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Small Cabin Forum / Off-Grid Living / Propane vs Gasoline Generator - which is more expensive?
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optimistic
Member
# Posted: 27 Apr 2022 20:47
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Hey All,

I am thinking to maybe buy a new Honda Generator eu2200 then get it a conversion kit so then if I have some major issue with loss of power in my home - I can hook it to natural gas and have continuous power.

I noticed that some conversion kits convert to propane and natural gas at the same time basically. So one kit will do both - https://www.hutchmountain.com/products/honda-eu2200i-propane-natural-gas-gasoline-tri -fuel-conversion-kit?variant=31365262442586

Looks really good.

Question is... what is the price difference between running generator on propane vs gasoline? I guess it depends on the cost of propane refill in my area?

Also, anyone with experience with this kit / company?

gcrank1
Member
# Posted: 27 Apr 2022 22:08
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Well.....how many hours do you need to run? And at the gasoline gph how much stabilized highly flammable gas would you need to store? Do not count on gas at any station.
Vs how much/many LP cylinders (which doesnt spoil).
NG isnt as 'energy dense' so it needs 'bigger jets/oriface/settings, otherwise same as LP. Both burn clean too. But if the power 'outage' takes out the NG supplier too whatchagonna do? LP is more 'self sufficient'.
Imo, gen's are best run periodically rather than continuous. Have a plan for reduced power use and when it runs operate as much as you can, including a battery charger to top up a battery bank for LED lighting, device charging, etc.
As to costs, if you Need power the cost isnt much gonna matter at that point.
Fwiw, Were I buying now Id get the dual-fuel version.

paulz
Member
# Posted: 27 Apr 2022 23:16
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I don't have specific numbers but I do have a gas and a propane generator of equal output, and the propane genny goes through it quite a bit quicker. I've read it's to be expected. That said, I just paint $4 a gallon for propane and $6 for gas..

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 28 Apr 2022 05:14
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Generaly with the same generator your output wattage is going to be 20% less on propane so you will have to figure that into your equation.

The eu2200 is so small and burns so little I dont think you will see much return on a $300 duel fuel kit.

Fanman
Member
# Posted: 28 Apr 2022 06:17
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The advantage of propane or NG is that it doesn't go stale and doesn't gum up the carburetor. I have a small (2kW) dual fuel generator at the cabin that I've only ever run on propane (barbecue tanks) to keep it clean... plus it'll run a lot longer on even a small propane tank than it will on its internal gasoline tank. I have a larger 4.5kW Generac at the house that I need to get the propane kit for so I can connect it to the house tanks. Until I do, I keep that one filled with avgas which has much better shelf life than ethanol contaminated car gas.

gcrank1
Member
# Posted: 28 Apr 2022 09:35
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Curious...how much does that av-gas cost?

paulz
Member
# Posted: 28 Apr 2022 10:10
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I used to buy av gas at the local airport, until it was outlawed (in Ca.) to put it in anything other than an airplane. There was no road tax so it was actually cheaper (again Ca. taxes).

ICC
Member
# Posted: 28 Apr 2022 17:35
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Quoting: gcrank1
Curious...how much does that av-gas cost?


LL100 at $6.20 to 6.30 this week in southeastern UT

gcrank1
Member
# Posted: 28 Apr 2022 18:19
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That is considerably less expensive than those engineered fuels for power equipment. Any advantage to putting some Sta-Bil in?

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 28 Apr 2022 20:15
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If you can get ethanol free fuel theres no benefit of AV gas over that.

My $200 sportsman 1kw hasn't been started all winter(about 4 months) I only use E0 fuel and it started on the 5th pull. Now on the other hand my $50 3500w briggs generator with a rusty fuel tank started after sitting just the same time in 2 pulls. I also use E0 fuel in it.

All my 2 stroke stuff here I use 91 E0 fuel. It's the only E0 fuel I can buy.

Fanman
Member
# Posted: 28 Apr 2022 20:30
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Quoting: gcrank1
Curious...how much does that av-gas cost?


I think it was $5.70 in CT last week.

Ethanol free mogas isn't available in CT, period (except for a few marinas that sell an isobutanol blend).

ICC
Member
# Posted: 28 Apr 2022 20:40 - Edited by: ICC
Reply 


One reason not to use LL100 avgas, except in an aircraft engine that requires it, is that it contains lead. It has not been possible to make high compression aircraft engines which can operate on lead free gas. LL100 has about half the lead of the older fuel, but still anout twice as much as was used in motor vehicle leaded gas. That will kill a catalytic converter nd lead is not good for people. FWIW,there are only about 170,000 gas-fuel aircraft in the US, a very small market compared to motor vehicles.

gcrank1
Member
# Posted: 28 Apr 2022 23:57
Reply 


We do have non-eth premium at BP just down the road. I do toss in a reasonable amount of Sta-Bil for lay-up. They do start good the next season.

optimistic
Member
# Posted: 30 Apr 2022 07:13
Reply 


Thanks for the info.

Benefit vs con of propane (subjective):

Benefit:

1. extended run (I made a system with gasoline but it does have issues)

2. keeps carb cleaner. I ran my generator for 36-50 hours straight when I go to the cabin every other week. That is a lot of hours.

3. Gives me the option to use at home on NG in case of emergency (I'll have to drive for 4 hours to go get it but still)

4. Possibly cheaper to run? depends on propane cost near me. I need to find out what is the best and least expensive place.

Cons

1. kits to convert is $240

2. possible hassle of refilling propane regular

3. reduced output. My extremely old and beat up eu2000 is enough so maybe a new eu2200 on propane will suffice as well?


I need to figure out two things. Where I can fill up easily and inexpensively. And if it will run on my NG at home. I read about another company that makes a conversion kit that you need to check your local NG pressure since it won't work if it doesn't match with the regulator they supply.

gcrank1
Member
# Posted: 30 Apr 2022 11:24
Reply 


Champion makes a duel-fuel model 1850/2500w peak inverter gen ready to go. Retail is about $750 US but a friend recently bought one for less by shopping around.
He said all he had to do was unbox it, read the manual, fill the oil, hook to his bbq tank and it fired right up.
Ive had the 1750/2000w gas unit for a couple of years now and am very pleased; was a game changer for us. Were I buying today Id get the dual fuel model.
I must ask, why are you running a gen constantly?

curious
Member
# Posted: 30 Apr 2022 11:27
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You can convert the old eu20001. Don't know if it matters to you, but if you install a conversion kit on a Honda that voids the warranty.

gcrank1
Member
# Posted: 30 Apr 2022 12:27
Reply 


I was looking at 'diy' conversions for my old rusted out tank Suzuki construction gen.
The 'universal kit' wasnt overly complicated and seemed overpriced for what it all was.
A 'plate' with a spout to bolt between carb and intake manifold.
Inlet plate has a tube into the venturi, other end the LP line hooks to.
That line goes to the outlet on the pressure regulator at the tank. A reg. from a bbq grill would work, a dual-stage one would be best. You can buy them new but Ive been wrenching them off junked grills at our 'recycle center' (formerly known as the dump). Dual-stage reg. seem to be on the Big fancy grill rigs.
In the line from reg. to inlet plate needs to be a simple flow valve to adjust for the engine to run right. Once it is set for good running you dont have to mess with it.
Sounds like you get the gen ready to go, turn on the LP and start the gen. Just like when lighting a grill, if it doesnt go you need to turn the LP tank off and figure it out.
Anybody done this?

darz5150
Member
# Posted: 30 Apr 2022 15:25 - Edited by: darz5150
Reply 


We had a big gas Genny that had 220 outlets etc.
It was gas powered. And hard as hell to start in the winter. Even with electric start. We drilled a hole in the air filter cover originally to shoot starting fluid in. Then screwed a bolt in the hole.
Ran out of starter fluid one time, and decided to take a propane torch and shoot it in the air box. Started every time. So that was the new go to way to start the Genny. Anyhoos we decided to take a bbq tank hose for a crawfish boiler and taped it in the hole. It was able to run it without the gas turned on. No conversion kit. Just adjusted the knob when it was under load like you were saying.
I have a dual fuel Genny that doesn't like to run on propane when it's really cold, so I just switch to gas. Don't know why it worked on the other one so well.

paulz
Member
# Posted: 30 Apr 2022 16:15
Reply 


Quoting: darz5150

Ran out of starter fluid one time, and decided to take a propane torch and shoot it in the air box.


Wow, thought I'd heard and done it all with gas engines.. I'll have to try that sometime. My propane genny is hard to start, particularly if I just hooked up a tank, and I shoot it with the torch.

gcrank1
Member
# Posted: 30 Apr 2022 19:26
Reply 


The 'new-ish' safety valves have more troubles starting everything.....a little too much flow and the valve thinks its a leak and locks it down. Maybe that is what is happening trying to start the gen?
Ive still got some old style valved tanks, stuff is sooo easy, just like the old days.

ICC
Member
# Posted: 30 Apr 2022 21:06
Reply 


The valves sold since 1998 that have the OPD valve also contain the Discharge Check Valve. It does 2 things; first it prevents any flow unless a POL fitting is properly (fully) screwed onto the valve outlet.

The excess Flow Valve, the part that shuts off flow when a leak (high flow) is detected) is actually built into the connector fitting on the end of the hose. Most that you see have black black (flow between 70,000 and 100,000 BTU/Hr). There are also dark green (450,000 BTU/Hr), light or bright green (200,000 BTU/Hr). The red are special for devices needing very high flow rates; 1.3 million BTU/Hr maximum.

The EFV works and adds a lot of safety. I believe it is better to have that safety device and never need it than to need it and not have it. I really like being able to install the newer connectors without needing a wrench.

I have found most problems can be headed off by making sure the connected appliance has all the controls turned to off before opening the tank valve. And yes, opening slowly can be helpful if the hose or pipes being connected have no gas under pressure. Just something us older farts have to learn.

gcrank1
Member
# Posted: 30 Apr 2022 22:48 - Edited by: gcrank1
Reply 


I do like the new handwheel too
Fwiw, the newer POL fitting that has the little parallel tip will work on old style cylinder valves fine. BUT, do not use the old style 'plain ball' POL on the new tank valves as that can ruin the initial seal inside and is Not rebuildable.
That little tip on the new ones is a plunger to open the internals. To simplify my 'inventory' I pulled all the old plain POL fittings off stuff.
I put a little silicone grease on the POL O-rings from time to time, makes em last longer. A Little!

JaffH
Member
# Posted: 27 May 2022 00:16 - Edited by: JaffH
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Considering all that I've read in this thread. I'm interested in what people think. Which generator is better a gasoline one or propane?

Thanks in advance

Aklogcabin
Member
# Posted: 27 May 2022 11:43
Reply 


I've got both duel fuel n gasoline fired generators. Propane was more expensive to run. I use stabil in the fuel.
With our cabin being remote we need to bring in gas during the winter. I will try to have 100 gallons stored as its used for the coleman lanterns too. Chainsaws n such. We have propane oven. I have had to replace the carburetor on the 3500w generac with a 18 $ one. Runs great.
For us gasoline was less costly than propane. Knowone knows where prices will settle out. So future prices are uncertain for both products.
And just like lumber prices, may settle out more expensive than the way expensive stuff now.

gcrank1
Member
# Posted: 28 May 2022 20:09
Reply 


Fwiw
Eth-blend regular has worked fine in my stuff that gets run a lot. It doesnt store well or last for seasonal stuff on lay-up storage for months on end.
Non-eth runs great all the time and stores pretty well.
Stuff starts up after seasonal lay-up but I bet that If I had a dual fuel with no gasoline in the fuel system it would be great for occasional use, storage and beginning of season start up. After that I could see switching to eth-blend for general steady usage until toward end of season then run it dry, drain the gas and switch to 'pane.
Running expensive non-eth premium (the only non-eth I can get) for the lawn mower makes no sense to me, Im just burning fuel on a steady basis in season. Same if I was running a gen at the cabin a lot. My little Champ doesnt get run a lot, but fairly regularly. I use eth-blend reg, often filling only half full so Im introducing new gas often enough that it doesnt get old.

JaffH
Member
# Posted: 29 May 2022 04:18
Reply 


Thanks a lot for replying. My friend just recommended considering a gasoline generator. Here what he says.
Propane generators are inefficient, generating less BTUs per gallon of fuel than gas generators. Propane, on the other hand, burns cleaner than gasoline, making it beneficial for the environment as well as your generator.
Propane, on the other hand, has a lower energy density than diesel and gasoline, with just 26 MJ/L. As a result, when it comes to cost comparisons, if your generator operates on diesel or gasoline rather than propane, I'll wind up spending less on fuel in an emergency with it.
What do you say about it?

Thanks in advnce

paulz
Member
# Posted: 29 May 2022 06:04 - Edited by: paulz
Reply 


Really depends on the application. For occasional light use, propane may be a good option, with no worries about fuel degradation.

For heavier, more constant usage, gasoline may be a better option, better economy and less time for fuel degradation.

I also have a 7kw diesel genny a neighbor gave me. I have yet to put it in service but if we do end up out here full time I'll be getting a washer and dryer and likely use it for that as well as other heavy loads. Economy and fuel stabilization.

gcrank1
Member
# Posted: 29 May 2022 13:05
Reply 


There are some 92000 btu's per gal of propane, if you have a 30000 btu furnace you get 3+ hours of run time full blast. Its easy mathematical in that application.
Do they have similar specs on gens under varying load conditions? Would be nice to have something to compare apples to apples.
Around here today at the bulk fill TSC 'pane is $3.69/gal, + sales tax.
Regular eth-blend is a low of $4.23 to a high of $4.39 that I saw yesterday.
If 'pane is 80% the 'efficiency' of gasoline it would be a smidge more in cost but not spoil and run clean. That is compared to regular, if someone insists upon using only premium 'pane is cheaper with similar (even better) operational benifits.
Back in the '70s oil embargo price spike days quite a few farmers converted tractors to run on 'pane. I recently heard that some are switching now again.
For a full house large capacity gen Id want my own 'pane tank.
My little Champ(ion) inv/gen is a joy, even though gas.
My old Suzuki based 3Kw, gas, has a rusted out gas tank and has been a pain for years. I should make a diy, adj. valve inlet for it off a 2-stage regulator for a bbq cylinder.
My newer 5Kw elec start gen is gas and I have to mess about with it 3-4 times a year to be sure it is going to work when needed () If the trials with the Suz unit prove effective I could make up an inlet for it to swap from the Suz.
I used to think that if I had a diesel tractor Id have a pto driven gen for it, but at the price of diesel now???

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