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Prepare so an earthquake doesn't leave you powerless

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  • Third try screen name Mapleton, UT
    Feb. 12, 2012 7:35 p.m.

    About gas generators:
    1) They require maintenance. Once you put gas in them you cannot simply leave the gas in them for months at a time and expect them to work. Start them every month and drain the tank and the carb every three months. Are you willing to do that?
    2) As an alternative you can leave it dry and add the gas only when you need it. You would never know if it was defective, but at least it wouldn't be gummed up with stale fuel.
    3) These small units won't run your house and you can't even run your furnace motor. You need a transfer switch for that.
    4) If the natural gas supply is hit, your furnace won't run either. Then again, those big whole-house stand-by generators are dead in the water, too. They run on natural gas.
    Like the kerosene heater craze 20 years ago, the small generator is a gadget destined to fail unless you maintain it, something most of us are unwilling to do.

  • JoeDougherty DEM Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 13, 2012 12:23 p.m.

    @Third try screen name

    Great points. Generators aren't perfect. That's why I suggested people COULD consider them as an option. After the 1994 Northridge earthquake, my family purchased a gasoline-powered generator. We were able to run our refrigerator during annual summertime power outages just fine after that. Yes, they do require maintenance. But so do emergency plans, 72-hour kits and just about everything in our lives. Preparedness needs to become something that is part of our regular habits. That includes all of the proper maintenance we need to do.

    If you have an alternative to generators, this would be a great place to suggest it. Thanks for your comments! It's important that people have realistic expectations. Good luck!

  • Robert Rexburg, ID
    Feb. 13, 2012 3:24 p.m.

    Natural gas-powered generators are also available, and don't have the maintenance / disuse issues of gasoline.

  • JoeDougherty DEM Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 14, 2012 8:26 a.m.

    @Robert..
    Tell me more about natural gas-powered generators. Are they connected to your home's natural gas line? Or is there a natural gas tank you can buy and fill up at a natural gas filling station? Thanks for sharing!

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    Feb. 15, 2012 6:22 a.m.

    Natural gas is a reliable source of fuel...except in earthquakes.

  • Third try screen name Mapleton, UT
    Feb. 15, 2012 6:27 a.m.

    Gas generators are fine, and they do fill a need. The problem is our gas-and-go mentality. Our society doesn't even check the oil in the car we rely on every day.
    Preparedness requires maintenance.
    As for running the furnace, a gas generator will need a low THD (most don't) and a transfer switch (you can't just plug it in to an outlet on the generator panel). Furnaces have sophisticated electronics that don't work unless the power supply is clean.