You have got your new portable generator, let’s say a propane generator and thought all your worries regarding power back up are over.
One day, you run out of propane, and so as your superb power backup. What if your portable generator unit can operate on two or even three kinds of fuel types?
This is where fuel conversion kits come into the picture, assuring your home continuous power supply even if you run out of one or the other fuels.
In this article, we will help you understand the working, benefits, and limitations of fuel conversion kits for portable generators.
What are Fuel Conversion Kits for Generators
Fuel conversion kits help to convert your portable generator operating on one type of fuel to others.
For example, fuel conversion kits help to change your gasoline generator to propane generator or natural gas generator.
They also help to convert single fuel portable generators into dual or tri-fuel portable generators.
This means it enables the single fuel generator unit operating on fuel to function on two or three more fuels.
In this way, a generator works efficiently using one or more fuels.
There are two types of fuel conversion kits, namely dual fuel conversion kits and tri-fuel conversion kits.
A dual-fuel conversion kit helps the generator to run on two fuel sources by changing from one fuel source to another.
Tri fuel conversion kits enable the generator unit to work on three fuel sources changed from one to another according to your needs.
How Fuel Conversion Kits Work
The fuel conversion kit consists of a high-pressure regulator which opens and closes depending on the flow of the fuels.
When working with natural gas, the pressure regulator is not used; instead, a manual shutoff valve is used.
The kits have supply lines through which the fuel is supplied. In the case of natural gas, connecting hoses are used to get the natural gas from the house’s supply line separately.
If you want to convert the generator from one fuel type to another, let’s say gasoline to LPG, first close gasoline tank outlet valve.
Then run the engine until all the gasoline is burned out from the line and carburetor. Now, open the LPG valve and restart the engine.
Thus, your gasoline generator is converted to a propane generator.
Some kits come with a manual primer to start the engine quickly. A Carburetor Adapter allows your generator to use natural gas safely.
You should make sure to use the fuel conversion kit that matches your generator.
If not, space is formed behind the carburetor, and air filter and the conversion of fuel will be inefficient.
Benefits of Fuel Conversion Kits
One of the biggest reasons fuel conversion kits are desirable is they are convenient to handle and easy to obtain the fuel source.
Gasoline and propane are readily available in many places, and it’s comfortable to change the fuel source depending on its availability.
If you run out of one fuel source while using the generator, you can easily switch to another source and continue using the generator with the help of conversion kits.
They are also very convenient if you want to take the portable generator on the road while camping or traveling.
Fuel conversion kits offer you the flexibility as you can change the fuel type according to the weather conditions.
You can use propane in summers as the volume of propane is directly proportional to temperature. It becomes dense during winters and expands during summers.
In winter, you can start the generator with gas and later change to propane.
You can convert a portable dual fuel generator into a tri-fuel system using the conversion kits with minimal effort.
Contingency in emergencies
During emergencies like hurricanes, earthquakes, storms, it is hard to get propane or get natural gas delivery to your home through the piping system.
If you use a single fuel generator operating on any one of the above fuel sources, you won’t be able to use your generator as a backup anymore.
In these situations, fuel conversion kits offer the best contingency as you can switch to stored gasoline or propane as a backup.
Fuel conversion kits offer high reliability as different fuels can be stored and used whenever you want.
This way, you can be ensured with a continuous and safe power supply to your home when needed.
The fuel prices are always fluctuating, and no one can predict when the prices will skyrocket high or to the ground.
You can save money from changing to cheaper fuel during these situations with the help of fuel conversion kits.
Limitations of Fuel conversion kits
There are also certain limitations associated with the fuel conversion kits, and here we are listing a few of them.
The installation of some fuel conversion kits is complicated and needs professional guidance.
Unless you have complete knowledge of what you are doing, you should not try to install the kit by yourself as it could potentially damage the generator unit.
Fuel type dependency
Depending on the fuel source you are using, a compromise between the payload and the efficiency is necessary.
When fuel type changes, the output wattage and the load you can run on also varies.
For example, if your propane generator is changed to natural gas, you will get less output wattage, and the maximum generator capacity is derated by about 20%.
This is because natural gas is not very energy-dense and produces less wattage than running on propane.
Not all fuel conversion kits can be used with all kinds of portable generators.
If you use fuel conversion kits that are not compatible with your generator specifications, this might lead to inefficient fuel conversion. Further, it can damage your generator.
When to use Fuel Conversion Kits
Here are some scenarios when you should consider using a fuel conversion kits –
- If you want to expand your portable generator unit’s functionality from operating on one fuel to other fuels, you need to use fuel conversion kits.
- If you want an uninterrupted power supply to your home, even if you run out of one fuel type, you should start using fuel conversion kits.
- If you are concerned about not being able to buy enough fuel during emergencies, you shall use a fuel conversion kit.
- If you are worried about fluctuating fuel prices, you have to get a fuel conversion kit to give you peace of mind by switching to cheaper fuel types.
Fuel conversion kits offer you the flexibility, reliability, convenience, and contingency that single fuel generators could not offer.
But, they come with their own set of limitations you should consider.
Here, we have tried our best to explain the fuel conversion kit’s functioning along with its pros and cons.
We hope this will help you in your final decision if you are considering getting one for your generator unit.