Propane generators

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by hank2222, May 21, 2014.

  1. hank2222

    hank2222 Monkey+++

    Ok will tell me enough about propane generators to make me want to trade one out for a diesel set up.I was talking to someone at one who says they are the best bang for the buck In a long term survival power system.

    He was saying that the propane nevers goes bad and it will last for ever and with some basic parts for the unit and oil filters for the engine unit it will last for ever .
    Mike likes this.
  2. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I'm sure @BTPost will be along soon to give the plusses and minuses of each, but here's my take.

    Do you have any other vehicle/engine that runs on diesel? If so there is a common fuel type.
    Diesel properly treated can last a long time (don't use it myself).
    May be able to run the diesel genny on waste veggie oil or waste motor oil, or make your own bio diesel.
    Diesel engines run slower and will have less wear and tear and are sometimes/usually easier to maintain.

    Unless the generator is propane only, you can convert a gas genny to run on gas, propane & NG (this is what I did).
    If you have a propane grill you have a common fuel source.
    Yes propane never goes bad. When I bought my pop-up camper a few years ago it had the original LP tanks on it (20years old) and were still full (can't refill them since they lack the OPD valve). Used the propane for my shop heater, worked fine.
    Propane has slightly less energy than gas so the rated output of the genny will be less than optimal.

    I like the tri-fuel generator. If I had to I could plumb the NG line from the house to it, run from a 20lb tank (or larger) or run from gas. Since I currently have no diesel engines, I didn't think it would make sense to have to store another fuel type just for the generator.

    Don't know if I helped or not :)
    Mike, Yard Dart and kellory like this.
  3. natshare

    natshare Monkey+++

    Propane won't go bad, this is true. However, since it's stored under pressure, in a tank with fittings, you'll have to be vigilant in keeping everything sealed up tight. Just like a fuel can with a pinhole leak, a pressure tank can empty without you realizing it, if you're not keeping an eye on things.

    Much like kckndrgn said, tri-fuel gennies seem to be the way to go. If you possess a little bit of mechanical aptitude, I'm betting you could buy a convertible gas unit, and have the conversion parts on hand, so you could convert to NG or propane later.
    hank2222 and Mike like this.
  4. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I got my kit from here.
    Took me about 30 min to put it on the generator, I can run either of the 3 fuel types at any time without having to change anything.

    propane has been finicky to start with so I generally turn the gas on start the generator, then cut turn the gas off, turn the LP tank open and it will switch over as the gas in the carb runs out.
    hank2222, Mike and natshare like this.
  5. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Diesel will store dang near forever, IF you store it in SEALED Containers, and it is clean, and NO Water included. It is the MOST Common Fuel in existence.
    Propane is a great Fuel for the here and now. It stores forever, IF you can keep it in the Tank. It is terribly EXPLOSIVE, if you have a leak, as it is heavier than Air and will seek the Lowest Point around and Pool up there until it reaches the Explosive Mixture with the Air and any Spark, then it just leaves a "Smok'en Hole in the Ground" For a Prep'er, you also have the problem of Resupply.... IF SHTF do you really think the Propane Distributer will be sending his Truck out to refill your tank? Are you prepared to go to the Distributer, and Refill your tank, yourself?
    Natural Gas has all the same issues as Propane, except it comes to you via Pipeline, so as long as there is pressure in the pipe, Resupply isn't an issue. Everything else IS an issue.
    Gasoline is the most available Fuel, in the USA. If it is ethanolized it stores for about 6 months. Longer in Sealed Containers. It has the MOST BTUs per volume of any of the Genset fuels. Resupply is an issue in ANY Longterm extended Senerio, as MOST locations need electricity to operate their Fuel Pumps and when the SHTF Senerio is NO Electric Power, then resupply is a very BIG Issue, unless you are prepared to go pump it yourself from the Storage Tanks.

    For my money, Diesel is fuel of choice... But I have 100K USG of it in my Tank Farm... so that is NOT an issue in any near term SHTF Senerio.
    Now my Brother, (the Engineer) on the other hand installed a 1000USG Propane Tank, Underground, in his backyard. He also has a BIG Natural Gas Feed to his place. His 20Kw Generac Genset is setup to run, either, at the changing of a few valves. He has a 55USG Gasoline Tank, also setup, that can be brought OnLine, in a matter of an hour, if needed. He also has Solar, for both Hot Water, and Electrical Recharge for his 4Kw Inverter/Charger Battery System that runs essentials in his place. He lives in Utah, where the sun does shine, and in the summers he has plenty of Solar Energy capacity....

    ....... YMMV......
  6. Kingfish

    Kingfish Self Reliant

    I converted my Jeep to run on Propane. For me? today? Propane hands down. I dont run my genset unless I need it. So I dont want to store any liquid fuel like diesel or gas for power needs. Solar is coming soon here but for now we cover short term with gas and long term with propane. I don't plan on resupply with any fuel. That is my real point in using propane. It will outlast the others hands down. store enough for your life is all you can do. Even Bruce will run out of diesel if they stop shipping it up to him. Resupply is the real issue in all fuels sources. I know the propane guy is not coming. However in a real shtf scenario I will scavenge 20 lb propane grill tanks and those 100 pound cylinders hooked to cottages and such. Campers have twin propane tanks on them as well. Here in Michigan there are propane tanks everywhere. Many will be left full or partially full if there is a full scale shtf. Much of the Midwest is this way.

    Bruce is correct that gasoline has the most BTU'S and that it goes bad the fastest. I am on year 4 of stored two stroke stabilized pure gasoline. (no alcohol) Its marine gas and it costs me 4.75 a gallon. I use it in my chainsaws to cut wood. I have enough gas stored to cut over 10 years worth of firewood without resupply. I wont use it for anything else. We are looking at a second 500 gallon tank and several more fork lift tanks for the Jeep. I'm getting the second tank with a wet leg so I can fill smaller tanks from it. Visit my old thread here at the monkey on my generator set up. I have a neat and very versatile system. I just keep adding to it. KF
    stg58, hank2222, BTPost and 2 others like this.
  7. Kingfish

    Kingfish Self Reliant

    The new Power Panel thread We are at the stage of buying batteries now. My wife has been off work for two years with a severe ankle problem so we are very poor now. I am glad we finished what we did when we did. All that propane is sitting there quiet. It needs no care. The tank was newly refurbished with all new valves. I check the fill gauge every couple months still at 80% or 400 gallons. I run the Generac once every couple months off the 100 pound tank which I can have filled local. I now have 4 of those 100 pound tanks and half a dozen 20 pounders.
    hank2222 likes this.
  8. Mountainman

    Mountainman Großes Mitglied Site Supporter+++

    Motomom34 and stg58 like this.
  9. Kingfish

    Kingfish Self Reliant

    here is my propane tank with the tee. Note the 100 pound cylinder behind the big tank. I have a shut off there on that leg. The 100 also has its own regulator as well. It makes using 20,40 and 100 pound tanks a breeze. In my plan a 100 pound tank (23.5 gallons) will last me 52 weeks running the genny for 1/2 hour per week. I only use the 8 k Generac for pumping water once per week and some limited power tool use. I am building a battery bank, inverter and charging system for my 120 volt needs for long term. This gives me 1/2 hour per week of 8,000 watts of 240 volt power. I can go almost 20 years on the propane I have now. If I buy another 500 gallon tank I can use it for one hour per week for 20 years. It goes fast if you run your genny 24/7 . Pump and store water, run your tools during the same time frame. Rationing propane will be a must as will lamp oil, candles, wood , food, and water.

    Attached Files:

  10. hank2222

    hank2222 Monkey+++

    His tank is underground and it a 1000. Gallon sized tank .he was saying it a back to the generator as other fuels runs out .

    He has a smal 2.5. Kw propane generator unit as part of his back up set along with solar set up for his placec
  11. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    condensate 018.JPG
  12. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    I like what you have already set up, but when I see those large propane tanks, I keep thinking what a bomb they would make from such a small piece of lead.
    If it were mine, I think it would be inside concrete walls.
  13. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    Gator , Whats the pix of , For real .

    Buy foundation tar / paint the propane tanks & bury in well drained soil , If they get MT & the water table rises , the tanks pop out like zombies of the dead living ..

    Mine are out of site & under , many 100# & 250 Gallon are around but the big pig is five feet under

    hank2222 likes this.
  14. oldawg

    oldawg Monkey+++

    Underground tanks should be mounted to deadmen (no,politicians don't work at all well). Even half empty tanks will rise if the water table rises.
    hank2222 likes this.
  15. Kingfish

    Kingfish Self Reliant

    We are going to build a treated wood fence around the tanks to hide them but everyone's tanks are above ground here. You need to be able to service the tanks, check for leaks etc. etc. We thought about burying ours and chose not to. Defense of the house starts 1/2 mile away. No one will be shooting holes in the propane tanks. If they get that close we lose anyway.
    hank2222, oldawg and kellory like this.
  16. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    What I produce, Condensate a little over 4700 gallons a day, Pretty green stuff !
    Cruisin Sloth and hank2222 like this.
  17. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    I have a generator like the one pictured in the feature tab. Can I really put a conversion kit on my gas generator and run it off my bbq tanks? This would be great. I have stored fuel but the rotation and making sure I have fuel for vehicles and generator takes up lots of room. But I think a few 40 lbs propane tanks would be easier storage. If I could do this easy it would take worry off of having enough fuel stored.
    Gator 45/70 likes this.
  18. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    More than likely, yes. You will need to get the make/model of the engine that drives your generator. Look at the link i posted above, there you will find what kit(s) work with your engine.
    Motomom34 likes this.
  19. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    I will grab the make & model but any questions, hopefully you can help. I am hoping this is not real technical to put on.
    Salted Weapon likes this.
  20. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    Wish you were closer
    Takes me about 1 hour and 15 minutes to install a kit.
    Motomom34 likes this.
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