Watching the mess on the east coast and the people in long lines for gas has made me stop and think about my own preps. So I decided to take action and evaluate my own fuel situation. Like most people, gasoline storage is always a problem for me. While I do have a limited amount of gasoline stored, space, local laws and shelve life prevent me from storing what I would like.
So this morning I decided to partly solve the problem. The first thing I did was to contact Central Maine Diesel a company that comes highly recommended. https://www.generatorsales.com/used-generators.asp They are a major supplier of tri-fuel carburetors for generators. You can purchase new already altered generators or have your carburetor converted. Your generator will then run on natural gas, propane or gasoline.
Propane is much easier to store and has no shelve life limitations. Natural gas is often still available thought your utility company lines even if the power is out. I plan to make a hookup so that I can connect a generator directly into my homes natural gas system to use if gas is still available.
To get the carburetor of an existing generator converted you need to send the carburetor to them for conversion. Just remove the carburetor, ship it to them, and reattach it when it is returned to you. The whole process takes about two weeks and including shipping will cost me approximately Just under $200.
I notice that most big facilities like hospitals have converted their generators to propane, because of fuel storage problems. Propane also has the advantage of being cheaper than gasoline and I am sure many of you already have large propane storage tanks. The one disadvantage of propane is that the engine produces about 10% less power. But I think this is a good trade off. I am going to convert mine.
There are kits available on the internet for you to convert your own carburetors, they are a bit cheaper. Me I am not that good a mechanic, I want mine done right so I am going to pay the extra to have it done right.
5 thoughts on “The Advantages of Tri-Fuel Generators and How to Convert Yours”
Living near Houston, TX you need to be prepared. I asked my husband to convert our generator to tri-fuel and luckily he listened. He finished two months before Hurricane Ike hit. We dug the gas line from the meter to the back side of the garage where he installed a hook-up valve. Then we plugged the generator into the plug on the back wall of the garage. He had previously wired the house and used transfer switches. We did find it cheaper to use natural gas rather than propane and easier to start the generator on gasoline and then switch to another fuel source. We did not notice less power running things on natural gas. We were able to share our stored gas with family, friends and neighbors who needed it for their generators. It worked so well I asked him to convert the generator at our Oklahoma cabin.
In addition to converting a genset, you may also consider other engines. For example, let’s say your post-event power equipment has a standard engine such as the Honda GX160 / Harbor Freight Greyhound clone (they are identical and parts interchange). A new aftermarket carb for this engine is about $25 on Ebay. Have the new spare carb converted, and then you can run any other identical engine on propane by just swapping the carb, which is very easy to do on the GX160 / Greyhound. You also do not sacrifice gasoline power because you bought the extra carb for the conversion.
+1 for multi-fuel generators
+1 for Central Maine Diesel – 2 or 3 years back I shopped around for a Honda 2000 triple fuel & ended up using these guys. Even tho I bought a new one & had it shipped to the opposite coast, they were still the best deal around.
have you seen the news? they’re talking about lines a couple of miles long waiting for gas. others are talking about fights breaking out. i give it till saturday and you’re going to see thunderdome up there. it started out cool but this will end nasty. prepping just got real.
Thanks for sharing the advantages of a tri fuel generator. The tri fuel generator is great in a time when emergency power is needed.