Generators - again : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Ok, I have a question. What is the difference between diesel and oil? I have a big vat of oil under my garage that is used by my furnace. Of course my furnace requires electricity too. I never see anything about oil-burning generators, just gas and diesel. Can you use oil in a gas or diesel generator?

-- Amy Leone (, July 23, 1998


Various shades of grey?

Diesel #2 is truck and car grade. I have a diesel truck(Dodge) and I use #2.

Diesel #1(sometimes referred to as bunker fuel) is used for heating and large diesel's(ships and such).

The grade depends on the % of various elements in the fuel. You have peaked my interest in this subject and I will post more later tonight when I have had a chance to do a little research.

So, you cannot use heating oil in a gas generator.

You might be able to use heating oil in a diesel generator.

Cummins, the makers of the engine in my truck also make Onan generators. These generators can be had in diesel. Diesel engines are more expensive up front but have lower maintenance and last for a long time.

More later,


-- j (, July 23, 1998.

Diesel Gen Sets are the best bet if you believe that the power is going out for 30 days or more. They are far more heavy duty, and will not fail or overheat when run for extended periods of time (you really want a water-cooled diesel) and ususally drive a much higher watt output with lower rpm (engine speed). Gas gen sets are really for emergencies like floods and other short term power outages. If you believe y2k will result in sporatic balckouts and brownouts for a short duration, then save your money and go with gasoline (sears, honda, costco, etc. have them for $350-$1200 each). High rpm=low engine life expectancy. Diesel sets may run 4000 to 6000 hours before an overhaul.

Most gas gen sets are really standby power and not intended for "primary power" such as running a good portion of your home for days or weeks on end. They are good for a few appliances and lighting.

Diesel fuel is also far safer to store than gas as it will burn but is not "explosive" like gasoline. Number 2 is very similar to heating oil and can ususally be run in a diesel gen set. Remember to get a water seperator for the fuel line to avoid engine damage and treat the fuel in the gen set tank with diesel treatment found at any autoparts store.

Diesel gen sets are designed for both back-up and primary power. A good used 15kw - 20 kw set would run your entire house (might not cover your A/C on with the electric stove and the refridgerator, but would easily run lights, refer, and some home electronics).

In a long black out, you would also have to consider that fuel would become much more difficult to find. The longer the anticipated black out the more fuel you need to store and consideration should be given to batteries, solar or wind, which run stuff like lights and radios, and other smaller wattage devices. Then you gen set is used sparingly to charge batteries and run the refer a few hours a day to keep things cold, etc.

With your big vat of oil, you could refill your diesel gen set tank many times, and cover your electricity needs for quite some time. You can usually get info from the manufacturer on gal/per hour so you can figure out roughly how long your fuel supply would last.

Lastly, the bigger the wattage (or kilowatts), the more fuel you will likely burn per hour (the more wattage the bigger the engine has to get to turn the generator). So buying a smaller 7kw-15kw is the way to go if possible.

Hope all this helps.

-- anon (, July 23, 1998.

For diesel fuel you want #1 Diesel, and its probably best to buy it in the winter time since this is when the additives for cold starting ar put into the fuel. Buy the higest quality(most refined) diesel you can get--AMOCO and SHELL sell really high quality diesel fuel, and buy it at a truck stop, not your fuel oil dealship. You may have to go to your fuel oil dealer though to get the tank and the separator and the fuel filter, but maybe not, as you could go to a volkswagon or peogot dealer and get the parts you need. In using a diesel to power your house for long term, you could try to order a China Diesel(, but they are almost all heavily back ordered. These are very durable little or big machines actually made in china. The come equipped with an overhaul kit and are actually made in Mainland China. The parts are simple to get. The bigger ones will go 30000 hours without an overhaul, the smaller ones 17,000 hours. These are NOT technological wonders. They make A GIANT AMOUNT OF NOISE, and are designed to be overhauled by ignorant chinese peasants who have the cheapest quality diesel fuel posible, and the cheapest quality oil. If you run them with very high quality synthetic oil(or blend) for lubrication, and use high quality diesel fuel, replacing the oil lubrication and filters every 100 hours, these will run much longer than their rated hours(double or more). You will need to put them in their own sound insulated generator shed, and the air cooled model probably needs a small fan and some extra heat fins. However, you may not need the big ones if you are using something else. For example, I plan to put in 100watts/8 amps to 200 watts/16amps of solar panels to supplement the diesel. I don't plan on using the electrical system to operate : the refrigerator, the cook stove, the heat, or the hot water. Except for the heat, I will be using propane, and I will also have a wood back-up for the hot water. This will mean that I will only need the battery/solarpanels/generator to run lighting and a few small appliances, and maybe a slow DC water pump into a large cistern about 100 feet above my house(height will allow for the water pressure). I'm using a Trace 1500 watt modified sine wave inverter which also doubles as a battery charger when either the generator comes on or the line power is available(but at the moment the line power is about 1000 feet from the house). This is for some of the lighting(not to the bedrooms) and the appliances that need AC. Wiring is radial with switches for the AC so as to not generate rogue electromagnetic fields. Glenna Anne

-- Glenna Anne Kamoroff (, July 24, 1998.

ACKKKK!!! Just when I thought I "knew" a little I'm back to "confused" again!!

What does this mean?? Wiring is radial with switches for the AC so as to not generate rogue electromagnetic fields. Glenna Anne

Also, we bought a Chinese Diesel Generator....7.5 KW. Since it is secondhand, we don't have the instruction/maintenance manual. It has the name "PERI" or "PARI" on it....I did a search for it on the net, but came away empty handed. Does anyone out there know of this brand? Or hopefully, a dealership? We are trying to locate a new air filter for it, but haven't had any luck so far....

Thanks! Sheila

-- Sheila Ross (, July 26, 1998.

I live in the burbs near Chicago, and can't move for a variety of reasons. My big question is, WON'T THE GENERATOR NOISE ATTRACT ATTENTION?? Even if you were out in the boonies, the so-called "quiet" 1800 rmp generators will be heard on a quiet day.

Once somone hears your gen, the gig's up! They will likely figure (as I would) that, generator=food=water= medical supplies, etc. How will you fight off the curious and worse?

-- nobody (, July 28, 1998.

Hi Amy My old father inlaw who was a mechanic during to last great depression told me that if you run a hose or heat resistant pipe from the exhaust outlet into a drum of water, this wil effectivily reduce the noise level. (By how much I dont know as i havent tried it as yet , because I havent had the need too) he also told me that by using a seringe needle pushed in to a cork and insert the cork into a tube then put the other end of the tube into a container of water (placed lower than the carberator on the motor) You then stick the sharp end of the needle into your fuel inlet just befor it enteres the carboretor will effectivle reduce your fuel consumption.

He used to use this technique when fuel was scarce, He still sets his mates cars up this way today and it works well. you may have to ask a few old timers with mechanical knowledge to refine it with your motors.

Timothy Wilbur

-- Timothy J Wilbur (, July 30, 1998.

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