Can You Use a Fuel Generator if You Live in a High Rise?

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This post is by Bernie Carr,

I recently received a reader question about whether it is advisable to use a generator while living in a high rise.  If you’ve been visiting the blog a while, you may recall I tested a gas powered generator a couple of years ago.  The reader was considering options for backup power in case of an extended power outage.

At the time I wrote the generator review, I was living in a ground floor unit apartment.  It was family owned and the lease did not have a lot of restrictions.  I have moved to a different apartment since then.  If you live in a high rise, you must consider the following:

  • The first place to check is your lease.  Most leases used by management companies do not allow the use of generators.
  • You must also consider the weight.  Many generators, depending on the model, may weigh 100 lbs or more, and would be too unwieldy to carry up a flight or stairs, or even an elevator.
  • Fuel generators also emit carbon monoxide fumes, just like any internal combustion engine, particularly within a small space.  If you run a fuel generator in an upper floor, the resulting fumes can seep down to the lower floors.  These fumes can cause injury or death.  A fuel generator must only be used in a well ventilated area, and not inside your home, shed or garage due to said fumes.  In my previous post, we tested the generator outdoors in a covered patio.
  • Another risk is possible electrocution or shock.  You cannot really run it in an apartment balcony because rain or snow may puddle around it.
  • There is also a high risk of fire when storing gasoline.  Most leases prohibit storing gasoline on the premises, due to the risk of fire spreading rapidly among closely packed units.
  • Most generators make a lot of noise, which causes a disturbance among close living quarters.

Because of the above reasons, a fuel generator is not advisable for anyone who lives in a high rise.

What can you use instead?

When considering backup sources of power, wherever you may live, safety is of utmost concern.

For charging small devices such as smart phones, cameras, lights etc., get a solar charger.  I tested the Sunjack and it worked very well.  There are also solar generators such as this one available; however, I have not tried it myself.  Having a couple of solar chargers, solar powered lighting as well as a solar oven and a propane stove for backup cooking is currently where I am in my preparedness stage.

© Apartment Prepper 2015

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  1. When I first saw the title of this post, I thought “sure if you don’t mind every other person who is sitting around that dark high rise beating on your door to come in.” Get a couple of good deep cycle batteries, a couple of solar panels, charge controller and inverter. You can set it up on the balcony, close all of your curtains and at least have lights and charge your electronics. In any long power outage in the city, the last thing you want to do is advertise that you have lights and some comfort.

    1. Hi JAS, Yup, having a power source when everyone else has nothing is something you would not want to advertise! Thanks for the comment!

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