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Backup generators

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  • Backup generators

    I have been pushing my parents for years to get a backup generator (both before and after the great power outage of 2003). My grandmother moved in with us a few years ago and I have been afraid that she would die from the heat during a power outage that occurred in the summer. Yesterday, we had a power outage, it was extremely hot and my grandmother refused to leave the house to go somewhere that had air conditioning, so my parents are finally going to purchase a backup generator.

    I have been looking online and most of the generators that I can find burn natural gas or gasoline. Natural gas is not available in our area and the local distributor of natural gas refuses to make it avaliable to us unless our entire street is willing to convert everything to natural gas, so that is not an option. Gasoline can only be stored for anywhere from a few months to two years, depending on the presence of preservatives, after which time it decomposes into a wax and prior to which time, it is a fire hazard, so it will more than likely raise our house insurance if we use a generator that burns it. I would like to be have backup power for a long period of time and we cannot get natural gas, so both types of backup generators are out of the question.

    I know that large data centers have backup generators that run off diesel, and I know that diesel engines are reliable, extremely efficient, and burn fuel that will not ignite upon exposure to a spark, so I would like to get a backup generator that burns diesel, which in theory should not increase the cost of our house insurance because diesel is very difficult to ignite. I know that it is possible to burn home heating oil in diesel engines, so ideally, the backup generator should be able to burn home heating oil and could be connected to our home heating oil tank, so that if there is any major disruption to the power grid (hurricane, earthquake, etcetera), we will have backup power for months. I would also like it to be a quality generator, so it should be made by a well known company.

    Does anyone have any suggestions?

  • #2 -says theirs can run on diesel or heating oil.

    Here is information in using heating oil in a diesel generator:

    If you can get room for a propane system, those are available as well. You can also buy conversion kits to convert the natural gas generators to propane or l.p. gas.
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    • #3
      I was going to say that kerosene is usually cheaper than diesel and does the same job. Around here I know that sometimes truckers will get in trouble for pumping kerosene into their trucks instead, so I suppose for something smaller like a generator it would do a fine job, as well.


      • #4
        kerosene is highly flamable though.

        As an alternative, check and see if your power company offers rebates for solar panels. During a normal day, the extra electric would go into the grid and reduce your monthly bill but in the event of a blackout, it would fail over to an internal network and power your house. If you do it right, you can add some deep cycle marine batteries which will stay charged and provide power over night.
        Plan, Do, Check, Act!


        • #5
          You can run some diesel engines on vegetable oil, might be worth looking into that as well.


          • #6
            You can buy diesel generators.
            Also if Natural gas isn't an option, you can purchace a small size LP tank then a LP generator.
            Cheap fuel to buy.

            If you shop around you'll find more places.


            • #7
              diesel or heating oil
              Just an FYI, home heating oil is #2 diesel fuel. It is a bit thicker and less refined than #1. Truckers will run it in the summer months when gelling isn't a problem. In the winter they run #1 or bio-diesel which is mostly corn and soy oil.

              If you can go with diesel. When you use diesel in an off road vehicle or a generator there is no road use tax on it. It saves about 60 to 75 cents a gallon. Much cheaper than gas which doesn't have a lower price for such use.

              Propane or kerosene are also cheaper alternatives.

              If someone actually put kerosene in a diesel powered engine I'd be surprised if the engine didn't blow up. Diesel engines are low compression, high heat and putting gas or kerosene in them would cause explosions in the valves that would cause severe damage. You can put small quantities of kerosene, about 8 ounce per 100 gallons, in a diesel tank for better performance and to prevent gelling in winter.
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