Adding Nat Gas Generator

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Old 02-23-19, 11:07 AM
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Adding Nat Gas Generator

Many HOA residents want to add a generator to our Club House so that the next time the electric gets knocked out we have a place to stay warm, charge devices, take showers etc. The club house currently has natural gas heating. Is it possible to install a natural gas generator? How much room does it take up and what do they generally cost?
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Old 02-23-19, 01:43 PM
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The first thing you need to do is have an assessment made on generator size needed.
Since you have natural gas.... there will be natural gas heating resulting in lower electrical demand.

Once the requirements for generator size are obtained..... then the gas requirement needs to be checked. The gas company may need to install a larger gas meter.

The generator needs to be connected to the gas and to the electric so those requirements will determine its placement. It takes up the room of several A/C condenser units.

Many electrical companies will offer free quotes. It would be hard for us to give you a quote as there are many variables to be considered. The biggest consideration when sizing a generator is start up load. A/C plays a big part in that.

I'd imagine you'll need a 25-30kw unit. The links are just an example.
Kohler 30kw generator
Generac 30kw generator
 
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Old 02-23-19, 02:14 PM
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Thanks PJmax - that certainly helps me (novice) understand this a little better. FYI the main concern is losing power in the winter cold - can live with the heat if it ever happened in summer - so AC should not really be a consideration. I guess that would change things? I realize we have to get someone in to give us an estimate - but wanted to understand if it was even feasible.
 
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Old 02-23-19, 03:12 PM
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Generators are pretty common these days. Depending on the load, you're probably looking at $8-$20K, obviously a wide range, but there are a lot of factors. You may find that a large enough generator to run AC might only be a bit more expensive - since a lot of the cost is the wiring, gas piping, installation, etc.

Definitely get 2-3 quotes, they will be able to give you options and help figure out some of the details.
 
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Old 02-25-19, 06:14 AM
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Also if you're on well & septic you need to upsize the generator for those pumps. If you're on a city water & sewer then no need to worry about that.
 
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Old 02-25-19, 06:17 AM
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Are natural gas generators put inside the building or outside???
 
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Old 02-25-19, 07:25 AM
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They must sit outside the building as they have an engine that emits exhaust. The building codes in your area will have restrictions on how far the unit sits from the building to avoid fumes being pulled into the building. These vary based on area, but generally speaking it has to sit a foot or two away from the building wall and cannot sit directly under or next to a window or door. The unit is placed similar to how an air conditioning unit is placed next to a building.

There will also be a transfer switch attached to the building's electrical service which is about the size of a second main electrical panel. This can be placed inside or outside, and is usually best to place near the electric meter.

If you want to look up some examples: Generac, Kohler, Briggs & Stratton all have lots of pictures and videos on their websites for home standby generators.
 
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Old 02-25-19, 08:27 AM
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The building codes in your area will have restrictions on how far the unit sits from the building to avoid fumes being pulled into the building.

In addition, some areas also have noise restrictions the generator must meet when running. While you are checking codes, find out if you have to meet a noise requirement. Most manufacturers have quiet models. but they cost a bit more. On the smaller units those that run at 3600 RPMs are usually screamers and the 1800 RPM models are much quieter.
 
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Old 02-25-19, 05:10 PM
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You may also need gas meter upgrade or split service. Generators use quiet more gas than gas furnace or water heaters do and often regular 1/2 PSI supply can't supply enough gas to the generator.
Upsizing the pipe and/or supplying higher pressure gas (usually 2 PSI) may be required.
Most of the time, gas company will just replace gas pressure regulator to 2 PSI and higher flow gas meter. Then, tee off to generator supply and install 1/2 PSI regulator for the rest of the line.


It is possible to install a generator inside, but that will cost much more as intake and exhaust must run outside and will have to build a separate room. This is usually done on large buildings and a larger generator.
 
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