Emergency Preparedness: Get A Backup Generator for When Disaster Strikes
A Must Have For The Homestead...
The average American experiences more than five power outages annually. As weather patterns change in the northeast people are experiencing major losses due to home
power failure as a result of:
Ice storms, hurricanes and other severe weather and the need for home back-up power has become a necessity.
Losses can range anywhere from minor inconveniences
to several thousands of dollars. Imagine having to replace a
refrigerator or freezer full of food, cleaning a flooded basement
caused by no power to sump pumps. 70% of power outages are weather related.
on where you live, having a backup generator can make the difference
between shivering through a winter power outage or staying warm and
toasty while you wait for electricity
crews to do their work.
There are several considerations that come into play when
thinking about what generator
is good for your needs. Here are some things to consider.
The Fuel - Propane, Gasoline, Natural Gas
Generators need fuel to run and produce the power you need. There are many options, propane the gas used on your backyard grill, gasoline like you use in your car, and natural gas the gas used in your home kitchen stove.
Natural Gas is used in stationary home generators hook-ups and as long as you receive natural gas to your home the generator will continue to run. Natural gas is not stored in tanks on the property. This generator choice is the the most expansive to set-up.
Propane is safe, burns clean, and Avalible in small and large tanks. Small tanks can be filled or purchased in many places, like home depot, lowes, and local supermarkets. Large tanks are more difficult to deal with and may need an account for fill-ups with a local gas company.
Propane is the least commonly owned generator and this becomes a very clear advantage In a large blackout. While everyone else is seeking gasoline for there cars and generators, your seeking propane. Also in very large blackouts gas stations also loose power and can no longer pump gas.
Propane is compressed liquefied
gasses that are stored in canisters and have a very long shelf life. It is
very unlikely that a canister of propane will degrade after being hooked up
to a generator, even if the generator is used only once or twice per
Gasoline generators are typically more portable and the most commonly used backup power source. Gasoline
generators all have on-board tanks that hold 4 to 8 gallons of gas.
Gasoline left in a generator tank will degrade and result in poor performance. Gasoline can be messy and during our last power outage my car and I smelled like gas for a week.
The cost of propane and gasoline can vary
wildly depending on the region in. What is stable is the relative heat output of the two fuels. A
gallon of gasoline puts out 125,000 BTUs. A gallon of propane puts out
about 91,500. That means propane would need to be about 30 percent
cheaper to deliver the same bang for the buck as gasoline does.
Both propane and gasoline
powered generators are equally noisy. The differences in
noise is more about the manufacturer than the choice of fuel.
Be courteous to your neighbors. Do not run generator 24/7. Use as needed. Run for 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours before bed. This will also save you money in the long run on fuel cost.
Pollution and Handling...
Propane as a derivative of natural gas, propane burns
much cleaner than natural gas. Carbon monoxide emissions range between
20 and 40 percent lower than with the same amount of gasoline, with
particular matter being reduced by 80 percent.
Against this it must be
said that burning propane puts 10 percent more methane into the
atmosphere, but the result is still a net decrease in effective
greenhouse gases. Also, bottled propane is non-toxic and not liable to
harmful spills, neither of which can be said of gasoline.
Portable or Stationary...
The choice between portable or stationary comes down to what
you need the generator for.
Portable means the generator is not attached with fixed wires to your home and can me moved to other locations. It's portable, pick it up and go, like for camping, tail-gating, or lending it to a family member who has lost power. Can be started with a pull start or some now come with electric and pull start.
Stationary means it's not portable. The generator is in a fixed location and has wires fixed to your home. they can be wired directly to the home and kick on automatically when home power goes out, or can be setup for pull start. Generators can be very heavy and hold up to 8 gallons of gas, be sure to buy one that you can handle.
If it is merely to run essential
appliances, refrigerator, furnace, stove and lights for a short
amount of time, and use for many aplications like camping or then a portable generator may be the best bet.
generators have outputs ranging from 1,000 watts up to 17,500 watts. Stationary generators are usually hooked into natural gas or oil lines and wired directly into the electrical system of your home.
When owning a generator as a primary back up power source to your home it is very important you have the fuel to run your tool. You can own the biggest, baddest, most expansive generator on the planet. If you don't have the fuel to run your generator, all you have is a big large paper weight.
Store propane tanks in cool dry locations out of direct sunlight.
Storing gasoline can be very dangerous. Always store in a dry cool well ventilated location away from the house. When filling gas cans be sure to leave room in the can for expansion. Loosen the top a bit to let out fumes and pressure in hot summer months.
Gasoline goes bad over time. Gas needs to be rotated every 12 months. Car engines are design to run on low grade fuel. To rotate use old fuel to fill your car and refill cans with new gas. Don't worry about your car it will run the same it always had.
Please note: The one bad thing in gas is moister (water). Always have a bottle of gasoline water remover if you find this to be a problem.