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#1 BC9696

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 08:32 AM

Trying to determine the best overall make, model and fuel option for powering my residence in the event of a long term blackout. Need to run 2 fridges and 2 freezers and would like to power some lights and my pool pump periodically as well. Don't want gasoline and am thinking a natural gas unit might be the better option since it will be permanently installed near my pool pump. Determining the size is hard for me because I am not an electrician and wouldn't know an amp from a watt. I figure they make em big enough for hospitals so there should be one I could use to power my 4 bdrm home as effectively as SDG&E does now. Anyone got a firm handle on this stuff? If we had a major power outage, the natural gas still flows right? Or am I wrong?

#2 CA Desert Dog

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 08:53 AM

OK, Bruce. Start here Generator InfoI spent about 30-years at sea operating diesel power-plants for propulsion and electricity generation. If you have questions, I will be happy to help. Keep in mind that you will be much better off with a diesel tank in the yard than depending upon anything piped in. The whole idea of stand-alone power is being self-sufficient. In an emergency situation, you will be cutting back your demand anyway. A 15 to 30 KW generator should suit your needs under an emergency situation. Remember, more KW equals more gallons per hour.

#3 homemade

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 09:05 AM

I have been looking at them for a while for the house.If you wanted too you could get a propane tank mounted next to the generator and no under ground piping.Also the gas ones have more output then the diesel ones. 15 to 20 kw will run everything in your house pretty much.

#4 Brant

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 09:20 AM

We have 5-6 outages a year and I use a portable Subaru 6000 Watt generator. I run 3 fridges, heater fans/blowers, home network/wireless, miscellaneous lights, and even an old color TV. It plugs directly into my house after the main is pulled. Next time I would buy a larger Generac but still portable (maybe 15K) gasoline unit (we don't have nat gas). The less expensive generators like mine (maybe under $1000) spin the generators at a much high rpm and tend to wear faster. If you plan some extended or commercial use of the unit I would consider a better generator like a Generac. Also, the power filtering is better if you tend to run more sensitive electronics like computers and HD TV's, etc. More importantly, if you use natural gas the generator can be selected for several fuels including your primary source. They also can run be programmed themselves automatically for maintenance sake. My brother has a Siemens 20k generator and I would put the Generac's at slightly higher quality/reliability level. Subaru or Honda have decent engines on the less expensive models. Avoid the various Chinese (Champion, Buffalo, etc). One seriviceman told me the average life of these current Chinese engines is 250 hrs if you are lucky. A Generac can be 10 times that. The prices have really come down on these units so I would say Generac for a whole home unit.

#5 BC9696

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 12:31 PM

I think a diesel unit would tend to be loud (not a good thing in my neighborhood) and if the power is out, getting fuel might be just as difficult as natural gas. I looked at the 27K Generac QT027 and thought the nat. gas or propane fuel would be quieter and more accessible than diesel (you can get propane w/o electricity) plus I am told they require far less maintenance. Is it difficult to reverse wire one of these to your home? I sure like the idea, just flip the gen on and the house returns to normal...even run the AC! :signs1242cn:I would only run the pool equipment as needed to avoid stagnation in the event of a long power outage (weeks, not hours or days). This would ensure i could work and make a living too, as the internet works when the power does not.GENERAC 2.4L ENGINE• All input connections in one single area• High coolant temperature shutdown• Low oil pressure shutdown• Low coolant level automatic shutdown• Overspeed automatic shutdown• Crank timer• Exercise timer• Oil drain extension• Cool flow radiator• Closed coolant recovery system• UV/Ozone resistant hoses• Watertight state of the art electrical connectors• Mainline circuit breaker• Radiator drain extension• Battery charge alternator• 2 Amp static battery charger• Battery cables• Battery rack• Fan and belt guards• Isochronous governor• Flex fuel line• Hour meterSTANDARD EQUIPMENTLiquid Cooled Gas Engine Generator Sets

#6 Brant

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 12:39 PM

Well there are two ways to interface the generator to your central electrical system. The code way and then the way most of us with portables do it. I simple extended my fuse box into a new one on the garage end of my home and them wired a 40 amp 220 outlet in the garage. I have a 60 ft 10 guage cable I built for interfacing the generator to the house. You DO NOT EVER want to back feed powere onto the grid so your Main bring power into the house must be pulled while you are using your generator. Otherswise you could theorically fry a electrical worker out fixing the problem on a line, etc. The code way to do it is to install a switchover that does this eith manually or automatically when a power outage is detected. It is how much money you are willing to spend. The Generac you are looking at has the main circuit breaker built in along with the exercise timer. It is a very good unit.My buddy with a Generac told me that model may have a Mitsubishi engine which is a good thing.

#7 Baja_Traveler

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 03:18 PM

Brant makes the point I was going to bring up - rig your system up to provide a means of switching out the main grid. I have a manual switchout for my 3kW solar electric system. You could open yourself up to a huge liability problem if your generator backfeeds the grid, not just electrocuting someone, but your generator will be out of phase with the grid once power is restored and could cause more damage than you'll ever be able to afford when the electric company comes after you. I have a $3000 inverter that spends about 10 minutes after a power outage synching itself to the grid before switching back over to avoid that problem. But if the big one hits and power lines are lying in the street, I'll just flip the handle and I'm my own little electrical island in the chaos...

#8 BC9696

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 08:26 PM

An enviable solution to be sure. We've had outages in our area for 14-28 hrs but I feel something coming and am thinking I wanna be prepared. Could be an overactive imagination but I feel we are due for a big earthqwuake or two in the very near future and I am not one to ever worry about them. Lived here since 1960 and earthquakes are mere foot massages to me. But this doggone voice in my head just won't shut up...I feel compelled to trust my gut. It's weird.

#9 Rick

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 06:29 AM

My not so humble opinion.....take Red's advise and take a good look at the web site he indicated. There are a vast number of other "reliable" sites and sources available, the key word being reliable so as not to be given possible bad information by well intentioned responders. If you take a look at critical places such as hospitals, government buildings, etc., the common denominator for generator "prime mover" types is diesel powered in most all cases. Diesel is much bettter than gasoline for efficiency and potential hazards (fire/explosion) concerns especially if you do intend on setting up a permanent installation with a sizable amount of run time. Diesel additives to keep out bacteria and fungus during long term non-use is also very important. I personally have quick access to a 15 kw Mitsubishi diesel generator with a Kirk Key type manual transfer switch that suites my home situation. I have also been designing and sizing generators for more than 25 years. I suggest for your needs that you do not "short circuit" (pun intended) your proposed plans by not consulting a well qualified electrical person that understands what's watts.Good luck with your endeavors and Happy Hunting,Rick :smiley-innocent-halo-yellow:

#10 BC9696

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 02:25 PM

There's considerably more maintenance issues with liquid fuels and they require a double walled tank which is impractical in my case. Moreover I am told they tend to be louder than natural/propane gas gens. Is this true? Lord know natural/propane gas is one helluva lot cheaper than diesel and a whole lot easier to store.

#11 Rick

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 12:45 PM

Double walled tanks are used for transporting liquid fuels. A childs small play pool can be used for liquid containment. Diesel generators can be made very quiet when the muffler is enclosed- less than 65 db. Propane will derate a gasoline generator (engine) performance by approx. 10-20%. Methane derates it approx. 20-35%...it's about fuel BTU rating. Propane/methane burns cleaner than gasoline and diesel and can be stored indefinately. Gasoline/diesel with additives have approx. 1.5.-2yr. storage life. Again, there are some tech. folks from the Cummins, Caterpiller, Kohler etc., etc. (Power Divisions) that are better equipped to answer "prime mover" local/specific laws and concerns, sizing, and recommendations. Happy Hunting,Rick :signlol2iu:

#12 Kevin Burroughs

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 06:35 PM

I have a older diesel 12 KV continuous duty generator that runs my home with power to spare. A solar charger keeps the battery up and I pump the fuel out of the tank and into my truck once a year or so. Mine is about 100 ft from the house and it is quite. It sits in a large shed. Keep your gen set serviced, oil changed, fuel filters and air filters clean and they last longer than you will.The double throw switch is mandatory up here to keep from killing the PGE guys.PGE is real good about getting our power back on in less than 24 hours even in most major storms.----------kevin---------

#13 Pogo

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 07:16 PM

Are you thinking piped in NG or a CNG tank for your fuel source? In a long term blackout caused by say an... earthquake, you may have distibution problems if on a municipal NG system. Even if the pipes are intact the supplier may shut the system down just for safety concerns. Compressed tanks also have there own issues, one being that you can't hold a whole lot in one, price of the tanks, etc.Pretty tough to beat diesel for the ease of storage, and the amount you can store. There is a lot more energy in a gallon of diesel than the equivelent of NG. The genset shouldn't be much if any louder if the muffler is designed correctly. Diesel is easy to store and a 200 gal tank or so isn't that big and would last forever. Last I knew there were no double wall tank requirements for anything under 10,000 gal in an above ground tank. (Better double check on that, our tanks are all located in Oregon, CA laws are probably different)I run my house and well pump (the big user of electricity) on a 10kw set. We don't run the dryer but can run about everything else so long as you don't turn too much stuff on while the well is running. It isn't great but works fine. Another way to think about it is most residential services are 100-200 amp. Take the high end at 200 amp @ 240V and your looking at around 24 KW. A 24 KW genset isn't really that big but should be able to run your entire house easily. Just to give you a ballpark idea of what to look for.

#14 Stan

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 10:02 PM

Ok I'll add my 2 centsI like diesel my van runs on it It I would say is the safest fuel you could use and store look at ships fumes are a real danger with gas,propane,natural gas not so with diesel much higher flash point http://en.wikipedia....iki/Flash_pointThe flash point of a volatile liquid is the lowest temperature at which it can vaporize to form an ignitable mixture in air. Measuring a liquid's flash point requires an ignition source. At the flash point, the vapor may cease to burn when the source of ignition is removed.Fuel Flash point AutoignitiontemperatureEthanol 12.8 °C (55 °F) 365 °C (689 °F)Gasoline (petrol) <−40 °C (−40 °F) 246 °C (475 °F)Diesel >62 °C (143 °F) 210 °C (410 °F)Jet fuel >60 °C (140 °F) 210 °C (410 °F)Kerosene (paraffin oil) >38–72 °C (100–162 °F) 220 °C (428 °F)Vegetable oil (canola) 327 °C (620 °F)[1]Biodiesel >130 °C (266 °F)So Cal Edison on there mountain tops for the repeater trunk and microwave have propane but they have Huge storage tanks to run them And you can bet in an 8.0 quake they will shut off all the natural gas as you saw in the news a lot of home's burn as the gas didn't shut off during a quake but the line developed a leak and ignition and Phoof no house :)

#15 BC9696

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 05:28 PM

But if diesel cannot be gotten because the electricity is out, getting gas is no bueno. With the NG/Propane option I could always get fuel from somewhere. propane tanks can be filled w/o electricy...no?

#16 Braz

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 05:47 PM

Nope, you have to have electricity to run the pump to fill the small tank from the big one. Diesel is the way to go.

#17 JimT.

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 05:40 PM

Hi Bruce, I'm on our Disaster Team for two hospitals. I've been told by the county we would not be able to continue to receive natural gas in a disaster. We have been issued generators. My suggestion is to forget about being able to use natural gas in a disaster.

#18 BC9696

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 06:54 PM

Did they say why? I would really like to know since NG has been the only thing historically unaffected by major disasters in the past.

#19 ShooterJohn

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 08:44 PM

Well, they tell you to turn off your gas meter after earthquakes.

#20 StoneTower

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 02:29 AM

Many people have smaller generators such as the Honda EU 2000 or EU 3000. You can run many things with 3000 watts and the fuel consumption is very low and they are quiet. You can keep a fridge and several freezers going by running each for several hours off a smaller generator. Even without a generator, a freezer or a fridge is fine for 1 to 2 days if you don't open it.A small generator that can run for days on a small amount of fuel is better than a big generator that you don't have fuel for. With a small gas generator, you could keep the fuel fresh by burning your stockpile in your car or truck every six months and then replacing it. You could also use fuel out of your car in a real emergency. You don't want to be dependent on any utility if a disaster was to occur.One thing to think about is that being the only lighted house during a disaster could be dangerous. Quiet and inconspicuous and heavily armed is the way to go. In the event of a real disaster, others may feel that they need to take what they don't have. In the event of a real emergency, I give out lead for free to those who feel they can take what I have. :lol:

#21 ratassassin

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 07:27 AM

"A small generator that can run for days on a small amount of fuel is better than a big generator that you don't have fuel for."That's my thinking, too. For disaster preparedness, I've got a 3000 watt portable generator that runs off unleaded gasoline to be able to run the fridge, a heater to keep the kids warm, some lights, just the basics with no frills. I figure I can always get unleaded gas, even if it means driving a few miles out of the disaster zone to fill up a couple 5 gallon cans. Plus I like the low cost of admission and ease of storage. The only thing I don't like about mine is that it's too heavy to move easily. If I had to do it again, I'd get one of the more portable Honda models. Granted, my solution wouldn't be sufficient for a Planet of the Apes scenario. But if that happened, I figure I'd have bigger problems than how to run the fridge.

#22 StoneTower

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 12:44 PM

"A small generator that can run for days on a small amount of fuel is better than a big generator that you don't have fuel for."That's my thinking, too. For disaster preparedness, I've got a 3000 watt portable generator that runs off unleaded gasoline to be able to run the fridge, a heater to keep the kids warm, some lights, just the basics with no frills. I figure I can always get unleaded gas, even if it means driving a few miles out of the disaster zone to fill up a couple 5 gallon cans. Plus I like the low cost of admission and ease of storage. The only thing I don't like about mine is that it's too heavy to move easily. If I had to do it again, I'd get one of the more portable Honda models. Granted, my solution wouldn't be sufficient for a Planet of the Apes scenario. But if that happened, I figure I'd have bigger problems than how to run the fridge.

In a real emergency (if everything went to hell), gas could be obtained with a siphon (or a hammer & nail) and an old coffee can from abandon cars (Mad Max style). During the LA riots, they would not sell gasoline to anyone in a container (it had to go directly into your car or truck gas tank). The authorities were trying to prevent the rioters from making molotov cocktails. I guess the people who riot in LA do not realize that if you poke a hole in the tank of a car, gas comes spilling out. It is not like people who would break store windows, burn cars and steal TVs would have anything against putting a hole in someone's gas tank.

#23 JimT.

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 02:48 PM

Trying to determine the best overall make, model and fuel option for powering my residence in the event of a long term blackout. Need to run 2 fridges and 2 freezers and would like to power some lights and my pool pump periodically as well. Don't want gasoline and am thinking a natural gas unit might be the better option since it will be permanently installed near my pool pump. Determining the size is hard for me because I am not an electrician and wouldn't know an amp from a watt. I figure they make em big enough for hospitals so there should be one I could use to power my 4 bdrm home as effectively as SDG&E does now. Anyone got a firm handle on this stuff? If we had a major power outage, the natural gas still flows right? Or am I wrong?

As part of our disaster planning with the county we have two 6000 whatever generators to run a small community hospital. FYI.

#24 JimT.

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 02:55 PM

Did they say why? I would really like to know since NG has been the only thing historically unaffected by major disasters in the past.

Probably like ShooterJohn said, the gas lines end up with cracks and leaks, therefore shut off the gas.

#25 lilwes278

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 04:55 AM

Propane tanks can be filled w/o electricy...no?

Nope, you have to have electricity to run the pump to fill the small tank from the big one. Diesel is the way to go.

Actually, if it's a stationary tank it would have to be filled from a delivery truck which uses a PTO driven liquid pump (or vapor compressor). Another way to transfer smaller quantities is to "sweat" the propane from one tank to another, making sure one tank is a bit warmer than the other and then opening the valves. The liquid will be drawn into the cooler tank due to pressure differences. When I used to haul propane I sometimes acquired old portable propane tanks that still had fuel in them but did not have the newer OPD valves. I would "sweat" the remaining liquid into my newer tanks by leaving the old tank sitting out in the sun and running cool water over the newer tank. I never could get every last drop but it still worked surprisingly well. Hypothetically you could "sweat" a gallon or two into your storage tank, then fire the generator & provide electricity to an electric LPG pump (that you would have to provide along with an extra hose & brass fittings), but in the end you still would have to get a delivery truck out to your house which may not be possible under chatastrophic conditions. For filling portable tanks without power, just bleed out all of the pressure. The pressure from the main storage tank will push liquid into your portable and cracking the bleeder screw will keep the liquid flowing without equalizing the pressure between both tanks. Most bulk storage tanks have anywhere from 60-130psi in them.

#26 homemade

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 04:10 PM

Was just looking at my northern tool catalog and it has some generators that will run on gasoline, propane or natural gas and nothing to change to switch between them.

#27 bzzrd feedr

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 05:18 PM

We have several backup generators in various KW capacities. Diesel is the only way to go. We have above ground 2000 gal. Con Vault fuel tanks (steel lined septic tank basically) and cycle the fuel through other diesel equipment as needed. Propane is your only other option and would involve a large propane tank and it can be delivered to places with no electricity. A cabin in the forest is proof of that. I believe they run the pump off the PTO. If you are in a residential neighborhood then you may want to check codes as to storage of any kind of fuel in bulk. A few small generators and being low key is best like someone previously had said.. You can keep a freezer cold for a long time if you don't open it much and plug it into a generator for a few hours a day.

#28 BC9696

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 09:22 AM

Whaddaya think of this one? http://www.generator...ucts/DS7200.asp

#29 ShooterJohn

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 03:11 PM

Truthfully I think it is most likely junk. They must be manufactured by that company Generator Factory Outlet because no DuroStar company comes up in a Google search. Buy a quality generator with a name brand motor on it. Something that has known reliability because generators run a very long time when you need them. Get something you can get parts for. Name brands are name brands for a reason. It doesn't tell you who the engine manufacturer is and that's a pretty important piece of information since it powers the unit. Will it work, probably for awhile and then because the engine isn't a cast iron sleeved motor it will probably loose compression and quit. Generators aren't a place to skimp. When you need it to work it needs to work. :doh[1]:

#30 Yodel Dog

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 05:04 PM

DuroStar looks like it's made by Changzhou Yarmax Power Co., Ltd., at least by comparing pics.Alibaba




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