Rethinking Generators

If you have read many of my past writing, you will see that I have not encourage people to rush out and buy generators.  This was for several reasons, first, for the thousand or so you spend to buy a good generator you can buy a ton of food.  Second, most people are not in a position to store much fuel.  So here, they are with a good generator and 10 to 20 gallons of fuel.  Two or three weeks after the disaster, the generator is out of fuel and useless. Third, having lights and noisy generators can attract too much attention.  I have always thought that a generator was for the people with money who could afford to store large amounts of fuel and lived in remote areas.

Well my position is softening.  Where I live, I am seeing major signs of infrastructure failure.  Cut backs in fire, police and other services.  Employees of the local gas company are blowing the whistle on the gas company for ignoring small leaks and not performing proper maintenance.  I now think that SHTF may very well come in increments not a massive event.  If this occurs, you will have intermittent power outages and fuel shortages.  Services will continue, but there will be reoccurring failures of all services.

This is a time when generators even if you can only store 10 – 20 gallons of fuel will be useful.  Because services will be intermittent for some time, you will be able to obtain additional fuel.  So you may want to consider purchasing a generator capable of running your refrigerator and freezer several hours a day. However, I still suggest that you make food and water a higher priority and don’t forget if you are the only one running a generator you will be a target.


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10 Responses to Rethinking Generators

  1. Art says:

    Keep the fuel tanks on all your vehicles full at all times, this is a great source of fresh fuel during emergencies.
    Never store fuel inside the house or garage especially if there is a gas water heater. Safety gas cans are available on Amazon as well as other places and you can store gasoline in these in a shed, outbuilding or barn if you don’t have room for either a above ground or underground fuel tank.

  2. Taylor Ruble says:

    I have always been reluctant to add a generator as part of my survival gear. The sheer knowledge that I plan to shelter-in-place due to the improbability that I will ever have the money to purchase a survival retreat keeps me weary of having a generator running that would attract every criminal from miles away. It is the same reason I refuse to have a rooster. That being said, I have considered other methods of energy production, like a small wind turbine and a bank of batteries or even the solar generators offered by Goal Zero. As I finish my stages of prepping, power will become a greater priority and I will have to decide how I want to keep the lights on.

    • admin says:

      I know what you mean, but I think in a situation where you have intermittent power a lot of people would be running generators. I know in my area they are quite common.

  3. Robert says:

    Instead, I’ve been focusing time on thinking about how to provide alternatives to those things that need electricity. Wood stove for heat, pitcher pump on the well for water, etc. As for your freezer full of meat, do you need to store all that meat in the freezer? I’ve been reading about air cured hams and salting other cuts of meat, smoking, etc and plan to try these out rather than relying on a freezer. Try to do your gardening 12 months a year with the help of a greenhouse or row covers. For light, find those garage sale deals on candles, as you are always saying, Howard.

    I’m a believer in your first paragraph, but I always try to remain flexible and open minded. Who knows, perhaps one day I’ll change my mind too – after all, you do make a few very good points.


    • admin says:

      I agree with you on having the alternate methods and that is what I have concentrated on. As far as the freezer I have arrangements to salt the meat in brine if need be. Be I would prefer not too. All of the things you mention are good ideas. But if you have a hit and miss thing with utilities for an extended period a generator might make this old mans life easier.

  4. A Veteran Who Is Preparing says:

    You can conceal a generator easier than you think. In 1 unit I was in they used to dig the generator in. They would put it in a pit deeper than the generator (by maybe a foot) with just enough room around it to refuel it and basic maintenance. They would also put a layer or 2 of sandbags around the top of the pit. It was very hard to hear that thing running unless you were right next to it. All the sound was focused straight up and not in a 360 degree around it. They left the pit unlined for the soil to absorb some of the sound. I can foresee problems with this if it would rain. A variation would be to place it above ground inside a pit of sandbags, double layered to the same dimensions as the pit.

    I have also seen generators put inside vehicle shelters that were insulated and were just as hard to hear when the door was closed. The exhaust was run through a muffler that ran to the outside of the shelter.

  5. Matt in Oklahoma says:

    Ok had this argument many times. I live in a state of disasters, its just a fact. Tornandos, flood, snowstorms, ice storms, straight winds, earthquakes, racoons that crawl up and blow the transformer like the other night etc etc etc and this is reality compared to the zombie apocolypse where “THEY” will hear me and come steal all my stuff and pilage and rape blahblahblah. Truth is even in an major disaster if it works many others around me will work too because they are very common in my area.
    Yes if it’s total SHTF it will only be good for a short while but guess what in that short while i will pump water, use my freezer food first, maintain our hygiene and health with AC or heat while sheeple still are used to the generator noise. Then when I run out I start on my LTS that others started on 2 weeks ago and my health is fresher and my hygiene cleaner.
    Preparations are for real life not just SHTF and years worth of rice so the generator and LTS fuel stabilzer good for years from;jsessionid=22BE2A6B075E9D9CD0839186A40BA135.qscstrfrnt02?categoryId=15
    are in my plans and always will be. I also had my chainsaw die right after a storm, loaded up the electric chainsaw and gen set as well as my small mig welder in the pickup and got alot of the neighborhood back online making my world safer and making friends along the way which is also a part of prepping.
    The fuel can be stored as mentioned in safety cans and if you are worried do like we did in the military and dig a storage pit where if there is an accident the burn/flash goes straight upward.

  6. Jan Steinman says:

    “I now think that SHTF may very well come in increments not a massive event.”

    You got it! There’s going to be a lot of “boiling frogs” lying dead next to their “bug-out bags,” littered with the wrappers of survival food.

    The coming crash will be a process, not an event. Humanity will go out with a whimper, not a bang. But most humans are too egotistical to accept that, either believing that we’ll go on for ever, powered by sheer intellect, or that we are so superior a force that we will take the planet nova with our demise.

    The truth is, we’ll go out much as yeast in a jug of apple juice do — slowly starving in our own excrement.

    My biggest hope is that we’ll leave enough evidence that the next species that rises to sentience — bonobos, cetaceans, canids, whatever — will learn from our mistakes.

    But would we have behaved differently if we had evidence of prior collapse? Well, there’s Easter Island, the Mayas, the Anasazi — no, I guess not.

  7. Fran says:

    You can also convert the generator to run on propane which is storable . It will also allow the generator to run continuous if necessary. If you make your own fuel having a tri-fuel generator gives you more options! I will also note that the generator motor/engine has a shelf life and will not last forever but a generator is still a good transition tool. We should all have a plan for long term power.

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