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  1. #1
    Super Member Dargo's Avatar
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    Default NG, Propane, gas or diesel generator??

    I only have a small 10k portable generator. It would obviously run a couple of my refrigerators, some lights, etc. I really want to put in a 'whole house' generator setup with an automatic transfer switch. My big "however" is what fuel source to use.

    To give some background, I have 800 amp electric service to my place as well as natural gas. I have 4 A/C units and 5 furnaces along with 2 fireplaces. I don't really think I need to be able to replace all 800 amps of service in an outage, but I am spoiled enough to want to be able to run at least a couple of my A/C units; those being 4 ton units each. I also have 2 large freezers and 3 full sized refrigerators running in the house and guest house besides the normal dozen TVs or so, computers and lights.

    Now for the part that confuses me some. I do live in an area that is considered part of the New Madrid Fault zone. My thought is that the longest time frame that I may be without power is if we have a massive earthquake. With that being a possibility, I am afraid to go with NG because I think many of the underground natural gas lines may be ruptured and they will be shut off. For propane, I don't have any real desire to have a large propane tank sitting outside anywhere. That leaves diesel. I do have a relatively small, but generally full, 550 gallon diesel tank in one of my barns. Even if it's only half full, that gives me a relatively large amount of diesel fuel on hand in an emergency. For gasoline powered generators, I really haven't seen large ones that run on gasoline nor do I want to keep large quantities of gasoline around the place. Besides it having a comparative short shelf life, it is rather volatile.

    So, I ask you guys, what would you do? Besides not being sure what fuel to use, I really don't know what size to get. My guess is that I can probably get by with a 30 to 50k unit, but I don't know. Any ideas?
    1982 18" Murray push mower (B&S industrial 8 hp engine!) custom deck, new blade - became unbalanced when one side old blade broke off!
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  2. #2
    Gold Member daBear's Avatar
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    Brandon, MS
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    Kubota L2800

    Default Re: NG, Propane, gas or diesel generator??

    Not sure where to start to comment on this. I am way south of you, but also on the New Madrid fault. In my almost 60 years on earth I have never had a natural gas outage and that is what powers my generator. I have 2 of my 3 ac units on my genset and they are a 3.5T and a 3T. I basically have half my house on the gen, but since I did this while building I was able to carefully specify which circuits are covered. My generator is a 16K air cooled and was only $4K including 100A switch and installation.

    If you have an earth quake to the extent that NG is interrupted you probably will have a badly damaged house and can't live there anyway. You can what if this thing to death and still not be happy. NG is (to me) the most reliable way to go without having to get a LP tank or mess with diesel. Just my thoughts. Also, my 16K cost about $1.50 an hour to run and when you step up to what you are thinking of that will go way up.

    The size genset you are looking at will be water cooled and cost $20K plus. If that is not a factor, fine, but just how much insurance do you really need for something that will only be used a couple of times a year for minor outages. Then once in every 10 years or more hopefully for a big event like we had down here with Katrina three years ago and I was cooped up in a house with three mad women for two weeks and no air. That's why I have a generator now. In 18 months of use, I have 54 hours on it and most of that is exercise time.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member atgreene's Avatar
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    2005 TB135 Excavator with Thumb, Quick Attach System, Ripper tooth, 3' Hydrauic Tilt Clean-up Bucket, Skeleton Bucket, 1986 Kubota 4150 with Loader and Quick Attach with Woods Forks, JD B, 1963 IH 504

    Default Re: NG, Propane, gas or diesel generator??

    I'm willing to bet the diesel is going to be your most efficient way to power that much demand.

    I am looking at a 20 kw propane, as my 16 kw pto is a hassle for my wife if I'm not home. I want diesel, but when it's 20 below zero, propane will start, diesels tend to have issues in our cold climate.

    JMHO

    There's some decnt deals here: http://www.generatorsales.com/all11.asp?page=1
    1986 Kubota 4150 w QA
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    JD B (Basket case), 2nd JD B, Ford 2n, Gehl 1475 Baler, IH 990 Moco, JD 640 rake, Vermeer 2500 Bale Wrapper
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    15 Scottish Highland Beef Cattle, 2 Herefords, 3 Goats, 2 Alpacas, 2 Llama, 72 chickens, 1 Lineback beef critter and lots of maple trees.

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  4. #4
    Platinum Member
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    Clark County, WA
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    Mahindra 2615 4WD, Ferriz 1500Z ZTR, Craftsman GT5000

    Default Re: NG, Propane, gas or diesel generator??

    Dargo, why not just go with a big PTO generator? You have the tractors and the Diesel. Seems like the logical choice to me.

    I guess if you were concerned with making it easy to hook up (or automatic) for your wife then you may want to consider a stand alone.

    If I were you, I would get a small propane (good shelf life) automatic unit that would kick in for your wife and then have a big PTO unit for when you are around to hook it up.

    Just my thoughts.
    A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.
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  5. #5
    Super Member Highbeam's Avatar
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    South Puget Sound, WA
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    Kioti CK30HST

    Default Re: NG, Propane, gas or diesel generator??

    Good thinking PB, in addition, the smaller genset could be used until/unless a big demand needs to be met. I actually prefer a small genset for temporary outages.
    Kioti CK30HST, FEL w/toothbar, 60" RC, 60" BB, PJ 10k trailer. Weekend warrior hauling 50 miles each way.

  6. #6
    Elite Member schmism's Avatar
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    Peoria IL
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    New holland TC(33)

    Default Re: NG, Propane, gas or diesel generator??

    propane or NG....

    just got an email from a HAM in houston dealing with the aftermath of Ike. Has a NG genny. wont run out of fuel unless the natural gass spply is cut off.

    propane is the same way, keeps forever without going bad, works in any climate.

    both gas (as in air) options are very very clean, oil does not get dirty like it does from gasoline or diesel.

    check out the link for 30-50Kw genny's

    Available used natural gas generators, propane.
    Steve - TC33D 4x4 FEL, dual rear remotes with toys

  7. #7
    Super Member kenmac's Avatar
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    The Heart of Dixie
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    yanmar 3110D

    Default Re: NG, Propane, gas or diesel generator??

    You know your area better than anyone else. But, if you are going with a large generator, I would choose N.G. If you loose gas supply, you will also run out of the other fuels as well on that large of a generator Unless, you install a larger reserve tank. You will need to figure all the start up AMPS on all the appliances you intend to use. With what you've listed . You may want the 50KW

  8. #8
    Platinum Member
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    N.E. PA
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    BX22

    Default Re: NG, Propane, gas or diesel generator??

    Gasoline - not good for long term storage, maybe won't work when you need it

    NG and Propane - big gen is a lot of gas. Your NG feed may not be big enough to supply the power you want

    Diesel - cold weather starting can be an issue (under 32 deg), no issue with long term fuel storage, and long run with a reasonable tank size, most durable (name brand engine)

    I went with diesel. No regrets

    paul

  9. #9
    Gold Member firedog's Avatar
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    Southeast Texas
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    FarmTrac 300DTC

    Default Re: NG, Propane, gas or diesel generator??

    I'd go with the NG as well. Just open the valve crank'er up and walk away. No refilling constantly as with gas or diesel.
    my smaller gen (5600W) is set up for LP and I have already ordered a conversion kit for the lincoln machine (10KW).

    If you set if up for NG it will also run on LP. Think about a below ground LP tank as a backup to the NG source.
    AUDENTES FORTUNA JUVAT


    Farmtrac 300DTC w/FEL, BB, 5' RC, 6' rake, bucket grapple & forks,
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  10. #10
    Super Member Dargo's Avatar
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    Default Re: NG, Propane, gas or diesel generator??

    Thanks for the replies. I have ruled out a PTO generator because I feel that it is very possible that I'll need my tractors to work if we have a disaster and have no power. I do like the options and ideas listed though. I think I "want" a diesel generator for the reason I mentioned earlier, but I really don't know. I followed the link listed for used NG and diesel generators. It appears as if I will need a 50kw generator from what I see. I have a nice place for one if I get one that has it's own enclosure. Still, I'm not sure what type.
    1982 18" Murray push mower (B&S industrial 8 hp engine!) custom deck, new blade - became unbalanced when one side old blade broke off!
    HF moving dolly - high torque! Dogbone multi-wrench too..wait, it split on first use.
    My trash man is the greatest. No matter how bad the economy gets and how bad stocks drop or how bad home values drop, his business is always picking up.

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