What Every Power Generator Owner Should Know About Fuel

In a perfect world, standby generators would be capable of powering themselves, and wouldn’t require us to supply electricity. But that’s just not how it is.

Generators require us to supply the fuel so that they can keep the lights on and the fridge running during blackouts, brownouts, natural disasters and other instances of emergency. That said, what exactly should you know about the fuel that keeps your generator running?

First things first: Choosing the right type of fuel

Selecting the appropriate fuel type will depend on your generator. If you're using a cost-efficient standby generator, the equipment will be hooked into your natural gas resources and draws upon this supply when it's needed - making the entire process rather seamless and convenient.

On the other hand, if you have a portable generator, you’ll typically choose between kerosene and diesel fuel. While portable generators are technically capable of running on gasoline as their fuel, the efficiency is impacted - making it the least ideal source of fuel. (We personally wouldn’t bother with it.)

Knowing how often to refuel

As mentioned above, a person won’t need to worry about any refueling with a standby generator. Portable generators will get refueled depending on their usage. If you fill the tank up with enough fuel to last for a day and only lose power for a few hours, you won’t have to worry about it too often. However if you’re dealing with a smaller generator, it's going to take up a fair amount of your attention.

Nobody likes having to drop what we’re doing during a power outage to go refuel a portable generator, so for this reason, many of us have made the switch to a standby generator. This has been able to save many people from ongoing costs, as taking advantage of a natural gas service is much less expensive than buying diesel fuel.

Knowing where to store your fuel

Another important thing to consider is that you should be storing any fuel that you're using for a portable generator. In fact, struggling to find a safe spot for fuel storage is one of the things that ends up turning many away from portables, and onto standbys. 
Those plastic gas canisters that are available at virtually every gas station should be sufficient for your needs. Only take enough fuel to get you through the expected number of outages for the effective life of the fuel. Otherwise, you're leaving money on the table. Fuel stabilizer can extend the life of the diesel, but it's easier to work on predicting your potential needs. 
Another word of advice: choose a spot that stays dark and cool for fuel storage. Ideally, this is a storage shed or building that is separate from your main house. While many people may opt for the garage, ensure that the climate control is sufficient so the fuel doesn't go through a lot of temperature fluctuations. 

Choosing the care-free fuel option

We’d be happy to talk to you about the logistics behind each generator fuel option, but it all comes down to this: do you really want to try and refuel a portable generator in the middle of an emergency, and figure out where to store the fuel when it's not in use? We’re going to guess that your answer is no! Our suggestion is to choose the care-free option: go with a standby generator.




Posted by Shane Rektor | Jun 22, 2020 | Categories: Power Generation