Surviving a Long Power Failure: Practical Tips and Strategies

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Surviving a Long Power Failure: Practical Tips and Strategies

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Why Buy a Generator?
  3. The Importance of Backup Power
  4. The Challenges of Extended Outages
  5. Three Key Features for Long-Term Generator Power
    • Multi-Fuel Design
    • Supply of Stabilized Gasoline and Engine Oil
    • Access to Propane or Natural Gas
  6. Advantages of Multi-Fuel Generators
    • Dual-Fuel Generators
    • Tri-Fuel Generators
  7. Benefits of Propane and Natural Gas
  8. Ensuring a Supply of Fresh Fuel and Engine Oil
    • Hassles of Running Generators on Gasoline
    • Using Gasoline Preservative
    • Ethanol-Free Premium Gasoline
    • Rotating Gas Supply
  9. Safe and Legal Generator Connections
    • Transfer Switches
    • GenerLink Device
  10. Conclusion

How to Power Through Extended Power Outages with a Generator


As a homeowner, one of the best investments you can make is purchasing a generator for backup power. During electrical grid failures and blackouts, having a reliable source of electricity can keep your lights on, internet working, and essential appliances running. However, it's crucial to prepare for longer-term outages that may extend beyond a few days. This article will guide you on how to ensure your generator remains operational for extended periods, providing uninterrupted power for weeks or even months.

Why Buy a Generator?

Before delving into the details of long-term generator power, let's understand why buying a generator is essential. Power outages can occur due to various reasons, such as severe weather conditions, equipment failures, or even scheduled maintenance. With a generator, you can continue to power essential appliances, stay connected, and maintain a certain level of comfort during these outages.

The Importance of Backup Power

Back in the day, power outages were an inconvenience that people had to tolerate. However, in today's highly connected world, losing power means losing access to crucial services like internet connectivity, communication, and even medical devices in some cases. Having a generator ensures that you can still operate these vital services and maintain a sense of normalcy during blackouts.

The Challenges of Extended Outages

While a generator provides short-term relief during power outages, longer-term blackouts present unique challenges. Running out of fuel becomes a significant concern, especially if you cannot leave your property due to blocked roads or limited fuel availability. Therefore, it's crucial to have a plan and the necessary resources to keep your generator operational even during prolonged outages.

Three Key Features for Long-Term Generator Power

To ensure your generator can power through extended outages successfully, three essential features must be in place. These features include a multi-fuel design, a supply of stabilized gasoline and engine oil, and access to propane or natural gas. Let's explore each of these features in detail.

Feature Number One: A Multi-Fuel Generator

Most portable generators operate on gasoline, which is suitable for short-term power needs. However, relying solely on gasoline can become problematic if supply shortages occur during extended outages. Multi-fuel generators, on the other hand, offer the flexibility to run on various types of fuel, providing more options for keeping your generator operational with less uncertainty.

Dual-fuel generators, for example, can burn both gasoline and propane. They come equipped with a carburetor for gasoline and a hose and regulator for connecting to a propane cylinder. This bypasses the need for gasoline, which can be challenging to obtain during outages. Propane is an excellent alternative, as it never goes bad and requires less maintenance compared to gasoline.

Tri-fuel generators take resilience a step further by running on gasoline, propane, and natural gas. With the ability to connect to your home's existing natural gas supply, you can enjoy continuous operation without the need for refueling. Natural gas is also more cost-effective and never goes bad, making it an attractive fuel option for long-term generator power.

Feature Number Two: A Supply of Fresh Fuel and Engine Oil

Running a generator on gasoline can present challenges, especially during extended outages. Besides the need to have enough fuel to last for several days, gasoline has a limited shelf life. Regular gasoline starts to lose its ability to burn cleanly after just six months of storage. To maintain the freshness of your gasoline supply, it's advisable to add a gasoline preservative when filling your fuel cans.

Using ethanol-free premium gasoline also helps extend the shelf life of your fuel. Ethanol, commonly found in regular gasoline, causes it to go bad faster. Premium gasoline without ethanol is the best option for storage. To ensure you're using ethanol-free gasoline, refer to the website for an updated list of ethanol-free gasolines.

Rotating your gas supply is essential to avoid using stale fuel. Label your gas cans with the date they were filled and use the fuel in your vehicles regularly. After 12 to 18 months, replace the fuel in the cans with fresh gasoline. By following these practices, you can maintain a reliable and fresh supply of fuel for your generator.

Feature Number Three: Safe and Legal Generator Connections to Your Home

As the duration of a power outage increases, it becomes crucial to have your generator power delivered to specific circuits in your home. Simply relying on extension cords for essential appliances is not practical or safe in the long run. Instead, you need to have hardware installed in your home to ensure a safe and legal connection.

One option is a transfer switch, which provides power to selected circuits in your home. This device allows you to energize the circuits you need during an outage, providing a seamless transition of power. Alternatively, you can consider a GenerLink device, a proprietary hardware installed between your electrical meter and meter base. GenerLink allows your generator to connect directly to your home's electrical system, eliminating the need for a transfer switch.


In conclusion, owning a generator is a wise investment for any homeowner. However, to ensure your generator can power through extended outages, it's essential to have a multi-fuel design, a supply of fresh fuel and engine oil, and safe and legal generator connections in place. By considering these key features and implementing the necessary preparations, you'll have a generator that lives up to its potential, providing reliable power for an extended period when you need it the most.

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