Back up gen install cost

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  #1  
Old 12-14-11, 06:15 PM
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Back up gen install cost

Hi all.

we have regular power outages here, esp winter time. worst one was 5 days.
I do have gas gen that runs basically entire house, at least - most of it. 13 000 w I believe. It's key or pull start, supposed to run for 8 hrs on tankful. Also, quite awkward to manipulate, loud, plus all the hassle of rolling it out, hooking up, and so on and so on.
Been thinking about installing stationary automatic backup gen. Say, I can get one for $4K. Neighbor has one across the street, put-put-put sweet thing.
My question is - what is or should be, estimated install cost? Ideal situation, concrete slab outside garage wall where main panel is, right next to gas meter. Basically, install automatic panel for the house, hook it up through the wall, connect gas line. I can do all the slab drilling and anchoring myself, no big deal.
sounds like maybe half day, day work for a guy who knows what he's doing? 8 hrs?
also, was told that backup gen requires "new meter" due to "massive gas consumption". BS or not?
 
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Old 12-14-11, 07:06 PM
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The gas meter may need to be changed along with the line feeding the meter.

You are probably looking in the several thousand dollar range for the install. Pricing is too hard to give without seeing the job and labor rates vary around the country.
 
  #3  
Old 12-14-11, 07:19 PM
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You can convert your current generator into stationary.

Hard hook up through transfer switch, put a muffler on it to help with the noise and voila. Job done for 500$ (250$ transfer switch + cables, 250$ labor)
 
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Old 12-14-11, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by insthink View Post
You can convert your current generator into stationary.

Hard hook up through transfer switch, put a muffler on it to help with the noise and voila. Job done for 500$ (250$ transfer switch + cables, 250$ labor)
actually not a bad idea. gasoline=$$? Can it be set up as automatic? prolly not, right?
 
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Old 12-14-11, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by pcboss View Post
The gas meter may need to be changed along with the line feeding the meter.

You are probably looking in the several thousand dollar range for the install. Pricing is too hard to give without seeing the job and labor rates vary around the country.
well, seriously - concrete 4 feet walkway around entire house, easy foundation to DIY permanent install. Gas meter and main panel are about a foot apart, just on the opposite sides of the garage wall. mof, 16 switch panel for gas generator is already wired in right next to main panel. it's: set backup gen on the slab, punch hole in the wall for cable, connect gas line, prolly install smart panel, that's it. where do the thousands come from? I mean, I know where from, greed, but realistically speaking? I simply can't see more than day labor here, and they charge $75 an hr for install. OK, meter will be another what, 3-400? OK, 250 CFH meter is $200. I do not mind paying fair labor, but even 2 000 thousand sounds too much.
 
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Old 12-14-11, 08:04 PM
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Oh it's not diesel?

Well, ya gasoline = $$$ but is the upfront cost of a NG generator installation inferior to the cumulative price difference between natural gas and gasoline use over X number of years? (X years = life expectancy of said generators)

As for automatic.. yes, it can be, if the generator has an electric start it can be hooked up, with a proper transfer switch.

Though I prefer not automatic start, as I'd rather make sure I can run around turning off loads that would overwhelm the generator had it been automatic (such as electric stove/oven + electric dryer running at the same time during the outage)
 
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Old 12-14-11, 08:25 PM
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I'm not sure what either of you is trying to say but an automatic transfer switch is going to cost $1,000 and up for the switch alone. A gasoline to natural gas conversion for a 13kW generator is going to cost around $250 for parts alone. Installing a new (larger) natural gas meter could be anywhere from free to maybe as high as $1,000 depending on the gas utility. Electrical installation of the transfer switch could be $500 to $1000 dollars. Permitting fees could be as high as $1,000 but probably more like $300 to $500. Additional materials and supplies could be another $500.
 
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Old 12-15-11, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Furd View Post
I'm not sure what either of you is trying to say but an automatic transfer switch is going to cost $1,000 and up for the switch alone. A gasoline to natural gas conversion for a 13kW generator is going to cost around $250 for parts alone. Installing a new (larger) natural gas meter could be anywhere from free to maybe as high as $1,000 depending on the gas utility. Electrical installation of the transfer switch could be $500 to $1000 dollars. Permitting fees could be as high as $1,000 but probably more like $300 to $500. Additional materials and supplies could be another $500.
this exactly my point. I simply do not see, realistically speaking, thousands in this install. house layout/panel are dead spot on for easy install, as it's all together and behind the wall from gas meter. concrete slab to have it installed on is already there. it is simple punch hole in the wall for cable/connect gas line job.
smart automatic switches usually come with generator and are either part of the general cost, or are about $200-$200 plus. ok, it will take electrician an hour, maybe 2, to wire that panel in. another hour to punch a hole and run cable, which I already have one. will take plumber say 3-4 hours to - worse case - replace meter and connect gas line to generator. ok, $300 for meter. permits - prolly $300-$400, if they are even required. I live out in sticks.
so I'll be generous and say - 8 hrs labor x $75 labor time quoted=$600+$300 meter+$250 switch+$350 permit= $1500 rounded to max install cost.

well, here's the reason I asked this question. They quoted me $4,200.00 for install.
so I became curious...

furd, so it is possible to convert my current petrol generator to natural gas? what does it take to do so and won't it lose a lot of power as a result? I have Briggs&Stratton engine in it. Realistically speaking, for me, it is convenience issue. I am OK with this gen "as is" power supply wise. It's setting it up that ticks me off every time. So, if there's any way to make it more user friendly, sure - I'd rather put $5500 into extra mortgage payment.
 
  #9  
Old 12-15-11, 12:55 PM
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This link has all the answers concerning conversion to natural gas or propane. It is a little hard to navigate and some of the links don't work but persevere and you will find all you need to know.

Generator Conversion Kits to Propane and Natural Gas.
 
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Old 12-15-11, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Furd View Post
This link has all the answers concerning conversion to natural gas or propane. It is a little hard to navigate and some of the links don't work but persevere and you will find all you need to know.

Generator Conversion Kits to Propane and Natural Gas.
furd, did you actually have one converted? I am mostly curious if there's power loss. they say, gas burns 10% less than petrol. otherwise, those kits range around $250 and easy DIY job.
 
  #11  
Old 12-15-11, 06:41 PM
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Ukrbyk, I think what from I read you only lose power it you keep it as multifuel. Meaning if you change to NG and keep the butterfly installed for petrol use also that restricts the NG flow some.

If you modify 100% for NG use only,(or propane), then I believe there is no loss.

That other poster Matt76 has pics of his gen with a LP conversion from US carb.

I will try to find the link.

Mike NJ
 
  #12  
Old 12-15-11, 06:42 PM
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yeah, I got it:

Type 3 kits are low pressure propane only kits. The original gasoline carburetor is converted to meter the propane to the engine. This is the most common method of conversion and it is the least expensive. To make the modification, simply remove the carburetor from the engine. Unscrew the float bowl and discard it along with the float, needle and high speed jet that runs up through the center of the carburetor (shown below). The passage that the high speed jet ran up through is then enlarged to accept the new propane or natural gas jet. One other passage is drilled larger and all other passages are sealed with the sealant provided. That is basically it. An example of the new tube can be seen in the picture above.

This type of conversion will produce FULL power because the carburetor is now delivering fuel at the exact location that was engineered for the delivery of gasoline to the engine air stream. Even though most people never go back to gasoline, if gasoline operation is ever wanted in the future, a new carburetor would have to be purchased.
 
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Old 12-15-11, 06:49 PM
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they also have remote starts:

Remote Start

so, basically, all I need to do is to install gen outside permanently, making sure it can not stolen and protected from rain; run hole through the wall and connect to existing switch behind the wall; convert it to natural gas; have remote handy. enjoy. sounds like a weekend project. oops, no, have muffler to figure out. gen has tiny short nozzle coming out of muffler.

btw it's Coleman 8000/10 000 peak gen with Coleman Pro 15 hp engine, which I am quite sure is B&S one.
 
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Old 12-15-11, 06:49 PM
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There is a link in post #21 madmatt76 did his genarac to LP.


http://www.doityourself.com/forum/electrical-c-d-c/459372-generator-recommendation.html


Mike NJ
 
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Old 12-16-11, 07:53 AM
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thanks, mike.

I really like how that post is crowned:

Today I was able to finish the natural gas / propane adapter kit from USCarb onto the generator. I still don't know if it works yet, but hey this is progress.

It's all cool and dandy. I am not sure though if I want to run it off propane or natural gas.
If I do natural gas, I need someone to come over and cut feed line into the meter line, not messing with that. Otherwise, I have n/g outlet pre-installed, but it's good 30 meters away from where I plan on setting gen. I do not believe I shall have ANY useful pressure running a line that long to gen.
Maybe I'd be better off buying a large propane bottle and setting it as fuel supply. I can prolly hide it inside the garage, behind the wall either. Y'all know propane freezes in low temperatures, right?
BTW, how do you get propane during power outages? Is it simple pressure feed from a large tank on stations? As if there's electricity involved, it's as much useless as petrol (America needs to do something about the word "gas". Read it as you want to in a thread like this)
 
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Old 12-16-11, 09:33 AM
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I am not sure though if I want to run it off propane or natural gas.
If I do natural gas, I need someone to come over and cut feed line into the meter line, not messing with that. Otherwise, I have n/g outlet pre-installed, but it's good 30 meters away from where I plan on setting gen. I do not believe I shall have ANY useful pressure running a line that long to gen.


What do you mean??? I thought you wanted to run NG??? The pressure is not an issue with NG its the size of the line and the proper volume....

Maybe I'd be better off buying a large propane bottle and setting it as fuel supply. I can prolly hide it inside the garage, behind the wall either. Y'all know propane freezes in low temperatures, right?
BTW, how do you get propane during power outages? Is it simple pressure feed from a large tank on stations? As if there's electricity involved, it's as much useless as petrol

What you talkin bout ukrbyk???? You been hitting the moonshine again???...LOL

Propane does not freeze as far as I know in our climates. It actually does freeze at -300f. And I belive it is still gasous at -50F. If someone says thier propane froze its probably because they had moisture in the lines or regulator.

Electric???? yes pumping propane ofsets the fluctuation in pressure during tempeture changes, but I dont think thats be a concern with running a gen.

I think you are going about this whole thing wrong IMO. You want to spend a lot of $$$$ just to have the convienence to not go out to start the gen and plug it in??? Thats not worth it IMO but to each his own.

Cutting into the gas meter is easy really. But if your not comfortable hire it out.
 
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Old 12-16-11, 09:41 AM
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I know what I'm talking about.:NO NO NO: We had entire bus fleet back in the ol country converted to propane, and winter time they had nothing but trouble. With frozen lines. Virtually sitting underneath a bus, with torch in hand, defrosting lines. Maybe it's not the case here, but I had it drop down to -12 here for several days centigrade.

and my other question was misunderstood. If there's power outage, HOW DO YOU RECHARGE PROPANE AT PROPANE STATION? is it straight pressure feed from their tank, or there is electricity involved to run a pump or something? normal bs against petrol is "you can not get it due to power outage". can you get propane?
 
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Old 12-16-11, 10:10 AM
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I think those LP tanks run off a pump but I am sure they will transfer without the pump running.

NG is the best bet. No electric needed.

As far as petrol, or LP and electric is concerned, think about it. How often is there a state wide power outage???? Has never happened in my lifetime.

Gee I would drive a few miles to where they do have power and fill the gas cans. Or pay people to siphon gas from thier cars...LOL. Hey it has crossed my mind.....

I can probaby get two-three days worth from my vehicles alone.

If we ever have state wide outages I think we will have more issues then worrying about electric. Food, and water would be my first concern.

Most people are worried about running the A/C and such. I always have 20 gallons of water on hand at any given moment stored in my large RO tank. I keep a stocked pantry of rotated canned and dry goods that should last the family at least two weeks. After that who knows. I guess it would be time to arm yourself.

And the issue with standby power when the whole state is out is everyone will flock around your home. Then they will start wanting things. And we know what happens then. Large angry mobs.....

Ha, ha...Just my take on it. and it happened to me during my last power outage. And that was only 8 hours. Imaging if it was several days.
 
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Old 12-16-11, 10:23 AM
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winter before we had 5 days entire area shut down completely. not a single gas station worked. 7-10 below zero centigrade. everything here is cables on poles, with them cedar and pine trees branches hanging down right on them. it's "green state" you know.

that's one of my concerns - keeping that generator outside. when we had that outage, people were paying double price for any power generator. and the way gen is made, exhaust is on one side, and control panel is on the opposite, so you have to have it perpendicular to the wall and access on both sides. hiding it inside garage then becomes very problematic, as you can not set it flush parallel to the wall.

I'll bolt it to concrete. will call a plumber to make me T for n.g feed. indeed, having it on hand, it's simple matter of making it more user friendly, instead of buying a hosh posh one. it runs easily all crucial appliances - septic, refrigerators, garage doors, kitchen stove, microwave, furnace. most of the house lights.

I have lived in this area since june 2005, there was not a year without power outages, longer and shorter. several hrs to several days. mostly storms knocking down trees onto power lines, and trees simply getting old and falling down.
 
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