A Portable Propane Generator is A Great Alternative To A Standard Gas Powered Machine
A portable propane generator offers economical backup power using clean burning fuel that can be easily stored on site. Find out which models I recommend.
As gas prices rise to historically high levels across the US we are all looking for efficient economical fuel alternatives. The average price of propane for the end of March 2012 is about $2.87 per gallon on average for residential use. Compare that to the average price per gallon of unleaded gas at the pump, which is about $4.00 or higher in most parts of the country. You can see that in most cases propane is a better deal cost-wise. Combine that with the clean burning nature of propane, which makes it better for the environment than gas, and you’ve got a real winner.
A portable propane generator offers an alternative to other kinds of fuel generators. In general they will substitute in performing all the same jobs. Propane is clean, affordable and easy to use. But people sometimes avoid it out of concern for safety factors. However, with the proper precautions propane is as safe as any petroleum product.
Uses of a Portable Propane Generator
Generators burn fuel and convert the energy to electricity. This comes in handy anywhere or any time people need power but do not have access to the utility grid. Here are some situations where a generator is useful:
- Homes or cottages lacking electrical service
- Remote construction or work sites
- During power outages
Considering this last point, every home can use one. This is especially true in areas subject to extreme weather that cause blackouts lasting hours or days.
Practically anything that normally operates on a plug can be run on a generator: woodworking tools, weed cutters, computers, vacuum cleaners, appliances and so on. A large generator can supply all the basic electrical needs for a household. Smaller ones can be used to operate a few tools at a time. One of the most valuable emergency applications is to run refrigerators and freezers, preventing food spoilage in case of a blackout.
What is Propane?
Propane is a byproduct of natural gas and petroleum refining. Its boiling point is -44 degrees F. That means it is a gas at room temperature, however it becomes a liquid when compressed in a fuel tank. Decompressing propane can cause mild frostbite to exposed skin. The gas is naturally colorless, odorless, nontoxic and highly flammable. It is heavier than air and will pool on the floor in enclosed places. Commercial propane is mixed with another compound giving it odor for safety purposes. You can click here for more information about propane’s properties.
How to Use a Portable Propane Generator
Portable generators powered using propane operate similarly to other generators. In fact you can buy kits where you can convert standard gas powered generators to propane powered models yourself. Read and follow the instruction manual accompanying the particular propane generator model that you decide to purchase so that you know how to properly operate and care for your machine. Each model will have slightly different parts, features, and functions.
You’ll be able to hook up your generator to the same propane canisters used for backyard barbecues. These types of canisters are most convenient for handling and storage. Larger tanks may be more practical for frequent or continual use. Be sure to understand and abide by propane safety guidelines because it behaves differently from other fuels. In the video below from Tailgating Ideas you can see the highly rated ETQ PG30P11 portable propane generator in action.
Advantages of Propane Powered Electric Generators
- Produce hardly any pollution other than carbon dioxide. There are very few harmful additives in propane making it a much cleaner burning fuel than gas.
- Nontoxic and will not contaminate water or soil.
- Clean burning means the generator lasts longer and is less prone to breaking down.
- Safer and easier to handle because you change the fuel tank rather than refilling a gas tank.
- Propane fuel is widely available.
- Propane is easily obtained during power outages, when people tend to hoard gasoline.
- Propane does not evaporate so it has better shelf life.
- You’ll save money on fuel costs over the long term. Historically propane fuel costs have been lower than unleaded gas.
- You can easily and safely store propane in its tank at the location where you’ll be running your generator.
- Propane is highly combustible, so fuel line breakage presents a serious hazard.
- A propane generator must be operated periodically to keep it in good condition.
- The initial purchase of a propane powered machine may be 10% to 15% higher than a standard machine of similar size and power.
Always Keep Safety In Mind
Many propane accidents happen because users are unaware and think they can treat it like other kinds of fuel. However with good awareness and proper precautions, propane can be just as safe to use as any other fuel. Be sure to follow the following safety guidelines:
- Make sure the area of operation is well-ventilated.
- Avoid use of open flame or other sources of ignition around propane.
- If a bad smell indicates a leak, immediately turn off the gas, evacuate the building, report the leak to the fire department and do not return to the building until it is reported safe.
- If people living or working in the building have an impaired sense of smell, install a gas detector.
- Remember propane is heavier then air and will sink to the floor in case of a leak.
- Do not alter or tamper with the fuel line
- Have propane tanks inspected every 10 years
- Follow safety regulations for the storage and transport of propane cylinders.
You can read more about propane safety here.
The Best Portable Propane Generators
ETQ PG30P11 Portable Propane Generator
One of the most popular manufacturers of portable generators is ETQ. In addition to gas powered models they also offer a highly rated 3,500 watt portable propane generator. The ETQ PG30P11 will burn one and a half pounds of propane per hour and run for 11.5 hours at a load of 50% making it highly fuel efficient. It is designed to be used with sensitive electronic equipment in addition to standard household appliances. The PG30P11 produces a clean sine wave of power that closely resembles the power that comes from your power company. You won’t get any wild surges of dirty power with this machine that could damage your computer’s electronics.
At 3,000 running watts and 3,500 surge watts you’ll be able to run your TV, a fan, computer, and several lights all at once. The ETQ uses a 20 pound propane tank which is not included. It also runs much quieter compared to many other portable generators, producing 60 decibels of sound from 23 feet away. Out of over 40 customer reviews on Amazon.com, this model gets 4 out of 5 stars with over 85% of the reviews coming in 4 or 5 stars. That is an outstanding rating and shows you the high quality of this ETQ propane generator. You can get the latest pricing information and read more about the ETQ PG30P11 3,500 Watt Propane Powered Portable Generatorby clicking here.
Sportsman Portable Propane Generators
Another great option is the Sportsman portable propane generator line. They offer different sizes across a range of prices for different purposes: 2,000, 4,000 and 7,000 watts. The two larger models scored four out of five stars in customer reviews on Amazon.com. These are quiet machines, running mostly in the 68-decibel range, about the same noise level as a human conversation. The 4,000 watt model uses 20 pound propane containers and can run for 10 hours at a load of 50%. The 7,000 watt model comes with a wheel kit to help you move it around.
Click here to find the best price for the Sportsman GEN4000LP 4000-Watt Propane Powered Portable Generator.
In times when energy shortages and extreme weather are becoming commonplace, it makes sense for every home to be equipped with a portable propane generator in case of an emergency. They offer a clean burning power source that is economically priced and easy to store and carry with you wherever you go.