The Pros and Cons of Diesel Generators | Home Design Find

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The Pros and Cons of Diesel Generators

Diesel generators are different from gasoline generators, though they’re often thought to be interchangeable by those who don’t know the difference. What are the pros and cons of diesel generators?

The Points in Favor of Diesel Generators

Diesel generators need far less maintenance than gas generators. They don’t have spark plugs or carburetors. Then you’re left with minor, low-skill tasks like replacing the air filters and changing the oil. The lack of components like this also results in very long-lasting generators. They can last three times as long as gas generators. Diesel generators also need a fraction of the maintenance natural gas generators do.

Diesel generators are on average safer than gasoline powered generators. The lack of spark plugs and carburetors eliminates the biggest ignition risks. If you need to stock up on fuel, the fact that there is less of it around reduces the risk of explosions or toxic spills.

Diesel generators are more efficient than gas generators. They’ll get up to 50 percent more power out of a gallon of diesel fuel than a gasoline generator. This typically results in a smaller gas tank, and you don’t need to take up as much space with gas cans or tanks to hold reserve fuel.

Diesel generators

The Downsides of Diesel Generators

Diesel generators tend to cost more than gasoline generators. That makes them the better choice for long-term use over infrequent emergency use.

Diesel generators are not as environmentally friendly as natural gas or petrol generators, assuming you avoid fuel spills. Tier four generators do better in this regard, since they have additional features to reduce particulate and nitrous oxide emissions.

Diesel generators tend to come with higher installation costs unless you’re buying one to be carried around on a trailer.

Observations about Diesel Generators

Diesel fuel is as easy to find as gasoline. This is invaluable when you’re trying to power your home or business after a power outage. Natural gas may still flow through natural gas lines, but it is harder to stock up on if the gas is shut down or prices spike. Propane is even harder to find in an emergency, and it is difficult to stock up on. Conversely, diesel generators will require a constant stream of fuel from a storage container, whereas backup generators connected to a gas line will draw from the gas line. Then there’s no refueling required on your part.

Note that natural gas supplies are likely to be interrupted if you live in an earthquake zone, and that makes diesel generators far better than natural gas powered generators. In these cases, diesel beats natural gas. Conversely, if you live in hurricane country, natural gas should continue flowing though the roads are blocked. Natural gas generators win out in these cases unless you have a massive stock of fuel. And remember that stored fuel can go bad.

Diesel generators tend to be louder than the alternatives. You can fit it with a sound-proof casing, but that adds to the already high cost. Diesel generators are rugged and durable, but that’s because they use big, solid parts. Expect a diesel generator to be heavier than the gas-powered alternative. This can add to its shipping and transportation costs. However, the unit may be smaller than the equivalent gas-powered model. Diesel generators are always much smaller than natural gas powered generators.

Diesel generators may be flex-fuel or flexible in the sources of fuel they can use, but this requires using corrosion resistant materials in the fuel tank and tubing. That means a flex-fuel diesel generator could burn ethanol if you run out of gas, but don’t pour alternative or biofuels into the average diesel generator unless you want expensive repair bills down the line.

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