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Fuel Sources for Standby Generators


By ProMatcher Staff



Standby Generators: Fuel Sources

Standby generators are typically run by natural gas, diesel, gasoline, or propane. In the United States, natural gas and diesel are the most common fuel sources for backup generators. If natural gas service is not available in your local area, liquid propane can be a solid alternative. Gasoline-powered standby generators are no longer a popular choice due to gasoline's volatile nature.



Note: Before purchasing a generator, you should consult a professional installer in order to ensure that your generator is compliant with local building codes. In some areas, storing large quantities of fuel is illegal.

1. Natural Gas Generators

Pros:

- No need for a storage tank
- Connected directly to utility line
- Long running time
- Quiet operation
- No finite quantity of fuel

Cons:

- Not ideal for remote areas
- Earthquake or other disaster can damage lines
- Reliance on public infrastructure

2. Liquid propane (LP) Generators

Pros:

- Fuel located on-site
- LP has a long shelf life

Cons:

- Availability varies geographically
- Engine has shorter life span than diesel engine



3. Gasoline-powered Generators

Pros:

- Generators are typically portable, easy to transport
- Ideal for small-scale uses

Cons:

- Price of gasoline can fluctuate greatly
- Fumes can be potentially dangerous
- Extremely flammable (can be unsafe to store large quantities)

Learn More: How to Size a Standby Generator

4. Diesel Generators

Pros:

- High thermal efficiency
- Does not rely on public infrastructure
- Storage tanks come in many sizes
- Fuel cost can be lower than natural gas

Cons:

- Refueling can be challenging during a disaster
- Diesel will go bad if contaminated
- Diesel generators tend to be very noisy
- Installing a tank adds to the cost of installation

Related:

[+] Cost of Standby Generator Installation

[+] Types of Standby Generators



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About the Author

ProMatcher Staff, ProMatcher
Orlando, FL 32803

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