Propane vs gas for 10kw generator

Messages
2,815
Location
Kentucky
A few months ago I purchased a Westinghouse W9500 dual fuel generator. Today I had the plug out to get a part number (to replace the Torch brand with something decent) and I had a look inside the cylinder with a bore scope. I found the top of the piston covered in a fairly thick layer of gooey carbon which surprised me given the engine only has about 3 hours on it. I've taken a look in other OPE engines with substantially more hours on them, and didn't find that amount of deposits on the piston.

I've run the engine primarily on ethanol free gasoline. Is there any benefit to running on propane as it pertains to engine cleanliness / deposit formation?

I use the generator to make my welder portable for projects around the house. The amount I use it makes a cost comparison between the two fuels inconsequential. Curious if one fuel were better than another for engine longevity and why.
 
Messages
4,523
Location
Ca.
Propane burns much cleaner, and is the fuel of choice for generators.

It does burn cleaner.

it depends on what your storage and run time is whether or not its the fuel of choice.

Its about 20% less energy dense than gasoline and more difficult to find a place to " fill er up"
 
Messages
200
Location
WA
The fact that propane can sit for years and still be good makes it desirable. Most generators don't get used often enough to make gas as trouble free. The clean burning aspect helps too.

If the additional power is needed to power everything, then it's not an option.
 
Messages
410
Location
Florida
We did a lot of research and have a propane generator. Being in FL and not knowing when a hurricane or tropical storm will hit, we needed something good. Everyone I've talked to that bought a gas generator said they wished they bought a propane one. Burns cleaner and no gunk. Propane and propane accessories, I tell ya' what.
 
Messages
3,178
Location
USA
To run for days in a disaster, you'll need a big propane tank. A BBQ tank is equivalent to only about 3 gallons of gasoline.

Drawing propane from a small tank in cold weather is also problematic. The liquid in the bottom of the tank becomes too cold to vaporize.
 
Messages
25,690
Location
Upstate NY
Propane is a good fuel for a generator as it does not go bad like gas, does not gel like diesel and its under your control unlike natural gas. However in cold weather you need to worry about vaporization rate if you have a tank smaller than 500 gallons. Its best to buy a propane tank vs rental if your main usage of propane is for the generator. If you try and rent a tank where the generator is the only or major propane user of propane then the propane company will charge a high rental rate and a high price per gallon for propane as they will not be selling you much propane.
 

4WD

Messages
16,640
Location
Texas
My new one is dual fuel … will try to keep it on propane but have more gasoline in storage …
 
Messages
261
Location
New York
I hear mix information. Does running a genny on propane burn the valves?


I called Winco as I have a tri fuel and inquired if I can run NG from day one or does it have to be broken in with regular gas as some state you must first break in with regular gas. They told me NG from day one was fine.
 

JTK

Messages
13,366
Location
Buffalo, NY
With propane you have propane problems as with gasoline you have gasoline problems.

Man if that isn't true!

My thoughts are a 10K watt unit has a fairly large V-twin air cooled engine on it? Under load it will probably use 1-2gal/hour of gasoline. Couldn't imagine the flow rate required when on propane. For light, sporadic use, propane might be the way to go.
 
Messages
25,690
Location
Upstate NY
If you have propane for heat then a propane generator seems a no brainer. If you want a serious backup generator to go a week even if all the gas stations have no power or out of gas then you need a 500 gal tank of propane and propane generator.

Trying to store enough gas to run a gas generator for a week and rotate the gas to cars and buy fresh will get old quickly. And dangerous. Having twenty 5 gal containers of gas hanging around is not the safest thing to do.
 
Messages
4,523
Location
Ca.
If you have propane for heat then a propane generator seems a no brainer. If you want a serious backup generator to go a week even if all the gas stations have no power or out of gas then you need a 500 gal tank of propane and propane generator.

Trying to store enough gas to run a gas generator for a week and rotate the gas to cars and buy fresh will get old quickly. And dangerous. Having twenty 5 gal containers of gas hanging around is not the safest thing to do.

This is why Im moving off portables to a whole house unit powered by the incoming natural gas line that powers all the other heating devices in the home.

although NG is less dense than even propane - I won't have to move it in small containers, or store it on site in a lawn sausage and deal with a rusting tank, or untimely refills requiring a ton of upfront money - I pay as I go.

Living off a gasoline genset for a week is a like living in a lifeboat you can do it but it gets old quick.
 
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Messages
4,523
Location
Ca.
I hear mix information. Does running a genny on propane burn the valves?


I called Winco as I have a tri fuel and inquired if I can run NG from day one or does it have to be broken in with regular gas as some state you must first break in with regular gas. They told me NG from day one was fine.

No what burns the valves is lack of lash maintenance.
In my observation it's the leading cause of premature genset engine end "hard" failures.
Almost no one does it.
Bad fuel killing carbs is the #1 no start condition.
 
Messages
25,690
Location
Upstate NY
This is why Im moving off portables to a whole house unit powered by the incoming natural gas line that powers all the other heating devices in the home.

although NG is less dense than even propane - I won't have to move it in small containers, or store it on site in a lawn sausage and deal with a rusting tank, or untimely refills requiring a ton of upfront money - I pay as I go.

Living off a gasoline genset for a week is a like living in a lifeboat you can do it but it gets old quick.
There have been hurricane situations where they have cut natural gas to areas (many city blocks) because of a fire. I read about a company that lost hundreds of thousands of dollars of food in freezers when they had their natural gas cut and generators stopped due to a fire in that section of the city.
 
Messages
4,523
Location
Ca.
There have been hurricane situations where they have cut natural gas to areas (many city blocks) because of a fire. I read about a company that lost hundreds of thousands of dollars of food in freezers when they had their natural gas cut and generators stopped due to a fire in that section of the city.
For sure... that possibility is a bigger risk in some areas that others.

What I have to deal with his the run of the mill pole down in the winter, frequent public safety power shutoffs lasting days, and rolling blackouts due to heatwaves that start in the evening.

If a fire gets close enough to me to kill the NG Im evacuating anyway.
 
Messages
2,337
Location
South Carolina
Mine is a 5kw/7.5kw surge and holds 7 gallons. When Matthew hit I had the gen-set full and 20 gallons in 5 gallon containers. My gen-set runs about 10 hours straight. We were out of power for 5 days so the gas doesn't go far. We ran the gen-set 1 hour on and 2 hours off just to keep the fridge and 2 freezers going. I was planning on siphoning gas out of my 4 vehicles, which were full, but gave up. We used oil lamps for lighting. We finally ran out of gas, and couldn't get any, so we lost everything in the fridge and freezers. The portable gen-set is good for a day or 2 or 3 but forget about running everything in your house. Most portable gen-sets are tanked for around 10 hours of use. Just FYI.
 
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