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I love this *****
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Some (if not many) of you have found a need to use a generator to keep your refrigerators and freezers going during power outages. I'm trying to come up with a plan. Should the power go out, is it necessary to run your generator 24/7 or should you run it in intervals? As long as the refrigerator and freezer remains shut, food will stay cold for quite awhile but I don't want to risk anything going bad. I also don't want to waste generator fuel unnecessarily.

What do those of you with experience or knowledge have to say?
 

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Adaptable.
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I'll first say that we use a propane fridge, but can offer a bit of advice that I learned at the ranch and at moms house.

First, keep you freezer full! My mom fills old milk jugs with water to this effect, when the power goes out, the more thermal mass you have in there, the longer it will stay cold.

If you have sufficent mass, you could get by running the genny a few hours a day, but you should also know that a fridge uses way more power bringing the temperature down than maintaining it, so you might use more gas in 6 hours than you would in 24 if you keep it turned on. Depends ok your fridge.

Get a kill-a-watt to test the power consumption of your fridge and freezer, should give you a rough idea of how much strain it will put on your gen set.
 

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I'm keeping my eye on you
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During prolonged power outages, I run my generator for 1 hour, off for 2, and then again for an hour...., and so on. We time preparing our meals, showers, etc. around the times we have it running.

Keep the freezer full like Guerrilla says, and the milk jugs of water are an excellent idea. Draping blankets over the freezer will also help insulate it in a prolonged outage.

Open the freezer door as few times as possible. Keeping food in your freezer arranged by type (chicken on one shelf, beef on one, etc.) will help keep down the time you have the door open to get the food you need.

I converted my generator to dual fuel (gasoline and propane). During periodic outages, I use gasoline. If it gets to be a prolonged outage, I use propane. The propane burns cleaner and will store indefinately, as opposed to the gasoline.
 

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Freedom Is Not Free
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This week was my first experience with a genny. Used it intermitantly to keep fridge and freezer cold. A good addition to this is a fridge thermometer to monitor temps.
 

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Just A Shadow
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We ran our generator to keep the refrigerator and freezer cold during hurricane induced power outages. We powered them until they cycled off, opened them infrequently, and would power them back on usually 6 hours later or first thing in the morning.. The food never spoiled during our 5-6 day outage.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Great tips...thanks for the help.
 

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Just A Shadow
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There is no need to run a generator 24/7. Make a power use plan.

When the hurricanes hit we lost power for several days. I'd run the generator in the morning. We'd run the well pump to draw water for the day. Flush toilets, fill 5 gallon buckets for other flushes as needed, water containers for cooking, even cold showers. We could even run both the refrigerator and freezer while doing this so they were chilling from not being on overnight. We'd get the food out we'd need for breakfast, cook it in the microwave or outside grill. We'd charge batteries as the generator ran to chill the refrig and freezer so our radios and cell phones would work. Once the refrig and freezer cycled off we'd power the generator down.

The next time it went on was the evening for the same cycle. Over all it ran less than 4 hours a day max. We probably ran it 2-3 hours a day average.

No need for TV. Listening to the radio gave us the news we needed. When it got dark we went to bed. Wind up clock would wake us. Flashlights and LED lanterns gave us light at night.

We were able to keep clean, eat well, and didn't loose any frozen foods.
 

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it tickles dont it
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every time you open the fridge or freezer it will go up in temp 10-15f.
Plan ahead freeze,move food to coolers, keep the fridge/freeze shut for the most part. 30min-1 hour is all that should be needed to get it back down in temp to hold through.
As Ld said,i wouldn't run a genny for extended times, more of a risk at failure/breakage,then your left with nothing.
 

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Using your generator as a power source, all you would need that's shown in this video is the inverter and battery bank. The charge controllers work on the DC side of the equation- not necessary for using a genset to charge your batteries- just buy a DECENT inverter that will act as a charger.

If you already have the genset, a set of 6 decent golf cart batteries might set you back $400.00 and a DR1512 Xantrex inverter might set you back another $600. or so (shop around). Wiring, battery interconnects and misc. might set you back another $150. or so. For a little over a grand you could have an off grid system.

Later as money permitted, you could start adding solar panels or wind turbines as a DC source.

Lowdown3
 

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We keep our deep freeze in the basement. It is usually 50 degrees down there except on hot humid days in the summer where the humidity will raise the basement temp by 15 degrees. But that's Iowa. The freezer doesn't use much power to keep the stuff in it frozen because of the low temp in the basement. We are going to put another frige down there at some point.

The milk jugs full of water is an awsome idea. ANd it is true it takes more power to initially freeze food stuffs then it does to keep them frozen. Placing your frige or freezer in a cool place will keep it from using power or struggling to re-freeze items.

My mother had a deep freeze on her porch, one summer when she lost power for awhile and had to remove all the contents. When the power came back she plugged it back in and because it was summer and so hot and the freezer had been off for so long when she put new food in it to be frozen it burned out the motor trying to freeze it all.

Heat is bad for appliances. So if you got a deepfreeze putting it in the basement is good. That way if you loose power if won't take much energy to power it or it can stay longer without loosing your food.

-Cade
 

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trois pour cent
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I ran my fridge/freezer 4 hours on and 4 hours off during the day and off entirely during the night for most of the 12 days without electricity post Gustav. The last 4 days it turned much hotter and I had to run it longer.
Did not loose any food.
I have twin Honda 2000's and ran them in rotation and together only during times when high power required. Also powered a small wall unit AC at night in bedroom to sleep and a slight larger in living room during days. Used only about 4-5 gallons per day as they are very efficient. My neighbors were burning 5-8 gallons every 8 hours.
 

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CaptAmerica
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Harbor Freight sells solar collectors that will help with lights.
We store Super Unleaded gas for our Generator. It will run 1/2 hour longer with super.
Super tends to not break down as fast as regular 87 octane.
I am trying to find a better muffler for my Honda generator. The Honda store is no help.
I will have to improvise.
Ca
 

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Even though I have twin 8 KW multifuel generators and a 4.5 KW dedicated to refridgerator use, I still run them at intervals. It seems that everybody else does also. We need the higher outputs for the well pump and for a septic system pump. The higher run time of the 8KW gererators is nice because they do not require the frequent refueling that the smaller generators require. Even though they can run for 13 hours (on gasoline), run times of 2 or 3 hours four times a day is about average. The small generator is run about the same to keep the refridgerator cold. The smaller generator is a backup to the twins and is also a fuel saving measure. With a woodstove and Aladdin lamps, long run times are not required,
 

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Just A Shadow
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Harbor Freight sells solar collectors that will help with lights.
We store Super Unleaded gas for our Generator. It will run 1/2 hour longer with super.
Super tends to not break down as fast as regular 87 octane.
I am trying to find a better muffler for my Honda generator. The Honda store is no help.
I will have to improvise.
Ca
I haven't had any luck finding a quieter muffler for my generator. When the hurricanes came through I could hear other generators running that were a mile off or more.

I'm thinking about building a place with sand bag or earthen walls 4-5 feet high to put the generator. I'd probably leave the top open but I'm hoping the walls would provide some sound absorption.
 

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Should the power go out, is it necessary to run your generator 24/7 or should you run it in intervals? As long as the refrigerator and freezer remains shut, food will stay cold for quite awhile but I don't want to risk anything going bad. I also don't want to waste generator fuel unnecessarily.

What do those of you with experience or knowledge have to say?
Run the generator for just a few hours with the freezer and fridge plugged in. Take a break, repeat........ One problem, you have to have enough extension cords. :thumb: If you do not have enough extension cords to plug all of your stuff in, you will be swapping cords and increasing your run time. During hurricane Ike, I was one cord short, so I would have to swap the cord between 2 freezers. This caused undue run time on the genny, and stress on me. I had to keep track of how long each freezer had been plugged in.

One option - Run the units over night while you have a fan plugged in to keep you cool while sleeping. Then turn everything off the next morning.

But depending on outside temps, you may have to fire the genny back up during the middle of the day for a couple of hours.

Depending on the load and size of the genny, count on 5 - 10 gallons per day.



I haven't had any luck finding a quieter muffler for my generator. When the hurricanes came through I could hear other generators running that were a mile off or more.
Go to a motocycle shop, get a motocycle muffler and mount it on your genny. Or use a muffler off of a small car.
 

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I love this *****
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Discussion Starter #17
Has anyone ever converted their gasoline generator to propane? I found this site and am thinking about getting a conversion kit.

http://www.propane-generators.com/a-c_kit_list.htm#Briggs%20kit%20prices

For $187.00 I can get what's called a "tri-kit" which will allow the use of gasoline, propane, and natural gas. I will get it if you believe it's a good investment.
 
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Prior to Y2K. I wanted to know or generator needs to keep our home up and running.
We have a typical home fridge, freezer and the usual stuff. We do have our own well, propane for cooking and a Toyostove for heating.
Found that if we ran our 8.5 KW generator for 3 hrs every 12 hrs. We would keep our refridgeration cold, own water needs met and 2 8-D batteries charged to run our Toyostove by using an inverter.
Just got a deal on a 1200 watt generator , still in the box for $150. for easy and cheap applications...........Alaskan.......Dennis....
 

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I'm keeping my eye on you
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Has anyone ever converted their gasoline generator to propane? I found this site and am thinking about getting a conversion kit.

http://www.propane-generators.com/a-c_kit_list.htm#Briggs%20kit%20prices

For $187.00 I can get what's called a "tri-kit" which will allow the use of gasoline, propane, and natural gas. I will get it if you believe it's a good investment.
I converted my 6500 Generac to gasoline/propane. That is the company listed in your post I got my kit from and it was very easy to do. The kit came with a collar that had a hose connector that went between the carb and the air filter which was designed to supply vacuum to open the propane regulator. It seemed pretty cumbersome so I drilled and tapped the plastic spacer the carb mounted on and screwed in a hose barb for the vacuum connection. That made a much cleaner installation.

I use gasoline initially and if it is going to be a prolonged outage, I hook up a 60 lb propane tank and use propane until the outage is over (or I run out of propane). I store 160 lbs. in 60 and 20 lb. tanks.
 

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I hear the bagpipes
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I haven't had any luck finding a quieter muffler for my generator. When the hurricanes came through I could hear other generators running that were a mile off or more.

I'm thinking about building a place with sand bag or earthen walls 4-5 feet high to put the generator. I'd probably leave the top open but I'm hoping the walls would provide some sound absorption.
Get a few hay bails and stack them at least 2 high around the running generator in a circle to muffle noise, careful not to set the bails on fire with hot exhuast.
 
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