Smart Preppers Own More Than One Generator for Efficiency

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Generator Sizes InfoGraphicIf you have read my article titled Four Tips to Get the Most Out Of Your Generator Runtime, you probably realize how important I think it is to make the very most that you can out of the time that you are running your emergency generator.

Today were going to be talking about the subject of generators again but this time I’ll be sharing my thoughts about why I think it’s so important that all preppers should have more than one backup generator.

I’m not just talking about only having a backup to your backup generator in this article. I personally think that it’s very important for all preppers to have a couple of generators, if not more, in various sizes. Read on to learn why I feel this way.

Why Do I Feel This Way?

You may know by now that my family lived off the grid for over eight years and the only electricity that we had was supplied by our generators. When we first went off the grid, we purchased a 5,000 watt generator and our thought process was that we should have a big generator because it will be adequately sized to meet all of our needs. While this is one way of approaching things, we quickly learned that this strategy also meant that every time our generator was running, we were burning through a lot of gasoline!

In situations where we only needed to run the generator for a simple task like powering our vacuum cleaner, we were wasting a lot of gas by using the 5,000 watt generator for chores that required very little electricity. It didn’t take us long to figure out that there was no way we could possibly continue to live like we were living because our gasoline bill for our generator would have been astronomical.

Bigger Is Not Always Better

The next step in the evolution of us learning to live without the power grid was to purchase a small inexpensive generator that we picked up at our local farm store. It was a cheap no-name brand that had a little tiny two-stroke engine in it. If I remember correctly, I think it only put out 1,000 watts but it was very handy when all we needed to do was power a small electrical device for a short period of time. In retrospect, we now realize that we shouldn’t have purchased the least expensive generator that we could find because for as often as we used it, the engine on this inexpensive off-brand unit didn’t last very long. I still like the idea of having a little 1,000 watt generator but I suggest buying one from a reputable company.

Variety Is the Spice of Life

Purchasing the smaller generator made a big difference in the amount of gasoline that we used because sometimes it just wasn’t practical to fire up the big generator when we only needed a little bit of electricity for a short period of time. However, not long after that we realized that we’d like to have something in between 5,000 watts and 1,000 watts so we purchased a little Honda EU2000i generator to handle loads that were in mid range of our power requirements. Ironically enough, this ended up being our favorite generator because it runs for a very long time on 1 gallon of gasoline in it lasted a very long time.

The reason that I felt that it was important to discuss this topic here on Preppers Illustrated was because in a doomsday scenario or even a temporary crisis that is brought on by a natural disaster, it will be very important to conserve the gasoline that you have stored. Many people who haven’t actually lived without electricity that is provided from the electric grid, probably don’t realize that bigger is not always better when it comes to purchasing a generator.

We learned that there were times when it was more practical to fire up the big generator such as when my husband needed to use his welder or when we were using a lot of electrical devices at one time that resulted in us needing more electricity. However, our experience taught us that this was the exception to the rule. By changing our habits and adapting the way that we lived so that we consumed less electricity, we soon learned that it was a much better alternative to use the smaller generators and conserve gasoline whenever we could.

Another advantage to this strategy is that we now have three generators that we can use in the event of a doomsday scenario. If one were to fail and we weren’t able to repair it or find spare parts for it, we have two backup alternatives

I urge anyone who is concerned about preparing for a major crisis that could lead to the loss of the electrical grid to consider purchasing more than one generator from a reputable company and making sure that they are of various sizes.

4 Responses to “Smart Preppers Own More Than One Generator for Efficiency”

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  1. Mark says:

    We just crossed 8 years offgrid ourselves, solar/wind and batteries with generator backup. Our big gennie is a 9kW Honda (propane) which is more than large enough to run the house and charge the batteries when needed. A 5kW (gasoline) is the emergency spare, still large enough to get everything done if careful on the number and type of appliances we run at one time. The last is a 1kW (gasoline) that we keep indoors, that one gets used a couple times a year for running a small block heater to warm the 9kW one before starting it when it’s very cold outside (we don’t run the 1kW gennie indoors, just store it there so it’s warm and ready if needed). And even though the little 1kW one isn’t large enough to run our well pump, washer, or other large appliances it can slowly charge our batteries if needed, which then run the larger appliances through our inverter.

    Enjoyed the read, and agree it’s not wise to rely on just one of anything. Living offgrid (without trips to town everytime the littlest thing goes wrong) requires a lot of redundancy and pre-planning.

    • Patty Hahne says:

      Hi Mark,

      Thanks for your comment! You experience sounds very similar to ours.

  2. Sideliner 1950 says:

    You write, “In retrospect, we now realize that we shouldn’t have purchased the least expensive generator that we could find because for as often as we used it, the engine on this inexpensive off-brand unit didn’t last very long. I still like the idea of having a little 1,000 watt generator but I suggest buying one from a reputable company.”

    Nailed it. Even though the saying goes, “You get what you pay for”, sadly, that’s not always true. But what IS true is this: “You WON’T get what you DON’T pay for.” The purchase of a backup generator to be used in survival situations is not something you want to roll the dice with.

    Finally, we all need to remember to use only fresh fuel (or fuel treated with preservative) in our generators so they have a reasonable chance of starting when we need them to. (Been down that road already…anybody else?)

    I hope your readers take your insights and experience to heart, because if they follow your advice, you will have saved them significant money, possibly a lot of frustration and heartache, and possibly their lives and/or someone else’s.

    Thanks for the really important article.

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