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Old 05-12-2009, 11:47 AM   #1
2 Rivet Member
Houston , Texas
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Generator vs Propane

Propane isn't going to be an option for me. I'm going to be running a lot of equipment for 5 hours a day. Stove, AC, refrigeration. What are the pros and cons of a generator over propane? And more important how do they compare on daily usage expenses?

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Old 05-12-2009, 12:04 PM   #2
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Though clearly it depends on what generator size you have, I have the Yamaha EU1000.

I have a dedicated 20lb tank for it that I also use with my Weber Baby Q. I have something like 30 or 40 hours on the generator and have not emptied the 20lb tank yet. I would guess that a unit 3x the size or two units 2x the size would eat maybe a bottle a week? Just a guess, but still far better than it's gas counterparts. There are fallacies out there that LP because it has less BTUs than gasoline chews up more LP than gas or that there are performance hits compared to gas counterparts. I have not had that exp either issue and it is also addressed here:

Yamaha Generators Frequently Asked Question's

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Old 05-12-2009, 12:33 PM   #3
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In Texas if you aren't somewhere with hookups, you will need a ROBUST generator to run your A/C - and even more robust if you have one of the bigger units with TWO A/C's on the roof.

The only appliance that is a "propane hog" is the furnace - and you're in TEXAS. If you have heat pumps instead of just air conditioner with heat strips, it will work down to about 35 degrees F, then you need the furnace.

I fulltime and leave the water heater on all the time, cook every day on the stovetop - and I run through two 30lb tanks about 3 to 4 times per year.

Many folks find believe that a propane generator is safer than a gas one, or at least that transporting it's fuel is, so many have converted Hondas and other brands to run on propane.

Your original post might be construed in two ways - are you saying you want an all electric Airstream - or that you do not want a propane generator? There was one member a year or more ago who spent a lot of time in europe and wanted an all-diesel Airstream. Apparently diesel stovetops, ovens, furnaces and even diesel/electric refrigerators are common over there... and of course many generators are manufactured or modified to run on diesel fuel.

Please give us more information - are you afraid of propane for some reason? Filling the tank on a gasoline generator seems MUCH more dangerous to me - and I've had to do it during a hurricane.

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Old 05-12-2009, 01:07 PM   #4
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Propane isn't allowed in some places I'll be operating. Therefore I was thinking my only options are gas generator or diesel generator.
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Old 05-12-2009, 01:34 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by LittleA View Post
Propane isn't allowed in some places I'll be operating. Therefore I was thinking my only options are gas generator or diesel generator.
You could get one of those hybrid pickup trucks and run everything off the hybrid battery. That way, the gas engine would be the same as the engine driving your tow vehicle, and it would only run when the hybrid battery was low.

Of course if you have a tow vehicle already, then this is pretty useless advice.

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Old 05-12-2009, 03:11 PM   #6
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you need A/C, you definitely will need a generator. Obviously, all else on the A/S is intended to / designed to / can / does run on propane and 12 volt. You can get more of that 12 volt power e.g. for lights, furnace blower motor, refrigerator circuit board, etc. from solar panels - or a generator.

But if you need A/C, (absent a LARGE solar array) only a generator or grid connection will do that ... then it's up to you what sort you get and what fuel it uses. You can get gasoline, you can get diesel, you can get propane, you can get natural gas. Each has its place. But all these fuels are flammable, all have hot exhaust gases - so not clear to my why you wouldn't be able to use propane in a place where you can burn gasoline.

BTW, there are available for camping, off-grid, emergency, and other similar use, refrigerators that run on kerosene / fuel oil, as well as pressurizaed lights, kerosene stoves, etc.

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