Cooking with Microwave Ovens : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

My husband is becoming more interested in our preparations and came up with a plan for cooking. He thinks if we bought a generator large enough to run a microwave, it would boil water and cook with less water and faster than the sterno, propane, etc. I don't want to discourage him since he is getting involved, but I was not thinking about getting a generator for reasons I have read here. Could I please have some opinions on this idea? Thanks and God bless. Mary

-- Mary (, February 20, 1999


Same old reasons against it: cost, noise, fumes, fuel storage, fuel stability, MTBF (mean time before failure), skill and access to parts required for repairs, "curious" neighbors --- did I miss something?

A two burner propane stove (Coleman or otherwise) and a good stock of propane canisters costs a lot less. The extra money would buy a lot of food.

If there's a complete collapse, more pressing difficulties will present themselves.

-- Tom Carey (, February 20, 1999.

Agree with Tom - propane is the way to go... much safer to store than gasoline. Get a few 20-lb. propane tanks and the stove-to-tank adapter - you can cook for month on a tank. If you get a "tee" type adapter, add a propane lantern too - light + cooking, but get more tanks.

-- Why2K? (, February 20, 1999.

There's a HUGE waste of energy here going from generator fuel to electricity to microwaves to heat...

-- Ned (, February 20, 1999.

You might try to get him interested in preparing a solar oven...very low budget...a few boxes, foil, black paint, etc. (the link has been posted here before but if you need it I'll hunt it down)... The same principle applies for a solar shower (can buy at Walmart -- for about $6)... you can also do some heating of the house using the same principles... I am in the process of doing these projects with my home schooled grandson...

-- Shelia (, February 20, 1999.

MaRY!!! YOu HAVE MARRied a foolISH THINkING MAN!!!! SEND HiM TO Dieter, wiLL dieter NOT EXORcISE HIM of this FOOLISH notiON?????

-- Dieter (, February 20, 1999.

Amazing. You asked a question and a bunch of guys jumped in with their answer without asking the most critical question:

"Where do you live?"

If you have room to store a fair amount of fuel (50-100 gallons)away from the house, or if you have room to use a propane tank and propane powered genny, or if you have a diesel generator and an oil heating tank, you're good for a long time.

A 3.5KW Honda (gas) will run at about 0.6 gallons/hour. You can get about 80 hours out of a 55 gallon drum of gas. That's 80 days of boiling several gallons of water a day and cooking 3 meals. You probably can stretch that to 120 days if you're using deep discharge batteries and an inverter. If you're serious about just using it to microwave, a 1500 watt inverter -- even a cheap one -- will do just fine.

You have problems to solve:


Fuel storage

Discipline -- you can't eat your precious fuel up spending evenings watching old video tapes.

But, it can be done -- under the right circumstances. You know whether or not you live where you can use a generator, and whether or not you can store fuel. The guys who pipe up with their own prejudicial solutions should take a little time to think about the total problem.

-- got (, February 20, 1999.

A propane stove and a pressure cooker can cook with 1/2 the energy of a microwave. And that doesn't factor in the energy loss of the generator. If you can store fuel for generator you can store propane. Unless you need the gen to pump potable water consider propane.


-- Paul Cordes (, February 20, 1999.

I use a microwave a lot, and find them very handy for quick reheating, but I can't figure out why anyone would want to bake potatoes for a crowd in them. Hot rocks are almost as fast.

I know, I know, you can do one small one in six minutes. But when you have to bake a bunch, you have to sort of multiply by the number you are cooking, and pretty soon it takes as long as throwing them on hot coals.

Besides, steamed veggies taste much better than microwaved veggies, and are just as fast. Assuming you know how to build a fire and boil small amounts of water... just this old housewive's opi

-- jgj (, February 20, 1999.

Mary--Go ahead and buy a generator. If TSDHTF I'll buy yours for pennies on the dollar say around March 2000. I need one for my trailer for when we go camping out in the boonies.

-- Opptyknocks (, February 20, 1999.

Hey got, your own opinions sound a bit "prejudicial", since you have no idea regarding the lady's situation, either. My recommendations will work whether she's in an apartment or on a 2000 acre farm... yours will work on the farm, just hope she doesn't have any jealous neighbors who will descend upon her at the sound of the genset. Besides, as was posted above, the conversion of gasoline to microwaves is an extremely wasteful way to cook.

-- Why2K? (, February 20, 1999.

Hello Mary; concerning your husband's idea to use a generator to power up a microwave. He has by now figured how big a gen he will need. Because a microwave does use alot of watts to operate. The site SHELIA was looking for is at; He could build a large solar box to cook and heat water within one of the designs on this site mentioned. Hope this site helps you and those who read your post.


-- Furie (, February 20, 1999.

Mary, if for some reason you are really sold on microwaves, consider getting one of the 12-volt microwave for use in an RV. This will use far less current than going from generator to battery to inverter to power the microwave, which would use 10 times the current than it would running it from an AC wall plug.

My microwave is rated at 11 amps, already an energy hog, but running the same microwave on a genny powered battery through an inverter would draw 110 amps!!!! (Can this be right??)

Other side: microwave may be an energy hog, but (sorta) compensates because it's fast.

Also consider using a pressure cooker in your cooking, where possible. It cuts way down on cooking time and use of fuel (whatever be the fuel).

Do enjoy figuring it all out!

-- Debbie Spence (, February 21, 1999.

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