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Hazards of petrol engines

Generator fire

We’ve discussed in previous blog posts the advantages and disadvantages of both diesel and petrol engines and the issues associated with petrol generators. Disadvantages of petrol engines compared to diesel engines include:

  • Petrol is more flammable than diesel
  • Petrol is less fuel efficient than diesel
  • Petrol has a shorter shelf life – diesel fuel can be stored for much longer periods of time
  • Petrol engines use more wearing parts than diesel engines which will need to be replaced more often, therefore increasing costs
  • Petrol engines emit more hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and lead pollution

For generator engines that will often be located within close proximity to homes and businesses, safety is a key aspect to consider when selecting a machine.

Unfortunately, sometimes generators can catch fire. The National Fire Protection Association reported that, between 2001 and 2007, the estimated average non-residential structure fires caused by generators was 333 each year across the globe, causing an annual average of $58 million in damages. And fire risk is an especially important consideration in warmer climates such as Australia’s.


Petrol is easier to ignite than diesel but with any generator there are measures that can and should be taken during installation to reduce fire risk. These include:

  • Locating your generator in a more isolated area of the building
  • Ensuring the generator room is kept cool
  • Storing fuel separately to avoid further combustion
  • Ensuring smoke alarms are working and tested regularly
  • Some establishments install Video Image Smoke Detectors (VISD) to allow early detection without the need for anyone to enter the room
  • Additional measures such as fire suppression systems will help prevent further damage

It’s important to consider your options when choosing a generator and whether investing in a diesel engine is worthwhile for your applications. Ensuring you know how to safely operate your generator is also important to limit potential risks.

Your supplier should be able to assist you with the selection of the most appropriate machine for your uses and also guide you on how to operate and maintain it.

At Hanlec, we’re always happy to help. Speak to our experts directly on 1300 278 655 to get your generator up and running.

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