Most generators use liquefied propane gas to power up different appliances. That’s why the gas lines must be sized properly. Because otherwise, all the appliances won’t be running smoothly at all times.
So, you may wonder, what size propane line for the generator?
The proper size for the propane line depends on the total energy load. It also depends on the material of the pipe. The wider the pipe the more energy it’ll deliver. But the length of the pipe will reduce the energy load rating. Simply, calculate your total energy and then match it with a chart.
But this brief overview doesn’t cover everything. That’s why we’ve elaborated further on this matter.
Keep reading if you want to know more about propane lines for generators.
Running A Propane Line For Generators: Things You Need To Know First
The pressure of liquified propane and natural gas aren’t exactly the same. That’s why you’ll have to calculate the correct propane line size for generators. sizing properly.
Otherwise, the generator will automatically fail to deliver enough energy to the appliances.
On top of that, the material used to make the pipe also matters a lot. The most common material used is either steel or copper.
Based on the material, your calculations will be different.
Because of that, you’ll need to know about both types of pipes. Luckily, we’ve done the calculations for you!
It’s the same as comparing type 1 and type 27 cutting wheels. The capacity of steel and copper pipes may seem similar at first. But they aren’t totally the same.
But before that, you’ll need to know how much energy you’re going to use. It can easily be calculated by adding all the appliances.
If you’re going to add some appliances in the future, consider them as well. Because it’s better to sort this sizing problem once and for all.
The total energy is calculated using BTU as a unit. Simply put, the more appliances you have, the higher the BTU requirement will be.
To help you out, we’ve prepared a model scenario for you-
|Appliances||Average BTU Per Hour (Approx.)|
This is only an example of the possible energy cost. This will vary depending on the appliances that you’re going to use.
Running some important appliances like refrigerators will require less energy. But water heaters or microwaves require a lot of energy.
So, calculate ahead of time how much energy you really require. This also applies to the propane lines for portable generators.
On that note, you’ll also have to consider propane line fittings and regulators. Regulators help keep the gas distribution stable.
To help you out, we’ve listed some of our favorite picks-
You can now pick whichever you like and get started!
Sizing A Propane Gas Line For Generators
Now that we’ve discussed this, it’s time to choose the pipes. Your total generator capacity has to be more than the required BTU. That’s pretty self-explanatory.
But what size should you choose?
Sizing a propane line depends on the material and the width of the pipe. The wider it is, the more energy load it will be able to withstand.
You’ll also have to adjust the total pipe length. Because extra length will decrease the energy load.
Luckily, for you, we’ve made a propane line size chart for you. We’ll cover the copper pipes first. We’ll talk about the steel pipes afterward.
Like CRV and S2 Steel, they share a lot of similarities. But this will point out the dissimilarities too.
Here’s what you’re looking for –
|Copper Pipe Size||Pipe Length (10 ft)||Pipe Length (20 ft)||Pipe Length (40 ft)||Pipe Length (80 ft)|
|¼ Inch||35000 BTU/hr||25000 BTU/hr||17000 BTU/hr||12000 BTU/hr|
|⅜ Inch||75000BTU/hr||50000 BTU/hr||35000 BTU/hr||25000BTU/hr|
|½ Inch||150000 BTU/hr||105000 BTU/hr||70000 BTU/hr||50000BTU/hr|
|⅝ Inch||265000 BTU/hr||180000 BTU/hr||125000 BTU/hr||85000BTU/hr|
|¾ Inch||380000 BTU/hr||260000 BTU/hr||180000 BTU/hr||120000BTU/hr|
|1 Inch||805000 BTU/hr||555000 BTU/hr||380000 BTU/hr||260000BTU/hr|
|1 ¼ Inch||1450000 BTU/hr||995000 BTU/hr||685000 BTU/hr||470000BTU/hr|
As you can see, the total BTU load increases based on width and length. If you’re going to use copper pipes, these are your numbers.
Simply calculate your total BTU per hour and match it. Choose a size that has a higher BTU/hr rating. That way you can easily avoid any potential risks.
For example, if your energy load is 330000 BTU/hr, you’ll have to pick a ¾ inch copper pipe. But your choice is limited to only 10 ft as it has a 380000 BTU/hr rating. The rest do not.
If you need more length, you’ll have to increase the size. Only 1 Inch copper pipe can handle 330000 BTU/hr. So, your perfect pick is the 1-inch copper pipe for 20 ft. in length.
Alright, it’s time to talk about the steel pipes. The factors behind this calculation remain the same.
For that, we’ve made you a small chart-
|Steel Pipe Size||Pipe Length (10 ft)||Pipe Length (20 ft)||Pipe Length (40 ft)||Pipe Length (80 ft)|
|½ (⅜) Inch||235000 BTU/hr||160000 BTU/hr||110000 BTU/hr||75000BTU/hr|
|¾ Inch||490000 BTU/hr||340000 BTU/hr||230000 BTU/hr||160000 BTU/hr|
|1 Inch||925000 BTU/hr||640000 BTU/hr||440000 BTU/hr||300000 BTU/hr|
|1 ¼ Inch||1900000 BTU/hr||1305000 BTU/hr||900000 BTU/hr||620000 BTU/hr|
|1 ½ Inch||2850000 BTU/hr||1960000 BTU/hr||1345000 BTU/hr||925000 BTU/hr|
|2 Inch||5490000 BTU/hr||3770000 BTU/hr||2590000 BTU/hr||1780000 BTU/hr|
|2 ½ Inch||8740000 BTU/hr||6010000 BTU/hr||4130000 BTU/hr||2840000 BTU/hr|
These are the energy loads of the steel pipes. Clearly, you can notice that they’re way better than copper ones. Copper pipes are mostly used in households.
But installing a propane line for the generator is super risky for amateurs. That’s why it’s best to hire professionals to do it for you.
How long will 100 pounds of propane run a generator?
The answer depends on the generator. For example, 100 pounds of propane can run a 7 kW generator for about 64 to 67 hours. But if you use a 12 kW generator, it will last only 32-36 hours. But don’t take these numbers for granted because they will vary. Because efficiency is also a key factor.
How far can the generator be from propane?
A generator can be 10 ft away or 100 ft away from the propane source. There are no correct answers. The minimum distance between the two is 10 ft. The distance must be maintained to avoid any fire hazard due to ignition reasons. But the further a generator is, the wider the pipe has to be.
How long will a 120-gallon propane tank run a generator?
120-gallon propane tanks are perfect choices for many homeowners. A tank of that size can easily run a generator for 1-2 days. If you want to use the generator for longer, you’ll need a bigger tank. A 500-gallon tank can run a house for 7-8 days. Remember that these numbers are based on 50% load.
That was everything we could gather on what size propane line for the generator. Hopefully, this information was enough to clear your confusion.
If you want a detailed answer, you should call the nearest service. This way you can hire someone to thoroughly spectate your house and appliances. For a super accurate result, this is the best choice.
Finally, have a nice day and have fun!