Hmmph. If it wasn’t for the great RNS computer blowout of 07, I’d have had this to you yesterday.
In Part 2.1 I wrote about making your electricity with gasoline and/or diesel when times get hard. A couple of readers posted in the comments section of that post wondering if I had any info on Propane fired generators.
The short answer at that time was: No. But I am very glad they asked.
I had heard of them, but I knew of no one who had ever run one and this here interweb was not giving up any info. Reader R.S. said that the big-box hardware store, Lowes, had them for sale and on display, so I went and checked them out. Despite what their commercials say about “knowledgeable associates”, neither of the guys at my local stores could tell me much about them. I went to their competitor, Home Depot, and had the same problem.
Well, I had found out that they exist, which was half the battle, so I went to my local propane retailer and got the necessary info, including some links. And that is where we will start.
The only major LP genset manufacturer whom I could track down was the Tuning Fork Tweekers, Yamaha. They not only make Liquid Propane (LP) fired generators, but also Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) generators and the usual gasoline fired ones.
In fact, they make one that will run all three with little more than the flip of a switch.
Unfortunately, your wallet will not be the same for a very long time when you purchase one of them. The price of Honda generators looks very reasonable when only initial costs are compared.
As reader ‘Ed’ mentioned in his comments on Part 2.1, LP and CNG engines run cleaner and cooler than either gasoline or diesel, saving wear and tear on the engine. They also get similar “Hours Per” numbers as well.
But by and far the best part is that you can easily store as much LG and CNG as you want for years without having to worry about degradation, in cylinders ranging from 5lbs to 420lbs.
Unfortunately, the initial cost is still prohibitive. Especially if you already have your gas or diesel generator purchased and set up.
Well have no fear. The guy I spoke to at the local LP dealer gave me this link to US Carburetion.
Click on it, find your generator model and it’ll tell you which one of their kits you need to convert your current genset to LP, LP & CNG or LP, CNG and gasoline, all for under $250. The guy at the LP sales place said that US Carb were the only folks worth dealing with for conversion kits. From what I can tell, there is no affiliation between his company and US Carb.
The US Carb claim is that “if you feel confident to change a spark plug, then you can install one of our kits”. Judging by the video they have on this page, it does look just that easy.
I have looked into the conversion for my Generac and decided that I can’t break it, so I will be going for this, hopefully by the late spring/summer of this year. When I bought the genset it had less than a half an hour run time and I have maybe added another thirty minutes total to that, so I should be able to do this quite painlessly.
This will be blogged for your enjoyment and informational expansion.
California residents take note. As David mentioned in Part 2.1, diesel gensets are illegal to run in your state. Gasoline models will be next. Stay ahead of the curve and do this sooner than later.
If you remember in Part 2.1 I made mention that you must know how to maintain your genset. That goes triple when you’re expanding it to run on three different fuels. Installing this kit will also go a long way towards that.
Win, Win, Win. This is why I do these posts. I don’t know everything, but with your help I’m learning right along with you.