Unless you have a way to generate power, you’ll need to stock up on fuel in case the power goes out—or worse, the entire power grid goes down. However, too many preppers stockpile batteries, propane, and gasoline in ways that not only reduce their shelf life, but also pose major safety hazards.
The purpose of this article is to help you store your batteries, propane, and gasoline in a way that is both safe and extends the shelf life of all three.
Gasoline Storage Tips
1. Do Not Store Your Generator With Gas In The Tank – This is one of the biggest mistakes people make in regards to storing gasoline. Many people wisely have a generator on standby to provide their homes with power for when the grid goes down. Unfortunately, they store it with gasoline already in the tank so all they have to do is pull out the generator and get it running. But this is a bad idea because the shelf life of the gasoline will be cut very short if it’s left in the generator, which is like wasting gasoline.
Note: To make sure your generator is operational when you need it, pour a little bit of gasoline into the generator every six or so months and run it until it’s empty. That way you’ll know if your generator is running smoothly or if it’s in need of repair.
2. Always Store Gasoline in an Airtight Red Container – Gasoline is stored in red containers, kerosene is stored in blue containers, and diesel is stored in yellow containers. Not only should you store your gasoline in red containers, you should make sure they are airtight. Avoid purchasing used containers as there is a risk of small holes allowing the gasoline to leak out.
3. Never Store Gasoline in the House or Outside – Not one drop of gasoline should be stored in your house for obvious safety reasons. It’s also unwise to store it outside since rain or other natural elements could contaminate it. Plus, it’s dangerous to leave a flammable substance in the hot sun all day. Instead, store your gasoline in the garage. Better yet, store it in a shed separate from your house.
4. Don’t Store Gasoline Near Anything Hot – Since gasoline is highly flammable, you should keep it away from heaters, furnaces, and other ignition sources.
5. Handle Gasoline Spills Carefully – Accidents happen, but it’s still important that you handle gasoline spills in a safe manner. Always clean up gasoline spills as soon as possible. For minor spills, soak up the gasoline with either sawdust or rags. For larger spills, call your local waste disposal center for advice on following all local laws and regulations in cleaning it up. Dump the recovered gasoline into labeled and approved containers; never dispose of it in toilets or the garbage. Doing so could potentially cause a fire or allow it to seep into lakes, rivers, or groundwater.
Propane Storage Tips
6. Never Store Propane Tanks in Living Spaces – The same principle for gasoline storage applies to propane as well. For safety reasons, it’s unwise to store propane tanks or bottles inside your house or in any kind of living space. For this reason, a garage or outdoor shed is your best option. You can also store propane tanks outdoors as long as they’re away from a heat source and out of direct sunlight.
7. Always Check for Leaks – Make it a habit that whenever you purchase a new propane tank or pull an old one out of storage, you always check it and the tubing for leaks. To check for leaks on the tubing, mix water and soap together, dip a washcloth in it, then wipe the tubing. If any bubbles form, there is a leak. Rather than try to repair the leak, just purchase a new tank or tube.
8.Keep Propane Tanks Upright When Transporting Them – Propane tanks should be kept secured in a standing position. Tie them in place with rope or some other kind of strong cordage, but avoid metal chains as they can cause a spark when coming into friction with the tank. If the tank is being transported in a car, keep the windows open and have the valve on the tank locked with a dust cap covering it.
9. Never Check for Propane Leaks With an Open Flame – This should be obvious, but people have done it. It’s simply too dangerous to check for leaks on your propane tanks with a match or lighter. Don’t be stupid.
Battery Storage Tips
10. Store Batteries in the Original Packaging – This will extend the life of your batteries and help you avoid confusing them with older ones. Rotate through batteries just like you would with food.
11. Store Batteries in the Refrigerator – You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to, but it will extend their shelf life (just make sure they’re in an airtight container). Storing your batteries at room temperature is fine, but it’s best if they never get over 80 degrees F. The maximum temperature they can handle is 120 degrees F.
12. Store a Variety of Batteries – You never know what kind of devices you’ll need to power, so store as many different kinds of batteries as possible. Even if there’s a type of battery you don’t have a device for, you should still store at least a few of them just in case you find something that uses them.
13. Never Dispose of Batteries in a Fire – Doing so is a major safety hazard as it can cause the batteries to explode.
14. Never Store Batteries in the Junk Drawer – Most junk drawers contain metal objects such as keys, coins, paper clips, etc. These things could cause a battery discharge or short circuit, causing it to leak and dramatically reducing its shelf life.
15. Never Store Used Batteries – If you ever come across used batteries, don’t store them. You don’t know what those batteries have gone through and if they’re even safe to use. Every single one of the batteries in your storage should be brand new (unless, of course, they’re rechargeable batteries).
Lately I’ve been using Rayovac Alkaline batteries for everyday items like remotes and my kids’ toys. Obviously they’re more expensive than generic batteries, but they seem to last longer.
- Rayovac AAA Batteries – 60 Pack
- Rayovac AA Batteries – 60 Pack
- Rayovac C Batteries – 12 Pack
- Rayovac D Batteries – 12 Pack
- Rayovac 9V Batteries – 8 Pack
If you prefer rechargeable batteries, you can’t beat Panasonic’s Eneloop batteries. Again, they’re a little more expensive, but they will hold a 70% charge for 10 years if you store them properly, and you can recharge them over 2000 times.
- Eneloop AAA Batteries – 12 Pack
- Eneloop AA Batteries – 12 Pack
- Eneloop C Spacers – 2 Pack
- Eneloop D Spacers – 2 Pack
Thanks for reading, and be safe.