When the power goes out, life can come to a standstill without a backup source of electricity. Thankfully Generac propane generators are up to the task, reliably supplying homes and businesses with enough emergency power to run essentials like refrigerators, freezers, medical devices, home heating systems, and more during outages.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the benefits of Generac propane generators compared to other fuel types, highlight the top-rated Generac models, provide tips on how to select the right size and features, outline proper use and maintenance best practices, and answer your most common questions in an extensive FAQ section. Let’s get started!
Why Choose a Generac Propane Generator?
Propane offers some unique advantages as a generator fuel source compared to traditional gasoline:
- No perishable fuel – Propane remains stable and usable for power generation even after long storage durations. Gasoline has a short shelf life before degradation occurs.
- Longer runtimes – Large propane tanks can run generators for multiple days or even weeks of continuous operation during an extended outage.
- Easily accessible fuel – As long as suppliers have electricity to operate, propane remains available to replenish generator tanks even during emergencies and widespread power failures. Gas stations rely on grid electricity to operate their pumps.
- Cleaner power output – Generac’s TruePower technology provides high quality electricity without voltage spikes or drops that can damage sensitive electronics and appliances.
- More environmentally friendly – Propane burns cleaner than other fossil fuels, making it better for the environment than diesel generators which also have high emissions.
- Quieter operation – Propane generators produce less noise pollution than deafening diesel generators, making them better suited for residential areas.
Next let’s look at four of the top Generac propane generators currently on the market based on performance, features, reliability, and customer reviews.
Top 4 Generac Propane Generators
Generac GP5500 – Best Selling Home Backup Model
The user-friendly GP5500 strikes the perfect balance of reliable home power at a reasonable price point.
- 5500 starting watts, 4500 running watts – Provides clean TruePower electricity to manage essential appliances and electronics.
- Electric start makes firing up the generator as easy as pressing a button, no manual recoil pulling needed.
- Steel enclosure offers weather and theft protection with a stylish finish.
- Weighing just over 200 pounds, this model is relatively lightweight and portable compared to larger whole home options.
The GP5500 is Generac’s best selling home standby generator for emergency power, able to operate a refrigerator, freezer, some lighting, television, and other basics to ride out power outages in reasonable comfort.
Generac GP6500 – Whole House Capable Power
Step up to the GP6500 for whole home coverage during electrical failures.
- 6500 starting watts, 5500 running watts – Significant bump in electrical output compared to the 5500 model.
- Plug-and-play ready for automatic home standby hookup with a pre-wired transfer switch.
- Electric start and full steel enclosure make operation smooth and offer weather resistance.
- 209 pound weight provides decent portability for maneuvering and placement as needed.
With the ability to power central air conditioning, large appliances, well pumps, and more, the GP6500 can keep an entire household running in an extended blackout.
Generac GP8000E – Heavy Duty Power with Smart Features
The extra capacity GP8000E combines brute strength power with smart home compatibility.
- 8000 starting watts, 6800 running watts – Take on high electrical load appliances with juice to spare.
- Electric start and robust steel enclosure for easy use and longevity.
- WiFi monitoring allows controlling and monitoring the generator from your smartphone or computer for convenience.
- GFCI outlets provide extra protection from electrical faults for sensitive connected electronics.
If you need to power larger appliances like multiple fridges or freezers, clothes washers and dryers, electric cooking equipment, this workhorse gets the job done. Monitor fuel levels, startup and shutdown, and maintenance alerts from anywhere.
Generac GP15000E – Commercial Grade Power for Home Use
With incredible 15000 starting watts and 12500 running watts, the GP15000E delivers commercial levels of electricity in a residential generator.
- Industrial grade V-Twin motor provides relentless, reliable power output for extended periods.
- Electric start, full steel enclosure, and TruePower technology make this a heavy duty model that’s still easy for homeowners to operate.
- Weighing over 350 pounds, this tank requires professional installation but produces mass quantities of clean power once up and running.
Back up every possible essential during prolonged crises – refrigerators, freezers, medical equipment, air conditioning, home heating systems, security systems, well water pumps, and more. Despite its industrial capabilities, electricity costs remain low powering an entire home on propane versus grid electricity.
Now that you’re familiar with some of the top Generac propane generators on the market, let’s go over what to consider when choosing the model that’s right for your needs.
How to Choose the Best Generac Propane Generator
With a wide range of Generac propane generators available, you’ll want to carefully assess your requirements so you select adequate power generation without overspending.
- Determine the necessary running and starting wattages for the items you plan to power – essentials like fridges, freezers, medical devices, and lighting use far less than luxury appliances like central AC. Calculate total appliance wattages to size your generator.
- Look for models featuring TruePower technology which provides clean, stable electricity without voltage dips, spikes, or distortions which can damage sensitive electronics.
- An electric start makes running your generator as easy as turning a key or pushing a button. Manual recoil starts require pulling a cord which can be difficult.
- Evaluate the noise output in decibels and choose a quieter model like an inverter generator if you have close neighbors who may be disturbed. Propane units run quieter than diesel but still make noise.
- Assess your available fuel source – propane tanks take up more space than gasoline but provide much longer runtimes before needing to be refilled as discussed earlier.
- Determine if you need portability – some units come with built-in wheels while larger whole home models are incredibly heavy and meant to permanently install outdoors.
- Consider WiFi monitoring functionality to effortlessly control and track your generator status remotely from electronic devices.
- Compare fuel tank sizes and the generator’s propane consumption rate to calculate how long it can run before needing refueling.
- Opt for a steel enclosure if siting your generator outdoors – plastic covers won’t hold up to weather elements over years of use.
- Review how easily the generator model allows for routine maintenance – access panels to change oil and air filters, compartment lighting, no tools required for upkeep.
- Compare warranty coverage – Generac offers either a 5 year standard warranty or providing additional coverage through an extended warranty purchase.
- Research the reliability of the motor – Generac OHVI motors have proven extremely dependable for the long haul.
- Consult local municipal codes for proper generator installation to ensure compliance. Permits may be required.
- Either have a licensed electrician run lines to your electrical panel or research DIY connections thoroughly if you have ample electrical experience. Improper installation poses serious fire and electrocution risks. Don’t take this lightly.
Considering these key factors carefully will set you up for selecting the ideal Generac propane generator that’s correctly sized for your needs and budget.
The Pros and Cons of Generac Propane Generators
Propane has proven itself as a very viable fuel source for residential backup generators, but there are some downsides to weigh as well:
- Don’t need to store perishable gasoline that can degrade
- Long runtimes from large propane tanks – operates for days or weeks
- Propane remains accessible for refueling even during outages
- Cleaner and quieter than diesel generator options
- TruePower models provide stable, clean electricity
- Electric start models allow push button startup
- Some models offer smart remote monitoring
- Generac OHVI engines are extremely reliable
- Durable steel enclosures provide weather and theft protection
- Simpler maintenance without gasoline fuel system
- Good resale value if properly maintained over the years
- Propane tanks take up outdoor space for installation
- Higher initial investment than comparable gasoline generators
- Most units require professional installation
- Largest models are challenging to move and install as DIY
- Cold weather operation is limited – won’t function in extreme cold
- Must be sited away from homes for deadly exhaust
- Large units still make plenty of noise
Next, let’s look at some recommended care and maintenance tips for getting the most out of your Generac propane generator.
Caring for and Maintaining Your Generac Propane Generator
Follow these guidelines to keep your Generac propane generator running smoothly for decades rather than needing replacement after just a few years due to improper care:
- Run the generator at 50% capacity for the first 20 hours to properly break-in the engine without overloading it initially.
- Perform monthly 15-minute exercise runs to prevent oil seal drying out when the generator sits unused for long periods.
- Check the oil, coolant, and propane levels before each use and top off if needed.
- Change the oil and oil filter per the manual’s recommendations based on hours of usage – roughly every 100-200 hours of runtime.
- Inspect air filters frequently and replace when dirty to prevent dust and debris from entering the engine.
- Keep your propane tank filled, especially during storm seasons, so there’s ample fuel for unforeseen utility outages.
- Never operate a whole house unit indoors or in enclosed areas – use outdoors only to prevent deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Ensure your generator site has good airflow ventilation so exhaust can dissipate safely.
- Use a fitted protective cover when the unit isn’t running to prevent exterior damage from weather and pests.
- Keep the generator free of leaves, dirt, dust, insect nests or webs, and other debris which can impede performance.
- Always store propane tanks upright and securely fastened down to prevent tipping or leaks.
- Know how to correctly shut off your generator in an emergency situation – have labels clearly indicating the stop switch position.
- Keep a fire extinguisher nearby when operating your generator as a safety precaution, just like you would for a grill or firepit.
You’ve invested in quality engineering and reliable power. With regular care and maintenance, your Generac propane generator will deliver peace of mind during power outages for decades to come.
Frequently Asked Questions About Generac Propane Generators
How long can a Generac propane generator run on a single propane tank fill?
Runtime will vary based on the tank size and the power draw of your generator, but typically a Generac propane generator can operate 7-14 days on a standard fill, running it about 6-8 hours per day during an outage. Larger tanks provide even longer durations between refueling.
How often should you change the oil in a Generac propane generator?
The recommended oil change interval is roughly every 100-200 hours of use, depending on your specific Generac generator model. Always consult the owner’s manual for proper service recommendations.
What size propane tank do you need for whole house backup power?
For powering an entire home, it’s recommended to install a large 500 gallon or even 1,000 gallon propane tank to provide extended runtime without constantly needing refills after just 1-2 days like smaller tanks would require.
Should you run and exercise a Generac generator weekly?
There’s no need to run it weekly unless you wish. Monthly exercise runs of 10-15 minutes are sufficient to prevent the oil seal drying out when the generator sits unused for longer periods between outages.
How noisy are propane generators compared to gasoline models?
Propane generators operate much quieter than gasoline powered units, typically producing 59-67 decibels of sound depending on the model. For an even quieter generator, inverter models with enclosures further dampen the noise.
Can you convert an existing gasoline generator to run on propane?
Yes, there are certified conversion kits available to modify a gasoline engine to operate on propane fuel. This allows getting more runtime from your existing generator. Proper installation is crucial, so professional help is recommended unless you are highly experienced with engines.
How far away should a whole house propane generator be from your home?
It’s recommended to install whole house propane generators at least 15-20 feet from doors, windows, or intake vents. Local fire codes may dictate a safe distance for your municipality with consideration for adjacent buildings too. Proper airflow and exhaust dissipation are vital.
What happens if a propane generator runs out of fuel while operating?
The generator will simply shut down once the propane tank feeding it becomes fully depleted. Refilling the propane tank and restarting the generator is all that’s needed to resume operation once fuel is available again. Running out of propane does not cause damage to a generator.
Can you legally install and run a whole house generator indoors?
Absolutely not. The exhaust produced by even propane units contains carbon monoxide which can rapidly build to lethal levels indoors. Whole house generators must be operated outdoors only, with proper ventilation and clearances maintained. Running one inside an attached garage or enclosed space can be deadly for occupants.
How long can I expect my Generac propane generator to last with proper maintenance?
Generac designs their propane generators to provide 20-25 years or more of reliable service when properly maintained. Routine oil changes, air filter inspection, exercise runs, and protection from the elements are key to maximize lifespan.
We hope these frequently asked questions have helped summarize some key facts about Generac’s propane generator lineup. Please reach out to us anytime if you have additional questions!
Keep Your Home Powered Up With Generac Propane
Generac has rightfully earned a reputation for engineering robust, reliable generators purpose-built for home and business backup power during grid outages. Their lineup of propane fueled models provide hours or days of continuous electricity without dependence on perishable gasoline supplies.
With uninterruptible power on tap, you can ride out multi-day power failures in reasonable comfort running essential appliances, heat and AC, medical devices, home office equipment and more. Just be sure to properly size, install, use, and maintain a Generac propane generator and it will deliver decades of worry-free emergency power whenever you need it.
We hope this guide has helped shed light on the benefits of Generac propane generators compared to other fuel options. Let us know if you have any other generator questions as you research the perfect backup power solution for your needs and budget!