The biggest concern for most people who need to source an emergency generator is how much power it can supply. That’s definitely a legitimate concern and is the best way to make sure you get a generator that meets your needs, but it’s not the only thing you need to think about.
Whether you buy a standby generator or rent one during an emergency power outage, you also need to consider the type of fuel it requires. More importantly, what kind of access do you have to the fuel your generator needs and what kind of access will you have in the event of an emergency?
Sourcing Generator Fuel
If you buy an emergency generator, you’re on your own for fuel. You’ll have to work with a fuel supplier to source it, store it, and replenish it when the fuel runs out. If you rent a generator, the rental agreement may include a certain specified amount of fuel, perhaps a full tank at delivery. After that, you will probably have to replenish the fuel yourself.
This all begs the question, “What kind of fuel is and will be available in your area during and after an emergency?”
Types Of Fuel
Diesel and natural gas are the two most common types of generator fuels with natural gas being more common for permanently installed standby generators than portable models. If you run a business or need to have power in your home no matter what, a permanently installed natural-gas powered generator is a good choice. The generator is connected right into your electrical system and the natural gas line coming into the building. This ensures a dedicated supply of fuel – so long as the gas lines remain intact.
Diesel powered generators are extremely common. They can be permanent installations or portable. Fuel may be stored in a large tank and always connected to the generator, ready for use when needed. Smaller, portable generators use diesel fuel that is stored in external tanks and poured into the generator’s tank as needed. These types of tanks will have to be refilled more frequently than larger tanks and, in an extended emergency situation, there’s a chance fuel providers won’t be able to get to you.
Planning For Emergency Generator Usage
The best way to plan for emergency generator usage is to research fuel providers, talk to generator rental services, and friends and colleagues who have emergency generators to learn more about what kinds of fuel options are available in your area and how available the resource is likely to be during an emergency situation. Utility companies and generator providers can also help you determine what kind of generator would be best in your situation and if there are any local building or use codes you need to worry about concerning fuel and generator placement.
It’s difficult to know ahead of time just how long you’ll have to use the generator and, as a result, how much fuel you will need, but taking some time to research fuel providers in your area and how and where to store your emergency generator fuel will save you headaches when the time comes that you actually need to use the generator.