Propane Generators: 10 Cons You Should Know

propane generator powers caravan

Your options for fuel sources may appear overwhelming when you're buying a new standby generator. People frequently use propane generators which use a form of liquefied petroleum gas, as the fuel source. Other options for fuel-sourced generators are natural gas, diesel, and petrol.

But did you know that if you use solar generators instead of propane generators, you will not only produce clean energy but it is also safer for you? In this article, we will explore the drawbacks of using propane generators and give you a suggestion on what you can use instead.

What Are the Drawbacks of Using Propane Generators?

Although there might be some benefits to using propane generators, the drawbacks are much more obvious. Aside from safety (which is a major disadvantage!), here are more reasons why using a propane generator is maybe not the best option for you.

1. Hard to Find

Propane is less widely available than petrol and diesel, and propane purchased from a specialised propane supplier is more expensive than propane stored in petrol station tanks. If you can't get it delivered to your home, you'll have to go far to access these providers because they are frequently found outside of cities.

2. Short Life Span

Compared to diesel or gasoline engines, propane engines do last less time. An equally maintained propane or natural gas engine won't last as long as a well-kept diesel engine, which will operate for thousands more hours. Therefore, replacing a propane generator comes before replacing a gasoline or electric generator.

However, if you use solar power generators, except for the upfront cost the rest of the energy production comes completely free from the precious power of the sun. Solar panels and the portable power generators that work with them have the longest life span of all the other options.

3. Burns Fast

You will use up propane fuel more quickly than you will gas or electricity, which is another disadvantage. Despite typically being less expensive than diesel or petrol, propane has a lower energy density.

However, propane only has a 26 MJ/L energy density, which is a little less than a third of what diesel and gasoline have. As a result, if you compare expenses, using diesel or gasoline instead of propane for your generator will result in lower fuel expenditures in an emergency.

4. Tanks Required for Fuel

As was already noted, propane comes in tanks, so you will need to build piping between your new generator and your fuel tank. Otherwise, you will just need to top out the fuel tank in your generator as needed. To make sure that everything is done perfectly and nothing is missed, you will probably need to employ a professional to complete this task for you.

5. Less Efficient Than the Alternatives

Although propane fuel has several evident advantages, it is less efficient than other fuels. Since propane will probably burn considerably more quickly than gasoline, you'll need to have a big enough tank to keep your generator going in the event of a power outage. Some propane generator owners may be put off by propane's low energy density.

Compared to gasoline or diesel generators, propane generators produce 10% to 30% fewer watts. Because of this, propane generators have a lower fuel efficiency. So it could be better to use a petrol generator if you're on a site with a high wattage need, like a building site.

Utilising gasoline or diesel, running a generator at full capacity will require substantially more fuel than using propane. Propane tanks may usually be made larger than petrol tanks, though. A standard 20lb propane tank can power a 7500-watt generator for 3–4 hours at 50% load, compared to 8–9 hours on petrol with the same generator and a 6.6gal fuel tank.

6. More Expensive Upfront

Although propane generators can be more expensive upfront than gasoline or diesel generators, they are dependable and require little maintenance throughout their lifespan. You won't need to change the generator's oil as frequently as you would with gasoline or diesel, propane-capable generators typically cost more than generators that solely use these fuels. Additionally, you must either already own a propane tank or buy one. Propane usually costs less than gasoline, its low BTU content can make it more expensive to use as a fuel.

7. Power Output Limitations

Compared to gasoline or diesel generators of comparable size, propane generators typically provide less power. Because of the lower energy density and unique combustion properties of propane, engines run on propane frequently produce less power. This restriction might make them less useful for demanding tasks or circumstances requiring more power, like running numerous appliances or massive machinery.

8. Environmental Impact

Despite burning cleaner than petrol or diesel, propane still produces greenhouse gases and pollutes the air. Although burning propane emits less carbon dioxide and other harmful pollutants, such as particulate matter, it is not regarded as a renewable or sustainable fuel source. Alternative energy sources like solar or wind power may be preferable if the environmental effect is a concern.

Solar generators can be easily deployed in remote locations where access to propane refilling stations or fuel delivery may be challenging. They provide a reliable and independent power source for off-grid cabins, campsites, RVs, or emergencies.

propane generator used for dangerous cooking

9. Fuel Conversion and Maintenance

A generator that runs on petrol or diesel must undergo special modifications, which could add to the cost. A propane carburettor or fuel injection system must normally be retrofitted onto the engine as part of the conversion process.

To ensure their safe functioning, propane generators also need to have routine maintenance performed on them. This includes checking for leaks, monitoring the fuel lines, and keeping the right pressure regulation.

10. Limited Portability

Comparatively speaking to diesel or gasoline generators, propane generators can be less portable. The extra weight of the propane tanks or cylinders needed to store the fuel is the main cause of this. Transporting the generator to new sites or during emergencies is more difficult because propane tanks can be large and heavy.

Compared to the portability of petrol or diesel fuel in portable containers, the requirement to move and handle propane tanks securely adds a level of difficulty. If portability is important for your power requirements, you might need to take into account the extra weight and logistics of propane tanks when selecting a generator.

Is It Safe to Run a Propane Generator in the House?

Use a propane generator outside only. Carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas that is colourless and odourless, is produced by propane generators and can be extremely dangerous. When used in a closed environment, such as a home, garage, or basement, the buildup of carbon monoxide can reach hazardous levels and result in poisoning, which can be fatal.

people search for propane at petrol station

Are Propane Generators Safer Than Gas Generators?

Both propane and gas generators have various advantages, but when you compare the two, it's clear that propane is better. Despite having almost the same peak power output, propane is more widely accessible.

Petrol stations are simple to discover, but usable fuel is difficult to come by. Contrarily, propane is not only simple to obtain but also simple to store. This is why a propane generator is an excellent option because it produces power more effectively and is quite affordable.

What Should You Use Instead of Propane Generators?

Although there are other fuel-operated generators available, the best option for you, if you want to switch from a propane generator to a safer and cleaner option, is a solar generator. Solar panels are used in solar power systems to capture solar energy.

They are environmentally friendly since they offer a clean and sustainable energy source. Depending on your demands, solar systems can be either grid-tied or off-grid. Although their initial cost may be higher, they offer long-term cost benefits and lessen the need for conventional fuel sources.

Why Are Solar Generators Better Than Propane Generators?

After installation, solar energy produces no greenhouse emissions and is pollution-free. decreased reliance on fossil fuels and foreign oil. Every day of the year, renewable, clean energy is available, even gloomy days result in some production.

Solar generators harness energy from the sun, which is a renewable and virtually inexhaustible resource. Unlike propane, solar power does not deplete natural resources and does not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions or air pollution during operation.

Solar generators are environmentally friendly since they provide clean electricity. During operating, they don't release any dangerous pollutants like carbon monoxide or greenhouse gases. Solar energy lessens the negative effects on the environment and helps minimise reliance on fossil fuels.

You can use solar panels in combination with portable power stations, not only in your home but also when you travel. Even life off-grid is possible with solar generators, and there are so many more advantages to consider, which will make you ditch your propane generator for good.

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