Emergency Back Up Power Options

The Modern Homesteading Podcast, Episode 109 – December 11, 2018 – Emergency Back Up Power Options.

On this podcast episode I discuss some possible options to have in place just in case you lose power on your homestead for an extended period of time.





Homestead Updates:

Things are starting to really rock in the winter greenhouse even with temp regularly falling into the teens at night. But it comes with a price!

Pond heaters I purchased this year are working well in the aquaponics system and pond.

Something new at the Homestead Front Porch Facebook Group – Sub Groups.

If you are already looking to start your seed shopping for next year or maybe you are setup to grow food right now consider buying your seeds from Mary’s Heirloom Seeds. They have also partnered with us to offer a 10% discount on purchases over $15 to our Homestead Forum Members.



Main Topic: Emergency Back Up Power Options


Why you probably need a back up power source for your homestead.

  • To keep essential appliances running.
  • To keep the sump pump running.
  • To keep you and your family safe.


Power Source Options:


12 volt DC to AC  Inverter

This is a device you would connect to the battery of you car when the power goes out that you can plug extension cords into which you would then run to house to supply power for appliances, lights, etc.


  • Affordable
  • Simple


  • Requires some time and work after power goes out to supply power to home.
  • You need to idle your vehicle.


800 Watt Inverter

1500 Watt Inverter



Generator Options


Conventional Gas Generator

These generators come in any size you might want from small quiet low power generators to large unit that can power your entire house and property directly through the breaker box.


  • Probably the most affordable option for generators.
  • Fuel is easy to acquire.
  • Generally easy to work on and maintain as well as acquire parts for.



  • Loud
  • Storing gasoline has safety and longevity concerns.


Diesel Generator

Like larger gas units these generators are usually large and can be hooked up to a breaker box to run an entire house and property.


  • Generally a little quieter than a gas engine.
  • Can run longer intervals between maintenance than gas engines.
  • Overall run longer and last longer than gas engines.
  • Fuel is more stable than gasoline for storage.


  • More expensive
  • Even though quieter, still pretty loud.


Propane Generators

These are essentially gasoline generators set up to run on propane so they have many of the advantages and disadvantages of gasoline generators with the main difference being that propane is more easily stored in bulk and very stable for a very long period of time.


Natural Gas 

Like propane these too are essentially gasoline generators set up to run on natural gas. With these generators come one advantage and one disadvantage. If you have natural gas than you basically have and endless supply of constant fuel going to your generator at all times. The disadvantage is that the generator will need to be in a fixed location so you lose the mobility aspect of the unit, if the generator is wired to your breaker box this won’t matter.

As a side note the only issue I can see with using natural gas is if you live in an area prone to earthquakes and this might be the main reason you experience power loss than you may want to use another fuel source as natural gas lines are generally shut of after an earthquake to prevent explosions.


Inverter Generator

Inverter generators are a recent technology, made possible by advanced electronic circuitry and state-of-the-art magnets. The technology generally outputs AC current like most conventional generators, but the current is then converted to DC voltage, and then “inverted” back to clean AC voltage, thus how it gets its name. The advantage to this inversion, is that it maintains a constant flow of current to your appliance. Whereas conventional generators have a fluctuating current which “possibly can” damage sensitive electronics on some appliances.

Major Disadvantage: Much More Expensive.


Military Surplus Generator

These are military used units you can purchase that can be gasoline or diesel engines and can sometimes be mobile units on trailers or sometimes very large fixed units.

I only bring this up because this can be an affordable way to purchase a very large generator that has generally been maintained well. You may in fact be able to purchase one that needs work at an extremely low price.


Wood Gasifier

This is yet another option for fueling a generator. Even thought the fuel would be inexpensive and readily available there is an aspect of whether or not it will be reliable in a time of emergency but I did want to mention it as an option.




Battery Back Up System

Having a battery backup system to power your home is another option for emergency power. These batteries can be charged by solar, wind, generator or just be kept charged with the grid power and used until they run out.

There are commercial units that can be installed and wired into your home or you can install a system yourself using deep cycle batteries such as trolling motor batteries or golf cart batteries. Probably the best information available for building your own unit can be found from Steven Harris at http://www.battery1234.com/



Storing Gasoline

  • Easy fuel rotation system using 12 – 5 gallon gas cans for 60 gallons of fuel storage
  • PRI CP123 G Gasoline Treatment Fuel stabilizer – https://amzn.to/2U9TkRl



This Podcast Made Possible By:

Those Who Join Our Homestead Forum Membership Community.

Learn More about the Benefits of Membership at https://thehomesteadforum.com



Show Notes For This Episode Can Be Found At:




What Are Folks Saying About The Modern Homesteading Podcast?


Been listening to you for years now, Harold. Love hearing about you and your family and all the wonderful things you've been doing on your homestead. God bless.


This is one of my favorite podcasts! I look forward to getting each new episode and really appreciate the balance it has between inspiration and practical advice. The topics cover such a wide range of homesteading areas that there is something for everyone - no matter where you are in your homesteading journey.

My favorite podcast!

My Favorite Podcast

I listen to a lot of podcasts but when this one pops up in my player with a new episode I listen right away, I never miss an episode! Keep up the great work!

Wealth of knowledge

Harold has a wealth of knowledge and experiences

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Homesteader, Blogger and Podcaster at Small Town Homestead
I am a husband to Mary and father to three daughters. My family and I are striving to become more self sufficient everyday as we grow our own food and pursue a more natural and organic lifestyle.
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I am a husband to Mary and father to three daughters. My family and I are striving to become more self sufficient everyday as we grow our own food and pursue a more natural and organic lifestyle.