a moisture trap is wise, meaning a loop in the flex copper will do it. think of a drain trap under your sink where the heavy particles could settle. face the exhaust away from the house so the noise follows it..
Poconoeagle
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Buckwalter & Co. , EFM520
Stove/Furnace Model: No. 28 Glenwood 1880, Alaska

Re: Indoor Propane Generator

PostBy: crazy4coal On: Sun Aug 30, 2009 7:42 pm

If you remove the drip leg and use a close nipple and tee and then put the drip leg back in you will be fine. Put another shut off for the gen, then if the gen needs to have the gas shut off doing so will not bother the hw. Make sure you test for leaks! Good luck
crazy4coal
 
Stove/Furnace Make: buderus
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Re: Indoor Propane Generator

PostBy: djackman On: Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:45 am

You won't regret putting the genny outside, had a 3600rpm "screamer" indoors on nat. gas years ago - never again. The added heat in the winter is welcome but isn't during the summer, and the noise is unwelcome any season. Now have a 1800rpm water cooled Kohler 4cyl in the garage on a cart, it's night and day.

Anyway, you would be under-spec with 70' of 1/2 pipe - rated for 96k btu/hr. Burning 172k btu/hr at full load (propane @ 91k btu/lb). 1/2" line would be acceptable to ~20 feet, over that you would need 3/4". If you bring liquid to the gen, and it's outside, make sure the lines and vaporizer are sufficient for cold weather operation.

Winco is a good brand, although I prefer brush type heads. If you have extended outages consider a used Kohler or Onan commercial grade 1800rpm set - you could pick up a used Onan 12.5JC or 15JC for less than the price of that one.
djackman
 
Stove/Furnace Make: 1980 vintage Tarm
Stove/Furnace Model: FT22 (aka 202) installed!

Re: Indoor Propane Generator

PostBy: Poconoeagle On: Tue Sep 08, 2009 9:24 am

hmm, didnt know that. i guess bigger is better in that case. I think he asked about the electrical run of 70 ft tho
Poconoeagle
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Buckwalter & Co. , EFM520
Stove/Furnace Model: No. 28 Glenwood 1880, Alaska

Re: Indoor Propane Generator

PostBy: djackman On: Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:07 pm

Assuming the well pump is 240v, gen is rated at 21A@240v, it would be protected on a 30A breaker = #10 wire as a general rule.

Unless local codes say otherwise It could get by with #10 wire, but I would use #8. 70' is a rule of thumb breakpoint for stepping up to the next size conductor to compensate for voltage loss. Advantage is if he wanted to run the genny at 120v, or upgrade to a large genset, the circuit would have the capacity to upgrade to a 50A capacity.

Here's a calculator for wire/distance voltage drop:

http://www.elec-toolbox.com/calculators/voltdrop.htm
djackman
 
Stove/Furnace Make: 1980 vintage Tarm
Stove/Furnace Model: FT22 (aka 202) installed!

Re: Indoor Propane Generator

PostBy: coalkirk On: Sun Sep 27, 2009 8:15 am

WOW! Don't know how I missed this thread. No way you should even consider running this in the house. While it may be true that lp produces co2 and water as exhaust, when that co2 exhaust gets sucked back in as combustion air and reburned, it's going to produce co. It can't possibly say in the documentation for this unit that it's safe to run inside.
coalkirk
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000
Coal Size/Type: antrhcite/rice coal

Re: Indoor Propane Generator

PostBy: whistlenut On: Sun Sep 27, 2009 8:40 am

This installation would certainly hasten the 'Day of the Dirt Knapp'. Man oh man, even if you have never had a monoxide headache from a gasoline powered device without adequate ventilation, a propane death would be from lack of oxygen...either way, DON'T do it. Adequate ventilation would solve the situation, either an indoor or outdoor install.
:sick: :sick: :roll: :? :shock:
whistlenut
 
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Re: Indoor Propane Generator

PostBy: ken On: Sun Sep 27, 2009 12:18 pm

I use a gas one in the kitchen. I had a guy weld a larger treaded fitting over the exhaust hole on the muffler. I put the generator by the back door. I drilled a hole in the door the same size as the pipe. Pipe end is about a foot from the door outside. I really didn't have a choice , I have to have heat. I can start it with a pull rope attached to the ceiling through and eye bolt. Gives me enough of a pull to start it. I have all the cords run in the basement. One to the stove , which I can also run the PC and a light off of. Then one to the fridge if the power is out for awhile. Also at the fridge one I put the CO detector. When I run the 3,500 watt unit it never comes off high idol to run everything. Tank of fuel lasts about 18 or so hours. I can fill it with a battery operated pump. In the winter I hve the unit full , nothing in the carb and a extra 5 gals. If I need more , somebody will get it for me. Not uncommon to be without power for days here. I live on a deadend road. Were always last on the list to restore power. If i'm up when the power goes out. I can start the generator , plug in the stove and never loose the fire.
ken
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker - Rice Coal
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Re: Indoor Propane Generator

PostBy: Poconoeagle On: Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:01 pm

Sounds like you have your bases covered Ken. congrats.
Poconoeagle
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Buckwalter & Co. , EFM520
Stove/Furnace Model: No. 28 Glenwood 1880, Alaska