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Fuel Sources for Standby Generators

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


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


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

2. Liquid propane (LP) Generators


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


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

3. Gasoline-powered Generators


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


- 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


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


- 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


[+] 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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