Letter Re: Sizing a Retreat AC Power Generator

Hello Jim and SurvivalBlog Readers:
I have enjoyed reading the vast knowledge shared on this topic and the awakening you have brought to us about our fragile economy! How can one put a price on a wake up call?,… well, it’s easy, renew your 10 Cent Challenge! Admit it, your year is probably up, but the education is still coming to you!

I have not seen any talk on your site about a “miniature” diesel genset. My thought is that while the large Lister type genset’s are proven to last, … their will be a time when running something with a much lower noise signature, vibration signature, and fuel consumption will be necessary to survive. It seems foolish to fire up 5KW,10KW, 25KW, etc… Watts of power, when you may only need enough to run your furnace and the freezer. Fire up the big boy for pumping water and what not once a week, and pump as much as you can into storage containers. Not to mention that diesel engines last longer when left running, not starting and stopping all the time. Whereas the gas unit would not know the difference.

My thought is this,. at today’s price of diesel, one could afford to buy a 1,000 or 2,000 watt Honda portable unit with the savings of storing 200 stabilized gallons of gasoline vs. diesel. The Honda units are totally amazing! Almost silent running, easy to start, easy to throw into the vehicle, and the 1,000 watt unit will easily run a freezer and furnace for a day on less than a gallon of gasoline. Use your head and run the generator only as needed, (10 minutes or so several times a day to keep the freezer going), and you just greatly extended the days in which you will have portable power. Since the freezer is so important, it will be worth considering super insulating your freezer when not running.

In a post-SHTF scenario where we would be very vulnerable early on, and while gasoline is fresh, we could consider using the little guy first, expend your gasoline fuel supply, barter off the genset after that, then use caution and go with your primary Lister type genset. At the rate of one gallon of gasoline per day, you would have 200 days of run time before even really counting on your diesel genset. Use your head and run the gasoline genset 6-10 times a day for shorter duration, and you could have 400 days of gasoline portable power.

Given the cost of gasoline versus diesel, it appears that you would obtain more kilowatt hours per dollar in this scenario. It seems like the big genset could be very valuable in offering you the ability to weld, etc… at a time when most will have already been wearing out their big gensets and consuming their fuel. Here you sit with everything fresh and ready to go. Might make a fine job opportunity to be able to [arc] weld, run 220 VAC equipment, etcetera, all many moons after the onset of TEOTWAWKI.

I know this thought defies what has been discussed, but a few hundred gallons of gasoline stored almost pays for the Honda generator in savings over buying diesel [fuel] at today’s prices. Thought I would put it out there for thought, of course, run the figures with an expert to make sure you are not starving the electric motors which would prematurely burn out the appliance.
All the best! – The Wanderer