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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Wind is Blowing

As I sit here listening to the wind blow, at gusts over 65mph, I'm comfortable, not worried, why?
Well like most preppers I think of things that may happen and make a few adjustments to our lives.
I have a generator, ready to fire up a minute after the power goes off, so if a tree falls on the power lines or any other reason for a power outage here, I'm ready. I can sit read, watch tv, heat a cup of tea, take a hot shower, cook a dinner for the family.
Convincing my DH we needed one years ago was hard to do at first, till I came up with the idea, call him with the cell phone, everytime I lost power. Now in most areas, most people lose power occasionally. Here it happens frequently. The month I made the decision to make my DH calls, we lost power 10 times. Haven't had that happen since. I think I had Divine intervention. When I called DH all I said was ,power is out see you when you make it home.
Once it went out while he was home, both an odd occurance. (DH travels for work a lot.) It was Father's Day and we had just gotten dinner on the table. The kids complained about having to go to the bathroom with a candle, no cable, no internet, poor babies, (really young 20's at the time).
Amazingly DH had me order a generator to be hooked up as soon as they could get the one I wanted in.

Making a generator decision is complicated, you need to look at your needs and wants. How do you want it to work, which fuel do you want to use.
I live in suburbia, nothing irritated me more then hearing a neighbors generator from 3 blocks away turning on, not sure if it was because I could hear it or because I did hear it and I was jealous.
#1 - You have your fuel choices, gasoline, natural gas or propane.
#2 - Your needs and wants: what do you want to power up in your home. (& do you really need to power it up)
#3 - Do research, lots of research, both of the generators and the installers.
#4 - Really part of #2 but separate, how much do you really want to spend on it.

Remember a gasoline powered needs to be filled, so you need to keep a supply of gasoline handy. Also remember it needs to be started usually by a pull cord and does need to be hooked up and detacted at each use.
I in no way shape or form could pull start a generator, I couldn't start a lawn mower, so there was no way I was going to go over to a neighbor who didn't have a generator and beg him to come start mine.
My wants at the time exceeded my needs when I was looking. Don't go glossy eyed looking, be realistic, add up the wattage you need before going out shopping. My response was, I want it to run the house. Yes, that is easily possible, but also think of the cost of running it, if you can afford it, then by all means go for it, otherwise, be conservative.
I purchased an 11watt (quiet) natural gas powered generator. It can't run the central air, but in the winter it does run the heater, hot water tank, stove, frig and freezer, I have tv and lights. The kids still complain though. now it's because they have to listen to the noise the generator makes. it's quieter then the small gas generator my next door neighbor has and sits next to my bedroom and I can sleep through it, so it isn't that bad.
But in the last ice storm, for 3 days of usage and that was continuous it ran an extra $400 in natural gas and we kept usage down as much as we could.(But kids sometimes think they need something to complain about)
The propane generators run about the same as the natural gas. Power goes out, you generator turns on, all by itself, one minute after and when power returns, it shuts itself off.

I look at it now as another appliance in the house. One I would not like to have to live without. It's part of my preps but it is part of my life. Normal life runs smoother having it, no worries, no concerns. Just think, a lot of people that have generators wouldn't even consider themselves preppers, but are. If they only knew.

There is a large range of sizes and prices on generators out there. just please remember to do your research and have a licensed professional install it, someone that knows what they are doing.

My plumber had stories of people calling and saying their's wasn't working right, come to find out that company that installed it put the wrong size gas pipe in, then replaced it with the right size but left a paper towel stuffed in the pipe. Ask the installer if they have gone to classes on the installation of the units. Make certain they check the total of wattage used by it, how many of the breakers they hook up, did they ground it for lightening. Do your part and be safe. Be knowledgable before rushing into the purchase.

Now back to my cup of tea.


Herbalpagan said...

good and timely advice! Our new one just got delivered today. I can't wait for it to get hooked up. Hope we don't loose power tonight!

Rubies said...

Herbal, I thought for sure i was with that wind. Glad neither one of did. enjoy the generator when you finally get it hooked up.

Kymber said...

i am with Herbalpagan - this is great advice and great timing! and now i am off for a cup of sage tea!

(Rubies - have you ever had sage tea? it's divine! and you can grow a little pot of sage in a sunny window all winter!)

SciFiChick said...

Nicely done Rubies! I didn't realize there was so much to know about generators! We have a gas one. After reading this post I suppose I ought to learn how to start it.

Rubies said...

Try Pineapple Sage, I think you would like it.

dutchesscountysurvivors said...

a generator is on my short list of things i have to buy ASAP ... we cant afford a big one but a 6000 watt one will run the basics i believe.

Knine said...

Hi, Rubie great article. I think you have A typo... "I purchased an 11watt (quiet) natural gas powered generator" 11 watts won't run a light bulb. lol.

Anonymous said...

We have a natural gas generator as well, cuts over in 12 seconds from outage. Quiet? I guess compared to a gasoline generator, but the last power outage we had our generator drew attention. I am now actively searching how to quiet it further.

That said, it is a beautiful thing to have the generator automatically cut over, as well as test itself weekly.

Now, I wonder if there is painless way to charge batteries during low utilization while the generator is running so that the generator doesn't have to run continuously. Additionally, I would think it should be possible to also add a solar array and or a wind turbine to charge the batteries as well.

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