Whole House Generator Fuel Types

whole house generator fuel types

Whole house generators are a great way to have power at home when the power goes out. They come in different sizes and can be fueled by many different types of fuels including gasoline, diesel, propane and natural gas.

Choosing the right fuel type for your generator is important because it has a few implications regarding availability, cost, efficiency and environment.


Gasoline is an energy-dense secondary fuel that comes out of a refinery after crude oil has been fractionally distilled. It is a mixture of over 500 different hydrocarbons that contain between 5 and 12 carbon atoms.

It contains mainly alkanes (paraffins), but small amounts of cycloalkanes and aromatics. It also contains a number of other chemicals that make it easier for engines to run efficiently.

Some of these chemicals include lubricants, anti-rust and anti-icing agents. They are added to gasoline in small amounts and help increase car performance.

Another chemical that is sometimes added to gasoline is ethanol, which helps cars run more efficiently and is produced from corn. Ethanol reduces air pollution and increases the octane rating of gasoline.

While it can be expensive to purchase gas, the price tends to change daily so you may be able to find it inexpensively in the short term. However, if you have a large job site or use your generator for a long time, it could be more expensive to purchase it and run it continuously.

Natural Gas

Natural gas is a very popular fuel choice for standby generators because it burns cleanly and is virtually odorless. Also, it produces significantly less emissions than diesel or gasoline.

In addition, natural gas is usually easier to source and less expensive than propane or diesel. This makes it a great option for those who are concerned about the environmental effects of their fuel choice, especially if they live in a rural area.

Having a whole house backup generator can be a major investment, so it’s important to choose the right one for your needs. You should work closely with a generator contractor or installer who can help you size your generator correctly.

Besides the type of fuel used, other factors to consider include its efficiency and power output. Natural gas is more efficient than gasoline and propane, providing a maximum of 88,500 BTUs per gallon of fuel.


Propane is one of the most common types of liquefied petroleum gas (LP-gas) used in homes and in vehicles. It is a clean-burning fuel that has been around for many years.

It is a three-carbon alkane with the chemical formula C3H8. Like water, propane boils at a low temperature and under normal pressure, becoming a gas (steam vapor).

Liquid propane is instantly compressed and can be stored for long periods of time in a tank separate from the generator. This means that you don’t have to worry about your generator running out of fuel in the middle of the night if your home is without power.

Besides being a clean-burning fuel, propane is also an inexpensive choice. In North America, it is cheaper than gasoline and diesel, and it provides more energy per unit of volume.


Diesel is not the most common generator fuel type, but it’s a great option if you want to avoid using gasoline and propane. Compared to those two, diesel is cleaner, less expensive, and much safer for the environment.

Diesel fuel is typically made from petroleum, but it’s also possible to produce synthetic diesel fuel and biodiesel. These alternative fuels are often used as a way to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and to help decrease our environmental footprint.

In addition, there are fuel stabilizers that can keep fuel from degrading too quickly in storage. This makes it an excellent choice for storing fuel in a home or business, especially when the power is out.

However, a diesel-fueled whole house generator isn’t for every homeowner, since it’s more expensive to store than natural gas or propane. If you do decide to go this route, be sure to install a proper tank and piping for the fuel to get to your generator.