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First, let me just say, I miss talking to you guys. My life has changed so much in the last several years. It's difficult for me to get much time to do anything leisurely anymore.

 

But when i see a necessity, here I am. Make me feel guilty sometimes to ask questions on here. I don't want to give the impression in abusing you guys as a resource. 😬

 

Although I have wondered, there's nowhere I feel like I can turn to except you guys, where I can certainly respect your opinions more than anyone elses.

 

Recently, we have gone through a spat of winter snow storms. Started last Friday and has snowed every day since then except Wednesday. We have accumulated so much snow in such a short period of time that we have lost power several times for several hours at a time. 

 

It's caused me to look harder at a standby generator to get through these patches of outages. My wife is a stay at home mom now with our one year old. It wouldn't bother me to live without power, but now I have a family at home to think about. 

 

So ive been trying to do some research and figure out what brand of generator to buy and what fuel source to decide on. 

 

Initially I was thinking of a generac with a propane setup as I want to install a propane furnace at some point also. 

 

Does anyone have any thoughts on the matter? I think I want to get something around the 20kw range so we can continue on through the outage without a single thought of throttling back to conserve power. 

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I understand that a propane generator will use significantly more fuel in propane than if it where a diesel fuel generator.

 

You will also have to install the automated switching so your generator does not electrocute the lineman working on the downed power lines by backfeeding into the power grid. I use my wood stove for heat and cooking if the power is out. Then fire up the little honda with an extension cord under the door to the fridge to keep from losing perishables. Next I give everyone a small flashlight and they're happy. The biggest problem is the well since it takes a big generator to run the pump so we usually use water sparingly to run off the remaining pressure in the pressure tank. Sometimes we will use the rv for showers if we de winterize and fill it up before a storm.

 

Most folks put in the proper switching and breakers and get a diesel generator to do the job, but It's expensive.

 

My woodstove alone has saved probably 30,000 bucks over the course of 40 years. I split by hand cause I like doing it and most my wood has been free.

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A dual feed gas/propane would be nice to have but would depend on your readily available fuel source . 
 

Gasoline will be more reliable in the fridged temps, propane might be stubborn to start at temps below -10 F. and not start at all at -20 F.  In a true emergency I would rather have gasoline at least it’s more readily available,  

We do have a propane fired generator at one of our remote shops where I work it’s a big Cummins generator powered by a 460 ford converted to propane and is inside of shop. It’s plumbed into a 500 gallon propane tank that’s used to heat the shop and hard wired in with a transfer switch that auto trips and starts the second the main power fails. Its never failed to start except once when the propane tank was empty, It’s a nice set up, but very expensive. and very loud too. you don’t want to be inside that shop very long when that thing is running at wot.
 

 

 

 

 


 

 

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On 1/17/2020 at 8:59 AM, Royal Squire said:

Propane is a lot cheaper than gasoline or diesel, at least right now. Might consider a duel fuel generator although I don’t have any experience with one. 

I thought about diesel, because almost everything I use is diesel. Use 55 gallon drums to store off road. Would keep things fresh. But this would be more maintenance for me too. 

11 hours ago, JAG1 said:

I understand that a propane generator will use significantly more fuel in propane than if it where a diesel fuel generator.

 

You will also have to install the automated switching so your generator does not electrocute the lineman working on the downed power lines by backfeeding into the power grid. I use my wood stove for heat and cooking if the power is out. Then fire up the little honda with an extension cord under the door to the fridge to keep from losing perishables. Next I give everyone a small flashlight and they're happy. The biggest problem is the well since it takes a big generator to run the pump so we usually use water sparingly to run off the remaining pressure in the pressure tank. Sometimes we will use the rv for showers if we de winterize and fill it up before a storm.

 

Most folks put in the proper switching and breakers and get a diesel generator to do the job, but It's expensive.

 

My woodstove alone has saved probably 30,000 bucks over the course of 40 years. I split by hand cause I like doing it and most my wood has been free.

I was planning on a 1000 gallon tank for my storage needs. Renting the tank sounds better than owning it too.

 

I'll end up paying an electrician for the transfer switch install, etc. I have to see if I can some other stuff done too, so that I can back feed to my well also. 

 

I have a wood stove. We have adapted to using it in outages. We also run a 5kw portable generator to power the house for certain things. But the way my property is set up from the previous owners, I can't run my well pump.

 

We could almost virtually do everything else one at a time, but no water. We have had to go days without power before also. So while portable generator gets us by short term, I'm looking for a more reliable solution.

 

Unfortunately we don't have our 5th wheel anymore, so limping through a situation with that doesn't exist anymore. 

11 hours ago, 01cummins4ever said:

A dual feed gas/propane would be nice to have but would depend on your readily available fuel source . 
 

Gasoline will be more reliable in the fridged temps, propane might be stubborn to start at temps below -10 F. and not start at all at -20 F.  In a true emergency I would rather have gasoline at least it’s more readily available,  

We do have a propane fired generator at one of our remote shops where I work it’s a big Cummins generator powered by a 460 ford converted to propane and is inside of shop. It’s plumbed into a 500 gallon propane tank that’s used to heat the shop and hard wired in with a transfer switch that auto trips and starts the second the main power fails. Its never failed to start except once when the propane tank was empty, It’s a nice set up, but very expensive. and very loud too. you don’t want to be inside that shop very long when that thing is running at wot.
 

 

 

 

 


 

 

We are rural and closest town is 20 minutes from us. Fuel storage is a factor for us. Whether propane, diesel or gasoline. We've thought about it in terms of unsteady times during fluctuating prices from a terrorist attack to a natural disaster or economic.

 

The other thing that I seem to have to consider is the generators run cycle. Sounds like manufacturers don't like seeing their generators run 24/7 for an extended period?

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Since our current house is on a well I was more worried about emergency power than our previous homes. 

 

I looked at what  we NEED to run during an outage and determined that a 240V 5KW generator is enough to survive on. All out lights are LED or fluorescant and the furnace is proper, plus a pellet stove that only uses a few watts to operate once running. The next biggest items are the multiple fridges and freezers, but they can be cycled and I have a pair of 2000w generators for camping that can be used for fridge/freezer purposes if needed. 

 

I also wanted a dual fuel since we have a 1000 gal propane tank for our house. Lo and behold my folks were getting rid of a 5.5 KW 240V tri-fuel Winco generator, SCORE. It was older, circa '96, and needed some love. So I had the carburetor rebuilt (long story, actually replaced) and other TLC. I put a battery on it and it fires right up, louder than a freight train but fires right up. 

 

For power I don't have the best setup, but it works. I put a pair of 30A RV plugs on my exterior wall right by the breaker box for powering campers in the driveway. The 30A plugs are on opposite legs so I can make a singe 30A 240V connection with them. So I built a deadman cable for the 50A 240V plug on the generator to the 2x30A plugs on the house. I throw the main breaker and marked some other breakers to throw if power goes out. It's not ideal but it works. I'll eventually get a better setup. 

 

5500W is plenty of power for the well, heat, 1-2 fridges, and lighting so were set. We do have to be careful thou, and a long power outage in the dead of winter would get interesting if the hot tub wanted to freeze on me but otherwise I'm pleased. 

 

I have yet to ever hook it up to propane as we just don't get enough power outages. I would still like to, but who knows if I ever will. My folks are now thinking about selling their 6K Honda which has wheels and operates at about 1/2 the volume so I may buy that from them and sell the Winco. 

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Same here. I went the silent direction. 4,000 watt 120 VAC Trace Inverter and solar and hydro power sources. The recovery time between power failure and inverter is about 5 ms for the relay to close. This provide up to about 24 hours of light loads with no generator. I've got a 6,500 watt gasoline generator to cover for the next day if there is no solar or hydro power which you can run to charge the batteries and heavy load. It's rare to start the generator I gave up on the electric start battery for the generator long time ago. The fuel has to be drained and removed after use it might be YEARS before needed next time. 99% of the time I just ride the batteries. The house is converted to LED lights and modern appliances that draw less power. You can still use the laundry mat, well pump, water heater (if backed by the generator), TV and internet (if the local battery is still going at the switch.) The only way to tell if the power is out is check the HVAC head for LEDs lit up if not the city power is gone. 

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10 hours ago, hex0rz said:

The other thing that I seem to have to consider is the generators run cycle. Sounds like manufacturers don't like seeing their generators run 24/7 for an extended period?

That’s because they are not designed for 27/7 use. If your looking for the long term you need to go solar and use the generator for back up charging  :spend:

 

Anymore I think it’s a blessing when the power goes out, we don’t mind being unplugged from society. We just use the kerosine lamps and the wood stove burns 24/7 anyway so we always have heat. 
 

I used to have a cheap 3500w generator that would power up the well and that thing could be heard a mile away, but if craped out and I haven’t replaced it yet, I think they sell them at harbor freight for like 300 bucks new. My Honda eu2000 is not enough to power the well. If it’s a true emergency we have a river running through our front yard so water is always available . Winter time it’s a little tough to find running water being it’s froze over, but would be doable if needed. 

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I have a 8000 watt portable generator that I bought from Home Depot 10 years ago or so.  I bought the plug in for the house, and I back fed it to the breaker box via a dedicated breaker.  I just switch off the main breaker, and switch on the generator breaker and start the generator up.  Works great.  Not to code;  but in a power outage I'm not looking to run everything in the house.

 

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21 hours ago, 01cummins4ever said:

Anymore I think it’s a blessing when the power goes out, we don’t mind being unplugged from society. We just use the kerosine lamps and the wood stove burns 24/7 anyway so we always have heat.

 

@Wet Vette and myself were talking about breaking loose from city services and modern technology. I'm fully set up for cutting the city power at anytime. Then live off the solar and batteries as much as possible. Even my RV is set up with a cheap 1,200 watt inverter and the house battery and meger little 45w solar panel. 

 

We've also got the hurricane lamps and the wood stove for heat and light. Average power outage is 24 hours out here. The longest that I remember is 21 days back in the 1996 flood and mudslides here.

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Late to the party here.  But what do you want to know after thinking about it for a while?  I actually work at the Cummins Power Gen plant in Fridley MN supporting the 10-250kW diesel and spark gen sets from an engineering standpoint.   I'd be glad to offer as much knowledge as I can.

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