Welcome to this week’s newsletter, brought to you by former Force Recon Marine, Chris Graham’s 30-10 At-Home Pistol Training Program–Guaranteed to put you in the top 10% of all shooters in the next 30 days. Learn more now by going >HERE<
As a quick note, between what we raised over Memorial Day Weekend and what we added to it, we were able to donate $1,500 to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation and the Brother’s In Arms Foundation for Marine Special Operations personnel. Thank you for making this possible.
Last week’s post, Why You Can’t Depend Upon Natural Gas To Heat Or Cook With discussed possible vulnerabilities with regards to the delivery of natural gas to your home during an emergency. Today’s post picks up where we left off. . . all about generators.
The thing that you’ll notice as you review the list of generators provided below is that there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all. It depends on your budget, what you plan to power, and what fuel and how much fuel you will be storing.
To get an idea of what size generator you will need (Amps X Volts = Watts) Click Here for Yamaha’s comprehensive chart and work sheet. The worksheet lists tools and appliance wattage requirements to help you to determine what size generator (including both running and starting needs) will meet your needs.
When calculating the size of a generator, bigger isn’t always best. If for instance you only plan to power a refrigerator and lights, but purchase a 10,000 Watt generator, it’ll unnecessarily guzzle your fuel storage faster than a Gatling gun flies through bullets! And keep in mind that staggering appliance use will allow you to run a smaller generator which will reduce fuel usage.
Solar generators are covered in this week’s post as well, so for those living in a climate zone that receives plenty of sunlight, a solar generator might be the route to go. Go Here to get an idea of what size solar generator you’ll need to power those must-haves. Click here for a solar generator calculator that equates your location into expected annual sunlight to see if a solar generator will work for you.
(David’s note: What you’ll find out is that solar DOES work but it’s one of the most expensive and complicated options available. The reality among solar consultants is that 80-90% of people who come to them to “go solar” end up with a petroleum based generator for a significant portion of their power needs, if not all.)
Generators: Pros and Cons & a Price Comparison of Popular Models
The following are the Pros & Cons of the different styles of generators, and in honor of Fathers Day, I’ve spent the last couple of days hunting down some of the best deals out there. I tried to keep cost comparisons of generators close to 4,000 Watts when possible, as this size will run the essentials while still making fuel storage manageable.
Before jumping in to generators, it’s important to to discuss gas and diesel fuel storage, how to reduce the sound of a generator, and how to protect a generator from a nuclear or solar EMP.
Fuel Storage & Extending The Life Of Fuel
A top quality gas stabilizer like PRI-G can extend the life of gasoline (some claim up to 2 years) when it’s stored properly. Because gas deteriorates in heat, burying it in the ground (if you’re legally able to, which you’re probably not) in a 55-gallon steel drum that has been treated with rust inhibitor or coated with roofing tar will help to protect the drum from corrosion. Store the drum in a shaded area and below the frost line if possible.
Diesel has a much longer shelf life (some claim up to 10 years when a quality stabilizer like PRI-D is added) but will also benefit from being stored in-ground if you are legally able to.
When storing gasoline or diesel, top off the barrel(s) to reduce condensation.
Also keep in mind that, when storing gasoline, your fire insurance policy may have a clause in it reducing your coverage if you store more than a certain amount on your property…especially in subdivisions or inside of city limits. Your city may also have code restrictions based on the Uniform Fire Code, International Fire Code, or other code dictating how much fuel you can store in your home and storing more than that could make you liable for loss of property or loss of life that results if you have a fire. Lest you think this is a big government move, keep in mind that a gallon of vaporized gasoline is equivalent to 13 sticks of dynamite. This is not legal or insurance advice, so consult your attorney and/or insurance agent to verify.
Soundproofing a Generator
Having a generator is one thing, keeping it is another. In a protracted crisis, there will be looters. The trick is going into stealth mode as much as possible to avoid drawing the bad guys to your door. A Backwoods Home Anthology has great article titled How to construct a soundproof generator shed, written by H. Skip Thompson. It’s an easy to follow step-by-step DIY to build a sound proof wooden shelter that incorporates rigid foam panels.
Protecting a Generator From EMP
There are differing opinions on the affects of EMP and how to protect sensitive electronics. The mainland of the U.S. has not experienced an EMP, so we do not have the gift of hindsight with which to learn from. Extensive research led me to Futurescience, LLC, Residential Standby Generators for EMP and Severe Solar Storms, written by Jerry Emanuelson
Here’s a excerpt from this in-depth article:
Most manual-start portable generators are in pretty good shape, even for nuclear EMP, as long as no external wires are connected to them. This means don’t plug in extension cords or other items into a portable generator until you actually need them. Leaving an unused portable generator with an extension cord plugged into it is just like connecting an EMP antenna to the interior. If you have a portable generator with obvious electronic “features,” be sure that you keep spare parts for the electronics, and keep the spare electronic parts in shielded containers.
For whole-house generators: At a minimum, you should have a voltage transient suppressor at the input (electric power grid side) of your transfer switch. If you don’t have the time or money to search for and purchase a suppressor that is fast enough for EMP, at least have the electrician install a lightning protector on the input to your transfer switch.
Converting an Existing Generator to dual-Fuel or Tri-Fuel
If you already have a generator and are interested in converting it into a Tri-Fuel generator, conversion kits may be something to look in to. They aren’t cheap, however–typically around $300. But I stumbled on a DIY post about converting a gasoline-run generator to accept propane and Natural Gas. The photo’s and DIY instructions are helpful, and the post offers a link on where to go to buy affordable conversion kits. Go Here to read the post titled Tri-Fuel Generator Conversion.
(David’s note: Both Ox and I have tri-fuel generators from USCarb.com. The instructions are a little lacking, but the product is rock solid. I would buy the whole generator from them rather than doing a DIY or buying a conversion kit.)
Gasoline-Run Generators are extremely popular for their relatively low cost and their familiarity. The downside for Preppers is the relatively short shelf life of gasoline–refer above to Fuel Storage & Extending The Life Of Fuel.
The following lists 5 best rated gasoline-run 3,500 to 4,000 Watt Generators starting with the most expensive to the least expensive:
1. Honda EG4000C – 3500 Watt Portable Generator
Electric Generators Direct $1,699.95 — Free Shipping
Amazon $ 1,150-(Sale-$1,150.00 savings–Low Stock, Possible Back Order) plus $81.00 Shipping
(David’s note: For more in-depth information on Yamaha generators, check out the “Generators” section of this article: http://survivethecomingcollapse.com/512/how-to-power-appliances-after-a-disaster/ I use/recommend the Yamaha generators over the Hondas because of their durability. Everything from the cylinder casings to the brake on the starter are beefed up on the Yamaha.)
Sears (Sears Marketplace–Sale Price) $438.84 –Free Shipping
Overstock (Sale Price) $338.99 –Free Shipping
eBay $369.00–Free Shipping
(Ox’s note: You might also want to go the route of buying 2x Yamaha 2000is inverter/generators. They’re made to run separately or be connected together for 4000 watt output. It is a little more expensive, but the portability, flexibility, and multiple points of failure may be worth it to you.)
Diesel Generators are a bigger investment but they have the reputation of outperforming the competition with regards to continual usage and diesel generators consume less fuel than their counterparts. The other added benefit that draws Preppers to a diesel model generators is diesel fuel will store up to 10 years with a a quality stabilizer like PRI-D.
The downside of most diesel generators is they tend to run noisy unless your budget can handle a top of the line diesel generator like a Cummins, which for a 6,000 Watt diesel retails for around $7,468.00. Refer above to Soundproofing a Generator.
The following are 5 of the best rated mid-size diesel generators.
Northern Tool + Equipment $3799.99 (Save $200)
2. Super Quiet 4,000 WATT Diesel Generator— consumption 0.2 gallons per hour
Central Maine Diesel $1599.00 (Sale price reduced by $217)
3. Pulsar Products 7,000 WATT Diesel Powered Portable Generator
Overstock $1,390.99–Free Shipping
4. 4,000 WATT Portable Diesel Generator–-consumption 5 hours per gallon of gas
Central Maine Diesel $1298.00 (Sale price reduced by $159)
Northern Tool + Equipment $1,199 (Guaranteed lowest price)
Propane generators take some of the guesswork out of providing power during an emergency because propane will store indefinitely. Tank size can vary from typical 20-gallon portable tanks to 100- gallon portable tanks, and if you’re able, a residential 300 to 500 gallon tank can be installed by a propane company–usually for a small deposit and minimum propane delivery requirements in exchange for the use of their tank.
The following are some of the best rated 4,000 Watt propane generators.
1. Cummins Onan QG 3600 Propane RV Generator
Norwall Power Systems $3,292.00 ($504.00 Savings)
2. Generac LP3250–3250 Watt Portable LP Generator
Electric Generators Direct $548.10 ($60.90 savings)–Free Shipping
Amazon $435.47 ($163.53 savings)–Free Shipping
4. Sportsman GEN400LP 4,000 Watt 6.5 HP OVH Propane Powered Portable Generator
Amazon $339.00 ($110.99 savings)–Free Shipping
5. Sportsman 4,000-Watt Clean Burning LPG Portable Propane Generator
Home Depot $339.00 ($30 savings)–Free Shipping
Dual Hybrid Generators
Before moving on to Tri-Fuel generators, you may want to have a look at Dual Hybrid Generators, which run off of gasoline or propane. They are easier on the budget and have the advantage of two fuel choices.
1. Sportsman GEN7500 Watt 13 HP 389cc OVH 4-Stroke Gas/Propane Powered Portable Generators
Amazon $670.83 ($722.16 Savings)–Plus Shipping
Amazon $648.52 ($51.47 savings)–Free Shipping
Amazon $599.99 ($200.00 savings)–Free Shipping
Powerland $549.99 ($250.00 Savings)
5. Pulsar Products 4,500-WWatt Dual-Fuel Portable Generator (Gasoline/Propane)
E Bay $528.99–Free Shipping
Tri-fuel generators accept three fuel choices; gasoline, natural gas and propane, thus they increase the odds of replenishing fuel during a short-term emergency, and will allow you to store a combination of fuels to get through a longer-term crisis. But expect to pay more for the benefits of a Tri-Fuel Generator.
1. Winco Power Systems Home Power 6,000 Watt Tri Fuel Portable Generator (LP, Gas, or Natural Gas)
Wayfair $2,332.00 (savings $42.18)–Free Shipping
2.Yamaha EF4000DEC Hybrid Tri-Fuel * Natural Gas, Low Pressure Propane, and Gasoline with engine meter
US Carburetion, Inc. $2,027.21–Free Shipping
3. Subaru RDTF4500 Commercial Tri Fuel Generator–4,500 Starting Watts, 3,600 Running Watts (Gas, Natural Gas and Propane)
Smart Generators, Llc $1,499.99 ($1,000.00 Savings)–Plus Shipping
4. Honda STF7200 Commercial Tri Fuel Generator – 7,200 Starting Watts, 6,100 Running Watts
Smart Generators, LLc $2,499.99 ($300.00 Savings)–Plus Shipping
5. Honda TF3750 Tri Fuel RV Generator- 3,750 Starting Watts 3,000 Running Watts
Smart Generators, LLc $1,399.99 ($1,000 savings)–Plus Shipping
Solar generators have a low failure rate, they are quiet which keeps them under the radar of a potential looter and they don’t require anything but sunlight–all win-win! But, they do have limitations that includes a higher price point per Watts and they are typically designed to run only one or two small appliances or tools at a time. Those who prefer the quiet and operational dependability of a solar generator may opt for multiple solar generators or a second generator that runs from an alternate fuel source to up the ante of alternate power generation.
Attention to detail is necessary when committing to a solar generator, such as keeping batteries fully charged in preparation for when a solar generator is needed.
The following is a list of several popular solar generators.
1. Earthtech Products Ultimate 1800 Watt Generator Kit With 5 Solar Panels and 4-100 amp Deep Cycle Batteries for Homes, Cabins and Remote Locations
Earthtech $3,189.00 ($400 Savings)–Plus Shipping
2. AP1800S2 1800-Watt 120VAC Portable Power System with 80-Watt Solar Panel
Home Depot $1,595.00–Free Shipping
Greenpower Global Technology, Inc. $1,199.90 ($200.00 Savings)–Plus $50.00 Shipping
EBay –Be Prepared Solar LLC –$995.00–Plus $29.99 Standard Shipping
Amazon $854.10 (Save $444.90)–Free Shipping
Make-Your-Own Gasifier Generators, Bio-Fuel
If you’re mechanically minded, you may have already looked into building your own wood gasifier. If not, check out Watch Me Build My Own High Efficiency Wood Gasifier by JFEDOCK.
Pinterest has an interesting page titled Bio-Fuels Generators Gasifiers. I think you’ll be amazed over the inventiveness of some of these DIY’s: how to make bio diesel; turning animal byproducts into bio diesel; how to compress wood gas into propane tanks; how a wood stove runs a generator, and in related boards (Left side), Woodgas, Gassifier, candles,lamps & fuels.
Steam power is also an option. Ox actually has a brand spanking new 20HP steam engine that he’s interested in selling. This is the ULTIMATE emp-proof option that will let you keep producing heat, pneumatic power, and electricity as long as you have fuel to burn. Comment below if you’re interested. (After a couple of requests for info, here’s the basics:
Here’s the specs on the steam engine: http://www.mikebrownsolutions.com/20hpse.htm <This page is 3 years old. The specs are correct, but they aren’t currently available at any price.
It would be $7,000 + Freight from Western Montana. It’s still new, creighted, unopened, and ready to go…most importantly, it’s made in America and you could have it in your hands in days rather than having to wait several months.)
Have you already set up for generator back-up, or are you shopping? Have any advice that would help others on the board find the best pricing on generators and conversion kits, and which generator choice is the best? Please share by posting below!
And, if you haven’t checked out Former Force Recon Marine, Chris Graham’s at-home 30-10 pistol training, please do so now by clicking >HERE<!
God bless and stay safe,
David Morris and Survival Diva