Since generators are often used as emergency backup options, powering them with natural gas is lucrative because this fuel is easy to find and has longevity. However, not all dual-fuel generators can run on natural gas. We researched this topic and offer a guide on converting your dual-fuel generator to natural gas.
You can use a conversion kit to convert a dual-fuel generator to natural gas or create the conversion fittings yourself. This modification enables you to run your generator on gasoline, propane, or natural gas. In some cases, you can easily switch between the three.
Keep reading because we will elaborate on how to successfully convert your dual-fuel generator to natural gas without the help of a professional. We'll also cover the costs of running a natural gas generator and more.
Converting A Dual-Fuel Generator
Generators are often powered by a single fuel source like gasoline, natural gas, diesel, or propane. But dual-fuel generators come in handy because they can use two fuel sources, such as propane and gas, at the same time.
We suggest following the recommendations below to convert your unit to natural gas.
Using A Conversion Kit
There are a lot of readily available conversion kits on the market to aid in converting a dual-fuel generator to natural gas. The kind of kit you should buy depends on your unit's manufacturer. But do not worry because these kits are similar and designed for easy installation.
Before we dig into how to convert your dual-fuel generator, double-check the conversion kit you have for the following:
- On-demand regulator
- Carburetor adapter
- Stud extension mounting bolts
- Thread sealer/Teflon tape
- Fittings to be used between the on-demand regulator and adapter
Once all your supplies are ready, it is time to get into action. Follow these four steps to convert your dual-fuel generator to natural gas.
- Disassemble the air filter housing. Remove the air filter cover and the air filter of your dual-fuel generator. Next, unscrew the nuts or bolts securing the carburetor and safely remove any pipes or choker levers installed in your unit.
- Screw on the stud extenders and tighten them using a pair of pliers.
- Install the carburetor adapter, followed by the new gasket. Afterward, secure the hose between the on-demand regulator and the carburetor. Use any thread sealer or Teflon tape if necessary.
- Make sure that your carburetor adapter is over the stud extensions, and carefully re-install the air filter cover and air filter. Finally, reattach the choke lever to your generator.
If you successfully followed the steps above, you can now use natural gas to power your dual-fuel generator.
Here's a pro tip from an online forum about modifying dual-fuel generators: do not forget to adjust the metering on the secondary regulator because the pressure needed for fuel sources may vary.
Creating Your Own Fittings
Since conversion kits come in a set, they are easier to buy and install. However, the conversion kit's cost may not be budget-friendly for everyone.
Fortunately, converting your dual-fuel generator to natural gas is still possible. Get some supplies from your local hardware store and follow these steps.
You will need the following:
- Two feet of copper tubing
- ½ inch compression ball valve
- Natural gas regulator
- Drill driver
- Cutting pliers
Once you have secured all the materials, you can modify your dual-fuel generator.
- Like the initial step in using a conversion kit, remove the air filter cover and your unit's air filter.
- Cut the copper tubing to fit the front of your generator's carburetor.
- Drill a ¼ inch hole in the air filter cover to secure the copper tubing.
- Using your hose and clamp, attach the regulator to the valve where the gas supply comes from.
This technique is often referred to as a quick conversion method because it connects the regulator and the fuel source through a hose.
How Long Can A Dual-Fuel Generator Run On Natural Gas?
We have already established that a generator can be a lifesaver during power outages. But it is also essential to know how long it can last.
Generally, the runtime of a dual-fuel generator depends on its fuel tank size, fuel type, and electrical demand.
Natural gas produces more power per unit and burns for longer, so it can keep running indefinitely. However, if the power outage lasts longer than expected, it is recommended to change the oil and filter in the machine every few days.
How Much Does It Cost To Run A Natural Gas Generator?
Natural gas is a widely used fuel source for generators because of its affordability and efficiency. It is readily available. Compared to diesel or gasoline, it is unaffected by price hikes.
There are three primary factors to consider when estimating the cost of a natural gas generator: the size of the generator, the price of natural gas in the area, and the generator's running load. The relationship between these factors and the price is directly proportional.
For instance, if you own a 30,000-watt generator and run it at 60% running load, your operating cost will be higher than that of a household with a 5,000-watt generator that runs at the same load. If you switch your running load to 40%, you can expect a decrease in your total cost.
Can You Convert Any Generator To Natural Gas?
You can convert any generator to natural gas with a little DIY knowledge and help from professionals when needed. You can use a natural gas conversion kit for both propane and diesel generators. The prices of the conversion kits may vary depending on your unit.
Some conversion kits can convert a propane generator to bi-fuel so it can run on both propane and natural gas. There is also an option to convert regulators to tri-fuel so that they can run on propane, gas, and diesel.
What Are The Problems Of Converting A Generator To Natural Gas?
While it is possible to convert your generator to natural gas, there are some potential issues that you need to be aware of.
The first and biggest problem that you might encounter is a damaged engine. Even if you can do the conversion successfully, some components in your generator's engine may become damaged due to the heightened compression ratios during the conversion.
Another issue that you might encounter is incompatibility with appliances. Even though natural gas is generally used as a generator fuel source, some appliances may lack the capacity to convert natural gas to energy, which can cause further damage.
For safety reasons, checking your appliances before changing the fuel source is essential.
Finally, if your generator is still under warranty, you will no longer be able to seek help from your manufacturer once you convert your unit. Therefore, if something goes wrong with your generator, you will need to have it fixed by a trusted technician at your own expense.
To stay protected during power outages, natural disasters, or other emergencies, having a generator can provide a temporary assurance to accomplish essential activities.
While home generators work well independently, dual-fuel generators can maximize their fuel sources, providing a longer period of electricity in uncertain times.
Dual-fuel generators are already dependable devices, but changing their fuel source to natural gas is a smart move to enjoy a cheaper and more efficient power supply.
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