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GENERATOR hook up

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DrumK
DrumK Member Posts: 5
So I had an electrician install a generator at our house. 
   Then we had our propane guy come out to hook up the generator neither one of the contractors converted it from natural gas to LP gas. Who’s responsibility is it to convert it?
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Comments

  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,844
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    I would say both of them should have read the name plate and made the owner aware of it. I would say the propane company would convert it but WHO purchased and paid for the generator? If it was the electrician he should have made you aware of this. The conversion is usually simple like changing a spring in a regulator
    DrumK
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,408
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    The generator manufacturer may sell kit to convert. Not a big deal. Might include different jets for the carb. What make and model for the genset?
  • DrumK
    DrumK Member Posts: 5
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    So the generator we had installed was it for natural gas and ran on LP gas, which caused the generator not to run right. The generator only has 6.2 hours of total runtime can this harm the generator in anyway.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,924
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    DrumK said:
    So the generator we had installed was it for natural gas and ran on LP gas, which caused the generator not to run right. The generator only has 6.2 hours of total runtime can this harm the generator in anyway.


    Did you talk to General?
    Who did the install?  

    It ran for over 6 hours set to the wrong fuel?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    mattmia2
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,967
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    Who purchased the generator?
  • DrumK
    DrumK Member Posts: 5
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    The electrician purchased it
  • realliveplumber
    realliveplumber Member Posts: 354
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    What brand? Generac it's literally flipping a switch, just like a light switch.
  • DrumK
    DrumK Member Posts: 5
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    Yeah, we know it’s simple to do l, but somebody forgot to do it. And I checked with some other people and they said it should not have harmed it, but I was just looking for a little advice.
    CLamb
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,661
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    If it's simple to do, do it and don't worry about pointing fingers. Life's too short.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Mad Dog_2Solid_Fuel_Man
  • DrumK
    DrumK Member Posts: 5
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    Yes I agree with that but now the bills are coming in and nobody wants to pay them 
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,661
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    Well... if it's simple enough, I'd pay the bill and ask politely. But that's me. You could also pay the bill and sue everyone. You could not pay the bill and they would sue you. Different strokes, as they say, for different folks.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,924
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    @Jamie Hall wouldn't running it on lpg set to ng cause it to run really rich?


    Allegedly gaseous engines running too rich cause very high combustion temperatures.  I'm told basically the opposite behavior of gasoline.


    6 hours under that condition.....I don't know...


    If what I've been told is true of course.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,251
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    That's really the Propane guys job, but since the electrician bought it, he could have mentioned it.  Move on.  Mad Dog  🐕 
    ChrisJ
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,924
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    Mad Dog_2 said:
    That's really the Propane guys job, but since the electrician bought it, he could have mentioned it.  Move on.  Mad Dog  🐕 
    The propane guy is supposed to know how to configure every generator out there?

    Wouldn't he just be responsible for connecting the fuel to it?  Wouldn't the installer be responsible for the rest?

    When my parents had their Generac installed by a distributor the guy that came out did everything except connect the fuel.  But he did all of the testing, configuring and servicing.   He also load tested the machine.



    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,505
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    A better way would’ve been to contract with a generator company.
    They would purchase the correct generator and accessories. They would subcontract if necessary, an electrician and plumber, and oversee all permitting. They would do the start up, and they would handle repairs, warranties and PM's. They would be responsible for everything.
    The problem seems to be electricians, (and big box stores) trying to get into the gen market. Great when it goes well, and this (the OP 's situation) when it doesn’t. And most electricians aren’t doing engine repairs and oil/coolant changes.

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,844
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    Bottom line is the propane guy did the gas so he is responsible for the gas hook up.

    It's up to him to read the nameplate, determine the pipe size and pressure and size the pipe accordingly. He should also note the type of gas (natural or propane) and if there is a problem notify the owner before doing the work. It's his permit not the electricians.

    Now if the electrician bought the gen for the wrong fuel conversion or not he should pay any backcharges if any additional work is required.
    Mad Dog_2DerheatmeisterPC7060MikeAmann
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,491
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    The LP guy should be schooled in conversion and knowing at least see which fuel the gen is set to when he leaves the job
    I doubt he would connect to a furnace or water heater without checking??
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    mattmia2Mad Dog_2PC7060
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,970
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    It depends on if that made it rich or lean. Rich mostly could foul the plug. Lean could maybe burn the valves over enough time but mostly I think fouling the plug is the possible outcome.
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,176
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    @DrumK started another discussion on the same topic. Wouldn't is be a hoot if everyone gave a completely opposite answer on the other thread? LOL.

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

    Mad Dog_2
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,967
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    If the electrician sold it and installed it, he's responsible for insuring is converted BEFORE start-up. Had the LP company sold it same thing.

    I believe there's a start-up check list that needs to be filled out and the proper gas is on it.

    Sparky can pay!
    ChrisJ
  • Dave Carpentier
    Dave Carpentier Member Posts: 604
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    Maybe brands differ in the way they warn the person making a gas connection ?
    My inlaws stuff had a tag that basically said Warning: This device is configured for natgas
    When you buy the propane conversion kit, you get a new tag that says propane.

    If there was a tag and the LP guy ignored it, then of course the fault lies there.
    If he connected it but instructed HO to have it converted before turning on the propane valve, then the HO is fault.
    Maybe its a classic Too many cooks in the kitchen situation ?
    30+ yrs in telecom outside plant.
    Currently in building maintenance.
    Mad Dog_2
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,924
    edited June 2023
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    pecmsg said:

    If the electrician sold it and installed it, he's responsible for insuring is converted BEFORE start-up. Had the LP company sold it same thing.

    I believe there's a start-up check list that needs to be filled out and the proper gas is on it.

    Sparky can pay!

    I agree.
    Maybe I'm nuts, but expecting some guy that installs LPG etc for a living to just show up and know how to setup every generator in existence seems unreasonable. He's not the one installing it nor should he have to know how to set it up.

    Like I said before, the dealer installing my parents was responsible for configuring the generator not the propane guy.

    On the engine I used on my home built generator you had to disconnect a plug in the wiring harness to convert it from LPG to NG. When in LPG mode it closed a solenoid to restrict the fuel I believe. How would a LPG guy know to do that and why should he!?

    He's there to connect a fuel line to supply X amount of fuel. That's it.



    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,661
    edited June 2023
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    Let's get back to so some basics. Does the generator run and produce power now? Has it ever done so? If it does, and someone responsible who knows -- probably the generator dealer -- has checked to ensure that it is now running on the correct fuel settings, it's fine. Leave it alone.

    As has been implied, however, you have a problem with responsibility here. You have an electrician, whose job it is to hook up the wires to the generator and the transfer switch. You have a LP supplier, whose job it is to hook up the fuel. You do NOT appear to have a generator installer or dealer in the mix, unless it is the homeowner himself. That's a problem, and when people start yelling you basically have a circular firing squad, which is fun for the spectators but not very helpful for the participants.

    Edit: I found the "it ran for 6.2 hours" comment in the other thread. Foks, if it ran for 6.2 hours on the wrong fuel and generated anything close to rated load, either it wasn't running on the wrong fuel or it is a much newer unit which automatically compensates -- and I would assume that it should need nothing more than an oil change (which it should have at about 10 hours anyway).
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    PC7060
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,924
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    Let's get back to so some basics. Does the generator run and produce power now? Has it ever done so? If it does, and someone responsible who knows -- probably the generator dealer -- has checked to ensure that it is now running on the correct fuel settings, it's fine. Leave it alone.

    As has been implied, however, you have a problem with responsibility here. You have an electrician, whose job it is to hook up the wires to the generator and the transfer switch. You have a LP supplier, whose job it is to hook up the fuel. You do NOT appear to have a generator installer or dealer in the mix, unless it is the homeowner himself. That's a problem, and when people start yelling you basically have a circular firing squad, which is fun for the spectators but not very helpful for the participants.

    Edit: I found the "it ran for 6.2 hours" comment in the other thread. Foks, if it ran for 6.2 hours on the wrong fuel and generated anything close to rated load, either it wasn't running on the wrong fuel or it is a much newer unit which automatically compensates -- and I would assume that it should need nothing more than an oil change (which it should have at about 10 hours anyway).

    The OP stated that it runs badly.
    I suspect there's not much of a load on the generator, unless they tried to run their A/C or a decent sized well pump.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • TAG
    TAG Member Posts: 755
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    It seems you paid a guy to install it -- he ordered it. It was his job to tell the propane people what was going on and make sure it was set up for the right fuel. This is if he did not know or was not able to switch the fuel.

    A dealer is going to hire or have a the proper people in house for the electric ... typically the propane guys are very good and would never hook up anything w/o checking ... but, the final inservice should have been on the electric side.
  • GGross
    GGross Member Posts: 1,105
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    DrumK said:

    Who’s responsibility is it to convert it?

    Around here a gas fired generator requires 2 permits. 1 electrical permit, and 1 mechanical permit to make the gas connection. So at least around here, legally speaking the mechanical permit holder is responsible for fuel conversions on the appliances they are hooking up, it is part of the permit.


    mattmia2
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,970
    edited June 2023
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    ChrisJ said:


    Maybe I'm nuts, but expecting some guy that installs LPG etc for a living to just show up and know how to setup every generator in existence seems unreasonable. He's not the one installing it nor should he have to know how to set it up.

    That's why a gasfitter is a licensed professional, not just some handy person. They should be able to read and follow the instructions in the manual just like with any other appliance they install. If they don't know how to do that they shouldn't take the job.
    JakeCK
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,924
    edited June 2023
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    mattmia2 said:
    Maybe I'm nuts, but expecting some guy that installs LPG etc for a living to just show up and know how to setup every generator in existence seems unreasonable. He's not the one installing it nor should he have to know how to set it up.
    That's why a gasfitter is a licensed professional, not just some handy person. They should be able to read and follow the instructions in the manual just like with any other appliance they install. If they don't know how to do that they shouldn't take the job.
    They didn't take a job to install a generator they took a job to connect a fuel line.

    Should they be expected to wire it up too?

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,661
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    ChrisJ said:


    mattmia2 said:


    Maybe I'm nuts, but expecting some guy that installs LPG etc for a living to just show up and know how to setup every generator in existence seems unreasonable. He's not the one installing it nor should he have to know how to set it up.
    That's why a gasfitter is a licensed professional, not just some handy person. They should be able to read and follow the instructions in the manual just like with any other appliance they install. If they don't know how to do that they shouldn't take the job.

    They didn't take a job to install a generator they took a job to connect a fuel line.

    Should they be expected to wire it up too?



    My point exactly. There was no one whose job was to make sure that the engine powering the thing was properly set up. Oops...

    And yes, if it was running on the wrong fuel I would expect it to run very badly indeed, and it's a wonder someone didn't realise that there might be a problem. I doubt, however, that it has done significant damage to the engine -- possibly beyond needing an oil change and as someone said new spark plugs. You'd know... well maybe not. Someone who knows engines would know if anything more serious had happened, like burned valves.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    CLamb
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,251
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    Any Generator I've run gas to, I have pulled a Bldg permit, needed a pressure test and was responsible for making sure all the other gas appliances were set up properly AFTER the Generator was up and running.  This included any conversions that were required.  If I'm connecting gas to it, I'm taking responsibility for everything the gas touches up to the outlet of the main gas valve.  After that, its on the Generator experts.  If You're asked to run a liquid fuel line to and engine, you'd better know if its running on Diesel or Gasoline. Mad Dog 🐕 
    GGrossyellowdog
  • GGross
    GGross Member Posts: 1,105
    edited June 2023
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    @ChrisJ That's one reason many contractors won't install equipment they don't provide. Around here, it would not be legal for the mechanical contractor to hook up the electrical, unless they hold a valid electrical license. That also applies to the electrician who cannot convert the fuel type, or make the gas connection as they do not hold a mechanical license. Now would anyone really call out an electrical contractor for making the conversion? probably not, but imagine if the electrical contractor did make that conversion and did it wrong. They would be in big trouble, potentially putting their business at risk for performing that work without a license, plus whatever liability they may have from the incorrect conversion.


    I know it seems weird, but any licensed mechanical contractor who is attaching a fuel line to a generator did not just take a job to connect a fuel line, they are using their license, and they know they can't just connect LPG to a NG appliance, it is negligent on their part. If this was a world without licenses I would tend to agree with you, that the one providing the equipment should take responsibility, but these are licensed professionals who neglected to confirm the type of fuel that an appliance is set to run on, straight up negligence.
    Mad Dog_2ChrisJ
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,844
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    It's kind of a 50/50 situation


    The electrician sold the generator so that makes him more responsible in MHO

    The propane guy is also responsible to make sure the gas is hooked up properly, sized correctly right regulators and right kind of fuel.


    So we have some missing information:

    The electrician sold it

    But who hired the propane guy?? The electrician?? or the homeowner?


    I can tell you in MA. the electrician may have sold it

    but the licensed propane guy (or plumber) is responsible for the gas so he would not be off the hook around here.
  • Erin Holohan Haskell
    Erin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 2,346
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    @DrumK - I've merged your two discussions into one here to prevent confusion. Thanks!

    President
    HeatingHelp.com

    EdTheHeaterManCLamb
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,967
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    You’ll can site all the codes, rules and regulations you want. Until we know where this generator is located does it matter?

  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,970
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    pecmsg said:

    You’ll can site all the codes, rules and regulations you want. Until we know where this generator is located does it matter?

    Let's say a propane supplier hooked up a new tank to a boiler that was clearly labeled for natural gas and that boiler sooted up and eventually killed a few people with CO poisoning. That supplier would be liable. Same reason a natural gas supplier will lock out a meter if there is dangerous equipment. The fuel supplier has a responsibility to not connect fuel to a system with an obvious hazard. It doesn't matter what the code is, they are responsible for being reasonably sure that the system is safe.
    PC7060EBEBRATT-Ed
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,967
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    mattmia2 said:
    You’ll can site all the codes, rules and regulations you want. Until we know where this generator is located does it matter?

    Let's say a propane supplier hooked up a new tank to a boiler that was clearly labeled for natural gas and that boiler sooted up and eventually killed a few people with CO poisoning. That supplier would be liable. Same reason a natural gas supplier will lock out a meter if there is dangerous equipment. The fuel supplier has a responsibility to not connect fuel to a system with an obvious hazard. It doesn't matter what the code is, they are responsible for being reasonably sure that the system is safe.
    That depends on the location and the lawyers involved!
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,491
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    How many of the folks responding are actually LP certified?  In Missouri I had to take a class every two years to be involved in any aspect of LP. Sales, deliveries installation, service, filling barbecue tanks, vehicles fuel, etc

    If you size and connect an LP line to any device or appliances you need to be responsible for that connection. Most every bi fueled appliance I have  worked on had a conversion tag or sticker that you would apply to note the fuel and date of conversion. In many  areas a gasfitter permit with your LP license number was required, and an inspection.

    Seems odd than an LP pro would miss this basic step? 


    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    PC7060EBEBRATT-Edmattmia2
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,661
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    I agree, @hot_rod . It surely does seem odd, and not something that should have happened. What we don't know is what the LP guy was told to do. If someone told him the generator was all set to go, just hook up the gas, that's just what he might well have done.

    I have to admit that what I find baffling -- from a design standpoint -- is why any conversion from LP to NG or back doesn't include a different fitting for the gas line connection. Might be a different thread or diameter. Much like the filler neck for a diesel fuel tank is a different size from the one for gasoline. Not, mind you, that that would eliminate the problem -- but it might make someone think twice?
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Mad Dog_2
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,390
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    Hi, Regarding the question of damage to the generator, how about calling the manufacturer? They should be the most expert in this matter. 🧐

    Yours, Larry
    PC7060
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,408
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    But who hired the propane guy??

    Gasman: Then who gets the Conversion Kit?
    Sparky: Naturally.
    Gasman: Naturally.
    Sparky: Now you've got it.
    Gasman: I give the Conversion Kit to Naturally.
    Sparky: You don't! You give it to Who!
    Gasman: Naturally.
    Sparky: Well, that's it—say it that way.
    Gasman: That's what I said.
    Sparky: You did not.
    Gasman: I said I give the Conversion Kit to Naturally.
    Sparky: You don't! You give it to Who!
    Gasman: Naturally.

    Gasman: Now I throw the Conversion Kit into the Sparky's van, whoever it is drops the Conversion Kit, so the guy runs to the genset. Who picks up the Conversion Kit and throws it to What. What throws it to I Don't Know. I Don't Know throws it back to Tomorrow—a triple play.
    Sparky: Yeah, it could be.
    Gasman: Another guy gets up and it's a long unpaid trip to Because. Why? I don't know. He's at the Supply House and I don't give a darn!
    Sparky: What was that?
    Gasman: I said, I DON'T GIVE A DARN!
    Sparky: Oh, that's our AHJ.
    PC7060Mad Dog_2