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  • Generator question

    I have a cabin that I’ve turned into my home and I need to put in a standby generator. We are on the power grid, but we are way out in the sticks and power outages happen. We are often away for a few days at a time and a power outage in the middle of winter would be a problem. I will run the generator on propane and of course will have the appropriate transfer switch professionally installed . Based on my estimates, I will need about a 8.5 kw generator. I will certainly nail this requirement down correctly before purchasing. I want to get a generator that’s floating neutral, can supply 240 volts for the well and hot tub among other items such as the toyostove, water heater, etc.

    I know I can go to the big box stores and get a generator that can auto start and power my cabin home. What other options do I have with vendors who sell, install and service generators? I am in the Glacierview/Eureka area near the end of the Copper Valley line. I am thinking it best to avoid the box stores in hopes of establishing a good relationship with a vendor who can help me keep this running for the next 15 plus years or so or longer.


    thanks for your responses!

  • #2
    My boss went through a local electrician to purchase and install their auto start generator.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    • #3
      I recently got quotes from Generac and Kohler for natural gas standby generators, they are both decent and depending upon size run about 5-6 grand in the range you are looking for. I was looking for a 10 kw and it was right at 6 grand. That's the cost for the generator and auto-transfer switch not including installation. Running on propane should just be an orifice change out but as you probably know propane can be an issue at lower temperatures, unless the gas is preheated.
      I would rather have questions that can't be answered than answers that can't be questioned. Physicist ― Richard Feynman

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      • #4
        I use a Generac 7.8k jobsite open frame model. It runs my home very well with some power management on our part. I use a manual transfer switch. Well pump, water heater, Toyo, lights, microwave, no sweat. To save the long walk to the genny shed, when we fire up the electric stove, I throw the breaker on the WH and don't microwave. Since it not an inverter model I shut down all electronic items (Computer, TV, etc) before I fire it up. I'm not sure what would be most efficient, IE: Non-inverter genset with an inverter wired into the panel for the stuff needing clean power, or just getting an Inverter Genset to begin with.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by 4merguide View Post
          My boss went through a local electrician to purchase and install their auto start generator.
          My neighbor did the same. Natural gas Genny that automatically comes on during an outage. Also fires itself up once a week for 20 minutes or so to 'stay in shape' The electrician installed the Genny and the switch.
          Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

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          • #6
            It’s sad that the only opinion are the box stores. I was hoping that there was an Alaskan option.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Hkrjohn View Post
              It’s sad that the only opinion are the box stores. I was hoping that there was an Alaskan option.
              One of the quotes I got was from Northern Lights, they are across the nation but I'm not sure if they count as a box store...https://www.northern-lights.com/deal...-2f9da432-dd33. There are probably smaller mom and pop stores that offer the same thing, places where you can buy a chainsaw and rent machinery come to mind. I'm not sure what your options are in your neck of the woods, but where I am there are a few places and Anchorage probably has a few more.
              I would rather have questions that can't be answered than answers that can't be questioned. Physicist ― Richard Feynman

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              • #8
                Ok, here is what I Installed at our House in Wasilla, it is a Dual-Fuel 11KW Surge Rated Gen Set, using Gas as 1st Fuel Source, with 100lb Propane Tank as Back-Up, the Gen is ready to use either Fuel with just the flip of the Switch Handle, you get more Power/KW on gas, vs Propane, see attached Spec. Sheet.
                just FYI,,,, I'm a Retired Mech. Engineer, from the Power Generation World, was here in Alaska working for Morrison-Knudsen,,, ie... MK-River, when the Pipe-Line Started......
                TG
                Forgot to add that I'm using a 200A Main Meter Panel, with Built-in Manual Transfer Switch, that Generator Feed Breaker is Rated@ 50A 240VAC


                Click image for larger version  Name:	Capture.PNG Views:	0 Size:	263.3 KB ID:	2756643 Click image for larger version  Name:	Captur.PNG Views:	0 Size:	317.0 KB ID:	2756644
                Last edited by The German; 4 weeks ago.
                [ USMC 1st Marine Div. 7th Engineers, VietNam 69-71, Semper-Fi ] :topjob:

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                • #9
                  Adding some Photos of my Generator Install....
                  TG

                  [ USMC 1st Marine Div. 7th Engineers, VietNam 69-71, Semper-Fi ] :topjob:

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for the responses! Since I already have a large propane tank that fuels the oven, I want to consider propane. During the winter it is often -10 to -20. Does anyone have experience in how propane performs with cold temps?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Hkrjohn View Post
                      Thanks for the responses! Since I already have a large propane tank that fuels the oven, I want to consider propane. During the winter it is often -10 to -20. Does anyone have experience in how propane performs with cold temps?
                      I have propane lights, cook stove, and a propane heater in my cabin. Everything works fine even in the coldest weather. I suppose it is because the propane warms up some before hitting the appliance due to the lines being at least partially inside the cabin. The heater has the shortest amount of copper tubing inside. it comes up through the floor about a foot to where it attaches to the heater. Never had a problem with it.
                      Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Hkrjohn View Post
                        Thanks for the responses! Since I already have a large propane tank that fuels the oven, I want to consider propane. During the winter it is often -10 to -20. Does anyone have experience in how propane performs with cold temps?
                        Ok,,,, here is the deal with Propane in a Vapor form,,,, it STOPS Gasing @ -40deg +/-, so lets say you have a 100lb tank, and its Full, and it's -35-40deg outside where the Tank is stored,,,,, you will get NO Gas out of that Tank, Period..... now, there are work-arounds to improve your situation, you can bury the tank, there are insulation-blankets one can use, you can build an insulated shed, you can also do a Insulated build-out thats attached to the Cabin/House where it's possible to Glean alittle Heat from that attached structure, which will improve performance, you can also go to a Liquid Withdrawal System......
                        So, with your Existing System, you say large propane tank, I'm assuming it's a 500gal Horizontal Tank,,,, so if that Tank is Full, and the out side temp is -20, and in the shade, or No Sun exposure, you are only going to get about, maybe 10-12% of the 500gals, using a Vapor Withdrawal System.
                        TG

                        [ USMC 1st Marine Div. 7th Engineers, VietNam 69-71, Semper-Fi ] :topjob:

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                        • #13
                          It’s safe to say using propane to power a emergency generator in negative temperatures is not a good idea. As long as it’s above -20*F you may have enought propane to supply fuel to power the cabin heater and the generator. What if the device that is saying it -20*F is wrong and it really -40* F?

                          If it was me I would be using gasoline in my generator.



                          You may also want to consider doing the following. The battery that comes with the generator is sized to start the generator above 0* replace it with a larger battery. Is it in a heated, insulated box? Is there a temperture control heater that turns on to keep the generator warm? Will you have AC and DC lights in the generator shack, instead of using a flashlight?


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