Why a generator?

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I confess I have been unable to understand the apparent positive cost/benefit of a generator. I can heat and cook with a wood stove (a big one), light with oil lamps (got plenty, and *lots* of oil, cheap), run a small radio (if anyone's broadcasting) and flashlights with batteries, and certainly I can live without the computer, the TV, etc.

Generators are expensive, noisy, theft-prone, and thirsty (and fuel is hard to store). What are people planning to use them for? Why are they worth it? I can purchase a generator if there is something I can't live without, for which there is no non-electric substitute. What am I missing?

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), October 24, 1998


>>What am I missing? <<

Not a thing. And my hat is off to you if you can make the transition with no withdrawal symptoms. 8-)

My primay motivation for a generator was to maintain my source of water - my well, and to keep the [well-stocked] freezer cold. The rest is window dressing.

Prepare Spiritually Prepare Financially Prepare Physically

-- Elbow Grease (Elbow_Grease@AutoShop.com), October 24, 1998.

I don't think you will be missing much but it might be nice to know someone who does own one.(generator). I bought a Coleman 2500 at Sam's for $329. and it is for emergency use and an occasional plugging in of an appliance (freezer). I know there are lots of potiental problems. (1) Fuel storage. (2) Fuel availability. (3) Extra parts/upkeep (4) Noise.....just to name a few. Might be nice to take on camping trips if y2k is just a bad joke and let me assure all that I'm a y2k beliver.

-- ronbanks (phxbanks@webtv.net), October 24, 1998.

YUP and that's how my bride convinced me not to put it at the top of thye list. HOWEVER, should you want to drive a whole lot of screws, do some rough carpentry (unless you are REAL GOOD with a chain saw) or perhaps want to do some finish carpentry, you might consider one of the less testosterone laden sizes for running the screw gun, the Skil saw, or the multi-saw (or teh lathe, radial arm saw, drill press, etc) as well as charging the battery operateds verions of the above.


-- Chuck a Night Driver (rienzoo@en.com), October 24, 1998.

1. To run the fan in the furnace, recharge things, and for unexpected things that require power. (If I knew what they they wouldn't be unexpected.)

2. To run the freezer (intermittantly, if required by circumstance) or the microwave.

3. Afterwards, to run electric tools away from a power plug. (It was real frustrating to try repair the high school band stand with no power plug this summer in the middle of their practice field.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (cook.r@csaatl.com), October 25, 1998.

It is for all of these things plus about fifty-twelve other things that we can't see right now.


-- sweetolebob(La) (buffgun@hotmail.com), October 25, 1998.

For the relatively short term outages. Y2K merely got me off my backside to get one. Periodic power outages are not at all uncommon here now. I will have enough capability to keep freezer and fridge up until I can convert much of the contents into jars via the pressure cooker. Not quite the quality, but perfectly edible. After the fuel goes, if things are next worst case, the deep well goes as well, so the shallow well and hand pump come into use. The solar panels goe to the very large commercial battery for minor power use with the inverter, and for keeping 12vdc up for use of the amateur radio station. A good axe works for most firewood. The generator is a major convenience for short term, but not much good long term. All in the perception of the individual. I will also have several neighbors who will get use of it periodically in exchange for fuel. Already discussed, so that's a go. If you can't afford one, and most folks probably can't, then use the money for food and shelter preparations instead. They are far more important than electricity will be.

-- Bob McKay (kb4gnx@earthlink.net), October 31, 1998.

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