Conserving Generator Propane During Extended Power Outages

August 13, 2020 ____ Safety, Home Owners

Power outages are an expected, seasonal occurrence throughout many parts of the US where electric companies’ guesstimated one-day outage can end up a one-week nightmare or longer. Standby propane generators can guard you and your family against power outages, but they do require propane to perform, and some preparedness on your part. Here we’ll discuss how you can manage your propane supply and best avoid getting stuck without propane, especially when faced with a lengthy power outage.

There are 2 key elements in managing your generator and propane usage. First, your generator has a finite source of fuel, limited by your propane tank’s size. The larger the tank, the more propane it can store.  Second, your generator’s fuel expenditure depends on your home’s power demands — higher power demand means increased fuel consumption. Not enough propane to meet fuel demand over the length of time required will ensure your generator runs out before power is restored. Chances are that many others are in the same position as you, so it’s not always possible to just call your propane company for a last-minute delivery. Be forewarned that both during and after a storm, it may take several days for you to receive a delivery. Drivers often come against downed electric lines and trees along with increased customer demand, making it unsafe or impossible to reach you.

To best manage your generator’s propane, be prepared before a storm event occurs, armed with a full tank of propane.  Then when the power goes out, try only using essential appliances and decrease or altogether avoid using nonessential appliances.  For example, turn off lights and equipment not immediately in use, consider using your microwave instead of oven, and adjust the thermostat on your heating and cooling systems. If the weather is mild, you might be able to avoid using heat or the air conditioner altogether. You can also conserve energy by ensuring to run a full load of laundry in cold or warm water, not hot. Conservation measures like these help reduce your overall propane consumption so you have more in reserve.

If you believe the measures above won’t help you last through the outage, consider turning your generator off for a period of time, always following the instructions on your generator’s manual before turning your generator off and back on. If you don’t need power during the day and the weather is mild, you can turn off your generator for a while, then turn it back on later in the day to power essentials like a refrigerator.  Or, turn your generator off at night and start it up in the morning. Ideally, you will manage your propane so it lasts through the outage or until you are able to receive a propane delivery.

At Paraco, we know propane and propane-powered appliances better than anyone, anywhere. Stay safe and prepared! Click Here for more on weather safety and preparedness, or Contact Us any day, any time, all year for everything Propane.

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