Do you really need a generator? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Do you really need a generator? This is a question we vacillated back and forth on for quite some time....and finally came up with a big YES!! One simple, but most important reason...water. Now I'm telling you the reason WE deciced to get a generator.There are many and varied reasons why different people will either choose to have one or not to have one, and what's "rght" for one won't be "right" for someone else. If you live in a congested area (close neighbors, that you may not want to know you have a generator...hence the noise factor), fuel storage etc. etc. But we happen to live in the country and use a WELL to get water. So we arealready ahead of the game. The generator would be used primarily to pump water, and DIRE emergencys. We would not be trying to live life the way we are used to living it now.We are of the "older"generation.(oh comes the "when I was a kid"....)yup! When we were kids and young adults starting families etc. we didn't have running water, bathrooms and quite often, electricity. So being older we don't relish the idea of suddenly one day, having to pull a casing up out of the well, put down whatever it takes to get pipe, foot valve(?) and hand pump hooked up and going. We also went from an electric stove to propane, lasts a loooong time! Have always raised a big garden and canned lots and LOTS of fruits and vegetables and meat.Have a pellet stove and wood heating stove...when the time comes, we have another wood stove on reserve to replace the pellet stove that needs power to run, and we won't use the generator for that. Also have lots of wood.. Oh yes, just the other day we bought the Y2K seeds! So,we're gettin there! I'm interested in hearing how prepared folks are and what they are doing to prepare,not all this fighting and squabling I read so much of here. To each his own!!??

-- puurfect catnip (, January 21, 1999


I went with a solar-powered well pump, and will run some small DC powered appliances off the batteries. I'm getting as many appliances as possible to run off Ni-cad batteries; to be solar powered.

I've got the usual food, guns, med supplies, non-hybrid seed.

I've also got a generator, but it's intended for emergency use when the battery bank has run out, or to keep it from running out in a long no-sun period. Also useful for natural disaster-type scenarios. I just can't see stashing 1000 gals of propane or gas/diesel for the generator. The Solar is the primary power- supplier, and the generator is secondary.

Have woodstove, and DC powered fans to heat the house with.

-- BIll (, January 22, 1999.

Hey Bill,

How about a source for that solar-powered well pump. Thanks, Derek

-- Derek Scoble (, January 22, 1999.

We bought a China Diesel generator for pumping the well (450 feet deep; forget hand pump or solar). But then I also had a very large rainwater catchment system installed here and so now the generator is not the key element it used to be.

I'm thinking of selling it; the last thing I need is somebody coming to kill my family because they hear my generator blaring in the distance. We also have some solar panels and a windmill on the way and perhaps I'll just stick with those.

I think the bottom line is that if you can get by without a generator it would be better; less noise = less chanced you'll get offed by jealous predators.

-- Franklin Journier (, January 22, 1999.


With not a lot of effort, you can make your generator "whisper quiet" to the extent that it can't be heard more than ten feet away. I'd check into that option before I got rid of it.

-- Hardliner (, January 22, 1999.

I have dealt with: (generally the best prices) (sign up for his newletter to get sale prices info) (most expensive, but has a large catalog of unusual items)

I chose the Sureflow series of submersible pump and booster pump, as they are apparently as durable as the other brands, and you can user- service them yourself, unlike some of the others, which have to go back to the factory. Back to the factory post Y2k may be impossible.

Which pump depends on your situation. I had to pump water up from 60- 80 feet and got the Sureflow 9300 (around 1 gal/min at 12v, 1.75 gal/min on 24v). Got the Sureflow 2088 booster pump, so as to pressurize a small (5gal) pressure tank, and have normal household water pressure.

The whole deal was rather expensive. If you have a very shallow well, or aren't lifting it more than 10 feet, your options get cheaper, if you have to pump more than 150 feet or so, it gets more expensive.

Any way you cut, it's an expensive project, but I believe a worthwhile one.

I'd rather use solar to power the water supply, as it'll probably last 20+ years (even the batteries), and who has the ability and fuel to run a generator for even 1 year (everyday use), let alone long term.

Email me some additional info, and I'll see what I can suggest. I'm no expert, but I have learned a fair bit about this subject out of necessity. :)

-- Bill (, January 22, 1999.

generators? Just depends on your y2k hit scenario. If you think grid will be sporadic and back up before you run out of fuel, why not? But if you aren't so sure, go low tech. Wood burning cooking stoves, compressed air windmill or standard windmill for water, farmyard animals, gardens, canning. Save that precious fuel for the lantern.

-- Mitchell Barnes (, January 22, 1999.


I do have some info on using a buried 55 gallon drum as a muffling system. Is this the kind of thing you're talking about? If not, perhaps you can steer me in another direction.


A really good book on the use of generators in alternative energy sytsems is "More Power To You". You don't ever run a generator 24 or even 12 hours per day. Rather, you run it a few hours every other day or so and charge batteries with it while you run your larger appliances. My rather conservative calculations indicate that a supply of 500 gallons of diesel would last well over 2 years running the generator 4 hours every other day. I do not expect diesel to be non-existent for longer than 2 years so this is still a viable option for some.

But, as you point out, these systems are not cheap. We are currently set up to go either way -- alternative electrical system or totally non-electric. Will continue to guage the situation. Perhaps paradoxically, if later this year things look to me like it's going to be a complete EOW-style collapse I will be more inclined to sell the generator.

-- Franklin Journier (, January 22, 1999.


Here's a link to a post on this subject in the forum's archives. Although the poster is dealing with a smaller generator than it sounds like yours is, the principles are the same and I expect that you could achieve comparable results with a little ingenuity. FWIW, in the field the military routinely sites generators in simple pits in the ground to reduce noise and most "mufflers" on commercial gen-sets are a concession to rules and regulations rather than a serious attempt at muffling sound.

-- Hardliner (, January 22, 1999.


I have to agree with you that the generator useage can be curtailed, and you can extend the fuel for a substantial time. I only expect to use the generator to charge batteries once the bank is low (due to heavy useage (really heavy), or 2 weeks of no sun).

However, most people I've run across on the Net who say that they're all set for Y2k, they say basically, "I've got a huge generator and a huge fuel tank", and basically they intend to live the life of Riley, and run the thing nearly all the time. You know, maintain the "normal pre-Y2k lifestyle", instead of adapting to conditions as they would be post-y2k. After a year, that 2000 gals of diesel is gone, or the generator breaks, and they are SOL.

Whereas with the lower-tech and solar setups, one can be good to go, more or less (abiet with some inconvienence from time to time) for many years. Usually costs alot less too.

-- Bill (, January 23, 1999.

Y'all go an talk about the high tech high impact options for muffling a gen, All we ever did at one of the events my bride and I work as first aid folks for is to run the exhaust (via exhaust patch type flex tube) into a bucket of water. Gotta keep checking so the bucket doesn't get empty (ifn it's plastic, it gets a mite funny shaped if you let it dry), but, it's REAL quiet. (You can do a blood pressure on a compromised patient with the 5Kw gen 15 feet away and humpin' to power a retail trailer!)


-- Chuck, night driver (, January 23, 1999.

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