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Generators - Storm Week


Generators, like almost everything in the prepper community, can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. The usage of a roll around generator and some extension cords is simple. The installation of a whole house generator with an automatic power loss switch can get complicated, taking into account the different sizes, fuel requirements and storage of fuel. While nice to have, whole house generators are expensive to purchase and install. In keeping with the theme of this website and the minimalist life I attempt to live, I will not cover the installation and usage of whole house generators, opting instead to discussing the usage of the roll around type of generators.

Roll Around Generators

Roll around, or sometimes known as portable generators, can be purchased in several different wattage producing sizes.


Portable generators come in small 500 watt to over 10,000 watt models. The size generator you will want will depend on what you want to operate during a power outage. Keep in mind the wattage listed on the generator is the surge or starting watts rating, not the running watts rating. There are some exceptions to this but if there is with the generator you are looking at, the manufacture will let you know on the outside of the box. The continuous usage rating is what you need to know. I try to keep the actual continuous usage of power at approximately 75 to 80 percent of the rated continuous wattage for a safety margin.


DO NOT Overload Your Generator

Do not overload a generator or the fuses will blow. In addition to having to replace the fuses, you also reduce the life of the equipment you invested in and won't have usage of when you need it most after storm damage. Note the difference of the starting or surge watts of some of the items listed below. Most household appliances that have an electric motor, have an increased power demand when first starting up. Do not depend on the extra surge watts rating of a generator to handle this surge. If you do, you are asking for trouble. Some appliances have an extended surge time requirement that most generators can't handle and you shouldn't cut your power requirements that close. Some home appliances are power hogs. The power requirements of electric clothes dryers and cook stoves is so outrageously high, I won't address their usage here. For cooking and cloths drying, use alternative means or wait until the power is back on to complete these tasks.

Some Appliances Are Power Hogs

Some home appliances are power hogs. Their benefit isn't worth the effort because they consume so much energy and necessitate the need for a larger generator than is necessary. The larger generators are much more expensive and consume more fuel. The fuel issue is the limiting factor in how long you can have some electricity available for your family's usage during a disaster. Choose wisely!

Power Requirements of some commonly used home Appliances

  • Coffee Maker - 800 watts
  • Refrigerator/Freezer (starting watts) - 800 watts
  • Well Pump (starting watts) - 1000 watts
  • Electric Water Heater - 4000 watts
  • Sump Pump (starting watts) - 1500 watts
  • Vacuum Cleaner - 1200 watts
  • Box Fan - 200 watts
  • Central Air Conditioner (starting watts)  - 3500 watts
  • Medium Room Air Conditioner (starting watts) - 1200 watts
  • Small Room Air Conditioner (starting watts) - 700 watts
  • Living Room Lighting (60 watt incandescent) - 60 watts
  • Living Room Lighting (LED light equivalent to 60 watt incandescent) 6-8 watts
  • Living Room Lighting (florescent) - 100 watts
  • Furnace Blower Fan (starting watts) - 700 watts

The wattage listed are a ball park figure. Your appliances could use more or less of the amounts stated.

Do Some Research

Research the generator you are thinking about buying. All generators are not created equally. With generators, you get what you pay for but not what you over pay for. Take a few days to research the particular model of generator you are looking at. Check service intervals, length of expected service and what other purchasers have to say about that model. Doing a little foot work now will save you much grief later.

Small Window Air Conditioner

In a relatively short term disaster, you can use a small window unit air conditioner to cool one room, along with a generator if you have a baby in the house. If you have elderly or sick adults or will be expecting elderly parents or your children with a baby to come stay with you during a disaster, a small air conditioner can literally be a life saver.

Fuel Storage

With proper fuel storage, you can live comfortably for several weeks during a disaster. Use fuel stabilizer in your stored fuel and rotate it out by using 5 gallon gas cans. Some people use plastic 30 to 55 gallon barrels along with a hand pump to store generator gas in. If you use the plastic barrel method to store fuel, use 2 barrels and use the fuel out of one throughout the year for yard mowing, tilling, tractor usage, ect. When you empty one, fill it back up and use out of the other barrel, keeping it rotated year around. These barrels must be completely cleaned and dried before usage.  Yes the plastic barrels will expand and contract with the ambient temperature. They were designed to do this and it won't harm them. Do be aware of the possibility of some pressure in the barrel when removing the bung plug. Remove it slowly so gas won't spray out on you and use a brass bung wrench for bung plug removal. Sparking from steal wrenches is not what you want here!

Please store large amounts of gasoline away from your house in a storage shed for safety's sake!

Getting Power Inside

Getting the power inside is simple. Open a close by window. Lay a towel on the bottom jamb. Run the extension cords through. Lay another towel on top of them and lower the window. Getting the power inside is as simple as that. Or you can instead, before it's needed, cut a 2x4 or 4x4 board, depending on the depth of your window seal, the width of your window. Laying it flat, dado or notch out 1 to 6 notches, depending on how many extension cords you are going to place inside, into the board the width and depth of the extinction cord diameter. When needed, place the board in the window, running the cords through the notches.

The beauty of a portable generator is you can move it to wherever it's needed and storing it out of the way when it's not.


Helping You Help Yourself




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Prepping is an enjoyable experience for me. I like storing food away, knowing that it's there, if something ever happens. I enjoy knowing I can purify water to drink and cook with, using a filter or by heating. I can cook on a home-made rocket stove made of blocks. I can make fire. I like the prepping lifestyle. More than anything else, I like the freedom, independence and liberty. That feeling of self sufficiency.

I know how to fix almost anything that might possibly have to be repaired on a homestead. I'm fiercely independent. I can weather storms, earthquake and many other things that may happen. Being prepared for the catastrophic disasters, makes me prepared for the minor inconveniences that life sends everyone.

Still, I know that no man is an island. A community is needed in cases of catastrophic disasters. Man made or natural. Financial or environmental. A community to trade with. To share knowledge with. To share skills with.
I'm lucky. I have friends around me that are just as fiercely independent as I am. Friends that I watch pull people up. Often up to more success than they have.

Prepping and survivalism have put the world in perspective for me. I don't look at the world through rose-colored glasses.

I garden. I store food. I can generate electricity. I hunt and fish. I use some limited forms of permaculture, (Thanks Jack Spirko of The Survival Podcast). I plant nut, apple and peach trees. Black and blue berry bushes, for long-term food security. I prepare for economic collapse. I am a prepper and proud to say that.

The mainstream media seems hell-bent on making preppers look crazy. Granted, there are a few tin foil hat wearing, Jade Helm (THEIR COMING TO GET YOU!!!) promoting, nut cases out there, but, they are thankfully, far and few between.
Our Grandparents and with some of us, our parents and all our family that came before, would be considered preppers. They had root cellars. Kept a larder. Made butter. Cut wood for winter heating and cooking. They grew a large garden and raised animals for eggs, milk and slaughter. For the most part, attended to the medical needs of their family. They prepared. By today's standard, they were preppers and survivalist. By my standard, they were normal. They had responsibility's and took care of their family. IT IS NORMAL TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR FAMILY!

The people who say prepping is crazy, buy insurance on their life, car and home. They try to invest wisely so they will have money in old age. Often insist on having a house that has a basement or storm shelter. They have extra money in their bank account for when something breaks. They are preppers too, but are blinded by government, media and their own insecurities to much to acknowledge that they don't know what the future holds. They know that they need to be prepared. They don't want to be one of those "crazy preppers". They are the people who will knock on your door, during a disaster, demanding to borrow a "cup of life" because theirs is running out!

It's normal to be prepared. The media outlets have it wrong. (Who would have thought the media get's some thing's wrong). Being prepared has served people well all these years.

Mankind survived. He survived, not because of his physical strength. Man is the weakest animal for his size. It wasn't luck. He survived because of his intellect and ability to understand the consequences of his action's or inaction's. That includes being prepared for the future, in good times or bad.



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