You may want to do this more often than annually. Though the old gas works fine in the car when mixed with a bunch more new fuel, the generator might not be so happy with 100% old fuel.
Perhaps. The Stabil manufacturer quotes 'up to 24 months', and I've never had a problem when using it out to 18 months or so, i.e. I get first pull starts.
Storing gasoline in quantities needed (or potentially needed) is also a safety issue. In addition, how would you know how long the generator would be needed?
One advantage of using a small generator is that you need less fuel. We only run the fridge and furnace (plus incidentals like charging the neighbor's cell phones
), and only run those a few hours a day. We're used to camping, including winter camping; I don't need the furnace to stay comfortable, but to keep the pipes from freezing. I'm not really sure what our usage is, but I'd guess 1 to 2 quarts of gas a day. That means a 5 gallon can lasts 10 days plus. This is with one of the inverter generators - a Honda EU2000. They are much more economical (to run, as opposed to buy
) than conventional generators. Years ago someone gave us a Briggs&Stratton powered 4000W generator of the type you see at construction sites. We used it only once. For the same load it consumed a few gallons a day, was heavy, and was noisy enough to rattle your fillings.
We actually have an electric mower now, but for years we had a gas can around for the mower/chainsaw/weedwacker/etc anyway, so the additional hazard seems fairly small.
There is no way to know how long the generator will be needed. I suspect the distribution of outage times has a high point at 3 days or so, and a tail that stretches to infinity (if you allow for the worst case Carrington Event scenarios - gaaaak). I don't really worry about that. I have enough gas to keep the house pipes from freezing for a week or two. After that I can drain the cars, find a gas station, whatever, for another few weeks. If we've gone a couple of months without power, then I won't feel bad about draining the pipes, because the city water won't be flowing anyway, or the natural gas for the furnace, and frozen pipes will be waaaaay down the list of pressing problems
But the generator (and a propane campstove) sure makes riding out a week long outage nicer. We have spaghetti feeds for the freezing neighbors, charge lots of batteries, the house is 50 degrees or above, we can use the fridge sparingly, etc. It's a week long party!
(At the risk of stating the obvious, this fits our situation. Dinky intermittent use generators aren't so great if your outages come in hot summers and you need AC, or you have an O2 concentrator that has to run 24 hours or what have you.)