The subject of generators comes up every often when folks talk about losing power. I’m not a big fan of generators. Please understand that if you have one and you love it, love having the security of having the backup power . . I’m happy for you and I’m certainly not against generators. If we had medical issues that required having a non-interrupted supply of electricity, I would definitely have a whole house backup with a huge fuel tank. We don’t have medical issues that require constant power.
Also, if I had young children or teens who had never learned to entertain themselves without electronic gadgets, I’d have a whole house generator just to save my sanity. Kids who are used to air conditioning, long hot showers, TV, video games, cell phones, ipads . . you do what you have to do to keep them happy. That’s not what I would do but from seeing most of the teens these days . . that’s probably what most folks would do.
We always had fun when the power went out. In fact, when it went out last night, my first thought was Oh, good . . I can test my emergency plan. My emergency plan did not take into account that my husband cannot survive one evening without the TV.
We’ve had experience with big generators, small generators and whole house generators. We’ve lived where we’ve lost power for 7+ days due to an ice storm in Louisiana, a tornado in Kentucky and a snow/ice storm in Kentucky. In Missouri, where tornadoes were so prevalent, we never lost power more than a few hours and I think that happened fairly often because I made brownies for the electric crew.
Who would think we would have lost power for a week due to an ice storm in southwest Louisiana? Our power was out last night due to lightening striking dead grass and causing a fire . . spitting distance from my house. We (speaking for Vince and myself) don’t thank the firemen enough for what they do. When I think that the recent wildfires in Colorado started from a lightning strike, I realize how lucky we were that our fire departments very quickly got the fires out. It’s so dry and there’s such a wildfire danger.
The reason we do not have a whole house generator is that the cost vs. the utility/convenience just isn’t worth it for us at the current time. That may change . . and it may change tomorrow. Our decision is based on the cost of the generator and the cost of running it vs. how often we need it and how well prepared we are to survive fairly comfortably without power. If you’re going to spend the money to buy the generator, and then scrimp on running it when needed, that makes no sense. If you’ve ever run one for a week, you’re willing to spend more cash on fuel than we are.
Even in the 100+ summers, I’m outside more than I’m inside. I’m usually working in the yard or garden, dealing with the chickens or just piddling out there. I love being outside (you probably noticed with the lack of sewing to show). There’s almost always a breeze . . though it’s often a very warm breeze. No matter how warm it is here, there’s hardly ever a time when it isn’t comfortable sitting on the porch.
We’re lucky that most nights, the temps drop to the low 70′s so with the windows open, we can sleep comfortably. We’re also lucky that it’s safe enough here that we’re able to leave our windows open. As long as we can sleep and eat, we’re ok.
We have 2 or 3 (or knowing Vince . . 5 or 6) small generators, some diesel and some gasoline. One is dedicated to the well and one is dedicated to the freezers/fridges in the shop. That’s honestly all the power we need to survive. We would run the well pump just to fill the tank. Last night we both took showers from water in the tank and didn’t empty it. The generator would run less than 30 minutes a day if we both took two showers and used additional water for watering the chickens, cows and used water for cooking. For the freezers, my goal is to keep them running at least 4 hours out of every 24 hour period and to keep the door closed! For those small amounts of generator power, we don’t need the whole house generator.
For all of us, the most important thing is to have a plan . . whatever that plan might be, and know ahead of time how you’re going to handle a power interruption . . be in a short one or a long one.