Equipped To Survive Equipped To Survive® Presents
The Survival Forum
Where do you want to go on ETS?

Page 1 of 9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 >
Topic Options
#104392 - 09/03/07 04:39 AM Propane Storage....let's hear everyones ideas.
DeathtoToasters Offline
Member

Registered: 06/18/07
Posts: 147
Loc: Southern California
I am planning on getting a tri-fuel generator to use as a home backup. I plan on having it hooked up to the home with an automatic transfer system for emergencies. (rolling blackouts)

For fuel I am planning on using the natural gas option, because of the obvious ability to hook into the pipe into my home etc.

The facts about where I live though, Palm Springs location, in southern California, is that I am going to be hit with a large earthquake before any other type of natural disaster.

So with that knowledge, when a large earthquake hits, it is very possible that the natural gas line will be shut off or broken.

So knowing that, my only two other options are gasoline or propane.

Well the summers, like now, get to be upwards of 120 degrees outside. Inside a garage it can get to over 135-150 degrees.

So storing gasoline inside a garage or outside, I don't think is an option.

I have done some research and I was wondering if anyone has any experience in storing propane tanks. I can get new tanks (40lb) for about $50 each. If I had a few of those, then could easily last me a few days of power with the generator, if I calculated it correctly.

From when I have read as long as I store them upright and keep them away from any ignition sources, I should be as safe as having it attached to a bbq.

Any ideas or comments would be VERY welcome.

Thanks
DTT

_________________________
"Death to Toasters"-John Connor

"All Hail the Power of Bauer"

"Only the Paranoid Survive" - Andy Grove

"Why is it called the American Dream? Because you have to be ASLEEP to believe it!" - George Carlin

Top
#104397 - 09/03/07 11:18 AM Re: Propane Storage....let's hear everyones ideas. [Re: DeathtoToasters]
RayW Offline
Addict

Registered: 12/06/01
Posts: 550
Loc: Orlando, FL
DTT, have you called your local propane provider? I know around here you can get a large tank for a delivery fee and having it filled up. It will cost more for installation but you can also have the tanks buried, not completely buried, just the top of the tank would be seen. All of this is speculation on my part because i live in the land of sink holes and hurricanes not earthquakes.

I would recommend checking the fuel consumption of your generator choice before getting the tanks. From your post i am assuming if you are getting a automatic transfer switch that you are not getting a small generator. Whole house generators can easily drink a couple of gallons an hour or more i was talking to my propane delivery guy after several hurricanes passed though here and he said that a number of his customers have big propane generators that went though $600 to $800 in propane in a week. That's several hundred gallons of propane in a week. IIRC a 40# bottle is less than 10 gallons of propane, so you will be changing tanks every 5 hours. A large tank would at least allow you to run for a couple of days before needing a refill. And your propane provider will be happy to come out and refill it every couple of days if there is a long term outage.

Top
#104414 - 09/03/07 03:29 PM Re: Propane Storage....let's hear everyones ideas. [Re: RayW]
DeathtoToasters Offline
Member

Registered: 06/18/07
Posts: 147
Loc: Southern California
Ray,

Thanks for the comments. Here is the generator I was thinking of getting:

http://www.electricgeneratorsdirect.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=608

From it's description it uses 2.2 gallons per hour, but I am assuming that is at full power. I am thinking, if I need to use it after a large earthquake (where the normal natural gas is shut off) that I will have it on for a small person A/C unit and a few lights at night.

During the day I would not need it half as much. I will have smaller personal propane tanks for stoves and such.

I was thinking the 40lb tanks because then I could use a dolly and transport them to a truck or 5th wheel if needed. That way if we ever need to bug out, I will have options.
_________________________
"Death to Toasters"-John Connor

"All Hail the Power of Bauer"

"Only the Paranoid Survive" - Andy Grove

"Why is it called the American Dream? Because you have to be ASLEEP to believe it!" - George Carlin

Top
#104426 - 09/03/07 05:00 PM Re: Propane Storage....let's hear everyones ideas. [Re: ]
DeathtoToasters Offline
Member

Registered: 06/18/07
Posts: 147
Loc: Southern California
Thanks for that advice. If my generator only does a total of 12500 watts, do I really need to worry about NG only going up to 13000 watts?

The reason I was thinking of natural gas is that I have natural gas for the pool, bbq, etc. So getting an extra line for the generator should not be a big deal.

Why does it ruin a generator?

I am running out of options here. There is no logical way for me to store gasoline in this heat. Even if I had a shed, how safe would it really be?

Storing propane is alot easier, compared to gasoline.

So basically you are saying I should get that generator, but have it hooked up to a large 250 gallon propane tank for emergencies and run off of that?

Thanks Again
_________________________
"Death to Toasters"-John Connor

"All Hail the Power of Bauer"

"Only the Paranoid Survive" - Andy Grove

"Why is it called the American Dream? Because you have to be ASLEEP to believe it!" - George Carlin

Top
#104433 - 09/03/07 06:13 PM Re: Propane Storage....let's hear everyones ideas. [Re: DeathtoToasters]
RayW Offline
Addict

Registered: 12/06/01
Posts: 550
Loc: Orlando, FL
Does this generator have an autostart function, if it does not then you don't need to spend the extra money for an automatic transfer switch. Automatic transfer switches need to be tied to a generator with auto start to be able to start the generator and transfer the power to the house. Manual transfer switches are available.

The larger the engine on the generator the more fuel it will use even when it is not running at full power. The last time i was thinking about a 10k generator the unloaded fuel consumption was a little over a gallon an hour. Yours may be slightly less because i was looking at a multi function generator, http://store.cyberweld.com/miltrail30on.html Decided that it was cheaper to borrow a welding box (that is in an air conditioned building) than it is to buy one.

And while i am someone who usually goes for bigger is better, why are you going for a large generator if you are only going to run a small window shaker (AC), a few lights, and the fridge. If you are not going to be running the central AC or a water pump you should be able to get by with a 3k to 5k generator. Most of the smaller sized generators can be adapted to use propane and still retain the ability to run on gasoline. Going to a smaller sized generator may make it easier to deal with fuel storage, you won't have to keep as much fuel on hand to stay in power. Also most generator ratings are based on gasoline use, for propane you need to de-rate power about 10% and for natural gas 20%. Check the power usage of the items you are going to run and size the generator accordingly.

To give you an example, when the storms blew through down here i was without power for a total of 2 weeks. Using a 4k lincoln 125 generator i was running a 3/4 horse well pump when needed, a refrigerator, a chest freezer. a few CFL's, couple of fans, and of course the TV which was used to pacify the old people here. The generator would run for 5 hours on two and a half gallons of gas. Since then i have invested in a couple of small AC's and a 3k honda inverter generator. It easily runs the fridge, freezer, and two small AC units. It is very quiet and fuel frugal so i can run it all the time and only run the larger genny when i need more power. Of course having two generators means that there is twice as many spare parts and maintenance items to keep, fuel filters, air filters, spark plugs, and oil. I haven't had the opportunity to do a run time test to see how much fuel the little generator uses yet, in other words, no long power outages since owning it.

Have you tried using safety gas cans? http://tinyurl.com/ywevez
Stored in a building away from the house, i don't think that you would have a problem. While i don't live in the 120 in the shade part of the world it is in the high 90's kind of hot here all the time. The steel cans don't shrink or swell up and don't smell of gas. These are built more like a vehicle gas tank. And i understand your hesitation to store gasoline in the heat. If i put two full 5 gallon plastic cans in the garage for a couple of days the whole garage smells like gas, and it's not coming from me or the car. Since i started using safety cans i have never smelled any gasoline odor in the garage. I also use euro style steel jerry cans and keep a full one in the back of my truck and it does not leak, even stored on it's side, these are the same cans you see on the backs of vehicles traveling thought the desert. Won't include a link because they are illegal where you live. I'm not saying that you need to go with gas, just think about it.


Don't store any propane tank inside of a building. To expand a little on what Izzy said, there is a over pressure relief valve on propane tanks as the temps go up and the pressure inside the tank goes up the vent will open and fill your building with explosive gas.

Top
#104437 - 09/03/07 06:45 PM Re: Propane Storage....let's hear everyones ideas. [Re: RayW]
DeathtoToasters Offline
Member

Registered: 06/18/07
Posts: 147
Loc: Southern California
Well in that little room I would use in emergencies there is a small A/c unit outside that I would like to run. Plus I have 2 fridges and a few other things I would like to run.

How I decided on that large a unit is just looking at the largest tri-fuel I could find smile

Ok so here are my questions.

Can I store gasoline in those safety cans in a storage shed in my weather climate?

There are so many threads that I am confused as to what I can and cannot do.

In a shortage...what am I most likely to find?

Gasoline?
Propane?

I know that pretty much any generator will run what I need to run....so I am just confused as to the best fuel in my situation and needs.
_________________________
"Death to Toasters"-John Connor

"All Hail the Power of Bauer"

"Only the Paranoid Survive" - Andy Grove

"Why is it called the American Dream? Because you have to be ASLEEP to believe it!" - George Carlin

Top
#104438 - 09/03/07 06:57 PM Re: Propane Storage....let's hear everyones ideas. [Re: ]
RayW Offline
Addict

Registered: 12/06/01
Posts: 550
Loc: Orlando, FL
Izzy, the lifetime of engines on NG was explained a little differently to me by people who converted engines to run on NG. NG is much cleaner than gas or propane. So water cooled engine life is almost double what you can get out of a engine on gasoline, and when you get to the time of rebuild the inside of the engine is very clean since it has much less abrasive carbon in the fuel, which is also why NG has a lower energy density. One of my customers used CNG in delivery trucks and routinely hit 400,000 mile before rebuilds were necessary, and these engine retained the ability to run on gasoline. When the high mile engines were torn down the cylinder bores were usually still within manufactures tolerances and didn't need to be re-bored. The other customer made NG powered air conditioners, back up cooling for hospitals and such. The V8 powered AC's were rated for tear down at 40,000 to 60,000 hours.

The problem with air cooled engines as it was explained to me is in the mechanics of the fuel not going though a state change to help cool the engine. Air cooled engines running on gasoline are usually run fuel rich, as the gasoline goes from being a liquid to a gas it helps cool the engine. Running an engine on NG there is NO cooling effect from the fuel, so running an engine in the Florida or California heat on a fuel that is not helping to cool the engine will usually toast it.

Top
#104439 - 09/03/07 07:41 PM Re: Propane Storage....let's hear everyones ideas. [Re: RayW]
RayW Offline
Addict

Registered: 12/06/01
Posts: 550
Loc: Orlando, FL
DTT, What i would recommend, and i am by no means an expert, is that if you decide to go with a small generator 3k to 5k i would stay with gasoline. And it is difficult to find a ready made small dual fuel unit. If you are going to use a larger 5k plus sized generator i would go with a duel or tri fueled unit.

As far as which fuel would be more available after an earthquake, i don't know. If the roads to your place are passable, the propane truck will be able to get to your house and fill the tank. Or you can leave to go get more gas.

On storing gasoline i have not had any trouble. Are you storing any fuel in the shed now? Don't know if you need gas for the lawn mower or your dirt bike. The only way to know for yourself go to your favorite big box store and buy one safety can and fill it with fuel and stabilizer put it in the shed and check it on a regular basis.

I went with gasoline because i already needed to keep gas for other things, aside from the generators there is an air compressor, chain saw, weed eater, and i also keep 5 to 10 gallons of diesel for the lawn mower too. But the cheap plastic fuel containers did not inspire much confidence, if you leave it out in the sun for 10 minutes it looks like a beach ball and there was always the aroma of gasoline where ever the cans were stored. So i decided that i needed a better way to store gas because i need to have gas. I hope that makes sense.

Top
#104446 - 09/03/07 08:43 PM Re: Propane Storage....let's hear everyones ideas. [Re: RayW]
DeathtoToasters Offline
Member

Registered: 06/18/07
Posts: 147
Loc: Southern California
Ray,
Thanks for the advise. Actually if you look at the link I posted above they have SEVERAL tri Fuel generators of large sizes.

I was thinking if I got about 5 of those justrite cans, since they have the vapor valve etc. They are build very sturdy. I could store them in my shed without any worries.

With the generator doing 1 1/2 gallons per hours of gasoline, then I could easily have 2 days of fuel, for daily use and just the a/c during the day.

The shed has ventilation in the roof, so any vapors should evaporate. I will use stabilizer and then rotate the gas every 6 months.

I could always add more cans in the future if needed.
_________________________
"Death to Toasters"-John Connor

"All Hail the Power of Bauer"

"Only the Paranoid Survive" - Andy Grove

"Why is it called the American Dream? Because you have to be ASLEEP to believe it!" - George Carlin

Top
#104453 - 09/03/07 10:01 PM Re: Propane Storage....let's hear everyones ideas. [Re: DeathtoToasters]
RayW Offline
Addict

Registered: 12/06/01
Posts: 550
Loc: Orlando, FL
Izzy, i am in no way saying that you are wrong because i don't work with the stuff and i don't know for sure. Most of the information i received was from a gas company tech that did engine conversions. I've been next to some the of the engines in his shop and the gas line comes out of the ground (constant ground temps around 70-75 degrees f?) though a pipe to a regulator, then rubber hose, and back to a steel line going into the carb. The fuel is coming out of the ground as vapor already, so it is not going through a state change. So it should be at the same temp as the line going into the carb.

I could see the effect that you are describing if the NG was in a liquid form going into the engine. NG boils at over 200 degrees below 0 if i remember correctly and if that was direct injected into an engine it would cool to it's boiling point. And the lawn mower engines on most generator wouldn't stand the stress.

Maybe someone else will chime in and tell both of us why our eyes are brown.

DTT, i have a number of the steel cans and store them with stabil for 6-8 months, and rotate the old fuel into the truck. With my absent minded ness i put string tie labels on the can and on the generator so i know when to rotated out the fuel. If you get a generator with a battery be sure to start it at least once a month to keep the battery charged and it is a good idea to start it on a regular basis even if it doesn't have a battery. When the fuel in the generator reaches the "expiration date" i syphon out the old fuel, refill with fresh stabilized gas, then run the engine on the fresh fuel till it is warm and then change the oil.

And i am going to say this again, be sure you check the wattage requirements of everything that you are going to run and be sure the generator is large enough for your needs. Also when you are running the generator a little power management will go a long way. Be sure to unplug things that are not being used. I know that sounds like common sense but when you are in stressful situation you don't always think about the power all of the toys we have in our house use power even when off. Work within the sizing of your generator, a 5k set will power your toaster, the microwave, and the washing machine. It will just not run all three at the same time, so make sure that everyone in the house understands that. It will help to reduce the trips to the generator to reset it's circuit breakers.

Top
Page 1 of 9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 >



Moderator:  MartinFocazio, Tyber 
October
Su M Tu W Th F Sa
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31
Who's Online
0 registered (), 274 Guests and 4 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
DIYELECTROAL, rondha, burth, sgt253, PureTech
5222 Registered Users
Newest Posts
Weather radio
by WB2QGZ
Today at 10:48 AM
California Burning
by Pete
Today at 05:03 AM
Inside a nuclear bunker built from 42 buses
by UTAlumnus
Today at 03:04 AM
ETS Dream
by haertig
Today at 01:53 AM
Delorme inReach Lock Failure
by Russ
Yesterday at 09:14 PM
Promising Snake Bite Therapy
by hikermor
10/16/17 06:32 PM
Ski glove snot wipe
by dougwalkabout
10/15/17 03:12 AM
Fitness over 60
by hikermor
10/14/17 02:00 PM
Newest Images
Tiny knife / wrench
Handmade knives
2"x2" Glass Signal Mirror, Retroreflective Mesh
Trade School Tool Kit
My Pocket Kit
Glossary
Test

WARNING & DISCLAIMER: SELECT AND USE OUTDOORS AND SURVIVAL EQUIPMENT, SUPPLIES AND TECHNIQUES AT YOUR OWN RISK. Information posted on this forum is not reviewed for accuracy and may not be reliable, use at your own risk. Please review the full WARNING & DISCLAIMER about information on this site.