For a lot of people, the first consideration when looking for a generator is the type of fuel that powers the generator. All generators work in a similar manner; the most basic variation is the fuel used to run the units. Most generators are powered by gasoline, natural gas, diesel, propane or solar energy. Some generators run on only one type of fuel while (single fuel generators) others allow you to switch between two or more fuel types (dual fuel generators). In this article, we seek to compare a dual fuel generator and a gas generator, which is a perfect example of a single fuel generator to help you determine which one will the trick when you need a power back up.
Dual Fuel Generator: Different applications and uses
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A dual fuel generator, from the word dual, uses two different types of fuel, usually gasoline and propane, to extend the runtime. Switching between the two fuel types is mostly automatic depending on fuel availability and the fuel that id deemed more efficient at that point in time. This is regarded as a big advantage to not only homeowners but also people who are always on the move, such as campers or mobile food trucks.
A dual fuel generator is also the best choice for those residing in remote areas as well as contractors working in remote job sites. Also, a dual fuel generator gives you the ability to use the most suitable fuel as per your circumstances, thus allowing you to adjust performance to your needs. For example, if you move to a place where gasoline is not available, you can run your generator on propane until you refill gasoline. You may also choose to run the generator on propane while on transit and take gasoline with you just in case you run out of fuel in the middle of nowhere.
Healthcare facilities can also benefit from the uninterrupted power supply during power blackouts, especially when it comes to running life support machines as they top up the main gasoline tank. The steady power supply is also going to come in handy when you need to power sensitive appliances instead of stopping operation when the fuel is over.
Gasoline and propane are both readily available, and they can be stored in a shed or garage. Propane is especially easy to store due to its user-friendly container. So when a calamity strikes, all you require to do is to pick your preferred fuel and ignite the system. And if you run out of the fuel before the power supply is back, you can simply switch to the other one, and this way, you will keep your generator up and running for days.
Advantages of dual fuel generators
Reliability and dependability
If you are looking for convenience and versatility, you can depend on a dual fuel generator. These generators provide the convenience of power wherever you need it, and they are mostly durable. All you need is to change from one fuel to another to get an uninterrupted power supply.
Easy switching between fuels
When an emergency arises, a dual fuel generator allows you to switch between the propane and gas system effortlessly, thus enabling you to use the generator with ease. Besides, they are designed to run for over 24 hours, and they are easy to set up right from the box. And contrary to your expectations, most units require little to no maintenance involving the routine periodic check-ups.
Dual fuel generators are more effective than their gas counterparts since they offer more power and longer runtimes. They are also cheaper to run majorly because propane is less expensive, and it ignites easily even in cold temperatures.
Dual fuel generators are designed to be durable, and most models feature all-steel frames to enable them to withstand harsh conditions and natural disasters. The sturdy construction also helps to reduce vibrations and, consequently, noise. The mobility kit is also sturdy, and most models have all-terrain wheels for easy transport and storage.
Disadvantages of dual fuel generators
The main drawback of a dual fuel generator is the fact that they tend to bulkier than gas or any other generator. A dual fuel generator needs to stay connected to a propane tank when you are running on propane, and this may limit its portability. Also, the energy output is slightly lower when the generator is running on propane, but this should not be a major issue as the power output increase once you switch to gasoline.
What is Gas Generator?
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A gas generator is a type of generator that runs on natural gas rather than conventional fuel types such as gasoline, diesel, or propane. Natural gas is readily available even in the absence of power, and these generators are accounting for the largest share in the market in recent years. These generators are a great alternative to diesel or even dual fuel generators highlighted above, and they provide enough power when called upon. They can do everything from keeping factories running to keeping various sensitive devices on in your home.
Natural gas generators are easy to operate, cost-effective, and are friendlier to the environment when compared to models that run on fossil fuels. However, natural gas is not as flexible as other fuel types, and it is for this reason that these generators may not suit every application.
Where Natural Gas Generators are used
Gas generators can be used in many settings, and they are readily available across the globe. Large facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes that require a continuous supply of power mostly use natural gas generators instead of those powered by gasoline or diesel. Gasoline, for example, has a limited shelf life, and it may be unavailable when you need it the most. Diesel generators, on the other, are a major contributor to air pollution, while propane tanks can become scarce during natural calamities. This makes natural gas the most viable option, and it is because of this reason that most homeowners opt for these generators since they don’t have to be stuck with the chore of refueling fresh fuel regularly.
Other uses of a gas generator include;
Since natural gas is readily available, natural gas generators are generally used for electric utilities to meet general electric load requirements. As such, they are a perfect substitute in places lacking a centralized power plant.
Various factories, manufacturing plants, as well as commercial facilities, cannot underestimate the benefits of natural gas generators since it offers more up to 90% of energy efficiency. These generators are famed for not only providing electricity for electrical load but also for the heat energy of the facility’s thermal demands.
Advantages of natural gas generators
Natural gas generators are a dependable and reliable choice for both home and industrial use since the fuel source is never in short supply. Supply pipelines are easily accessible in residential areas, and they are not subject to sudden price spikes, so you don’t have to worry about running out of fuel.
Natural gas generators don’t require to be refilled since the gas comes automatically over the utility when needed. This is unlike other fuels such as gasoline that only deteriorates over time, and storing large amounts can be expensive as well.
Natural gas generators are generally less expensive, and they are excellent emergency power solutions for home use. The fuel source is also cheaper, but installing running gas lines means more costs upfront.
A natural gas generator has a very minimal ecological footprint when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions. This is the complete opposite of the dual fuel generator above or diesel-powered generators. Natural gas generators also minimize soil pollution since they do not come with an unground fuel storage tank. So, if you are conscious about the environment, you should not be afraid to try a natural gas unit.
Main disadvantages of natural gas generators
Carbon dioxide emission
The greatest disadvantage that comes with natural gas generators is that they emit CO2, which is not good for our atmosphere. An increased level of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is dangerous, and it has contributed to climate change and global warming.
Requires a dedicated network
Also, although a natural gas generator offers an uninterrupted power supply, it requires a dedicated supply system whose availability may be affected by natural calamities. Also, natural gas is a non-renewable source of energy that may be depleted in the future.
All said and done, both dual fuel and gas generators have advantages and disadvantages, and your choice will largely depend on your situation and power needs. A dual fuel generator is not only cost-effective; it actually allows you to extend runtime by alternating fuel types. A natural gas generator, on the other hand, is one of the cheapest and readily available alternative sources of power, but it is still very efficient.
However, regardless of your choice, there are plenty of variables to consider that go beyond personal preferences. Portability might also be a major thing to consider before making the right choice.
William Phillips was born and raised in Keller, Texas. He is a licensed general contractor, and he has been a home improvement specialist for two decades. His passion for the trade led him to freelance writing to share his life experiences with his readers. Phillips enjoys thoroughly researching DIY tools and writing guides at ToolsHaunt as a way of giving back to the community.