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Whole house generator questions and off grid solar #15646183 01/12/21
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Ok so with everything happening I’m seriously considering a whole home generator for backup power needs
What fuel source do you guys recommend?
I have natural gas on site
Do I go natural propane or diesel?
Pros or cons
If I sell and move could take this but new home sight would only be propane or diesel
Could sell with the home
Also looking at a small solar off grid recharging station. Something to keep all my cordless batteries recgarhded and my trolling motors
What are some affordable options there

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Re: Whole house generator questions and off grid solar [Re: IA_fog] #15646197 01/12/21
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Since you have natural gas that is definitely the way to go. If you move & take it with you it can easily be converted to run on propane.


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Re: Whole house generator questions and off grid solar [Re: IA_fog] #15646202 01/12/21
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Re: Whole house generator questions and off grid solar [Re: IA_fog] #15646203 01/12/21
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I'm a fan of diesel, but if you have natural gas on-site, why not use it? Of course, gas supplied can go down to.


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Re: Whole house generator questions and off grid solar [Re: IA_fog] #15646224 01/12/21
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That’s what I’m afraid of but if natural shuts down where would diesel supply be

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Re: Whole house generator questions and off grid solar [Re: IA_fog] #15646254 01/12/21
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Originally Posted by IA_fog
That’s what I’m afraid of but if natural shuts down where would diesel supply be


Well, at some point, all are vulnerable. But if you have solar with generator back up, depending on how often your generator runs to charge the bank, 100 gallons of diesel might last you a year or more (depending). Hypothetically, if you had a 7kw diesel gen-set drinking 1/3 gallon per hour and you ran it for 4 hours every 4 days to charge the battery bank (which you would probably only need to do from time to time in winter, depending on your solar array and power demands) you would consume 121 gallons of diesel annually. Not sure how secure the nat gas grid is. I know they have to pump and boost in the pipeline, but they have gas-powered pumping stations for that, but with diesel you are totally stand alone. Another option would be a propane tank to fuel the generator.


Last edited by Tarquin; 01/12/21.

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Re: Whole house generator questions and off grid solar [Re: IA_fog] #15646290 01/12/21
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there is no cheap solar , that Uses battery's


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Re: Whole house generator questions and off grid solar [Re: IA_fog] #15646305 01/12/21
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Propane

Nat gas is grid dependent, outages, repairs, backhoe joe diggin into 3 miles up the road. Etc


If youre sitting on a 500 gallon tank of propane, youre set for a while.

Re: Whole house generator questions and off grid solar [Re: IA_fog] #15646323 01/12/21
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An old army surplus diesel generator is hard to beat besides the noise. Dual or tri fuel they can also run off motor, vegetable and hydraulic oils.


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Re: Whole house generator questions and off grid solar [Re: slumlord] #15646347 01/12/21
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Originally Posted by slumlord
Propane

Nat gas is grid dependent, outages, repairs, backhoe joe diggin into 3 miles up the road. Etc


If youre sitting on a 500 gallon tank of propane, youre set for a while.

How long do you think a 500 gallon tank would last. Our whole house is electric way out in the country so it isn't if the power goes out but when. We have been looking at Generac brand generators.

Last edited by Texczech; 01/12/21. Reason: Spelling

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Re: Whole house generator questions and off grid solar [Re: Texczech] #15646396 01/12/21
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Originally Posted by Texczech
Originally Posted by slumlord
Propane

Nat gas is grid dependent, outages, repairs, backhoe joe diggin into 3 miles up the road. Etc


If youre sitting on a 500 gallon tank of propane, youre set for a while.

How long do you think a 500 gallon tank would last. Our whole house is electric way out in the country so it isn't if the power goes out but when. We have been looking at Generac brand generators.


You can do the math. Figure out fuel consumption on your engine (propane) and how often you'll run the engine.


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Re: Whole house generator questions and off grid solar [Re: IA_fog] #15646405 01/12/21
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Have a nat gas Generac that ran from Tuesday night 'til Sunday afternoon, while we were away most of that time at an SCI convention. Most of my neighbors abandoned their homes, and had significant water damage from broken pipes, etc.
Our unit kept the house at 70* the whole time we were gone. Pretty sure it saved us a large remodeling bill right there.

Re: Whole house generator questions and off grid solar [Re: IA_fog] #15646408 01/12/21
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Unless you have a big tank, if the grid goes down, you won't have fuel of any kind. Propane is probably the easiest to store and it won't go bad. You need to get some kind of estimate on how many gal. of fuel it takes to run the gen for a given length of time at full load so you can guess how big of a tank you need. The gens that I've looked at tell you how long they'll run on a tank at 1/2 load. That's a starting point, anyway.


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Re: Whole house generator questions and off grid solar [Re: IA_fog] #15646440 01/12/21
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I’d go propane. Get a big tank. Stores forever and it’s onsite. Once it’s in your tank it doesn’t matter what is going on with the utilities in your area. I have a 22kw generac on propane but I don’t have NG within miles. Works great. Almost wish we’d lose power more often,

Re: Whole house generator questions and off grid solar [Re: IA_fog] #15646447 01/12/21
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Propane is the way to go. Also since you said take it with you, check your local laws. It very well could be considered part of the house if installed on a pad and removal would cause damage or reduce the value of the house on removal.



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Re: Whole house generator questions and off grid solar [Re: IA_fog] #15646459 01/12/21
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If you have a tractor, you already have the engine and the fuel.

Get a PTO generator. That way you are not paying for an expensive engine that you'll hardly ever use.


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Re: Whole house generator questions and off grid solar [Re: slumlord] #15646481 01/12/21
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Originally Posted by slumlord
Propane

Nat gas is grid dependent, outages, repairs, backhoe joe diggin into 3 miles up the road. Etc


If youre sitting on a 500 gallon tank of propane, youre set for a while.


This. Going with natural gas puts all your eggs into the “grid doesn’t go down” basket which is exactly the situation you’re trying to game for. I’d go propane with a dedicated tank.


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Re: Whole house generator questions and off grid solar [Re: IA_fog] #15646482 01/12/21
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I think they told me natural gas is more efficient , but I already had a 500 gallon propane tank from my friendly local gas company ..

Also consider that natural gas lines can be ruptured in an earthquake .

Re: Whole house generator questions and off grid solar [Re: IA_fog] #15646485 01/12/21
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Wouldn't know if nat gas is more efficient.

Has fewer BTUs than propane.

Re: Whole house generator questions and off grid solar [Re: slumlord] #15646491 01/12/21
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Originally Posted by slumlord
Propane

Nat gas is grid dependent, outages, repairs, backhoe joe diggin into 3 miles up the road. Etc


If youre sitting on a 500 gallon tank of propane, youre set for a while.


How quaint.


500 gallons is almost some propane.

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