Tag Archives: energy

Propane-Powered Generators: Are They the Best Choice?

Propane Powered Generators-Recently I was asked the following question by someone who wants to install a 5000-watt generator to run their home in case of a power failure:

What is the best choice for fuel, propane, gasoline or diesel?

This reader is leaning towards getting a propane-powered generator. The choices are confusing, and a guide like this one can help the newcomer to the world of generators make the best choice.

I have been doing some research on the subject and here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of all three fuels for generators: gasoline, diesel, and propane.

Gasoline:
  • Advantages:
    • ¬†Easily obtained
    • ¬†Portable in small containers
  • Disadvantages:
    • Highly flammable
    • Short shelf life of fuel (approximately 12 months)
    • Storing large quantities of fuel is hazardous
    • May not be available during power outages
Diesel:
  • Advantages:
    • Least flammable fuel source
    • Fuel easily obtained (fuel is easier to obtain during a disaster because it is a necessary fuel for the military, trucking industry, and farming operations)
    • On site fuel delivery available
    • Designed for off-road applications and can operate on dyed or farm/construction diesel fuel which is sold without the road tax and thus is considerably cheaper to purchase.
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Posted in fuels | Tagged , , , , | 26 Comments

Kill A Watt Can Determine the Size of a Generator/Solar System

Kill A WattThe last few days I have been playing with a new device.  I spent approximately $18 to purchase a Kill A Watt from Amazon. Now a Kill A Watt is a device that will measure exactly how much power you use to run an appliance.

The U.S Department of Energy reports that 20% of our electric bills come from items that are left plugged in when they are not in use, or items that are in standby mode. With the Kill A Watt P4400 we can monitor the energy eaters in our homes and cut down our electric bills at the same time.…

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Posted in electronics, lighting | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

How Many Solar Panels & Batteries Do You Need For Your Off-Grid System?

solar panels batteriesHow do you figure out how many solar panels you need on your home? If you are just trying to run lights and maybe a refrigerator, it is not too hard to determine the number of panels and batteries yourself.

So how do you figure out how many solar panels and batteries you need? The first step is to determine how much power the appliances and lights you intend to run draw. There are a couple of ways to determine this. The wattage of a UL listed/approved appliance can usually be found near the AC power cord. This may be in amps or watts.…

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Posted in solar | Tagged , , , , | 154 Comments