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Woodburners and generators

Post in 'The Inglenook' started by My Oslo heats my home, Sep 4, 2012.

?

Just out of curiosity, how many woodburners also have generators?

Poll closed Sep 18, 2012.
  1. Yes

    78.7%
  2. No

    21.3%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Simple. Since propane is a byproduct of processing natural gas and you live in a state that is punching gas wells like crazy, then...

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  2. Thomas Anderson

    Thomas Anderson Member

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    It's not that simple... if it were, then the opportunities for arbitrage would be ginormous. I might buy a truck myself and drive it to the next state. I think either your company is gouging you or there are regulations and taxes at work. Also, propane prices haven't moved here much since gas started to be drilled. Maybe it has partially made us immune to inflation in that sector, but again, you're only a state away, so arbitrage should solve that for you.
  3. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    The NY statewide average this month is $2.69 a gallon for deliveries of 1,100 gallons or more. Not including tank rental charges.
  4. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Also, try getting that propane genny started in the teens or single digits. Don't keep it in a cold garage. There is a reason that most propane generators require electric run to them, it's for the carb heater. If I were to get one, it would be a multi fuel unit that I could start off of gasoline.

    I grew up with propane vehicles in the family (from the early 70's right up until the early 2000's) What was always nice is that they required an oil change every 30 or 40k miles, and even then the oil looked like new. What wasn't so nice was starting them up in cold weather.

    The other thing to consider is the cost of keeping enough propane around for a few days of usage. The price of a 40lb cylinder anymore will about put one through the roof. If the power is out, I have a much better chance of finding a place to get gasoline than I do propane.

    pen
  5. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    Crazy isn't it. Propane is big bucks in my area. My Fireview cut fuel costs by $2000 the first year we had it.
  6. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    It's also above $4/gal in our area, and I'm not even a state away. Most companies around here will charge a very different rate, depending on whether you're using it as a primary heat source or not.
  7. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    18 years ago people cut in a driveway and ruined my whole day by building a house on the place next to me. They put in propane heat instead of an electric heat pump like most everybody here has for A/C and heat. Then immediately started trying to get all the rest of us to petition for a gas line to be run here. We all just looked at them and said "Are you nuts? Know what that 11 mile pipe would cost?". For 18 years I have listened to that backup bell on the propane truck as it backs up that long driveway and alternately grin (they are a pain in the butt) and cringe. Then toss another split in the stove.

    And they live in six 1/2 acres of trees. Any down or cut they let rot.
  8. My Oslo heats my home

    My Oslo heats my home Minister of Fire

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    In a case where a emergency exists I wouldn't really consider the cost so much, however you look at it it has to be done. My consumption concerns were more for run time for each type of fuel and what is available when refilling is needed. I know LP needs no electricity for filling but gasoline does. And LP doest get stale over time like gas. There's a lot of pros and cons.
  9. Retired Guy

    Retired Guy Feeling the Heat

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    $4.85 propane was too much for us. Put in a standard electric water heater and cut cost in half.
  10. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Most filling stations for LP are electric powered unless it's mounted on a truck. While it may be technically possible to fill a tank without electricity, I'm betting there's a good chance that the business that sells LP in small quantities isn't going to be open during a power outage. Gas stations around here have hookups for generators to run the pumps.

    Your best advantage for going LP is going to be that you can sore large quantities of it on-site if you get a large tank installed. 100 gallon will run a 10Kw genset for a long time before it needs refilling. Plus you could plumb in for cooking purposes as well.

    Pen's point on LP being a b*^&$ in very cold weather is well made. I do however know of several LP fueled home standy-by generators around here that do not have trouble starting in our typical winter temps. Maybe because they have power to the carb heater right to the point of when they are needed. I agree that a portable unit like the ones that have been popping up in every catalog lately could be a challenge however.
  11. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Been a long time since I had a gas grill, I take it long gone are the days they put the tank on a scale and plug in the filling hose to fill & weigh?

    If I was going to run a entire house fixed backup I would get a natgas unit and have it plumbed into our city gas. Probably the cheapest runtime of all (discounting upfront), but we don't have power outages any where near often enough to make that investment worth it. Even if we had 5x the outages it wouldn't be worth it.
  12. Thomas Anderson

    Thomas Anderson Member

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    What are you guys talking about, I can start my propane genny when its in the single digits. Cold weather is not a problem at all. Diesel doesn't start in cold temps, but propane is fine. Propane boils at -44*F. I don't know the exact rate of consumption, but its under 1 gal/hr. So I could run my generator for like 10 days straight off of my 100 gal tank if I needed to. Good luck storing (and stabilizing) that much gasoline.
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    We are charged about 4.36/gallon here. But if I drive up north, I can get it for about $2.50. It's called a captive market.
  14. Thomas Anderson

    Thomas Anderson Member

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    If I were in that situation, i'd call a company up north and tip the driver $30 or whatever it took for them to drive me down a delivery. Or if I were really enterprizing, i'd start a competing propane business there and undercut the competition.
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Sure. $30 tip and $130 for the roundtrip fuel. That just killed the incentive. Ain't gonna happen.

    We had a local company set up a competitive business for just this reason. They had cheaper prices for about a year. Now they match Suburban Propane's price exactly. So much for competition.
  16. Thomas Anderson

    Thomas Anderson Member

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    That's some funky math if the price is almost half as much with the distant company.
  17. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    I know 2 places that still fill that way but the fill pump is electric at both of them.
  18. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    More like funky facts. Suburban Propane is a rip. Cenex up north is quite reasonable. Highbeam pays a lot less than us too. I wish they broke into the Seattle/Tacoma market, but they seem more rurally focused. FWIW, gasoline prices are also about 30-50 cents/gal higher, mainly because the market will bear it. Sucks, but that's the facts mam.
  19. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    That's a hoot. 3000+ miles away and Suburban is still considered a "rip". ;lol And I've yet to talk to an even halfway satisfied customer.
  20. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    4k gas Generac.
    Sure the stove heats the house just fine, but having some lights, TV, etc is kinda nice too.

    Natural gas one would be handy in the fact that its relatively cheap, but if we ever had an earthquake that shut the lines down (could happen) then it'd be useless.

    I'm keeping my eye open for a decent priced diesel unit as I have a diesel tank at home (275 gals) for other equipment.
  21. FrankMA

    FrankMA Member

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    I just bought a Honda EM6500SX because I refuse to deal with no water and no electricity again. I have a well so no power means no water. I lost power 2X last year, once for 4 days and then for 6 days as well as losing power for 2 -3 days at a time in previous years. Honda was running a decent promo discount offer plus zero percent financing for 18 months. I got the generator and a 10 circuit transfer switch for $600 off of list which is pretty much internet prices as I began looking on-line several weeks. I bought from a local Honda power equipment dealer which is really what I wanted to do anyway (support local small business). Just knowing that I will have power if the grid goes down is a very comforting feeling. It's not too often that you feel good about spending a decent chunk of $$$ but the peace of mind is well worth it.
    Thomas Anderson likes this.
  22. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Have you made sure the generator will start your well pump? I was surprised at how much juice my pump required.
  23. Thomas Anderson

    Thomas Anderson Member

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    That's one of the problems with using a generator to run your household directly. It needs to be big enough for the biggest load, e.g. starting your well pump, but that often makes it over-sized for the average load, and thus it burns through fuel too fast. It's going to be a little more expensive, but putting a battery bank between your generator and your house would allow you to right-size your generator and also not need to run it as often. I.e. just charge up the batteries and run the generator again when they get low.
  24. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    A 5000 watt, 3250 watt and two 800 watt 2 strokes are it for here. And we never have a year lately without a week long outage and a few day or two ones. I keep twenty gallons of gas on hand and in the spring start using it in the tractor and mowers and saws. Come Fall, dump the rest in the cars and stock up again with fresh. In a month or so I will refill the two 25 gallon water tanks with filtered water and the beat goes on.

    The base load for the house is always under 2 KW so the 3250 can run it forever on a little gas. When I need the extra punch I fire the big boy for a little while. The rain barrel off the gutters handles flushing water just fine. Unless it is frozen then the jugs in the basement come into play.

    We had a six hour outage last week. Tree limb fell on a line. Good timing. It was on the same day of the month that I fire all of the gennies and let'em run for a bit.
  25. FrankMA

    FrankMA Member

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    I'm having my transfer box installed this Friday so I have not actually tested the generator yet. It's rated at 7000 start up watts and 6500 continuous watts (5500 watts if longer than 30 minutes of continuous heavy use) which should be more than enough to power the well pump, furnace for hot water, fridge, freezer, some lights and intermittent use appliances. I powered a TV and several lights/appliances with a small 1000 watt inverter generator during our 6 day outage back in October 2011. I can always alter my use patterns if needed but just having back up power (and knowing it!) is a real good thing.

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