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Caught in the dark: What Sandy can teach you about preparedness

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  • Third try screen name Mapleton, UT
    Oct. 30, 2012 9:00 p.m.

    About those generators. The portables are handy, but require maintenance. Fuel with ethanol has a shelf life of 90 days. After that it starts to damage the generator. You can't store it for a year and then expect it to work. Run it monthly and drain the fuel every three months.
    Are you willing and disciplined enough to start it up every month?
    As for placement, think of it like a gas lawnmower. Would you run it in the house? Would you be able to get to sleep with it running outside your bedroom window? Position it away from the house to prevent CO poisoning. Shelter it from rain. And baffle it to lower the noise level.
    Expect it to keep your food from spoiling, run a few lights and allow you to cook. Don't expect it to run the home theater or your new furnace. The power isn't pure enough for sophisticated electronics.
    I'm guessing the portable generator craze will be much like the kerosine heater craze. They require some PM and most of us aren't willing to keep them up.

  • Go Big Blue!!! Bountiful, UT
    Oct. 31, 2012 6:33 a.m.

    Generators can be modified to run on propane or natural gas. These fuels burn cleaner and propane stores much better than gasoline. I have a 6,800 watt portable unit that will run my home furnace blower and keep my fridge and deep freezer going.

  • Third try screen name Mapleton, UT
    Oct. 31, 2012 8:02 a.m.

    Go Big Blue is correct. You will still need to deal with the noise, sheltering and the CO, and you will be starting it yourself, but tapping in to your home's gas or propane eliminates the gas tank and associated problems.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Oct. 31, 2012 11:21 a.m.

    I like the idea of using solar panels for backup power. In the event of a disaster the generators are going to be audio beacons attracting every unprepared person within a 1/2 mile.

    I do recognize that solar panels won't work at night, but if I can keep the fridge and freezer cold during the day, they will keep the food cold through the night.