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  #1  
Old 11-03-2008, 10:20 PM
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diesel or gasoline generator for home emergency power?

I'm considering the purchase of a 5-7.5kw generator for home emergency power and would like to know the forum members thoughts on going with diesel over gasoline power. I know this is a loaded question given the makeup of this forum, but here's my thought process:

1. I already own an emergency diesel storage system (85' 300D) so my fuel gets rotated regularly. I might even be able to talk my wife into increasing the diesel storage capacity if I can sell her on this idea
2. Diesel engines are simpler and have less toxic exhaust fumes (I believe this is true) for humans and animals outside.
3. Diesel engines are made for continuous use.

A little more background:

1. I live in Phoenix, Arizona and a summer black out is a worst case scenario in our climate. We can pile on blankets and sleeping bags in the winter but their's no escaping the heat in the summer....
2. I would size the generator to run an evaporative cooler, refrigerator, a few lights, TV, radio, etc.
3. I recognize that I will pay a few more bucks for diesel power over gasoline power but there are a number of Yanmar clone powered gen sets that look attractive out there.

What else am I missing in my thought process?

I appreciate the feedback from this forum. I wouldn't be driving a 23 year old diesel Benz if it weren't for this forum.

Mark
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  #2  
Old 11-03-2008, 10:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1985Az300DTurbo View Post
I'm considering the purchase of a 5-7.5kw generator for home emergency power and would like to know the forum members thoughts on going with diesel over gasoline power. I know this is a loaded question given the makeup of this forum, but here's my thought process:

1. I already own an emergency diesel storage system (85' 300D) so my fuel gets rotated regularly. I might even be able to talk my wife into increasing the diesel storage capacity if I can sell her on this idea
2. Diesel engines are simpler and have less toxic exhaust fumes (I believe this is true) for humans and animals outside.
3. Diesel engines are made for continuous use.

A little more background:

1. I live in Phoenix, Arizona and a summer black out is a worst case scenario in our climate. We can pile on blankets and sleeping bags in the winter but their's no escaping the heat in the summer....
2. I would size the generator to run an evaporative cooler, refrigerator, a few lights, TV, radio, etc.
3. I recognize that I will pay a few more bucks for diesel power over gasoline power but there are a number of Yanmar clone powered gen sets that look attractive out there.

What else am I missing in my thought process?

I appreciate the feedback from this forum. I wouldn't be driving a 23 year old diesel Benz if it weren't for this forum.

Mark
Neither, go with propane.The cost is much less up front than diesel, fuel does not go bad sitting in a carb or tank like a gas engine......and lets not forget the emergency storage, on the grill out back. Propane is going to cost less for the fuel itself also, unless you are running home brew bio, which, I might add, will go bad like gas also.
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  #3  
Old 11-03-2008, 10:29 PM
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People living in africa can't "escape the heat" and they seem to survive....as do people in many other parts of the world without A/C....I'd get a small propane powered generator....like a 3,500 watt unit. They'll run a loooong time on a cylinder of propane (like 20+ hours)...propane keeps forever, its sealed in a bottle. The engine runs super ultra clean, and lasts forever running propane. A 3500 watt unit could run a fridge, fair sized window air conditioner (10-12,000 btu's) and a tv/computer and some CFL lamps. Plenty for "surviving" a power outage.
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  #4  
Old 11-03-2008, 10:38 PM
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x3 with the propane. Its also safe to use inside the garage (With proper ventilation obviously) because of its very low CO output. Thats why warehouses that run engine-powered forks are almost always propane or CNG/LNG.
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  #5  
Old 11-03-2008, 10:50 PM
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Wow Propane! I would never have thought about Propane as a 3rd fuel option. I do have a Propane supply as I always keep a spare 5 gallon cylinder for the grill. I must admit, I really haven't done any research on propane power. I'll check it out. Thanks for your help
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Old 11-03-2008, 11:05 PM
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or natural gas, if your on the pipeline already- you can have it plumbed right into the gas meter- no worries about running out.
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  #7  
Old 11-03-2008, 11:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mobetta View Post
no worries about running out.
At least for now.....
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'15 GLK250 Bluetec 75k - mine - (OC-80,500)
'17 Metris(VITO!) - 6k - wifes (OC-10k)
'01 E320 Wagon - 157k - mine (OC-160,000)
'89 420SEL 166k - mine (OC-167,000)
'01 E320 - 167k - dad's (OC-171,500)
'07 E350 Wagon - 130k - dad's (OC-132,500)
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  #8  
Old 11-03-2008, 11:07 PM
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The only down side to that is the flow of gas can stop if there is a disaster or pipe break down the line.
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  #9  
Old 11-04-2008, 02:03 AM
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Diesel..

You may not be able to purchase gas, and storing it is dicy..

But get a diesel started, and you can burn Diesel, Jet-A, Kerosene, vegetable oil, etc..
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  #10  
Old 11-04-2008, 02:04 AM
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Prpane works for me

My 7.5 KW Onan (2 cyl, air-cooled) is fueled by propane. It was originally built as a "gas-gaso" generator and fueled by gasoline; the army used it to operate pop-up targets on the tank gunnery range of a central California military base. I had it converted to propane, gave it a "major service" and a new muffler, and installed it next to the 200 gallon propane tank that runs the appliances in my home.

The fuel is always fresh, the oil stays remarkably clean (I run the generator for an hour or so once a month to check it out – yes, I put a load on it – and keep the battery charged) and every once in a while we have a power failure and we get to use it. With all of the high-heat loads on propane, the generator will run the whole rest of the house.

Jeremy
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Old 11-04-2008, 02:17 AM
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Generator

http://www.residential.carrier.com/products/generators/homestandby8-14.shtml
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  #12  
Old 11-04-2008, 03:39 AM
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It's a differnt brand, but that's what my parents have. At ages 91 and 87, they need a system as automated as possible. It's hooked to the natural gas line but can be modified for propane if needed.
Installation may require a pro as you may have to disconnect from the grid.
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  #13  
Old 11-04-2008, 05:42 AM
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Thumbs up Alternatively.....

Several manufacturers make "dual fuel" or multi-fuel generator sets.....Gasoline and Natural Gas or Propane.....

I have "free" natural gas here.....and it generally does not fail, however there have been instances when the wells had to be closed off due to pipeline problems etc......thus my need for a dual or multi-fueled generator set.

Presently I live in West Virginia, but I spent the majority of my adult life on the Gulf Coast.....I never had my Natural Gas quit during a Hurricane.....I was not there for Katrina tho.....but have had no electricity for 2 weeks or better on multiple occasions.

SB
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  #14  
Old 11-04-2008, 11:31 AM
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I've been through quite a few hurricanes with power outages following. Twice the power was out for over a week. I also work entities that require emergency power.

For most locations we found that natural gas was the best choice. None of the locations has ever lost gas pressure and you don't have to worry about the fuel storage problems. For locations away from a reliable gas supply we would go with propane. For locations that use the generator regularly (enough so that the fuel is not stored for long periods of time) we would use diesel.
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  #15  
Old 11-04-2008, 11:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1985Az300DTurbo View Post
Wow Propane! I would never have thought about Propane as a 3rd fuel option. I do have a Propane supply as I always keep a spare 5 gallon cylinder for the grill. I must admit, I really haven't done any research on propane power. I'll check it out. Thanks for your help
With any of your options, you need to determine how long you need the generator to run.

If you anticipate a 24 hour outage, the propane system is fine. But, what if you need to go one week? You certainly won't have storage of one week of propane and what's the odds that you can go out and buy it in sufficient quantity during the outage? The folks that dispense might not have power to do that.

Gasoline is the least desirable option because you can never store and rotate enough of it.

Diesel is preferable if you already have a proven storage system of significant quantity.
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