A standby generator doesn't make electricity out of nowhere – although it would certainly be great if it did. The fact of the matter is, standby generators need to be supplied with fuel so that they can keep the lights on and the fridge running during blackouts, brownouts, natural disasters and other times of emergency. So, what do you need to know about the fuel that keeps your generator going?
The appropriate fuel type to use depends on your generator. If you're using a cost-efficient standby generator, the equipment is hooked into your natural gas resources and draws upon this supply when it's needed. The entire process is convenient and seamless.
If you have a portable generator, you typically pick between kerosene and diesel fuel. While portable generators are technically capable of running on gasoline, the efficiency is impacted – and so it’s generally just not worth it to bother with that fuel source.
As mentioned above, with a standby generator you don't have to worry about any refueling. Portable generators get refueled based upon their usage. If you fill the tank up with enough fuel to last for a day and you only lose power for a few hours, you don't have to worry about it too often. If you have a smaller generator, it's going to take up a fair amount of your attention.
It can be a real inconvenience during a power outage to have to refuel a portable generator – so making the switch to a standby generator for this reason is a great choice. This can also help to reduce ongoing costs, as tying the system in to a natural gas service is much less expensive than buying diesel fuel.
Another thing to consider is that you have to find a safe spot to store any fuel that you're using for a portable generator. This is yet another inconvenience that has persuaded many to make the switch from a portable to a standby new or used generator.
Those plastic gas canisters that you can get from pretty much every gas station is sufficient for your needs. Only take enough fuel to last 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.
Pick a spot that stays dark and cool for fuel storage. Ideally, this would be 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.
Our team would 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 to 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. Choose the care-free option: go with a standby generator or used standby generator!