Whether manmade, naturally occurring or merely the result of a freak accident, power loss can disrupt your daily routines and activities and, at its worst, change life as you know it. Mother Nature has the power to wreak havoc through tornados, hurricanes, blizzards and other extreme weather conditions, inflicting power lines, transformers and entire city grids to falter. In addition, terrorist organizations and rogue nations throughout the globe would like nothing more than to plunge our major cities into darkness with strategic blackouts aimed at creating chaos and disrupting our national provide chain.
When municipal utilities fail, there’s no different alternative than to create your own electrical power. This is where a generator takes over. But which one should you choose? What size do you need? And what kind of fuel supply should you use to power it? These are all important questions to answer well before a crises hits your town.
Basically speaking, there are two main kinds of generators to consider: portable and household. Transportable generators can be transported from one location to the other either by carrying them (if small enough) or by rolling them. Home generators are stationary. They typically are placed on a concrete slab and hard-wired into your house’s electrical panel. However, the operation of both types of generators is practically the same. They both use an outside fuel supply, like gasoline, diesel, propane or natural gas, to run an engine that turns a generator and ultimately produces electricity. There is, however, a modern version of the portable generator that is becoming a lot of abundant on the market today, the inverter generator.
An electrical converter generator has several benefits over the more traditional designs. They are lightweight, much quieter than the lawn-mower-sounding versions can be connected to like models for increased power and, best of all, they can apply the right amount of electricity needed for your delicate electronics. This prevents your computer, tablet or mobile phone from overloading from a direct surge of unregulated power. The downsides of inverter generators are their cost, which far surpass traditional generators, their limited fuel tanks and their complicated circuitry, which is almost impossible to repair “on the fly” during a survival situation.
Your decision as to which generator is right for you depends strictly upon the amount of appliances, electronics, lights or different electrical devices you need to stay powered at the same time. This suggests you have to take a long, hard look at your needs, and any possible unexpected needs in the future if long-term power loss occurs.
By far the most prevalent form of fuel for generators is normal gasoline. It’s found at nearly each street corner and works with a wide type of generators. However, if disaster strikes, gas stations can quickly run out of fuel, or the wait times for fuel can be overwhelming. You’ll have no other choice but to store a reserve of gasoline far in advance.
This may seem like a simple task, yet gasoline has a very limited period and deteriorates quickly over time (about a year). The life of gasoline can be extended, however, with stabilizer additives. These should be mixed with the gasoline within the first year to allow for an extra year of useable fuel. The rotation of gasoline is an additional option. As shelf-life time comes close to, begin using the gasoline for your vehicle and then replace your storage jugs with fresh fuel. Once you keep this cycle going, you should never have to worry about the deterioration of fuel.
Propane fuel lasts much longer than traditional gasoline. The exact period is difficult to pinpoint though it has been known to perform properly after many years and maybe up to a full decade. The variance of time depends upon the manner it’s stored and maintained. The container must be free from any minor cracks and damage on or around the valves. It must be stored inside, away from the damaging effects of rain, snow and the constant pounding of the wind, which can ultimately compromise the integrity of the tank.
No matter which fuel you utilize to power your generator, you need to properly store your reserves. All fuel should be far from your living area, though not too so much that you cannot access it in a fast manner or defend it from looters. Having it stored away from your home, bug-out location or camp ensures that you won’t become a victim of an accidental fire or explosion due to possible leakage of fuel or fumes.
Secure Your Cache
When times go bad, folks get very desperate. Good people can resort to theft or worse in order to preserve their family and their way of life. Because this fact, your generator and backup fuel supply will be at constant risk of being taken, and preventive measures must be implemented immediately to keep them secure. Your generator, if portable, should be locked up when not in use, and when running, a thick, serious chain secured to a nearby tree should stop most theft attempts. You’ll also need to hide your fuel-storage unit.
Whether it’s a shed or different small building, you need to make it the least noticeable to prying eyes. Use a camouflage tarp to cover the entire area of your containment building. This will help it blend into the surrounding area and make it virtually “invisible” from the skies. Add leaves, tree limbs and other natural debris around the structure to further the illusion. You also should invest in a very strong style of a padlock for the structure’s entrance door, one that would give a thief a very difficult time to get through.
The addition of a simple door alarm system or even a remote camera that you just can view in your home or bug-out bunker would help to alert you to possible theft and allow you the time to stop it before it’s too late.
If you find yourself bugged-out in a barren location without the benefit of tree cover, consider digging partially underground and creating a “pit” to store your contained fuel canisters. You’ll construct a containment box with easy 2×4 wooden beams and thick contractors’ plastic to keep out wetness, dirt and small critters. Cover the lid with dirt and various materials close to create the needed camouflage impact. Make sure to allow for ventilation of gasoline fumes to avoid a preventable accident.
The decisions that are involved in choosing a generator are varied and can’t be made while under stress or while you’re on the move. Think these days about your power needs if the electrical grid was to suddenly fall. Take into consideration what appliances or electrical devices are critical to your ongoing survival.
Only when you create an informed and thought-out decision can you rest easier. That way, you’ll understand that when the worst happens, you’ll be one step closer to keeping your life on track and somewhat comparable to what it once was.