Relearned two important lessons… and learned a new one
This past Saturday, we had some storms come thru the area. Didn’t appear to be anything unusual for this area. However a microburst hit a section of Memphis… a section of Memphis where my 100 year old mother-in-law lives. That microburst snapped & uprooted huge trees in a several block area, taking down power lines with them. Her power lines to the house snapped & were laying in the yard. The tree that took them down hit another house. To make it even worse, the temps were going to drop to around 20 on Sunday night.
So I loaded up my truck with all sorts of extension cords, tools, saws, portable rechargeable lighting, solar generator, 3 forty pound LP tanks and my dual fuel generator. This prepper was off to rescue the needy. 🙂 Now my generator, as discussed in another thread, is setup where a thick cable runs between the generator and a receptacle on the outside of my house. Obviously that would not help me here, as I was taking the generator elsewhere. But I was smart enough to have purchased another long, thick cable that connects to the same port on the generator but has a 4 receptacle box at the end. I thought such a cable would be a great way to bring electricity into another structure & then branch off of that with extension cords. And it was. Here is a pic.
So I get to her house, hook the generator to an LP tank, run the above cable into the house & then branch off of that to run some lights, the refrigerator/freezer, coffee pot, microwave, TV. and 3 portable electric heaters. The generator starts perfectly (electric start) and runs all Saturday evening and Sunday morning. Once I felt that that LP tank was getting pretty low, I switched to another LP tank and got the generator back up and running. All is good… until the generator starts sputtering and shuts off. What the heck? Hit the start switch and we are back in business, until this happens again in around 10-15 minutes. Damn. I do this a few more times & decide to switch to the other full tank. Starts beautifully and within a few minutes… same problem.
I’m beginning to wonder if I got some bad LP gas. These 3 tanks were filled at different times. One was filled by itself and then a couple of weeks later, I filled the other two. So to verify my assumption, I put the first tank back on & the generator ran perfectly. Two tanks have bad LP gas. I didn’t know you could get bad LP gas but sure looks like I did. So the plan was to take the now empty tank & one of the full to get refilled… in Memphis on a Sunday, the day after a holiday. U-Haul fills LP tanks, they are open on Sunday, & there is a store a few miles away. Yep, they are open but they don’t have LP gas for some reason… but they tell us another U-Haul store a few miles away has LP gas. So we drive there… and they don’t have LP gas either but another store further away does. OK, we learned our lesson and told them to call that store to verify they had the gas. Nope… no gas there. And we couldn’t find any other location open on a Sunday.
First lesson relearned. Crap happens! Sometimes your best laid plans often go awry.
Second lesson relearned. Be flexible and adapt. So how was I flexible & how did I adapt? If you remember, my generator is a dual fuel model. It can operate on LP gas or gasoline. My best laid plans were to use LP gas only, as it burns very clean & won’t foul up the ignition system like gasoline will. It is also safer to transport. It also stores long term with any problem. Thankfully I’m a prepper & understand we have to be flexible in a crisis… so I spent the extra money on a dual fuel generator. So now I ran up to an auto parts store, picked up a few 5 gallon gasoline containers, filled them up, filled the tank on the generator, flipped the generator switch from LP gas to gasoline, hit the start button… and we were back in business. The generator ran perfectly all night with the low at 20 and ran perfectly today until the power came back on at noon.
It never occurred to me LP gas could be bad. Lesson learned.