Natural disasters and unprecedented blackouts happen more nowadays. Because of extreme weather conditions and strange viruses like the recent Covid-19 virus, these emergencies seem to grow even more inevitable each day. It becomes ideal to act accordingly by preparing for such happenings. One of the most important things to have in storage is a source of power which in this article is fuel in the form of gasoline.
What to Believe???
There have been lots of online forum questions these days on how safe storing gasoline inside homes would be using 55 or 30-gallon drums, in light of doomsday predictions and how we human beings can best prepare for it. Will gas go bad during doomsday? Sure! How should we store it then?
Do we have to rotate gas just like how we do food? Are 50-gallon gas drums a sitting fire hazard on our garage? Especially with all the kids’ bikes and toys inside as well!
Storing gasoline is not very easy to do, especially for long periods of time. Unlike kerosene, gasoline is very sensitive to weather conditions and may blow up if improperly stored. Even so, it is a more effective fuel to use, keep in storage; and more reliable when it comes to power quality. It is also more widely used than other fuel types. Most engines and kitchen appliances today are powered by gasoline, which makes it even more sensible to store this type of fuel in particular.
You can get hold of so much advice in the forums indeed. Some believe venting the drums is a must. Others wince at the idea simply because gas will easily evaporate. Others still continue crying about how unsafe the idea is, and how insurance and local codes become an issue.
Here are some smart ideas and ways to get around such a dilemma. It’s also wise to consider local laws indeed before you start storing fuel.
Correct Container Type
Steel tanks or drums are the ideal containers for above-ground storage. They should be placed with a hand pump if grouped vertically or a spigot valve if layered horizontally on a rack. The shed where the gasoline tanks will be stored needs to be clutter free. It must have good ventilation to prevent build up of heat, a stabilizer for each tank is also necessary. During the cold seasons, the valves on each tank must be adjusted to relieve pressure; otherwise, the gasoline will simply freeze up. Check out the top 3 machetes.
- Never use any type of glass container to store gasoline in. It is highly dangerous because it can generate heat easily; this temperature imbalance could very well trigger a catastrophe.
- Never use plastic containers or buckets to store gasoline in. No matter how durable or thick they are, the gasoline will “melt” parts of the container over time which will cause leakage.
- Never store gasoline indoors, especially within the house. The garage or basement is no exception. A separate tool shed is an ideal place for storage; if not underground, away from the house is highly advised.
- Never fill containers indoors either. Accidents may happen anywhere and anytime, and even the simple act of filling a container with gasoline could lead to a mishap. Perform this task outdoors in an open area with no distractions or bothersome objects nearby.
- Never leave stored gasoline unlabelled. Always indicate the contents of a container, even if it obviously contains fuel. Safety precautions should be kept in mind when handling and storing flammable fuels, most especially gasoline.
- A DOT-approved barrel/drum is designed as a stable platform to hold hazardous contents. In most cases, steel would be much safer than plastic barrel types.
- The ignition point of gasoline is from 475 to 536 °F, and it’ll only explode whenever vaporized (fuel injectors or the carburetor does this in vehicles).
- Fuel tends to expand and contract in hot/cold temperatures. It is both the expansion and contraction that builds up the pressure. This causes containers to fail, spilling flammable liquid and fumes all over storage space. The presence of an ignition source – sparks from light switches, garage door openers, the water heater, and many more, initiates an explosion in enclosed spaces as vapors build up, or whenever fuel finds its way to open flames.
All these should tell you that a gallon safety vent is needed to vent off the pressure once it gets too high and equalize vacuums that occur as fuel is pumped out. This also applies in very cold conditions.
The storage drum must be grounded into the earth via a grounding rod or water pipe. Ground wires must be used to secure the storage drum into the container or tank where fuel is pumped into. Some of today’s fuel pumps are made for fueling purposes; they can bond any two containers automatically and prevent any instance of static electricity discharges, or sparks.
Remember that we have to use pumps designed specifically for transferring gasoline from one container to another. Electric pump motors can be dangerous in such situation since it can start sparks; non-fuel pumps are equally dangerous they can cause explosions as well.
Hand pumps designed for extracting gas is a must-have doomsday prepper equipment. If you want to learn more, you can always get your hands on safe fuel storage manuals.
In a word? YES! It’s never going to hurt your gas to add stabilizer as I do in my boat’s fuel tanks every Fall season.
Fuel contains a lot of volatile compounds that evaporate relatively quickly, leaving behind a lower quality fuel that does not burn a well in your engine. Perhaps more importantly, some characteristics of the low-quality leftover fuel can oxidize or gunk up your engine parts and actually ruin them.
If you’re storing fuel for more than a couple of months, I’d suggest a stabilizer. Once you have a stabilizer, it’s not uncommon to have fuel last (potentially) for a couple of years! Yes, it’s true! I know this from experience, so please don’t lay into me for “poorly researched” information.
I know of what I speak on this one since I do have experience storing regular fuel that has worked perfectly in my mower, blower and wacker even after being stored for over 2 years. Your experience may be different, but there’s no arguing that stabilizer will only help!
We’re not going into depth reviewing stabilizers here, but there are some decent ones you can get pretty inexpensively. You can see one of our recommendations for bulk stabilizer HERE.
Fire Codes and Regulations
Local and state fire codes and regulations have certain restrictions on how much gasoline each home is allowed to store. Before proceeding to store any type of fuel, check with both local and state fire departments about this matter. Most codes and regulations limit homeowners to store a maximum of 25 gallons of gasoline.
Stable Temperature for Storage
Storing gasoline for an extremely long period of time requires weather stability and good temperature. This is the difficult part since it is impossible to tell how the weather will fluctuate each day, month or season. An underground location or burying the tank will make it much easier to keep the gasoline in a stable temperature. 55 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature target to keep the gasoline, and the user, in safe condition. If there is no way to provide underground storage, then a stabilizer is definitely needed.
Leakage and Prevention
Although there are advantages in keeping gasoline tanks underground, there are also some disadvantages. Gas containers will leak eventually, especially when left unchecked for too long. Even steel tanks will rust underground or grow thin due to the changing chemistry of the soil. In this case, it’s imperative to at least double coat the tanks with rust inhibitors or roofing tar. This will greatly slow the negative effects of underground storage. Some specialty tanks for underground gasoline storage might be found in specific stores, but will be costly.
To conclude, storing either gas or diesel in steel drums is a whole lot safer than purchasing 10 fancy plastic gas containers in many ways, particularly because a steel container can easily be grounded to prevent static electricity sparks from ever happening during fuel transfers and storage. Check out the best prepper machetes, folding knives, and survival knives.
Always remember that doomsday prepping, in a general sense, is not really about storing thousands and thousands of gallons of fuel; it’s more about having just enough within the boundaries of safety, logic, and common sense.
The exact definition of having just enough is something to get away to a safe place when needed, or simply just to power your generator. Don’t forget to have a few fire extinguishers on the ready.
Since you are prepping for any doomsday scenario, you also have to prepare for anything that comes along while you’re prepping. Consider it as common sense in a time that needs to have sense. Ultimately, if you’re prepping, please understand that in the end, you may be buying yourself a few extra days, or perhaps even weeks.
But if things are so bad around you, the fate of those around you will probably come your way eventually – whatever that may be. It’s best to keep all this in perspective while preparing for the worst.