Emergency Preparedness Blog Series
Welcome to our Emergency Preparedness Blog Series! We hope you are enjoying this series. We know that it isn’t necessarily our “day to day” life or what you may consider super interesting, and we hope you will still continue to read and learn! Make sure you take a look at our other posts – if you haven’t already!
We also want to share with you some of the amazing things that helped us. In order for us to be completely transparent, we will get a small portion of affiliate sales if you choose to add any of these fine products to your own emergency preparedness arsenal. Thank you!
**NOTE** As stated before in our Inverters post, on December 24th, our power was restored!!! WOOHOO!!! After 96 days without power we got the BEST Christmas present EVER! This post is therefore about what we did prior to getting our power restored. ENJOY!
Emergency Preparedness – Generators
Generators….do you have one? What do you know about them? You may know that they run and create electricity, but have you ever seen one in action or actually run one yourself? This is not an all-inclusive post about how to run a generator (there are enough YouTube videos and tutorials about that) but, as always, this is a post about our own experience with them and some questions to get you to learn on your own.
Generators – the Practical Info
What do you need to be able to power in the event of an emergency? This question will lead you to think about what is important and what you will need…it will also lead you to walk around your house and check out wattage for each electric appliance in your home. Each generator has a certain output of power. Here is a list (and you can Google others calculators) of various appliances and their wattage requirements. This will help you know what size of generator you will need.
Once the wattage requirements you need has been determined, you then need to decide a few other things like – where will you keep your generator? Do you need to use extension cords? Do you have a transfer switch? Do you know what a transfer switch is? Do you have fuel for your generator? Do you have containers for that fuel? Do you know how to maintain your generator (i.e. oil changes, cleaning, etc.)?
Our Story of Generators
When we bought our home, we didn’t have a generator. We had a shed and when we finally had the keys to the shed and were able to open it up; we found out that we DID have a generator. We didn’t know if it worked but we had one.
One day as we were having a plug installed for our dryer, our electrician noticed that we had a shed and we told him about the generator. He took a look at the generator and told us that we had a transfer switch. That means that if we have a generator that runs, you can plug in a plug to the generator, throw a switch and then the generator will then power the whole house. WHAT!? That was great news! Then he tried to fire up the generator and……it didn’t work – of course.
Then the electrician said he thought it could be a problem with the carburetor and that he would take it and try to make it work. Fantastic!
He took it and brought it back about a month or two later. It was before the storms and it fired up and we were able to run it for a little while. He told us to run it every so often just for like a half an hour or so. Done and done. We were so grateful.
The next time we tried to run it, it wouldn’t start. Ugh! So we just chalked it up to not having a generator.
After the storms hit and we lost power, we wished that we had worked harder to make sure that we had the generator working.
We Were Saved
The last week of November, we received a very generous donation of a 5500 watt generator. This was a TOTAL life changer for us. It meant that we no longer had to use our camp shower. We could just turn on our faucet. We could FLUSH THE TOILET….WITHOUT A BUCKET!
We did make the decision not to run it ALL the time. This was in an effort to conserve on energy which would then result in less fuel costs. We didn’t want to run it all the time JUST to keep the fridge running. We hoped that power would be restored soon and we could live without the fridge until then.
Another HUGE relief was using it to do our laundry. Stewart didn’t have to get up at 5:00 am to do the wash. We couldn’t use the dryer due to the fact that anything that requires heat uses a lot more energy and the generator would not be able to handle the load. It was not a problem though – we had gotten really good at hanging our laundry up to dry.
As we had the transfer switch we could run the generator and have our lights working and didn’t need to run extension cords to everything – we could just plug things into their outlets. We also didn’t need to worry about building a cover for our generator as we could house the generator in our shed. We continued (and still now) to keep our shed locked and secured as people were having their generators stolen. Even AT&T’s giant generator was stolen!
I knew nothing about generators prior to having one. Once we had one, I found myself Googling many new things. I read the manual a couple of times about how to maintain a generator. I watched videos about how to change the oil on a generator. I also watched videos on how to store a generator – because once the storm is over you need to store it properly so it will run for you the next time you need it.
There is a lot more information about generators and how they work and how to take care of them….read up on it now…because when you are in the moment your mind goes into a “survival” mode and you may miss little details. Get a generator and have one ready in case of an emergency. If you are in an area that is prone to disasters, it might be a REALLY great idea to look into having a transfer switch installed for your home.
What electrical appliance could you not live without?
Share in a comment below!