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Ask Our Electricians: What Types of Fuel Do Generators Use?

generatorOur electricians in Lynnwood, WA are some of the finest in the industry, so it is no wonder that so many homeowners turn to them for informed answers. Some of the questions that they frequently field address whole-house generators. More specifically, which type of fuel sources should homeowners consider when it comes to fueling their whole-house generators. As is the case with most questions regarding electrical systems, the answer is more complicated than simply suggesting the one “best” option.

Today, we want to take this opportunity to discuss some of the various fuels that may be used to power the generators that you use to keep your home up and running in the event of a power outage. If you have any questions, of course, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We know that investing in a new generator is a considerable expense, and you want to make sure that you are making the right decisions every step of the way.

First of All, Gasoline Is Out

Some homeowners that have never used a standby generator before inquire about gasoline models. The fact of the matter, however, is that this is just not really an option. Sure, if you’re a camper, tailgater, or require standby electricity on a job-site, then you’ve probably used a small gasoline generator in the past. For a whole-house generator, though, it’s not a good fuel.

You need large amounts of fuel on hand if you’re planning on running a whole-house generator, especially for an extended period of time. Gasoline has a short shelf life, is often volatile in terms of pricing, and is frankly dangerous to store in large quantities.

Diesel Is an Option, Though

If you want to explore options similar to gasoline, then diesel is probably what you’re looking for. It’s not combustible in the same way that gasoline is, and it has a longer shelf life. On-site delivery may be available in your area, and diesel generators operate quite efficiently while boasting impressive engine lifespans. Even so, there are two other fuel sources that we’ll generally point homeowners toward.

Natural Gas/Propane

Propane has a very long shelf life, so it is a great option for a system that you are hopefully not going to be using with great frequency. Tank sizes vary, so you can really choose how much you keep on hand. Home delivery is quite common, and propane is used in many other applications (such as heating, fueling water heaters, etc.). You are still going to be storing a big container of pressurized gas on your property, though.

The “best” option for many people tends to be natural gas. You don’t have to worry about deliveries of any kind, as the fuel is piped directly to the property and the appliances using it. Natural gas does not see wide variations in pricing, really, and it is quite clean-burning. When it comes to burn quality, availability, and convenience/pricing, it is hard to argue against natural gas.

Contact G & S Heating Cooling & Electric with any questions that you may have.

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