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Serving the Buffalo Area since 1995

Scherer Electric Blog

Gas, Diesel, And LP: Fuel Sources for Generators


We strongly recommend our customers in Western New York invest in a whole-house generator. Long-term power losses due to bad weather or stress on the electrical grid are becoming more common, and the best defense against being trapped for hours or even days without power is to have a back-up power source.

A whole-house generator in Buffalo, NY is the best way to provide back-up power. Portable generators aren’t powerful enough to handle the needs of an entire house, and they can also create dangerous fumes inside the living spaces.

So whole-house generators are great for back-up energy. But you’ll need to make a choice about the source of energy for a whole-house generator. There are multiple options, but the three most common are natural gas, diesel, and liquid petroleum (LP).

Natural gas

If your house has access to natural gas, this is the best choice for a whole-house generator. There are a number of big advantages of going with natural gas, and the top one is that it has an unlimited supply of energy. If you’re hooked up to a gas main, your generator will never run out of power and you’ll be able to get through any length of a blackout. Natural gas is also an inexpensive fuel, and current gas prices are lower than ever. There are other smaller benefits, such as a quieter engine, clean-burning fuel, and lower emissions.

Liquid propane

Obviously, natural gas generators don’t work for homes without natural gas access. For these homes, the most popular option for a fuel source is liquid propane (LP). Liquid propane comes in pressurized cylinders, so you’ll need to make sure you have a sufficient amount to make it through an extended outage. Liquid propane has a long life before it turns stale and needs to be replaced, and the tank sizes don’t have to be enormous to have a reliable supply. Propane burns cleanly and has a number of similar advantages to natural gas. However, it is a pricier choice for fuel, and propane can pose more danger if it leaks.


If you are concerned about potential safety hazards using liquid propane (or vapor propane), then you might wish to consider diesel, which has low flammability. It’s easily available in case of emergencies and you can arrange for home delivery. Diesel engines have longer service lives than propane engines, so you can expect many years of use from a diesel whole-house generator. In fact, no engine operates better under longer periods of use than a diesel engine. On the negative side, diesel fuel turns stale between 18 to 24 months, a much shorter shelf life than liquid petroleum, so you must remember to regularly renew the fuel. The fuel tanks are also larger for diesel and the engines much noisier.

You don’t have to worry about making the right choice for your whole-house generator installation since our professionals will assist you. We have plenty of experience helping households find the ideal generator to meet their needs in an emergency.

Scherer Electric is Western New York’s Favorite Electrician. Call us to find out more about whole-house generator installation.

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