Several of my friends who are sort of preppers have bought generators for emergency use. Myself I do not consider generators a high priority. It comes behind food, bandages, and self-defense. While a generator is great for short-term power outages, for long-term use it has some problems. For many of us money is a problem and we must set priorities.

I know people who have spent a thousand or more dollars on a generator and have 5 gallons of fuel on a good day. This money could have been put to better use buying food etc. Depending on where you live the use of generators may be limited by their noise and light. You may have problems with operational secrecy.
Before you purchase a generator do some research and make sure it will meet your needs. Take into consideration the items you want to run and their wattage. Be sure you generator is capable of supplying that much power. Know how much fuel your generator uses per hour and how many hours you will run it per day. Will it attract unwanted attention?

Plan for fuel storage and be sure you can store it legally and safely. Whether it is propane, gasoline or diesel it all has storage problems. Gasoline and diesel need to be rotated. Propane is the easiest to store but should be stored downhill from your house. Remember it is heavier than air and in case of a leak flows downhill like water.

Tomorrow I will discuss fuel storage.


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8 Responses to Generators

  1. Matt in Oklahoma says:

    The generator is almost a needed item here due to weather events and they are not that uncommon at all. Even in a SHTF society it will not immediatley be an issue for a while around here. Alot of folks will have them but after say the first week they will begin to notice that you still have fuel. I plan on using mine in a SHTF senario to pump all the water possible and keep my wild game stable until I can dry it on the fire for LTS.
    I understand your frustration on folks with them and no fuel. They eat and incredible amount of fuel and those that think they can use them with their little box heaters quickly realize those take almost all the wattage and how lousy of gas consumption these things really are. I actually found that my house being propane heated will run the home squirel cage fan much more efficiently and it has a plug I simply run a cord to.
    I also test run mine monthly for 15min on a half load and keep an extra container of oil dedicated to it. You must also not run it near the house as the gas will seap into the eves and kill everyone inside and when placing it away from the house it leaves it open to theft. We have a large chain and yes I know it’s just a slow down from dedicated thieves. In a SHTF event security will need to be pulled on it as well. During ice storms I place it under my pickup tailgate for overhead cover which keep the carberator moving parts from icing up and it gives me something to lock it to, being the class 3 hitch.

  2. admin says:

    You are right I should have mentioned the hazards of carbon monoxide from the exhaust. I understand your problems with op secrecy and theft. A friend of mine has successfully ran his in a pit dug in his back yard. He vented his exhaust to the exterior and covered the pit with camouflage. It quieted the generator a lot and did a good job of concealment.

  3. Matt in Oklahoma says:

    In the military we sandbagged them and/or placed boards around them to direct most of the sound upwards as well as protect them. I have had detached shops/garages in the past and bought some flexhose the same size as the exhaust pipe and run the exhaust outside. Some exhaust always fills the shop so dont stay there but it allowed me to secure the generator and have the noise discipline. I trried the pit method but refueling was harder and checking the oil difficult.
    Things to think about keeping with them especially when buggin out or camping are oil, funnel, extra plug, spare starter rope if it has any age on it and maybe ether.
    When conducting the monthly test use the fuel shutoff and let the gas burn out of the carberator to keep it clean and make sure you use fuel stablizer. Gas starts to break down in about 60 days and it could be years between uses for some folks like my buddy who brought his over the other day after 2yrs to see what was wrong with it.

  4. Isabel Santamaria says:

    If the grid went down due to an EMP from the sun, would it render a generator useless? Been thinking of buying a propane generator but maybe I should just buy firewood.

    • Matt in Oklahoma says:

      Isabel I dont know that anyone knows for sure. There have only been limited tests done since the 60-70s and alot of our technology has changed. There was a test done not to far back but it was very limited in power and targets. I think that it might be wise to split and not count on any one thing. Just my opinions though

  5. ken says:

    A good friend has recently constructed a small 12v generator using a 3.5hp engine and automotive alternator. He used it during a couple of power outages along with a battery and inverter to get 110ac and reports that it uses very little fuel and can be run at idle most of the time. He has converted most of his lights to run directly off the battery so the generator can be turned off during low use periods.

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