Generators - what kind do we need? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Have gas line for heat in house and well, but need elctricity for the pump. What kind of generators are suggested?

-- William W. Wheeler (, July 30, 1998


If things get rough, if that gas line of yours (natural I assume) is from a utility company, it is every-bit at risk, long-term, as electricity. The electricity would go out first, but the gas would too once the utility companies run out of diesel fuel. Assuming their embedded controllers work that long...

Diesel (spelling) is generally the hands-down favorite for long-running and reliability. I was surprised to hear that heating-oil is the same as diesel-fuel - except for the dye they put in it. Heating-oil, diesel-fuel and fuel used for farm equipment is all the same stuff! They just make it a different color and charge different prices for it!

If I get anything, it will just be a small gasoline powered unit. Not that I expect to be able to store or buy much gasoline.

If you have your own natural-gas well, you might look into a natural-gas powered generator - they can also run off of propane.

-- Anonymous (, July 31, 1998.

How bad do you think it will be? If you think you're going to have a few brownouts, a couple of days of power losses, and then back to normal, a gas generator that has a 220v output (for the pump) will do. No big deal.

If you believe you may be running the thing for a long time, you might want to consider diesel for a couple of reasons: a. Fuel is easier to store (heating oil tank) b. Fuel lasts longer before breakdown c. Engine lasts much longer (17,000 to 50,000 hours versus 1,000)

That said, you might want to consider that if you obtain your gas from a typical gas company you may have problems with it. If you have your own well, great!

If you are _certain_ of the gas supply, you can have a gas generator converted to natural gas (all gasoline generators can be converted to natural gas or propane with a different carb setup, at about $300, depending on the unit, and they can be switched back and forth between propane and NG by changing orifices).

In this case, you might want to look for a generator that runs at a low engine speed (less than 2000 rpm), to get the longest life from both the engine and the generator itself, and use NG.

If you NOT certain of the gas supply (you get it from a gas company) one approach is to have a propane tank installed (500 to 1000 gallons), use a propane generator, and use the propane for heat. Actually, with this arrangement you can use propane for heat, for refrigeration, and for generator fuel. Expensive if you have to start from scratch, though.

A source for generators (other than your local discount home supply store) is

Northern Hydraulics Http:// 1-800-533-5545

Call them and ask for their master catalog. A lot of good stuff, including transfer switches (useful to prevent frying your local lineman), several tri-fuel generators (gasoline, natural gas, propane), and a couple of air-colled diesel generators.

For water cooled diesels, try

China Diesel (backordered, but catching up) for the least expensive units, and as a source for the book, "More Power to You," by Skip Thomsen, that details everything involved in setting up a small diesel power plant........they are noisy!

Also try Gary North's Home Power Generation forum at

for a wealth of information.

Hope this helps,


-- Rocky Knolls (, July 31, 1998.

I live in the burbs near Chicago, and can't move for a variety of reasons. My big question is, WON'T THE GENERATOR NOISE ATTRACT ATTENTION?? Even if you were out in the boonies, the so-called "quiet" 1800 rmp generators will be heard on a quiet day.

Once somone hears your gen, the gig's up! They will likely figure (as I would) that, generator=food=water= medical supplies, etc. How will you fight off the curious and worse?

-- nobody (, July 31, 1998.

Thanks for all the info Rocky... just what I was looking for and begged for on another thread.

About the noise - I live in a area of 1 acre lots and have one neighbor who is so far down on his luck that they came and not only shut off his power but took the guts out of his power box (is that what its called?). Now at night and maybe sometimes during the day, you can hear his generator running. You get used to it. Kinda like living next to train tracks. Of course, I don't live right next door...

hmmmm.... I guess I know to whom I should be talking too. d

-- Dianne Smith (, August 01, 1998.

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