Backup Generators 101?

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A friend has a backup generator that runs off of natural gas, and I always thought it would be nice to get one when I got a new house. Fast forward - I have a new (old) house, but it heats by oil and there is no gas nearby.
The power has gone out several times this summer, so now I'm wondering what the options are. Are there any generators that use oil? I know there are propane generators, but was thinking it would be nice not to worry about another tank and delivery schedule.
Any recommendations? I need something *simple* to use. So far the outages have lasted around 6 hours. They are annoying in the summer, but I'm a little concerned about more occurring in the winter.
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Lee wrote:

Get a diesel generator, they run fine on fuel oil.
--
Claude Hopper ? 3 :) 7/8

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Lee wrote:

I don't know about oil, but a propane fueled generator could work for you. http://www.generac.com/Products/Information/FAQ.aspx
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[snip]

That returns the message "Our site has been updated and the page is no longer available.".
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wrote:

Yeah, that happens a lot when you expect a 2 yr old link to work for you. There is a chance that the root address is still the same and you can get there with a few clicks.
Jim
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Read the following words aloud, quickly:
EYE HAM SOFA KING WE TODD ED
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snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com wrote:

Perhaps the gentleman has a long attention span?
TDD
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Lee wrote:

A diesel generator will run off your #2 heating oil just fine. #2 heating oil and #2 diesel fuel are essentially the same other than transportation fuel taxes. #2 heating oil is also known as "off road diesel" and is commonly used in off road construction and logging equipment that is exempt from transportation fuel taxes.
With your 275-300 gal fuel tank, you will have several days of fuel supply for both heating and generator, just remember to call for an extra delivery to top off after a long generator run.
The major suppliers all have small diesel standby generator packages, they just don't promote them like the little NG units they sale in Depot and Lowe's. Find your local Generac/Guardian, Onan or Kohler dealer and have them quote you on a suitably sized (10-15KW typically) diesel standby package.
The diesel units will cost noticeably more than the cheap NG units in the stores, but they also have a lot longer service life.
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It won't be as cheap as a NG/LP generator, but a diesel generator will run fine on heating oil, runs at half the RPM's of a gas generator, and will last much longer
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RBM wrote:

Well, it'll run fine on #1 fuel oil; not other numbers. #1 is actually kerosene but with a little less filtering since it's not used in automtives. You might have to clean the filter a little more often with #1, gut it's an easy job. If you heat with #2 fuel oil, do NOT use that unless the genset is specifically designed FOR #2 fuel oil.
HTH
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Twayne wrote:

#2 fuel oil and #2 diesel are the same thing. #2 fuel oil gets red dye and is exempt from transportation fuel taxes. #2 fuel oil is also known as "off road diesel" as it is commonly used in construction and logging equipment that doesn't operate on the public roads and is exempt from the transportation fuel taxes.
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Sorry, I checked, part of that is myth. You really need to check your oil supplier, apparently in areas that have a lot of oil heat, heating oil is a cheap low grade oil that they supply, as it doesn't take much to burn in a furnace. Diesel fuel is more refined and has a specific cetane rating, similar to gasoline's octane rating, so your engine will last longer and not have ring/cylinder damage. The reason you need to check your fuel supplier is because some areas actually use diesel fuel for heating oil, some areas don't. I found this all out when I bought a diesel generator and checked with several major oil companies.
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EXT wrote:

Wow, this is all so foreign to me. I'd only ever had natural gas before (turn on the stove and it was there... didn't have to worry about deliveries or grades etc. I have no idea what number oil is in my tank!). What I liked about my friend's generator was that it just kicked in automatically, and she didn't have to do anything when the electricity went off. Would an oil one work the same?
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Lee wrote:

You also paid a service charge every month even when you used almost no gas, and were locked into a single supplier. A backhoe working down the street could knock out your supply for a day or more. A gas leak can quite readily blow up your house. For a generator, many times the service lines and meter need to be upgraded to handle the flow demands of the generator.
With oil, you have an on-site supply that will last a month or more. You have a choice of multiple suppliers, and if needed you can go to most gas stations and fill a can or two of diesel in a pinch to keep the furnace going without an emergency after hours delivery charge. Oil also will not blow up your house as gas does regularly. You do have the small concern of maintaining the tank, which if it's the usual 275-300 gal tank in the basement isn't a big deal. Underground or outdoor tanks are more of a concern.
Most suppliers do automatic delivery and rarely ever would you run out unless you suddenly used a lot more fuel than normal. If you are feeding a generator from your heating tank, you have to remember to call your oil supplier for a non scheduled delivery to make up for the fuel you used so you don't run out since their automatic delivery software can't account for generator fuel usage, only daily temps and historical usage. You can also install a second separate tank for the generator if you want and have the same company fill it.

95% Probability it's #2.

Absolutely. Diesel powered automatic standby generators are the norm for commercial use. Critical installations like hospitals and data canters are always diesel since the fuel supply is kept on-site and not subject to interruption like gas service is.
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Pete C. wrote:

Some time back, I bought a duplex. I live on one side and the other is the company's office. My commute time to work is about twenty seconds. Anyway...
Last year, I married the two gas services by connecting the office side to the house side (with a valve just in case I ever want to separate them). I then told the gas company to disconnect the house service. This saved me $14.80/month which was the minimum charge with no gas being used (I don't begrudge the gas company the minimum charge, they've got to read the meter and send out bills).
As a bonus, whatever gas is used on the house side (some heating, hot water, dryer), is now a business expense (shhh! don't tell anyone).
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I'm sure they are available. They will need a starting battery, like a car. Actually probably two batteries, diesels don't want to start very well. Figure on spending a couple thousand dollars.
The installation will likely take a company with experience. Fuel, and wiring to be done.
You can have convenient, or you can have inexpensive. But not both. Well, at least not until it's been installed. For power outs at my adress, I have a gasoline generator, and a gascan. Less cost, and also less convenient.
--
Christopher A. Young
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

Uh, let's just say middle aged female who doesn't even like messing with pilot lights, let alone pouring gasoline out of a can, LOL. I will check with my oil company. My brother has a propane powered generator (too far away for an extension cord, alas), so I knew that propane is an option. I was mostly wondering if there was a way to reduce the number of tanks I'd need sitting in the yard. My brother has these monster propane tanks in his yard.
Oh well, this isn't about to happen anytime soon - at least until I've sold the other house. I'm just starting my research.
(And fwiw, my oil tank is above ground, right beside the house).
Thanks for all of the information. It's a lot to digest.
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In all ACTUALITY, home heating oil is generally #1 diesel. While it will work in an engine, it is a bit thin as a rule and is hard on injectors.
s

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"S. Barker" wrote:

Where exactly is that? I spent some 34 years in the northeast US and heating oil there is most certainly #2 fuel oil.
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Well it's always been #1 here in the mid west.
s

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