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Emergency Back-Up Power Generation

Here is some information about emergency power, or simply back-up power generators.  This is for informational purposes only.  These are not recommendations, but rather information on different systems that are out there, and what I have learned about some of these systems.  Everybody’s situation is unique, as well as their ability and desire to spend money for back-up power. Below are some options available to most people if they own a single family home that is detached, and not an apartment, condominium or townhouse.  Matt Dakin

You can purchase a fully automatic back-up system such as a Generac generator that will automatically turn on when the power goes out.  These systems can also be monitored and adjusted through an app using a “smart phone”. These types of generators are hooked up to Natural gas, Propane, or Diesel. These systems will cost thousands of dollars to purchase and install.  I personally prefer generators that use natural gas or propane over gasoline or diesel.  If you are using natural gas to run your generator then you are still relying on the “system” to keep the Natural gas flowing. Putting one of these systems in place will require getting a permit.   

Another option is to obtain solar panels and back-up batteries.  This gives you a ready supply of power that is always on standby when the power goes out.  The sun will allow the solar panels to keep charging the batteries, and if you are careful you may be able to go a long time during a power outage if you use your power wisely.  If this happens during a rainstorm then the batteries will not charge back up until there is adequate sunlight available.  The initial cost of this type of system is fairly expensive, but once it is in place it only saves you money going forward. This type of system will also require getting a permit.

If you don’t have a lot of money to purchase a system as described above, then there are some other options that are fairly inexpensive.  You can purchase a portable generator, (I prefer using propane generators since the fuel doesn’t go bad and it can be supplied by my large propane tank for my house) and then run power cords directly to the areas where you need them such as the refrigerator, freezer, etc.  If you are careful, and only use what is absolutely necessary, then a small generator such as a 3 kilowatt generator can keep your food cold and provide you enough power to get by.  By using a small generator such as a 3 kilowatt generator, the amount of fuel that you will use per hour will be greatly reduced and therefore if you have a limited supply it will last much longer. My least favorite portable generator option is a gasoline powered generator.  Gasoline does not last very long, and then the fuel will go bad and the generator will not work when you need it.  If you decide to use a portable diesel generator then you can store diesel in 55 gallon drums that will last you a long time. 


Other options are portable solar generators, and portable battery/inverters.  These will only last a day or two, but will be better than nothing at all.   


If you have a well on your property consider putting the well on solar power with a smart pump that can be charged with solar panels.

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