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I'm considering getting a home standby generator. I have an existing small propane tank that's only used for a gas fireplace which is rarely on. I'm trying to figure out if I need a bigger tank.

My home has a peak power usage of about 16kw, but that's way, way more than my typical usage. I generally am not pulling more than 2kw in the winter, and perhaps 5kw in the summer. Averages are closer 1kw.

I can figure out the fuel usage based on these loads, but I do not know if a generator has significantly variable fuel consumption depending on the power consumption of the house. In other words, if my house is pulling 10kw, is that using twice the fuel as when it's pulling 5kw? Or is it more chunky?

  • I think the generator manufacturer should publish specific curves relating load to fuel consumption. It seems like there would be some sort of Y value just for running, with an added consumption as load increases. You also didn’t mention the size of the tank that you have—my neighbor has a “fireplace tank” that’s really nothing but two 20lb grill tanks with a fancy manifold-that certainly wouldn’t run a generator long. – Tyson Jan 13 '18 at 20:35
  • I have an 80 gallon tank. I did look for the curve you mentioned, but so far I've only found consumption at peak load. Which makes me think consumption at near zero load isn't much or any different. – RMD Jan 13 '18 at 21:38
  • Ha. Nevermind. Found it. Had to search for the right thing. Tyson, post this as an answer and I'll credit you. Thanks! kohlergenerators.com/common/pdf/… – RMD Jan 13 '18 at 21:42
  • thanks, i'll make an answer. (the link in your comment above is broken by way). – Tyson Jan 13 '18 at 21:44
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The generator manufacturer should publish specific curves relating load to fuel consumption.

It seems like there would be some sort of Y value just for running, with an added consumption as load increases.

  • Most generators will operate at a power setting that allows the motor to drive the generator at the appropriate speed to create the correct frequency AC power. This is high enough to run many appliances/take on substantial load, but I don't know the figures. Add load above that and fuel consumption increases. A conventional gasoline fueled generator will produce less power when operated as a propane/gaseous fueled conversion and/or increase consumption. – fred_dot_u Jan 14 '18 at 1:50
  • I have 2 generators because I found with gas generators getting one large enough to keep the lights heat/AC and fridges and freezers and the well going took 12kw this size really sucks the fuel even when lightly loaded I have been looking to diesel driven generators since their fuel consumption is more related to the load than a gas model or the one I have. – Ed Beal Jan 14 '18 at 4:43
  • The question concerned a propane generator and propane tank size. – Tyson Jan 14 '18 at 11:57

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