Propane Hookup

jimlaNovember 1, 2012

I am not going to do this work myself. I just want to know whats involved or is possible. Currently we have two 120 gallon tanks in series for a family of 4. I believe I rent the tanks. They only supply hot water, a second stove/oven used every now and then and gas logs used every now and then in the winter. Looks like the one tank has a sending unit for tank level monitoring and refills. I'd like to purchase a propane backup generator (4,000 to 8,0000 watts) either permanent (more costly) or portable (less costly) to power essential circuts. Questions:

1. Are these tanks enough to do what I want? I know generator run time is load dependant so maybe its a question of sufficient pressure. Its possible that the logs and generator and second stove would overlap some. The generator could be shut off to heat water and a shower though.

2. With either generator option would it be better to feed from both tanks in series or make parallel tanks and dedicate one to the house and one to the generator? Or can it be valved to do it both ways? The permanent generator auto runs 10 mins ever week to ensure it works when needed. The portable generator would need similar exercise if I remember!

3. With the portable option, what would the hookup look like? That is when I wheel it out for test or emergency use how long and what type of a hose do I use and what kind of dedicated tank/valve setup does it connect to that would need to be installed?

4. Anything I am missing about the propane hookup? I am away of the setback and safety considerations for running the generator near my home.

Thanks

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ionized_gw

Series means that there is tank change valve that switches tanks when the first is empty?

You don't really have to exercise any generator unless you are running it for life support kind of applications. I'd just take it out and test it once a year and put it into deep storage the rest of the time which should be particularly easy with gaseous fuel supplies. Test a couple a month before storm season, if you have one, test a couple of days before the storm is going to hit and then change the oil and put it to bed for another off season.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 2:13PM
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jimla

Ionized
Maybe I am using the wrong term (series) for propane but I have one tank connected to a second tank that feeds the home.

I see your point about exercise less using gaseous fuel vs, gasoline.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 4:32PM
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saltidawg

I've recently been researching the purchase of a small generator in the size range that you are considering. There are a couple of sources for after market conversion kits that will convert a gasoline unit to a Tri-fuel unit ... either gasoline OR Natural Gas OR Propane. I mention this because there are many, many gasoline models out there and fewer propane units to consider.

Some things I've learned: a 20# Propane bottle will provide about the same amount of Kw-Hrs as 5 gallons of gasoline. Propane will not go bad if stored for even years and arguably is safer to store.

But the real selling point, in my mind, is that if there is a prolonged power outage, as NY/NJ/CT is currently experiencing, it can be very difficult to find available gasoline due to gas stations not having power or gas.

Generally propane will be easier to find. In my area, I get my propane for grilling from a Rental Center - which has generators to allow them to stay open and pump propane during such outages.

I did not lose power this past week, so I am still researching. I do not know what the local safety rules are for the residential storage of propane. (I'd like to store two 100# bottles under an open deck.)

BTW, the adapter kits are in the $250-$350 range and look to be a do-it-yourself project if you're moderately handy.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 5:38PM
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ionized_gw

"I'd like to store two 100# bottles under an open deck."

What kind of time do you expect that to last for, about a week?

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 5:48PM
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kalining

talk to your propane supplier. He or she will have all your
answers.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 7:01PM
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jimla

Agreed Kalining. I was hoping to do some research here first and familiarize myself with the process before talking with my supplier in order to evaluate whether they do in fact have all the answers

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 7:11PM
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ionized_gw

It is nice to have some ballpark idea of what to expect before the experts arrive as well. It can feel less of an ambush that way.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 7:20PM
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