Are you interested in a generator model which burns an alternative
fuel - diesel, or natural gas, or that burns a variety of fuels depending
on which is available in an emergency? Then read on.
Anybody with a lawn mower realizes the disadvantages of a
gasoline engine. Gas-burning engines are relatively inefficient, and require
frequent maintenance. Gasoline can be difficult to store for emergency use
because of its bulk and abbreviated shelf life. For somebody considering an electric
generator, there is the added disadvantage that pump-gas supplies may be interrupted
in an emergency or blackout.
If you are concerned about the inconveniences of relying on standard
pump gas, alternatives do exist.
You may want to consider a generator model that employs
diesel. Diesel, like pump gas, is easy to obtain. Here are some more of its
A] A superior shelf life to gasoline.
You can expect, without additives, that diesel fuel will outlast pump gas by from
6 - 12 months.
B] Diesel is among the safest fuels
to store; because it requires a higher temperature to ignite, it is far less
flammable than gasoline.
C] Diesel-burning engines wear
better. Expect them to last from 12,000 to 30,000 hours before major
maintenance or replacement is required, versus from 6,000 to 10,000 hours for a
comparable gasoline engine.
D] Diesel motors are built for long
hauls. Just consider the 18-wheel tractors you pass on the interstate. They
rack up hundreds of thousands of miles and often run for hours or days pulling
maximum loads without a significant rest. And they can do this without
breakdown or fatigue. The same hard-working durability can be expected from a
diesel generator. In an emergency which extends for days or even weeks, a
diesel generator will out-perform any model which burns gas or some alternative
fuel - hands down!
E] Maintenance costs are lower for
diesels. Fewer moving parts, and less-complicated engine
designs mean greater reliability and, when maintenance is required, less-costly
F] They are cheaper to operate.
Though the costs of the fuels themselves are similar, after accounting for
engine repairs and maintenance, plus the amount of use the motor will provide
in its lifetime, expect diesels to cost from 30 - 50% less per gallon of fuel burned
than gasoline engines.
There are also disadvantages to diesels. Some of these are:
A] Like gasoline, diesel fuel is
bulky, and can therefore be inconvenient to store in large quantities.
B] Also like gasoline, the supply of
diesel fuel may be reduced or cut off in an emergency or blackout.
C] While its high ignition
temperature makes diesel fuel safe to store, it can also make engine starting
difficult. This is especially true in chilly temperatures.
D] Modern diesels run far cleaner
than their predecessors, but don't expect diesel-burning engines to be as clean
to operate as their gasoline cousins.
If a diesel-burning generator doesn't appeal to you,
consider the flexibility of T-REX's Tri-Fuel models.
Depending on the fuel you have available, these units can run on gasoline,
liquid propane, or natural gas. This can be a major advantage in an emergency!
Available in tanks of many sizes, liquid propane possesses a long shelf life, and is easy to store, making it a good choice for power outages. In many areas, propane tanks can be
home delivered inexpensively, adding to overall convenience. However propane is
extremely flammable, leaving its tanks predisposed to dangerous explosion in a
home or building fire. Propane is also as bulky to store in significant
quantities as pump gas and diesel, and probably won't be usable in other home
power equipment or outdoor appliances if supplies aren't consumed by an
Natural gas is
clean-burning, and can be an unlimited fuel source in an emergency or blackout.
Natural gas is the one fuel which can eliminate refueling needs during a
lengthy outage. However it can't be purchased at a pump like gasoline, or
delivered to your home in tanks like propane. To enjoy its benefits, a
generator gas line will need to be connected to your home's existing natural
gas feed. This isn't a complicated procedure, but it will require a licensed
contractor.* Be aware that in rare emergency situations, if underground gas
lines are fractured, natural gas may not be available to you as a fuel source.
*For several reasons, T-REX recommends that you hire a
licensed contractor to install your generator gas line. A contractor will be
familiar with area building codes and regulations, and understand how to comply
with these, important when it comes time to sell your home. In addition,
failing to meet building codes can invalidate a homeowner's insurance policy in
the event of property damage or serious injury.