When comparing propane vs gas, it is important to look at the various fuel sources for energy production and how they compare to each other. The most popular of these fuels, natural gas, is also the oldest fuel source on the market and one that suffers the worst damage by far in most modern generators. The older methods of producing energy through burning wood, coal or petroleum have also come under serious scrutiny in recent years due to the environmental concerns raised by global warming and the fact that most modern conveniences run on electricity produced by burning coal or wood.
The first major contrast that can be made between propane vs gas generators is in terms of how quickly a gas engine runs. All gas engines have an oil/air mixture in the fuel line which continually pushes air through the engine and produces exhaust. As the gas moves through the engine and cylinder, it becomes hot and the air cools it off, as a result creating pressure. This pressure is what propane engines run at, as they are fueled off of natural gas or LPG.
This means that propane gas generators must work a little harder to maintain their cool temperature. In a cold climate, this can become a problem, but with a bit of effort, the generator should still be able to maintain its temperature long enough for the homeowner to work without having to constantly refill a propane tank. Because of the size of propane tanks required for home use, most large cities have no problem with this. The smaller ones though, like those used by campers and hikers, can pose a hazard if kept in the open and left outside. Even when stored in a tent or car, they still need to be refilled.
The biggest problem with propane vs gas generators is that they require more maintenance than their gas counterparts. A small leak from a propane tank at home would not seem to be much of a problem, but when it comes to a big propane production company or truck, this can be a major problem. The longer the generator is running without being serviced, the less effective it becomes. There are several simple things that can be done to reduce this time frame.
Firstly, when supplying propane at a campground, a generator will often run with just one fuel source, propane. If the nearest location to you is not close to any other propane sources, this can make it difficult to keep the generator running. The easiest way around this is to simply bring extra fuel into the campground. This helps keep the generator going long enough to allow one to return, as well as ensure that no one has to go out to supply fuel for the generator.
Secondly, if the nearest location to you is close to a propane company, it can be very beneficial to have a generator that runs off of this fuel source. The only problem with this is that it takes longer to fill the tank and may have to incur a small tax on the fuel bill. Another tip to keep in mind is to try and keep your generator running as close to the fuel source as possible. This will help keep the overall run time of the generator fairly short, which helps save on fueling costs.
The third tip is to always keep one propane tank near the generator and another empty. Always start the motor before the other tank, so there is no interruption in the flow of propane. It is also important not to place the propane tank too close to the propane tank. The distance between the two must be at least three feet to help prevent overheating of the propane. If the distance is too close, you run the risk of over heating both the propane and the gas.
The fourth tip is to make sure that you have the proper ventilation in the area where you are planning to use the propane vs gas generator. Use compressed air if necessary to help remove any excess moisture from the air around the generator. Also use fans to help blow any debris or moisture from the air. Lastly, if the generator is being used outside, then make sure that there is adequate lighting around the generator to keep anyone from accidentally stepping on it. By following these tips, you can be sure that your generator will run much more smoothly and effectively than before.