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#4440637 - 06/24/17 09:07 PM natural gas generator
mobilaltima Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1148
Loc: Golden Meadow, LA
Along with a new ZTR mower, my dad is now looking to buy a 20-22kw natural gas generator, the ones that turn on automatically when the power goes out. He's about to sell a truck he has, and the money will go towards the generator. He has a 12 year old 8kw Blackmax with the 13hp GX390 Honda that has a natural gas kit on it, it has been flawless and never missed a lick in 12 years. Bought it right before Katrina, but he just wants an automatic one now(as opposed to having to drag the blackmax out, hooking up the natural gas hose and cranking everytime the power goes out.) I dont blame him. We have looked at a GE, with a Briggs Vanguard engine, a Kohler, A Generac with a Generac OHVI engine, and a Briggs and Stratton with a Briggs Vanguard engine. Which one of these, generator and engine, would be the best buy and give the most reliable years of service? I'm not fond of the Briggs engines taking 5W30 oil and them being air cooled, but if thats what they require for warranty then I guess we have no choice.


Edited by mobilaltima (06/24/17 09:09 PM)
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#4440675 - 06/24/17 09:58 PM Re: natural gas generator [Re: mobilaltima]
Donald Offline


Registered: 03/21/04
Posts: 20446
Loc: Upstate NY
Winco makes a better generator than Generac. I have taken most of the Winco I have apart to replace the generator head as the previous owner ran it 24x7 for months on end and overloaded it. It's well built and no scrimping.

20kw is probably still air cooled in most cases.

Be aware that the auto transfer switch can cost a lot and need an electrician to wire it.

Some generators are packaged with a auto transfer switch.

I see some on CraigsList where the hours are all weekly tests.

Many engines can be switched between propane and natural gas.
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#4440679 - 06/24/17 10:02 PM Re: natural gas generator [Re: mobilaltima]
earlyre Offline


Registered: 11/22/11
Posts: 3857
Loc: Lima, Ohio, USA
dad has the generac, and it's also an air-cooled Vtwin, that specs 5w30.

hasn't had any issues with it, but honestly not much use either...
he has a maintenance contract with the company that put it in (and the furnace, AC, Water heater, etc), and they come out twice a year, change the oil and filters on the Gen, and the furnace filters.

I'm fairly certain they use M1 5w30. and the official generac filters. ugh..
I know it uses the same battery as my old neon, and if IRC, the Filter crosses to the same ones as the 1zzfe(toyota engine) the Vibe in my sig takes.

tried to convince dad he could save a ton of money and let me do the maintenance, but... he'd rather pay them.
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#4440700 - 06/24/17 10:32 PM Re: natural gas generator [Re: mobilaltima]
E150GT Offline


Registered: 03/11/12
Posts: 1091
Loc: San Antonio, TX
Ive sold a few for jobs at work and I hear through the grapevine that Kohler make good units. Ive sold a few Generac but have heard mixed things.
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#4440963 - 06/25/17 09:57 AM Re: natural gas generator [Re: mobilaltima]
Linctex Offline


Registered: 12/31/16
Posts: 6148
Loc: Waco, TX
Briggs Vanguard engines (used to be) as good as a Honda. They WERE made in Japan... are they still?

Generac is "just OK".
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#4441046 - 06/25/17 11:39 AM Re: natural gas generator [Re: mobilaltima]
JTK Offline


Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 10559
Loc: Buffalo, NY
20-22Kw can be quite a draw on your natural gas service. Hopefully your system and other gas appliances can cope.
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#4441123 - 06/25/17 01:17 PM Re: natural gas generator [Re: mobilaltima]
JustinH Offline


Registered: 04/17/04
Posts: 5171
Loc: Texas
Are long power outages frequent in Louisiana?

When I lived in NY we would have quite a few from ice storms, etc.

But since I moved to Texas, most of the electric utility wiring is underground and we have had a few dips in power but no outage for more than an hour in five years.
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#4441182 - 06/25/17 02:39 PM Re: natural gas generator [Re: mobilaltima]
mobilaltima Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1148
Loc: Golden Meadow, LA
Yes, especially during hurricane season. We haven't had a bad storm in years. For Katrina we didn't have power for 2 weeks if I recall correctly
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#4441212 - 06/25/17 03:08 PM Re: natural gas generator [Re: mobilaltima]
NH73 Offline


Registered: 10/31/14
Posts: 699
Loc: Pa, USA
Originally Posted By: mobilaltima
I'm not fond of the Briggs engines taking 5W30 oil and them being air cooled, but if thats what they require for warranty then I guess we have no choice.
It should work fine using 5w30 full synthetic which is probably the recommendation. You could also use 10w30 full synthetic, which would be acceptable by B&S. If you don't like neither, B&S newest recommendation is Vanguard Full Synthetic 15w50.
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#4441284 - 06/25/17 04:52 PM Re: natural gas generator [Re: NH73]
SwampDweller Offline


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 161
Loc: Gonzales, La.
I'm a neighbor of yours up in Gonzales. Have had a Generac 20kw with the auto panel now for 4 years. Has only kicked on 3 times for outages from 2 to 5 hours. Cranks right up after about 10 seconds.

So far, I would give it a recommendation. I change the oil and filter once a year with Rotella 15/40 and a Fram Ultra XG4967 on the V-twin 999. Good luck


Edited by SwampDweller (06/25/17 04:53 PM)
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#4441382 - 06/25/17 06:44 PM Re: natural gas generator [Re: mobilaltima]
jkasch Online   content


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 169
Loc: Michigan
Plan to spend about a grand on a big a$$ gas meter. At least that's what Consumers Energy charged here in Michigan.

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#4441431 - 06/25/17 07:46 PM Re: natural gas generator [Re: jkasch]
kschachn Offline


Registered: 12/26/05
Posts: 9375
Loc: Upper Midwest
Originally Posted By: jkasch
Plan to spend about a grand on a big a$$ gas meter. At least that's what Consumers Energy charged here in Michigan.

Here they just upped our pressure to 2psi, and installed a regulator on the gas appliances. The cost was about half what you were charged.
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#4441466 - 06/25/17 08:45 PM Re: natural gas generator [Re: mobilaltima]
Donald Offline


Registered: 03/21/04
Posts: 20446
Loc: Upstate NY
Has anyone done the needed calculations as to how many KW are actually needed for the critical loads?

If power outages are few and far between then maybe get enough to power the critical loads?

A peak-hold AC clamp-on ammeter would be handy.

If your Dad lives in LA he needs to determine if AC is a critical load.

Around here, my critical loads are water pump, heat, and power to cook on gas range or microwave. Maybe a couple of lights in the kitchen.

Water pump is the largest load.
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#4441500 - 06/25/17 09:14 PM Re: natural gas generator [Re: mobilaltima]
eljefino Offline


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 32629
Loc: ME
My former job had a gas generator and while the gas meter was "sized" for a certain flow it could do 150% of that rating, per the gas company. Might be worth asking them. They'd love to sell you more gas. wink

They put effort into residential gas delivery in a crisis (so you can heat the house) to a point that they cut off industrial users if there isn't enough.

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#4442092 - 06/26/17 04:11 PM Re: natural gas generator [Re: eljefino]
SwampDweller Offline


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 161
Loc: Gonzales, La.
Agree with above, original gas meter was used. No issues after 5 hour run with high loads.

Donald, the auto panel is equipped with power shedding. Mine has run both central A/C units together though.


Edited by SwampDweller (06/26/17 04:14 PM)
_________________________
From the Swamp, Lenny

16 F150 XLT 5.0 Super Crew
16 Ford Fusion SE 1.5 Turbo

14 Hustler ZTR 54 Super Duty 23/Kawasaki
Generac 20 KW 999V twin

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