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shopping for a propane generator  RSS feed

 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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Ron and I and our son have been checking out propane generators, we have to get a generator to run the pump on our wood furnace so that it doesn't boil over if and when the power goes out..it holds so much heat even with the fire out for 2 days that it will cause the fluid to boil over if there is a power outage that prevents the water from circulating.

i have  been pricing them and really want to find the best price for a rather small generator, i don't want gas or noisy, we have propane here so it is our best choice.

right now the best prices i have found are these two, by  Gentron. Pro 2 - 6000g $879 and Pro 2 - 3500P for $499...we think the second one might be too small.

we HAVE to be able to run the pump and the fan for the heat..with it..but would also like to be able to use back up for freezers and refrig and Ron would love to be able to have a small t v run on it also.

i'm really stupid about these things and have no idea what size we need..but the max we can spend is about $800 or so..

would love to have a kind tha turns itself on when power goes out and is connected to our house service..but that isn't likely to happen..

any advice in this area is appreciated.
 
paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Brenda,

I know that home depot has one for about $500 that will do something like 5000 watts. $500.  And I think propane is really the way to go.

Looking it up ....  here it is 3000 watts for $415. 

A standard outlet generally doesn't do more than 1500 watts.  Some, with a weird looking doo-hickey will do 2000 watts.  Only 220 volt stuff will go past that.


 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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thanks Paul, obviously you found that online..i hadn't seen that one..i have been doing a lot of searching but that might do it for me i'll check it out..

i've gotten a lot of info off of the HT site..that made sense to me..to use power invertors and batteries for some of the other things we might need if power was out..and keep the batteries charged up ahead of time..so now i'm thinking maybe finding a solar trickle charger for the batteries..or a small wind generator to charge batteries..

Joel said he has some invertors and some battery packs that will work for a few things..we are also thinking of finding a battery operated fan to push the air through the heat exchangers if the power goes out..or to run our furnace fans??

the generator will be necessary for the furnace pump though..and i'll get one soon
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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i was also pleasantly surprised when our tax bill came and it had gone down over $200 for winter taxes (and over 100 for summer taxes saving us $343 for the year)..so the extra money i had saved for taxes can go on the generator, power invertors and batteries..
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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ordered my propane generator today..Gentron pro2 3500 P..got a great deal on it..saved $100 and no S&H or taxes..so it was only $499. hopefully it will come soon as we have blizzards on our forcast.

another thing Joel mentioned today..we have all the ryobi 18 V tools and lots of batteries..he suggested maybe we get 2 of the fans that run on batteries..so that we could pop them into the ductwork above the heat exchanger to push warm air through the house should the power be out..that would just run hot air through the ductwork steadily until the power came back on..we could probably run those little fans..a couple of them..for a long time on a well charged battery..and we have a lot of the batteries..also we could recharge them with the generator..

so we are thinking of picking up a couple of the 18V fans and just giving them a try to see if they will push enough warm air through our ductwork to warm the house up..

if not..then we would proably have to run a cord about 75' to the generator to run the furnace fans..or set up a good size battery and invertor for those furnace fans
 
paul wheaton
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Posts: 22598
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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It seems that utility power interruptions are only getting more frequent and longer in duration with each passing year - to the point where having a standby generator is 'cheap insurance'.   Along that line, it's amazing how much the prices for gasoline, propane, and even diesel generators have come down lately ...

http://www.generatorsales.com/used-generators.asp?gclid=CKLF8973up8CFdRM5QodL2yK3g

Despite the fact that my 10+ year old Honda gasoline generator is still runnable, I'm seriously considering investing in one of these diesel generators for emergency backup.  Operating fuel costs are significantly lower per kW per hour than gasoline or propane, and expected engine life is significantly longer as well.  Also, home heating oil ( sans diesel road tax cost ) works perfectly well in small diesel engines.  Thus for anybody with an installed fuel oil house furnace like I do, you've got 200+ gallons of generator fuel storage on site already !  And for the future, there's always the possibility of homemade bio-diesel ! 

But the same situation exists if your house has propane appliances with a decently sized tank the generator can be 'tapped' into.  And there's no ick factor having to handle liquid fuel cans.  But on the minus side, if you run your main house propane tank empty, you're going to be swinging wrenches to hook up barbecue grill tanks every few hours !
 
bunkie weir
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Location: eastern washington
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brenda, i'm not sure this applies to your situation, but what bout using the eco fans that run on heat? we have a couple we use on our woodstoves and they work great....tho, they are small...just a thought.
 
solomon martin
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As far as brands go, I would recommend a cast iron Onan.  Had good luck for the past 15 years with one.
 
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