Portable Generators

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  • Portable generators

    Oct 22, 2019

    With the latest PG&E electricity shut downs we have discussed to purchase a portable generator and/or battery so we are not stuck completely without electricity if the next black out affects us.  Anyone has one or purchased one recently and if so, which one do you recommend?  We are looking for something that does not take too much space, but that is reliable in emergency, works well, and will have enough power to keep the basics (refrigerator, freezer, stove, etc) working for a day or two at least and will have enough power to also charge a couple of computers, ipads, phones, etc.  Anything like this exists or will the generators and/or battery with that much power be too large to store and hold on to just in case. Thanks.   

    We have solar panels and a power wall from Tesla and didn’t feel the effects of the power outage at all!  You can get a loan to pay for the installation, get a big tax credit, and then pay it off monthly for just a little more than what you’re paying PGE- plus it’s an investment in your home and the environment!  We’re super happy with our set up.  Best of luck in your search!  

    Your requirements to keep a refrigerator, freezer, stove, etc.. would need a home standby generator, which weighs several hundred pounds. It would have to be professionally installed by an electrician (and maybe a plumber for the gas line) and require permits. Home standby generators cost somewhere in the $3k to $10k+ range before installation.

    A portable generator, under 70 lbs without fuel, might be able to power one refrigerator but it would depend on how much power the refrigerator drew vs the capacity of the generator. Definitely no problems charging electronics.

    For myself, I've concluded that the cost and risk of a generator are not worth it.  The fuel  and chance of a fuel fire or incident are too great to justify the action, given the current situation.

    Instead I placed bottles and bags of water in the freezer, for transfer to the fridge.  I maintain a small DC (direct current) UPS sufficient to power the fiber optic internet and phone, and charge a phone. That's enough.

    If I was able I'd get a "self sustaining power outlet" attached to local solar panels.  Normal grid tie solar panels normally shut down when the grid is shut down.  A local outlet would work for keeping a fridge operating through the daytime, without the costs and environmental burden of a battery system.  Again, that's enough for me, given the frequency of outages.