Saturday, August 6, 2011

Real power, what a gas

Thursday morning started early. I met the gentleman from the propane company, and we discussed where the propane tank would go, and hook up to the generator and the house.

The connection to the house isn't in yet since I didn't have the gas piping ready to go. However, I now have propane supplying the generator, and can start and stop it from inside the house.

First, a view inside the generator. Making the electrical connections was a little challenging with where they have protective shields that can't be removed without tearing apart a lot of parts.

Without removing the gas piping, and parts associated with it, you are not going to get a lot of room to get to the electrical wiring. We had times where we had to work by touch. Getting the battery in there was also a challenge. You have to turn it and tilt it just right to get it past the little plastic nubs at the bottom, and miss hitting a metal plate supporting other parts. I am going to have to remove it from the generator to check the battery acid. I think this could have been designed better so there was more access.

 The engine compartment, is also a challenge. They made it easy to check the oil and add to it. But that is about the only thing they made easy to access. I will have to take out quite a few fasteners to get panels off that will allow me to do things like change the oil filter.
 Oh, remember how my dad had to switch the gas piping around, so the battery would fit. Well, after that change, one of the panels that protects the gas line, could not be put back in. See it leaning up against the Z shaped gas line?
I worked at taking a couple panels out before I really ran the generator for any time, just to see what was going to be involved. It turns out, it is a good thing I did. This wasp nest might have caught fire if I ran the generator for very long. This is a heat shield/deflector that sits right over the end of the exhaust pipe.

So as for the propane install. Here is my tank:
500 gallons, which means it gets filled with 400. It came with 25 gallons in it, for testing purposes.
They trenched from where the pipe from the retaining wall came out of the backfill, down to the tank.

They trenched from in back of the generator over to the tank.
 They dug a hole to put the tank into.
There is a low pressure regulator over near the generator, with a valve so I can shut off gas to the generator, without having to shut it off to the house.
The hole for the tank is dug, and there is sand in the bottom to support the tank.
 The tank is put in the hole, and they get it level.
Then a high pressure regulator is put on the tank. This takes the pressure from the tank, and reduces it down to a lower pressure. Still quite a bit more pressure than what goes to the generator or the house, but much less than what is coming out of the tank.
They put a protective shroud over the tank fittings and pipes, then they cover the tank with sand, before they fill the hole with dirt.
All the fittings were tested for leaks. First with a solution that was sprayed on the fittings to see if there was any gas escaping, which would have made bubbles. Then he put on a pressure gauge, and after shutting off the supply, he made sure the pressure did not drop. Everything checked out.

I started the generator, and it started right up. After a couple tests, I shut it down. In the afternoon, they filled my tank. So that evening I was able to run things off of the propane generator. Here I am recharging a couple battery packs while we are working. The light switch in the middle, turns the generator on and off.

Mom, dad and Matt came out, and we worked on getting more plywood painted for the utility room, running gas pipe, and some cleanup.

Yesterday, work started early. I had a couple things I wanted to take care of outside, and I new it was going to be hot sweaty work. I wanted to get the vent drainage trench finished to the point where it was ready for Adam to come and back fill it. I also wanted to get some dirt added to the back edge of the house, where the ground has settled. I had the fresh dirt that was excess from burying the propane tank that I had them leave on the back side of the house. At least it was fairly close to where I needed to put it.

For the vent drainage, I had to dig further toward the vent pipes to get to the gravel around the vent pipes. I seem to have finally gotten to the gravel bed, and so then I laid PVC drain pipe in the trench. I had some gravel in the trench, and I added some more around the pipe. Then I put down filter fabric to keep the dirt from washing down into the gravel and the pipe. After that I put some more gravel on top to hold it in place. I also took a piece of drain tile, and used that to finish the drain.

Then I hauled dirt up from the pile they left me, and covered where it had settled along the back edge.

After that work yesterday morning, my clothes went "squish" when I sat down. I drank a lot of water during and after that work.

In the afternoon, I took a picture of the inside of the breaker box.
I got the last two pieces of baseboard support up, so that is ready for caulking. When I powered up the miter saw to cut the one piece, it spun up with no trouble. With the smaller generator, it always struggled to get started. It may have even spun up faster than when it is at my dad's house. I started to mark out where the light switches will go in the various rooms.

Mom and dad came out. I set up mom for more painting. Then dad and I worked on a pressure test of the gas pipe we currently have up. After we got that set up, we worked on mounting the first plywood sheet in the utility room.

I need to finish screwing it to the wall, but that will be work to continue with tomorrow and Monday. The pressure held in the gas pipe, so we will also continue with that work.

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