Propane generator setup So

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Brent S

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I looked into solar as an emergency backup option, but just couldn't swing the costs. I allready had a generator, but was concerned with the limitations of using gasoline. It is hard to get, store, and loses its potency fairly quickly. The last ice storm I went thru had me stuck for three days before I could get out on the roads, and then I discovered that the closest gas station still had no power, so no gas. After doing some research I decided that propane was the best option for me. It lasts forever, is comparable in price to gasoline, and has multiple uses. So I embarked on a mission to set up a secondary fuel/power source for emergencys.
I found a company called US Carbureators. They make a tri fuel carbureator for engines. I liked the idea of still being able to use gasoline, but having the primary fuel being propane. It can also use LP gas, but being in the country, that isn't readily available. Anyways, three hundred dollars later I got the carb. conversion kit. I don't profess to be a mechanic by any stretch, but it wasn't too difficult to install it. I had to modify the air breather housing and elongate a hose, but as I said it wasn't too bad.
The next thing I had to do was install a line on the house. I put a 3/4" black pipe line on the entire length of the back of the house. At each 10' junction of pipe I installed a tee fitting so I can connect to it later on with other propane appliances. I also put a shutoff on each fitting so I don't have to drain the system each time I add something. I currently want to set up an outdoor kitchen and an auxiliary gas heater, but may replace the water heater later on too.
I called several propane companies and compared pricing, both for the tank rental/purchase and for the fuel price. I ended up just renting the tank for 49.00 a year. It just made more sense than buying one as it had a ten year plus payback. Also if shtf, then I still have a tank, and I doubt the propane company will care anymore. I ended up going with a local company that had the best price on fuel, at 1.55 a gal. Note; buy fuel in the summer as it's usually cheaper. I actually was quoted at 1.79, but in the three or four weeks it took to get the tank set and filled, the price went down. :).
So, today the gas company came back, as they set the tank a couple weeks ago. They painted the tank, filled it and connected it to the line I installed. I was excited, all this work, and now the moment of truth. Time to start the generator and see if it blows up or not. :). I read the instructions on how to install the carbureator kit, but stopped there. When it wouldn't start, I called the company, which by the way, has a great technical staff. The tech politely asked if I had read the entire manual, oops. So after regapping the spark plugs, and adjusting a gas flow block on the regulator, I was ready to try again. Success! She ran smooth as a kitten.
Now I have to install a ground rod and connect the system to my house. Note; any 220v generator needs its own ground before connecting to your house! I learned this the hard way years ago. Long story.
 

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Roninsensei

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I wish propane was that cheap out here!!!!!! 3.25 a gallon was my last fill up and that was the cheapest one..... 250 gallons was painful!!
 

Brent S

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I wish propane was that cheap out here!!!!!! 3.25 a gallon was my last fill up and that was the cheapest one..... 250 gallons was painful!!
Ouch! I read something about fuel pricing once. Supposedly it's the same price everywhere in the contenintal states, it's the local and state taxes that make it different.
Even at half the cost of California's, 400 gal was still no fun. The good thing though, is now it's filled and paid for, and I only have a generator that will get started monthly or so, I won't have to refill it for a long time. I will get my grill connected to it before long, but even then it should last years.
 

DrHenley

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The @$&@ gas companies here will not deliver propane to anyone inside the city limits. So I'm limited to buying propane in the gas grill size tanks for my propane generator.
 

Brent S

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The @$&@ gas companies here will not deliver propane to anyone inside the city limits. So I'm limited to buying propane in the gas grill size tanks for my propane generator.
That's nuts! What ever happened to free enterprise! I'd be likely to consider mounting a 500lb tank on a trailer and parking it in the back yard!
 

Gazrok

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I'd be likely to consider mounting a 500lb tank on a trailer and parking it in the back yard!
I see that done in my area all the time!
 

robinjopo

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Your set up is huge. My plan is that in the future to attach to existing propane line, but for now just use the small tank. I have a 500 gallon tank on premises.
 

robinjopo

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That's nicer than mine. I'm picking it up tomorrow at Tractor Supply Company . It's 4000/3750 running. From my calculations, that should be enough for us since I don't have to use it to cook, heat or hot water. I'm going to get the t an because I'm not sure when we will be able to hook it to the permanent tank. Plus, this one comes with wheels. Most times the wheels are about $30 extra.
 

Brent S

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robinjopo

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We all have genny fever. I'm just thrilled to finally be getting one since my 83 year old mom and special needs son, and worthless when it comes to mechanics husband are all here. The Farmers Almanac says it's going to be a bad winter.:)
 

Brent S

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That's nicer than mine. I'm picking it up tomorrow at Tractor Supply Company . It's 4000/3750 running. From my calculations, that should be enough for us since I don't have to use it to cook, heat or hot water. I'm going to get the t an because I'm not sure when we will be able to hook it to the permanent tank. Plus, this one comes with wheels. Most times the wheels are about $30 extra.
One good thing about a smaller unit is it uses less fuel, increasing your run time. Lots of people, at least rich ones, buy 15 to 20 kW units to run a whole large home. Those will burn up a 500 gal tank in no time. I probably would have went with a 5 or 6 kW unit, but since I allready had this machine, and the fact that it's a welder too, it made sense to work with what I had.
 

robinjopo

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I guess we all have to make due with what we can. I've been wanting one for years , but hubby said no until the other night when he had to sleep without his cpap machine because of a storm. Lol
 

robinjopo

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Well, I bought it. My son and I getting it out of the back end was hilarious. We scooted it into a utility cart. I managed to get Th3 wheels and handle on without too much weight problems. I do have a question. It says to add .6 of a quart of oil. How does that convert into ounces. I just want to know the correct amount. Lol
 

Brent S

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Well, I bought it. My son and I getting it out of the back end was hilarious. We scooted it into a utility cart. I managed to get Th3 wheels and handle on without too much weight problems. I do have a question. It says to add .6 of a quart of oil. How does that convert into ounces. I just want to know the correct amount. Lol
Oil is normally sold in quart bottles. .6 would be just a little over half the bottle. Usually where you pour in the oil there is a dipstick on the cap, or some way to check the oil amount. After filling in what you think is a tad over half the quart, check the level of oil in the machine. Make sure the machine is on level ground when checking oil levels as if it's slanted it won't be a true reading. Another really important part of small engines is to use fuel stabilizer in the gasoline. Gas tends to gum up in a carboureator, espechially in a generator as they don't run often enough. The stabilizer also helps from the effects of the ethanol they add to gasoline now days. One last thing, be aware that you need to run it only outside in a well ventilated area. The exhaust fumes can kill, and carbon monoxide has no taste or smell. Another last thing, it's usually not wise to run your computer or sensitive electronics on small generators as it can damage them. The power fluctuations are not always safe for sensitive electronics. Sorry to dump so much on you at once! The upside is now you can keep your referigerator going thru any normal emergencies! To me the fridge is probably the number one modern day amenity that really makes our lives much easier. Not having to forage for food daily, and keeping veggies fresh 5 times longer is a huge plus.
 

Brent S

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Well, I bought it. My son and I getting it out of the back end was hilarious. We scooted it into a utility cart. I managed to get Th3 wheels and handle on without too much weight problems. I do have a question. It says to add .6 of a quart of oil. How does that convert into ounces. I just want to know the correct amount. Lol
Another thing, does your genny produce 220volts? If your using just 110volts with an extension cord your fine. Try to use the shortest cords you can get away with though as you get a voltage drop on long ones. If you are using 220volts for larger appliances, then you need to hook a ground wire to your generator and connect it to your ground on the house. None of this is as hard as it sounds luckily. Just ask any questions here and I'll be glad to help.
 

robinjopo

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Mine said it had a built in ground wire. Why couldn't they just say......put in half a quart of oil? It would be much easier. I was going to put a little, check it, put a little more, check it, etc. Mine is propane so I guess I don't need a stabilizer. You have been very helpful. I have a pressure washer and tiller so I know a little about the care and feeding of small engines, but it's great to have a place to go like here where I can get good advise
 

Brent S

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Mine said it had a built in ground wire. Why couldn't they just say......put in half a quart of oil? It would be much easier. I was going to put a little, check it, put a little more, check it, etc. Mine is propane so I guess I don't need a stabilizer. You have been very helpful. I have a pressure washer and tiller so I know a little about the care and feeding of small engines, but it's great to have a place to go like here where I can get good advise
I forgot you were looking at the propane genny! That's great as they are so much better than a gasoline carb. You will be happy with that for years to come.
 

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I know this is an old thread, but be sure to turn your master breaker off if you intend to backfeed your whole home, dont want to feed electricity to your neighborhood, or dont want to kill a lineman who forgets to check for stray voltage before touching a wire.

I have a 2000 watt honda generator, put on a trifuel kit so it does gas, propane and natural gas, surprising easy to install, is small enough that it runs a long time on a small propane bottle,
 

Brent S

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I know this is an old thread, but be sure to turn your master breaker off if you intend to backfeed your whole home, dont want to feed electricity to your neighborhood, or dont want to kill a lineman who forgets to check for stray voltage before touching a wire.

I have a 2000 watt honda generator, put on a trifuel kit so it does gas, propane and natural gas, surprising easy to install, is small enough that it runs a long time on a small propane bottle,
Hook that puppy up to 500gal tank and you'd be set for a long time.
 

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