Living With out Electricity
Basically, everything that contributes to the comfort and safety of our homes depends upon electricity. Most people need electricity to run their furnaces in winter and air conditioners during the summer. The ability to eat fresh food that will not sicken us means that our refrigerators and freezers must be able to operate. Lights are definitely needed, and many people consider television to be a necessity. Unfortunately, when a disaster or emergency has occurred, one of the first of the amenities of life to be lost is the electricity. While it is possible to use back up sources of light such as candles or lanterns, not much else in the house will work, and you will likely have to throw out all the food in the refrigerator and freezer should the outage continue for several days. One way to assure that you will be able to breeze through a disaster in some comfort is to use a generator.
What Kind Is Best For You?
Generators come in different sizes and types, and you should choose one that will best fit your needs. Portable generators are the cheapest in price and can be moved easily from one spot to another. However, portables are not designed for long use, and the fuel tanks will have to be refilled frequently. A whole house generator is much larger than the portable, will be permanently installed, and will usually start automatically when the lights go out. A whole house generator, while much more convenient and reliable, will also cost quite a bit more than a portable.
Using A Generator Safely
Generators run on either gasoline or diesel fuel, just as the engine of a car or truck does. Because of this, generators emit odorless carbon monoxide, which is deadly. In order to be sure that you and your family will be safe from carbon monoxide poisoning, never run a generator in your home, it should always be outside of the house. Larger, whole house generators can be installed in a shed, but even here, adequate ventilation must be provided so that carbon monoxide does not build up.
When using a portable generator outside your home, several things must be done to assure its safe operation. It must be put on dry ground to prevent electric shock, and some sort of roof must be provided if rain or snow is falling. The generator should never be placed right outside the house, especially near a window or door. In fact, there should be at least 15 feet between your home and the generator to minimize the chances of carbon monoxide causing problems. You should also install a carbon monoxide detector in the home and on the outside wall nearest the generator to make sure that this gas is not entering the house.
The fuels used in the generator should be stored safely as well, as they are combustible. Neither gasoline nor diesel should be stored in the house; approved containers should be kept in an outbuilding that is kept locked.