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Author Topic: Advice would be appreciated (power/generator question)  (Read 1336 times)

Offline osubuckeye4

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Advice would be appreciated (power/generator question)
« on: November 15, 2012, 11:19:34 AM »
NOTE: If this should be the energy subforum feel free to move it mods. I feel it's more of a general prep question though, so that is why I put it here.

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I know that there are a TON of threads on generators, but my situation/question is a bit more specific so I figured I'd start a new thread. I'll try to provide as much detail as possible. Any and all help is appreciated and if more information is needed feel free to ask.


So, here is my general quesiton:

I'm pretty good with most of my preps, but the one really major area I am lacking in is power/energy.

I want to figure out the best way of going about having a reliable power source on hand if SHTF and there is some kind of disaster that knocks out electricty and/or gas.


Here are my specific details and the challenges I face:

The biggest challenge is space. Unlike a lot of other preppers, I don't have a shed or basement or large storage area where I can toss a generator and plenty of gas to power it, and, securely lock it away for emergencies.

I live in an 800 sq. foot, 2 bedroom condo with a wife and daughter (infant). We have no yard space and no porch area.

We do have a storage unit, but it is extremely small and it's currently just about filled up to the brim with all of my fishing/camping supplies as well as my wife's holiday decorations (before anyone suggests, she would NOT be okay with ditching all her decorations to store things... it's a battle I could try to fight, but I would lose). Even if the decorations were tossed, another concern is that the stroage area is not very secure. If I tossed an expensive generator in my area, it would be an immediate target for theft. Basically I just keep stuff that I can put in unmarked boxes and I put all of the expensive stuff (fishing/camping stuff) at the bottom of the pile so it would take someone a good 5-10 minutes to dig through relative junk to get to it, so far that has worked.

My issue is that space is at a definite premium in our place so we can't house a large generator as there is just not the space available to do so.

Does anyone have any other solutions?

Right now, if there were a disaster that knocked power out my family could still eat because I have a camp stove, plenty of sterno, and a healthy amount of canned goods. We also have plenty of high quality blankets, so while it wouldn't be ideal to be huddled up under them, we could definitely survive. I have flashlights and tons of batteries, so light would not be a problem, my wife is a candle fanatic so we're covered at both ends there. We also have 30 gallons of water stored up in our bedroom closet just in case there is ever a true emergency, so water wouldn't be an issue (unless we were talking about weeks without fresh water)


The real issue is generating power. I've thought about it and I just don't know how to get around it.

Again, any help/suggestions would be great. If there are smaller generators on the market that are reliable that someone could recommend I would definitely be open to purchasing one. I have just heard that most of the smaller generators are unreliable and/or inefficient (then again, this is information that is pretty old so it could be outdated).

Thanks in advance.

Offline ID_Joker

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Re: Advice would be appreciated (power/generator question)
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2012, 11:42:03 AM »
I don't personally have one, but I have heard very good things about the little Honda and Yamaha generators (same kinds Jack and Steve mentioned on teh generator episode of the podcast.)  They're pretty small; you could likely fit one in a closet although it still leaves you with a fuel storage issue.

Another question though....even if you have a generator....without a porch or any yard space, do you have a safe place to run it without endangering your family with CO?  (Same for the camp stove!)

Offline Cordovil

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Re: Advice would be appreciated (power/generator question)
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2012, 11:45:00 AM »
I recently bought a generator/inverter (first one I have ever owned), and recently went through nearly 2 weeks without electricity / heat / hot water.  So that's the perspective that I'm coming from in looking at your situation.

First off, it sounds like you are prepared in terms of:
- food
- means for cooking your food (although, please evaluate how long you could go on your sterno supply; could you do 1 month?)
- water
- lights (although I would suggest you look at additional things besides flashlights, such as one of these LED lanterns http://www.amazon.com/Rayovac-Sportsman-LED-Lantern-SE3DLNA/dp/B0018S4XIS)

So when you say "The real issue is generating power." it makes me think -- well, let's look at what need you are trying to address with power.

You mentioned huddling under blankets, so obviously heat is a concern.  I will say that, in my experience, a generator would not be able to do much for you in terms of heat.  It's true that you could run an electric oil-filled radiator space heater on LOW setting via your generator, but it's not the only option.   Have you considered an emergency propane heater (like this one http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Heater-MH18B-Portable-Propane/dp/B0002WRHE8/)  It can run on 1 lb bottles of propane, which you can probably store some in your condo and more in your storage space with your camping gear.  I have one, and it works well.  There is also the option for a kerosene heater.  But bottom line, I don't think that heat is one of the main things that a generator would get you, and you can maybe address heat in some other way.

Hot water is another thing you might lose in a power outage.  Again, a generator probably wouldn't be the first place to look to solve this problem either.  I'm addressing this need right now post-Sandy, and so I'll be able to comment more on this once I have figured out a good solution.  But ultimately, I don't think a generator is your solution to hot water either.

So what would that "power" help you with?  Well, I was a generator-skeptic before, but after nearly two weeks without power I am convinced that a generator is worth having.  Lights, TV/DVD player, recharging portable electronics and cell phones, computers and internet (if your connection is still working), keeping your fridge/freezer cold enough to use up your food . . . having "power" for all of these things is a big help for a long-term power outage.

Two thoughts come to mind as to what your solution might be:

1. Maybe the most practical way to address your power needs is using an inverter connected to your car battery, as Steven Harris discussed with Jack in a two-part interview back in July 2012.  The basic idea is that you can use your car as a "generator" to run up to 800 watts or so (idling your engine) which is generally enough to power your fridge/freezer, lights, recharging stuff, etc.  Look up those episodes and listen to them if you haven't already.

That said, having lived in a condo myself at one time, I can appreciate maybe the lack of privacy, nearby parking, or other issues with using your car with an inverter to supply your power needs.  So another option that comes to mind:

2. Yamaha and Honda make some great little generator/inverters that are small, portable, quiet, and fuel efficient.  I have a 2000 watt version from Yamaha (EF2000iS) but they also make a 1000 watt version:

http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-EF1000iS-4-Stroke-Generator-Compliant/dp/B002RWK9LY

If you have ANY relatively private outdoor space you can use to run this thing (patio?  balcony?  rooftop?) with an extension cord into your home, even for a couple hours a day, you could address some of your power needs this way.

Also, I believe Steven Harris is planning on providing an interview with Jack in December, dedicated to the idea of a battery bank.  The idea, as I understand it, is that you run your generator for a few hours per day, or whatever you need it for, and while you do so you recharge a bank of large marine batteries (or something like that) and then shut down the generator and run off of the power from those batteries. 

This might be exactly the best solution for you.  Even if you cannot use your car as a generator due to issues with your logistical setup, and even if you cannot run a generator anywhere outside of your condo, perhaps if you acquired a battery bank and a small portable generator (like the 1000 watt Yamaha inverter) you could take your generator and your battery bank outside, drive or walk/wheel the stuff to a location (like a parking lot) where you could run your little Yamaha for a couple of hours to charge up the battery bank, then move everything back in to your condo and get your "power" from your battery bank.

The feasibility of this idea will become more clear after Jack and Steven Harris educate us, of course.  I am just thinking out loud. 

These are the thoughts that come to mind at the moment. 

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: Advice would be appreciated (power/generator question)
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2012, 12:49:38 PM »
2. Yamaha and Honda make some great little generator/inverters that are small, portable, quiet, and fuel efficient.  I have a 2000 watt version from Yamaha (EF2000iS) but they also make a 1000 watt version:
I second this. There are expensive but they kick butt. Small and quiet and sip fuel.
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Offline osubuckeye4

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Re: Advice would be appreciated (power/generator question)
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2012, 02:56:31 PM »
Thank you for the responses, there are some great ideas in here.

I don't personally have one, but I have heard very good things about the little Honda and Yamaha generators (same kinds Jack and Steve mentioned on teh generator episode of the podcast.)  They're pretty small; you could likely fit one in a closet although it still leaves you with a fuel storage issue.

Another question though....even if you have a generator....without a porch or any yard space, do you have a safe place to run it without endangering your family with CO?  (Same for the camp stove!)

I do live on a first floor unit so it would be possible for me to set the generator up just outside my place and run the cords through a (slightly) opened window.

Storing gasoline is another question/problem. There is really nowhere in my place that I can safely store gasoline. I could put it on shelves in my walk-in closet, but the wife is not going to want to go for that and honestly I'm not a big fan of it because the last thing I need is a fire starting and my place exploding because there are dozens of gallons of gasoline sitting in my closet that ignite.

The camp stove should be fine because I can always just walk outside and use it. Worst case (say I was completely snowed in), one of my windows has a very large ledge that my stove fits on and I could cook out of with a window open if it was necessary. That being said, we do have a CO detector in our place and we would not be running the stove any longer than was necessary to make our meals.


I will say that at the time I'm definitely not stocked up with enough sterno to last a month (I don't think there is enough space in my place to store that much sterno), but I could easily make it a weekend and if need be we should reasonably be able to stretch it out to last us a full week.

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This might be exactly the best solution for you.  Even if you cannot use your car as a generator due to issues with your logistical setup, and even if you cannot run a generator anywhere outside of your condo, perhaps if you acquired a battery bank and a small portable generator (like the 1000 watt Yamaha inverter) you could take your generator and your battery bank outside, drive or walk/wheel the stuff to a location (like a parking lot) where you could run your little Yamaha for a couple of hours to charge up the battery bank, then move everything back in to your condo and get your "power" from your battery bank.

That's a great idea and is probably what I'm going to have to look into. Probably not going to be able to do it right now due to the cost (diapers and formula are expensive!), but down the road it's a definite possiblity.

As I'm writing all of this I remember that one of my neighbors that I'm on pretty good terms with has a generator (I've seen him using it to do woodworking projects outside his unit). He's the maintenance guy for the association of condos so he has a whole shed full of tools and supplies at his disposal.

I could always talk to him/set up an arragement where he could have access to some of my prep supplies/equipment in exchange for some use of his generator.



Sidenote: Condo living is great in a lot of ways (I don't need to mow lawns or shovel snow), but it completely sucks in other ways (no space to garden, limited storage space). To anyone thinking of buying a condo, definitely think about all the pros cons and weight them out before purchasing. I didn't really do a ton of planning (then again, I was 24 and just out of college at the time and single).

Offline Cordovil

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Re: Advice would be appreciated (power/generator question)
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2012, 04:00:24 PM »
I do live on a first floor unit so it would be possible for me to set the generator up just outside my place and run the cords through a (slightly) opened window.

That's good.  You could run a little Yamaha EF1000iS for a few hours each day if you needed to.

Quote
Storing gasoline is another question/problem. There is really nowhere in my place that I can safely store gasoline. I could put it on shelves in my walk-in closet, but the wife is not going to want to go for that and honestly I'm not a big fan of it because the last thing I need is a fire starting and my place exploding because there are dozens of gallons of gasoline sitting in my closet that ignite.

I understand that concern.  I will say that these inverters are very fuel efficient.  On my Yamaha EF2000iS, running at the average load I was using (which was probably at about 1000 watts), I was getting up to 8 hours of run time on a gallon of gasoline.  And we really only felt the need to run it in the evenings, from about dusk until we went to bed.

Under your scenario, you probably wouldn't even be running it as much as I was (whether you are outside somewhere charging up your battery bank, or whether you are running it outside of your front door).  So you would probably not even go through a gallon of fuel a day.  You could probably store 5 gallons of gasoline in a very solid metal container, tightly sealed so that there is no evaporation and no fumes; maybe you would be comfortable with that.  At least, perhaps, storing it in your storage area.  That would be a week's worth of fuel for your basic needs.

True, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, getting gas was difficult/impossible for a while, but you would at least have a week to work with.

Do you have an electric stove/oven?  If so, I would strongly recommend enough sterno to cook for at least a week.  I'm coming off of a nearly 2 week power outage, so maybe I'm paranoid, but a weekend's worth seems too small of a supply.

I understand the constraints you are under, as I used to live in a condo once.  Do what you can with what you have.

Offline Datman01

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Re: Advice would be appreciated (power/generator question)
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2012, 08:53:49 PM »
Just a thought, how long are you intending on staying in this condo?  Don't take this the wrong way, if you look to get into a house in the future where you would have room for a whole house unit generator.  For the time being the Yamaha may be your best bet to do certain things but not gonna be a total solution.  Ohio weather is about as unpredictable as anything so you may luck out and not need it for long or could be for weeks.

Offline Louisiana Suvivor

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Re: Advice would be appreciated (power/generator question)
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2012, 09:27:44 PM »
the trouble truck for our electric shop has one of these small honda genny's. people may have already linked it but i've personally worked with it with porta-bands, power drills, and threading pony's for my work. we do industrial electrical construction mostly. the big nasty dirty dangerous kind. this little thing is awesome. i can lift it with one hand when it has a full tank and it lasts a long time. we usually only work 8 hr days and we top it off every morning so i'd be lying if i told you how long it runs but we do draw a lot of amperage off it in one work day. a lot more than you would if you were say, bugging-in conserving energy

https://www.google.com/shopping/product/2805620963445458063?q=honda%20quiet%20generator&hl=en&sqi=2&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.&fp=41331e6ea1e5fca3&bpcl=38625945&biw=1440&bih=809&tch=1&ech=1&psi=xrGlUJWtLYSc8QSJkYHwBQ.1353036236647.3&sa=X&ei=1rGlUKDGM9TC0AG18YDgBw&ved=0CIEBEPMCMAg
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Offline LdMorgan

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Re: Advice would be appreciated (power/generator question)
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2012, 09:43:34 PM »
Have you considered propane as an emergency/alternative fuel? Those barbeque-sized tanks are easy to work with and are not unusual even with condos.

Propane refrigerators are available. They are used in many RVs. They run on electricity until you go off-grid, then they can switch over to propane.

Propane camping lanterns, stoves, and heaters are also available.

Small propane bottles are easily recharged with a special fitting that costs about $15.00.

You might consider renting a very small storage unit to store several tanks until they are needed. That could be good for storing any other stuff that may be hogging your condo storage space at the moment, too.

Lastly, a super-small propane generator (500-1000 Watts or so) could pick up your special power needs such as battery charging, running sewing machines, etc..

Propane is normally cheaper and safer than gasoline.

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Offline osubuckeye4

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Re: Advice would be appreciated (power/generator question)
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2012, 10:05:03 AM »
Just a thought, how long are you intending on staying in this condo?  Don't take this the wrong way, if you look to get into a house in the future where you would have room for a whole house unit generator.  For the time being the Yamaha may be your best bet to do certain things but not gonna be a total solution.  Ohio weather is about as unpredictable as anything so you may luck out and not need it for long or could be for weeks.


I know that my screenname suggests otherwise, but I'm in Chicago. (I did graduate from The Ohio State University though)  :)

Sorry, just wanted to get that out of the way first. Your point remains the same though as Chicago and Columbus have pretty much the same weather patthers, just a day or two apart.

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How long do I plan on staying in my condo. Good question!

The initial plan was to live here for 5 years. That being said, that plan obviously failed miserably.

I bought back in 2006 at just about THE worst time one could buy. Looking back on it I could blame my parents for telling me to buy and explaining what a "great" investment owning property was... I could blame a buddy I was going to rent with who ended up bailling and moving out of state... but it's ultimately my fault. I didn't really do a lot of research into the market/bubble and I'm paying the price for it now.


Excuses aside. I did luck out in the fact that I bought well within my means (I was approved for $250,000 but only spent $135,000 on my place), but the value of my condo has still decreased signifficantly.

The main issue I'm facing right now is that NO ONE has sold their units. The only "sales" were repossessions/foreclosures that "sold" for 20% of what I paid for my condo 6 years ago.

I've tried everything I can think of to get out of here (short of just walking away and destroying my credit), including:

- Re-financing into a lower rate and renting: Couldn't refinance. I went through a mortgage broker and he did everything he could, but Fannie Mae sent an appraiser out and due tot he fact that the only "sales" were foreclosures, they valued my place at a whopping $26,000. 

My place isn't worth $26,000... eappraisal has it listed at $92,000 (which I don't think I could get) and Zillow has it listed at around $75,000 (which I probably could get, but I would be eating around $30,000 which I can't do right now).

So, the re-financing is out the window... even with HARP2, not possible.

- I looked into renting my place, but I'm completely undercut on price by all of the investors who swooped in over the last couple of years and bought units for $25,000-$40,000. They are renting for about half the cost the I could rent for which would allow me to break even.

I could take a loss from month to month, but I'm not at that point yet. Our place is big enough for myself, my wife and our daughter... especailly when she's an infant. As she gets older we'll definitely look to move and HOPEFULLY the housing market will have rebounded. At the worst, hopefully some people will have legitimately sold their unit and given a true assessment of value to my unit.


The answer to your question is... I have no idea how much longer I will be here.

I have money saved up, I have excellent credit, but I can't eat a $30,000 loss on my place AND put 20% down on a new place.


I have friends who have walked away from their homes and they keep telling me to do it and say I'm an idiot not too... I just can't do it though. I signed my name on the mortgage contract, I agreed to the terms, and I'll stick it out.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2012, 10:10:10 AM by osubuckeye4 »

Offline osubuckeye4

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Re: Advice would be appreciated (power/generator question)
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2012, 10:14:30 AM »
Have you considered propane as an emergency/alternative fuel? Those barbeque-sized tanks are easy to work with and are not unusual even with condos.

Propane would be possible, but I would have to upgrade/replace a lot of my existing materials to accomodate it.

Goal 1 is really to move out of the condo and into a home (further from the city) with a yard that I can garden in and more storage. I think that upgrading fridges and stoves would cut too deeply into my budget.


It's a very good idea and if things continue down the path they are on and I'm "stuck" in my condo for the long term it's something I will definitely consider.


Portable generator (did some price pointing, looks like they range from $600-$1000) seems like a much more afforadable option.

Not something I'm in the position to rush to the store and buy today... but it's something to potentially plan/budget for.

Online NWPilgrim

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Re: Advice would be appreciated (power/generator question)
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2012, 02:56:18 PM »
A few comments to consider:

  • Be aware of "modified sine wave" inverters limitations.  I bought one of these since they are much cheaper ($60/800W versus $200-$300). Rather than the pure sine wave of AC provided by utilities the modified sine wave is  rectangular.  This can be hard on battery chargers, laptops, cell phones, etc.  It is more suited to direct power for lights, refrigerator, maybe motors, etc.  So just be sure you know what it is OK to operate.  At the low cost I think it is worth having on hand.  I have not chanced using it yet for any of the unsuitable items listed in the user manual, but perhaps  someone who has will chime in on how serious this warning is or is not.
  • The inverter generators are one of the best options from what I have researched.  A SIL has one and he says it is very quiet and runs all day on a gallon. From what I have read they also produce pure sine wave AC. They are about twice the cost of regular generators, though much smaller and fuel efficient.
  • Propane generators are about the same size as regular gas generators but the fuel is stored in sturdy tanks than can be had from 1# to 100# or much more.  I store about 30 gals of gas in steel cans in my garage and it does make me a bit concerned.  I am thinking of an outdoor LP tank.
Regarding the condo situation.  I applaud your honor to live by the contract you signed.  I suggest though that you keep in the back of your mind a plan B to bail if necessary.  The real estate bubble and TARP bailout were MASSIVE lies and organized theft of the public by banks and govt.  Several years ago I thought the same way you do.  But after TARP and bailouts and banks STILL pushing inflated loans to people with no credit I have no feeling of obligations to them. None.  I will abide by my mortgage as long as I have my job and can afford it. 

But the day I get laid off or other economic factors destroy my ability to make those payments without taking food off the table I will quit mortgage payments, live as long as I can there and find a cheaper rental or camp out if necessary.  If I walk away from my house (bought for $190K, owe $140K, was appraised at $320K in 2008, now worth $200K) I will not have one guilt feeling. 

The real estate market is not coming back for a very long time.  Even if your condo value rises to more realistic level you will still be underwater and it will most likely continue to fall back.  When the economy crash accelerates then mortgages will be either very expensive or impossible to get.  How much is a condo or house worth if everyone has to pay cash up front for it?  A fraction of its value of when near homeless can get a $200K mortgage.
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Offline defib

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Re: Advice would be appreciated (power/generator question)
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2012, 10:27:23 PM »
I have had really good experiences with deep cycle golf cart batteries wired in banks of four hooked to inverters.  Both banks I bought I got at a super discount.  Golf Cart dealers apparently slow down in the winter months, at least here in WV, so they made me a really good deal on a set of four 12 volt batteries.  They are US Battery brand GC batteries with an Amp Hour Capacity in the 220 AH range.  I saved about 30% off what I see them priced at on the internet.  On another occasion I was in a auto parts chain store and struck a conversation with the manager about deep cycle batteries.  As it turned out, he considered a battery "stale" after it had been on the store shelf for more than 6 - 12 months.  I picked up 4 - 6 volt golf cart batteries that were 12 months old for about 40% off plus he waived the core charge. I got them for well under half price. They were "stale" but he tested each one for me and they read out fine on their test machine. It's true they are "AutoCraft" brand, but for powering a few essentials to keep the kids from going crazy, they have been fantastic.  I even used them for running the fridge for an hour in the morning and a couple more in the evening.  For my purposes, they have been a real bargain.  After buying the necessary battery cables and a consumer grade 1200 watt Peak branded inverter, I have about $430.00 in that system.   And the best part was that the wife didn't even have to wake me up to plug in an extension cord and flip the switch on the inverter.  I had showed her how to do it and she was able to get it up and running while I slept in the morning of the Sandy induced Appalachian Blizzard.   We went ahead and charged the batteries after two full days use by firing up a generator but by then I was awake and ready to pitch in, LOL.  If you can afford them, batteries are a real good way to get the family powered up when the lights go out.  Just put the effort into shopping around for the real deep cycles, dont wast your time or money on the common "dual purpose" deep cycle marine batteries from Wal-Mart.  I have a couple of them as well and while they help out, they just aren't worth what you pay for them when you consider how heap you can get into some real deep cycles if you go out and just talk to some folks.  One other tid-bit of free advice, I spoke to the owner of a nearby golf course and he was adamant that Trojan brand batteries have out performed every other brand he has used in his golf carts.  If ever buy a group of batteries for fultime use, I will try to go with Trojans based on that suggestion, even though the Golf Cart dealer said the difference between my US Batteries and the Trojans was negligible.
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Offline osubuckeye4

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Re: Advice would be appreciated (power/generator question)
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2012, 09:06:25 AM »
Regarding the condo situation.  I applaud your honor to live by the contract you signed.  I suggest though that you keep in the back of your mind a plan B to bail if necessary.  The real estate bubble and TARP bailout were MASSIVE lies and organized theft of the public by banks and govt.  Several years ago I thought the same way you do.  But after TARP and bailouts and banks STILL pushing inflated loans to people with no credit I have no feeling of obligations to them. None.  I will abide by my mortgage as long as I have my job and can afford it. 

But the day I get laid off or other economic factors destroy my ability to make those payments without taking food off the table I will quit mortgage payments, live as long as I can there and find a cheaper rental or camp out if necessary.  If I walk away from my house (bought for $190K, owe $140K, was appraised at $320K in 2008, now worth $200K) I will not have one guilt feeling. 

The real estate market is not coming back for a very long time.  Even if your condo value rises to more realistic level you will still be underwater and it will most likely continue to fall back.  When the economy crash accelerates then mortgages will be either very expensive or impossible to get.  How much is a condo or house worth if everyone has to pay cash up front for it?  A fraction of its value of when near homeless can get a $200K mortgage.


Believe me, I am well aware of the fact that the banks screwed me (and the rest of the honest people in this country).

If it came down to my family eating their meals or me repaying my mortgage to a bank... I'd bail in a heartbeat.

Right now I'm just at the point where I can afford to pay it, I agreed to pay it, so I'll stick it out... even if bailling is the "easier" and/or more lucrative option.



I actually heard through my brother in law that while I don't qualify for HARP2, I might be able to re-finance through the FHA streamline program. If I can knock my payments down a few hundred bucks a month (re-finance at 4% as opposed to 6.25%), it will make things MUCH more manageable and put options like renting my place out back on the table. I might even be able to re-fi at 20 years fixed AND be paying less per month... essentially cutting 4 years of repayment off my loan, as I currently have 24 years left.

I'm crossing my fingers that this will all work out.

That being said, I might have another topic about re-financing in the next few weeks here, depending on how this all plays out. :)

Offline osubuckeye4

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Re: Advice would be appreciated (power/generator question)
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2012, 09:38:48 AM »

Believe me, I am well aware of the fact that the banks screwed me (and the rest of the honest people in this country).

If it came down to my family eating their meals or me repaying my mortgage to a bank... I'd bail in a heartbeat.

Right now I'm just at the point where I can afford to pay it, I agreed to pay it, so I'll stick it out... even if bailling is the "easier" and/or more lucrative option.



I actually heard through my brother in law that while I don't qualify for HARP2, I might be able to re-finance through the FHA streamline program. If I can knock my payments down a few hundred bucks a month (re-finance at 4% as opposed to 6.25%), it will make things MUCH more manageable and put options like renting my place out back on the table. I might even be able to re-fi at 20 years fixed AND be paying less per month... essentially cutting 4 years of repayment off my loan, as I currently have 24 years left.

I'm crossing my fingers that this will all work out.

That being said, I might have another topic about re-financing in the next few weeks here, depending on how this all plays out. :)

I realized I got way off topic there.

Thank you to everyone for the thoughts/suggestions. I definitely have multiple directions that I can look in now, which is WAY better than a few days ago when I started this thread.

Hopefully anyone else who is severely limited by space/storage options can take from the advice provided as well.


Thanks again everyone.  :)

Offline Garandman

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Re: Advice would be appreciated (power/generator question)
« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2012, 12:37:11 PM »
/I spoke to the owner of a nearby golf course and he was adamant that Trojan brand batteries have out performed every other brand he has used in his golf carts.  If ever buy a group of batteries for fultime use, I will try to go with Trojans based on that suggestion, even though the Golf Cart dealer said the difference between my US Batteries and the Trojans was negligible.
Trojan also makes some Sea-Volt batteries for West Marine, Minnkota, etc.

If you don't have room for a battery bank but want to keep cell phones charged, etc, consider one of the automotive jump starter batteries as a source. They're small, fairly cheap, and can be recharged from your car.

After trying another brand and researching what was available, I went with a Clore Jump N Carry 660, which has a 12V plug on the front. They manufacture their own batteries for this purpose.
 

Offline ChEng

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Re: Advice would be appreciated (power/generator question)
« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2012, 09:09:23 PM »
...
I do live on a first floor unit so it would be possible for me to set the generator up just outside my place and run the cords through a (slightly) opened window.
...

Make sure that you have a good bicycle/motorcycle chain and lock so that the genny does not get up and walk away.

...
The biggest challenge is space. Unlike a lot of other preppers, I don't have a shed or basement or large storage area where I can toss a generator and plenty of gas to power it, and, securely lock it away for emergencies.

I live in an 800 sq. foot, 2 bedroom condo with a wife and daughter (infant). We have no yard space and no porch area.

We do have a storage unit, but it is extremely small and it's currently just about filled up to the brim with all ...

Check out FoodStorageMadeEasy's article on Small Spaces Storage Solutions (http://foodstoragemadeeasy.net/2009/01/26/small-spaces-storage-solutions-results/)  There is a ton of information on making efficient use of space in your condo.  A riser for your bed, the crib, the couch, etc and you have a lot more space to store stuff.  Lots of ideas like that there.

Also, Harbor Freight has a very cheap genny (http://www.harborfreight.com/engines-generators/gas-engine-generators/800-rated-watts-900-max-watts-portable-generator-66619.html) which is very tiny and a bit over $100.  When I saw it in the store, I could not believe how small it was - about the size of a 2.5 gallon gas can.  It only provides about 800 watts, but that would be the same as the car/inverter that Cordovil mentioned from Jack's show.  This would not be for a high-quality, permanent solution, but rather a simple, cheap solution; you can certainly do better, but this is low-cost.  I have not bought one yet, so cannot vouch for the quality, but I am interested in getting one when I can.  Anyone have experience with these?

Good luck with your re-financing.
ChEng
"Cap'n, she canna take much more of this...  My poor country 'tis startin ta fall apart!"