2 Weeks Without Electricity
2 weeks without electricity? How many times throughout our modern history have natural disasters damaged the electrical grid infrastructure of a region? Lots!
While it’s not the normal circumstance, 2 weeks without electricity can certainly occur, and you can survive it.
Let me say this though, today’s modern way of life and infrastructure depends on electricity to function. For those not prepared, it’s a shock to their normalcy bias and going 2 weeks without electricity is not going to be easy.
Here’s the thing… Lessons from history tell us that it’s entirely do-able. People used to live their entire lives without electricity!
The problem is that our modern society doesn’t know how to live without it. So what to do?
How To Live 2 Weeks Without Electricity
First, if we’re discussing this in modern times, it means that there has been some major disaster. One good example might be a major hurricane blowing through a region and tearing down trees, power lines, and causing massive damage to the grid’s infrastructure.
Which Systems Affect You Most Without Electricity?
Systems In Your Home
-Water (if you have a well, you’re SOL)
-Stove / Microwave
-TV / News & Information / Internet
-Air Conditioning / Heating
Systems Outside Your Home
What To Do About It
The one thing that can mitigate most of your problems inside the home is a generator. Lots of people have them and lots of people don’t. Those who have them probably (hopefully) already know how to properly use them. Those who don’t and those who run out and get one, you better understand a few important things:
1. Never operate the generator indoors, including your garage. Carbon monoxide is odorless and can kill you. Regardless of that, everyone should have a carbon monoxide detector in their home.
2. If you have the budget, a whole-house generator and professional installation is the ultimate. It costs though. Otherwise, a stand-alone generator will enable you to run an extension cord (or cords) to the critical systems of your choice inside the home. All generators have a built-in circuit breaker so if you overload it the power will trip off.
3. The size of generator is your choice. For perspective, I have a 4500 watt generator which operates all my systems without issue. In fact I have a 3500 watt which also runs them without issue. 2 chest freezers, refrigerator, propane furnace & hot water, well pump, gas stove ignition (although a match will work), my lighting (I have LED bulbs everywhere), and even my TV. Admittedly, ‘if’ everything powers on at once, the breaker might trip – but just be aware of what you’re running.
Without A Generator
Chances are that for a 2 week disruption your municipal water source will keep on running. They have generators and many are gravity fed from a water tower. If you have a well pump, you WILL need to have stored water ahead of time – otherwise you need to drive out and get some. You will be surprised how much water you go through. The most is used for flushing toilets throughout the day. Be aware of that. Flush sparingly.
How To Flush A Toilet Without Running Water
2 weeks without water? If you have no other way to get some, they say 1 gallon per person per day. That’s 14 gallons per person for 2 weeks, and that’s really sparing it and doesn’t count toilet flushes and other uses.
7 Gallon Rigid Water Container
EVERYONE should have a good drinking water filter. Period. If you don’t, get one.
Cheap, but okay: LifeStraw
Expensive, but the best: Big Berkey
You can live without it. Our ancestors did. However the obvious comes to mind… LED lanterns, flashlights, and candles (be careful with candles!!).
LED Lantern Technology For Preparedness
Refrigeration / Freezers
Everything in your refrigerator and freezer will need to be consumed or thrown out. You might get 48 hours or so if you cover with blankets, but consume these foods first. There will probably be some loss, but that’s just the way it will be…
You WILL need to have foods that do not require refrigeration and enough of it. I ALWAYS laugh when FEMA encourages people to have 3 days of food and supplies. That is a complete joke. They were even saying it during Hurricane Harvey and Irma. 3 days? I don’t think so… 2 weeks is an absolute minimum for this kind of preparedness.
Canned foods can be consumed without cooking, although it may be more palatable if you heat it up. Next time you go grocery shopping, look for foods that you can simply put on your pantry shelf and not necessarily in the fridge. You might consider getting a supply of professionally packed food storage.
Augason Farms Lunch & Dinner Emergency Food Supply
Stove / Cooking / Microwave
Certainly an electric stove won’t work without electricity and most people have this kind of stove. A camp stove will come in real handy for sure. You can use your BBQ grill for some things, but a camp stove will replace your stove top for cooking things.
TV / News & Information / Internet
This is where a good battery-operated portable radio will be very useful. While you could go out to your vehicle and turn on its radio for news & information, it will be convenient to have one in the house.
Air Conditioning / Heating
Our ancestors survived. It may not be comfortable, but in many cases you can deal.
That said, there ARE situations where you will be in deep do-do without it. Without heat in the winter up north will be a very bad thing. For 2 weeks, your house pipes could freeze if cold enough, causing major damage. Only alternatives include draining pipes and leaving home, or alternate heat. Wood stove… Even a pellet stove requires electricity.
Note: If you live in a modern urban apartment building and it’s summer and very hot outside, it may become unbearable inside due to the design of HVAC systems today while some windows may not even open.
About the only way to get some hot water will be to use a camp stove. Hot water is useful for washing and sanitation. Do you have a big pot for this?
For Systems Outside Your Home…
Cash. Keep an amount of cash on hand. No electricity means most store checkout registers won’t work. However some of them may accept cash, assuming that they have supplies left (which you stock up ahead of time anyway).
Gas. Finding gas stations that are functional may be a challenge. This is mitigated by keeping a full gas tank in your vehicle and some filled gas cans at home. Use a fuel additive to preserve the shelf life up to a year.
This is the best product out there for that:
Fuel Stabilizer For Long Term Storage
The brief discussion above should help you get started towards getting through 2 weeks without electricity. There’s more to it of course, but think about the essential systems first, and find a temporary solution for each of them. You can easily survive this with a little preparedness. Life will most definitely be different during these 2 weeks, but you can survive…
Read a book.
From what I understand, the nationwide electrical grid has undergone massive upgrades making outages primarily local events due to storms and the like.
Anyone who is going to depend upon a generator needs to make a dry run. Start the unit and plug in one at a time to avoid a surge that would trip the breaker.
I lived through Katrina. I was without electricity for about three weeks. Some parts of the city went without electricity for almost six months. You’d be surprised what you can live through if you have to.
A 3500 Watt generator uses a lot of fuel.
Yes, all generators use a good bit of fuel!
Here’s how to help with that issue:
Only run the generator for awhile, say 1 hour, enough time to get essential systems up to par. Then shut it off for say, 4 hours. Repeat. Adjust run time for your own systems and whatever works.
This DRASTICALLY reduces fuel consumption.
A few years ago I built a spreadsheet so I could play with the numbers for my own generators and their fuel consumption so I would know how long I could stretch out a given amount of fuel storage.
One example regarding my 4500 watt generator:
It consumes 0.3 gallons per hour at 1/4 load. If I run it for 1 hour, then off for 4 hours, repeat… I can squeeze 22 days out of 20 gallons of fuel. Otherwise it would run for 2.8 days on 20 gallons full time. Times will vary of course depending on load, etc.. but as you can see this makes a big difference.
Now that I have PV solar panels and a battery bank for the house, I don’t have to worry about that any more though…
We have a 3200w gen runs about 2 hrs per gal we only run 2-3 hrs per day. A small solar panel kit (we live in FL) keep the lights, radio, TV and power tools (large array of 18v battery tools) running when the gen is off. 1st cook when gen is running only, open fridge door when gen is running and do not open for last 30 mins before shutting off gen. run a 20-30 amp charger to help solar panels keep batteries charged (will need at least 2 deep cycles batteries for this linked in parallel). With a full tank in gen and 3 5gal cans we have 3 weeks of power. After Irma we are considering increasing the solar panel array.
Our approach to a generator was to get a smaller one that could power the fridge, primarily. It uses less fuel so the stored gasoline will last longer. A woodstove provides heat, cooking and hot water. Since the well is a shallower “dug” style, a hand pump can provide water w/o electricity. OIl lamps and solar LEDs for evening light, but when the power’s out, we tend to go to bed shortly after it gets dark. Adjusting your lifestyle (energy demands) is cheaper than giant generators.
I agree with you Mic Roland. Our little generator was purchased 30 years ago. It’s only a 400 watt generator, but it runs two refrigerators which is all we really need, everything else was a luxury. It could run for 24 hours using about 2 gallons of gas. Of course now as we have gotten older we realize that we need to upgrade to a slightly larger one so we can run our well pump for water. At our age hauling water is not an attractive thought, where as 30 years ago it didn’t bother us.
Peanut Gallery: We get similar consumption from our little generator. Like Ken said, you only need to run it periodically. For us, it would only take a half hour of gen time for the fridge to be back to temp. 5 gallons of stored gas lasts a long time.
Good point on the well. We’re getting older too. The hand pump is nice for no-power-required, but hauling the buckets uphill to the house is less than fun. Might look into a 12v pump with enough oomph to get the water up to the house.
We installed a 20K natural gas generator about 6 years ago when I was keeping coral reef tanks. It has only come on a handful of times. We had the stand alone gas type during a major tornado event and didn’t use it – it went to our neighbor’s house because her need was greater at the time….hence the type that stays attached to our house. It is really more of a convenience and keeps the heat on during outages here in NY. Wouldn’t expect it to keep operating if we had a EMP event and have alternatives at our farmstead, because we would relocate.
Ken, you should check out the Sawyer line of water purifiers. They are really good and cost efficient, as well as used in third world countries on a regular basis. For the many on here who prep of a very tight budget, it is a wonderful option. The minis work well in a Safety Bag (GHB), but I like the large unit that still fits well in the bag so the higher gallons are available whatever the circumstances. Family members all got safety bags with the minis in them from us.
We gave family members the one burner propane Coleman stoves – small and usable so not so overwhelming for them to think about storing it or using it. And a case of butane. My ex DIL has used this a couple times already since she is in s storm and hurricane area (although she bugs to a cabin in TN)
It is doable to live with electric, we just don’t want to have to live that way if possible. I love the convenience of electric and natural gas. I can do my canning all day on my giant gas stove and then take a nice hot bath in the evening and crawl into my cozy bed enjoying my climate controlled area. I’m a spoiled brat!
YOU are not spoiled…..you are a wise woman.
AC you are too sweet! I pray for guidance constantly and thank the Good Lord regularly throughout the day.
About 15 years ago, our town was hit by a ice storm which took out the electric in our area for 13 days. Our daughter was around a year old and needed electric for her medicine.
For her to get her medicine we bought a power converter for the car which worked great. So much better then trying to get out on the bad roads to a relatives home that did have electric.
For heat we had a kerosene heater, which kept it nice and toasty. We also cooked on top of the heater using a cast iron skillet. Also heated water on top for baths.
As for entertainment we went outside for short times and went ice sledding. No snow, just inches of ice.
When we talk about it now, both my DH and I say it was a great time, we slowed down and enjoyed the simple time. Both kids were too young to remember but they had fun
Isn’t it interesting how often people say something like that? “…it was a great time, we slowed down and enjoyed the simple time.”
I think that most others would feel similarly. They enjoy the down time. Makes you wonder about how we’re wired…
Hence my reason for the smaller generator. I wanted the family to be forced away from all of the electronics.
Back then the electronics was just the tv, the age before the electronics.
I have had up to 13 days without power up here in the mountains. The worst time was in the beginning and I really wasn’t prepared as I am now. Luckily I was on propane for my stove so could cook and use the burners for heat as it was in the middle of winter and had 2 Coleman lanterns for light and also heat ( you would be supprized at how one can heat up a closed room. Now days with a generator,LED lights, solar lights, wood stove ect its not a problem. I guess if it went to long it could be if I ran out of gas for the genny but most of my outages only last a few days. and even then the biggest problem would be the fridge and the wife’s TV LOL
A few years before we retired we bought raw land in NM. We went to work taking 3 day weekends and built a cabin. We had no utilities and lived in a tent. We ran a generator for the power tools and when it was running it was also heating up a 100 gal rubbermaid stock tank, using the heating element from a water heater. At night we took a much needed bath outside under the milky way (we have really dark skies). I cooked over a campfire and on a campstove. We really enjoyed it out here until winter brought snow. By Feb we moved into the cabin. We had a wood stove and a wicker couch. We just sat inside, warm and had candlelight. It was beautiful. In Oct power came in and we had a little frig. The noise was so loud it kept us up all night! Later we had a well put in but water still came through a 300 ft hose, no potty and baths in the stock tank. Eventually we had a manufactured home put in with amenities, but we still look back fondly to the candlelight, campfires and quiet times in the woods.
A note about candles, we saved liquor and wine bottles and bought candles by the gross at Costco. We had candles all over, but they are dangerous. We only had a problem once when our cat jumped on the table and set his fluffy tail on fire. It immediately flared up. I was alone and grabbed him before he could jump down and run around the cabin. I always had a pot of water simmering on the wood stove and dunked his butt in the water. I must say he was not happy but never seemed to have been burnt as it all happened fast enough, but that could have been a disaster.
A few years back my power was out for 4 days. That was when bought lamps and the buddy heater. Where I live now solar would work and I would be more interested in what would work with a 5 cu ft freezer.
With regards to your comment on FEMA saying to have 3 days food and water,
Interestingly, our new state emergency manager is suggesting everybody in Hawaii have AT LEAST 14 days non perishable food and water. Thats a huge change, and welcome, will people heed it? I doubt it, most here are transplants who think about norhing but their hedonistic lifestyles.
The electricity is a big one, have thought about itba lot,
If its a total collapse my fuel supply will last quite a while to run generator or run tractor/truck, wont be going anywhere so the deisel will out last the gasoline for sure.
If it a recovery from a natural disaster the fuel will last dependent on how much rebuilding i need to do. IE how much i need to run a generator or my gas powered compressor. Or rather how much i can do. Will depend on how bad the destruction is, if its a hurricaine, a bad one, Im anticipating just waterproofing the remaining floor of my house as i am pretty sure the upper level will be gone and covering it with concrete then dirt, i dont think we will rebuild if it gets destroyed, just no money.
But for a protracted financial collapse or something else that shuts down the power supply, for cooking etc we will be fine without electric, if i need to have it for something ive got enough fuel to run gens for a while. But i wont be running refers etc,,, just not practical.
Would love to have solar, but its just too expensive, dont have the money….
I have noticed other states also a suggest 14 days. I believe NY is one?
I’m in rural NH, so it just makes sense for everyone here to have at least 2 weeks of food and some basics going into winter. Flu, ice, snow, just plain convenience of not dealing with crowds in stores around holidays. Many do not, of course. I don’t understand why not…..
I haven’t been through an extended power outage (more than 3 days) since blizzards as a kid in the 70s. We are limited to a degree while renting, but do have enough all seazon camping experience, and good winter gear to get through, as long as the people around us don’t lose their minds.
A few summers ago, we had a freak storm blow down trees, power went, and silly ppl were driving around angry they couldn’t get gas or McDonald’s. They literally didn’t know what to do without power, so they all went out to ride around. Gave me the creeps, and made clean-up more difficult for those trying to get it sorted.
For the ‘frige, YouTube: Zeer clay pot refrigerator. Works best in hot, arid climates, but still works to lesser extent elsewhere.
I don’t know if cash will help you at the stores when the electricity is out. Every time the the power was out when I was at a store they wouldn’t sell me anything because their computer cash register wouldn’t work. Many of the clerks now a days can’t even give cash back without the cash register telling them how much to give. Even then they just give you a wad of cash and don’t count it back to you.
You’re right about that. Most stores will simply close. Liability issues too (no lights). Plus, most of today’s generation cannot count change if you give them a 20.
So true. Most can use a calculator for simple math but if the register can’t scan the bar code they won’t no how much to charge without sending somebody to check the shelf price.
We have a propane generator and enough fuel for several months. I was at our local transfer station a couple of days ago and they always have 40 or 50 old propane tanks in the scrap steel section. many would need new valves and a pressure test but those are generally fairly cheap to have done.
I see that violence has broken out in the Caribbean with armed people searching for food and water. Thieves are robbing tourists in their hotel rooms. This started just 3 or 4 days after Irma blew through. I guess we should send Cuba a thank you card for taking so much energy out of the storm.
Ken, if I may ask. How many HP is your pump and 110 or 220?
Good point regarding bar codes on the products. Very good point. We are SO tied in to technology these days. The system does not function without it.
Tiny aside, my first employment as a teen, I worked at a busy restaurant known for their breakfast menu, among other hostess duties, I had to count back all the change from whatever bill they gave you, and you kept than on top of the register drawer so they wouldn’t argue what bill they gave you, you had to count it quickly back in your head, then out loud to the customer, if you weren’t able to do this, then you worked elsewhere in the restaurant. This was before credit cards could be used.
Stay sharp peeps! :)
The cash registers are electronic so chances are good they would be unable to give change even if they know how.
Biggest laugh I ever got was when I went to McDonald’s and got a shake and gave the clerk two gold dollars she didn’t know what they were and how to ring them up. I told her to press the dollar button twice she had to get a manager to do it. Our future leaders
In 1997, the power went out in greater Boston. I was able to pop into a 7-11, and grab drinks and a flashlight to walk home. They accepted cash, and just wrote down sales in a notebook.
Of course, that’s 20 years ago (yikes!) so might be different. I’ve always made sure I had some cash on hand since. I’ve also been out buying groceries when the card machines went down. Last time was a year ago? The registers worked, but no credit or debit payments went through.
Have all the misc. stuff I need for Lights-Out for a very long time, Freezers all 3 of them will need power for 1-2 weeks after I determine the need to allow the food to defrost and can/preserve it elsewise. The stuff in the Frig of course would be the first to be eaten or canned. I’m also experimenting a LOT in meat preserving with salt and other natural dehydration. There is an excellent book called “Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing”.
As far as a Gen-Set, I would suggest a Duel Fuel Generator, they are slightly more expensive (25-40% more) than a Gas generator, BUT propane will store almost indefinably (50 years or more), Gas will store for maybe 2 years with an additive, and Gas is DANGERIOUS to store and handle in bulk. Check the Burn Clinics on the numbers of people burned or killed in a fire cause by someone that “knew what I was doing, but”.
Like Ken, I GREATLY suggest you get yourself a GREAT radio, also get a Ham Set, now it may not be totally legal to push the Mic-Key and broadcast, it sure as heck is ok to listen. And if TSHTF who the heck cares about the Fed Licensing if NK dropped an EMP on our heads? BTW, EMP protecting some of your equipment; read some good articles here on that.
“Systems Outside Your Home
If the power is out for some unknown reason, why in the heck would you be heading to the ATM and Store besides the fact ya might need some more TP?
Preparing for a week or two of no electricity is a MUST!!!!, but how are you going to react when it happens? I happen to believe in practicing what ya preach; ‘Lights-Out Weekends’ and/or a full week is an eye opening trial of your preparedness. No differently that practicing Getting Home, Canning, Map Reading, Primitive Cooking, Purifying Water, you name it; having all the ‘stuff’ in the world will do you NO GOOD if you don’t know how to cook breakfast on a Camp Fire without burning the Coffee. Can you take a Bath in a 5 gallon bucket of cold water than use that same water to flush the Toilet and get ALL the TP down the drain?
FEMA, hahahaha, oops did I actually laugh at that? ‘3 DAYS’ are you kidding me? I keep that much in my GHB.
Really good points especially practicing putting your plan into action. I had bought my wife a small butane camp stove for her personal BOB. About a month ago she stated she had no idea how to use it although I did show her years ago when it was first bought. We did a “No Power” weekend last month. Surprisingly everything went well, except for the house heating up in the evening even with windows open. There was no breeze.
Anyway, I also activated my Emergency communication plan using a 2 meter Ham transceiver, scanner, CB transceiver, and SW Radios running on battery power. A lesson learned is you can never have enough batteries. Portable TV, Radios, lanterns, flashlights, headlamps, anything you run on battery power you need to actually run them first to know actual power consumption. Battery usage in real world no electricity situations is critical to know ahead of time. Even using solar power for recharging batteries and battery banks I wouldn’t feel comfortable for 14 days or more without power. Solar is great when the sun is shining but when it’s cloudy it can put a crimp in your plans. I learned a good mix of batteries is 60% rechargeable, 40% disposable, and purchase more then you’ll think you’ll need.
Additionally 14 days food and water should be just the start of emergency supplies for each person, if you can afford it. 3 days preps is like having no preparation especially when the power is going to be out for an extended time….
You bring up an excellent point on the Battery Power and recharging such.
Glad to hear ya did a Lights-Out, I still believe it’s good to know what to ‘slightly’ expect from the experience.
the big supermarkets probably wont sell you anything if the power is out, heck the automatic doors wont even open without power.
but I bet the little stores, what Americans call “mom and pop” stores, will.
2 weeks? that a holiday, wait until its off for good.
Bear in mind that this is not a contest. Some people here may be able to build a million dollar ranch while others are living day-to-day. This conversation is for all.
That said, I have to strongly disagree with you regarding your present opinion of solar power. I wouldn’t have commented but since you capitalized the word, NOT, I just had to.
Solar panels do last 25+ years. Early panels were not so good. Today’s panels are MUCH better. I have purchased and installed my own whole-house solar system with battery bank which has been operating for several years. I could not be happier. No fuel required now and forever. Can’t beat that with a stick…
I like the idea of solar for the quiet factor. I just can’t afford it until I get back to work. I know that a long term outage, our little generator will be heard and could draw in trouble. At least right now it is portable so we bring it inside the basement after we run it dry.
Good day, All,
Our washing machine was on the way out and finally “died” today, at first we thought we heard a cat was suffering (a bad thing), then we thought it was geese honking (a good thing) I even looked up to the sky, then we discovered it was our washing machine…
RIP washing machine…anyway, I had to extract a load of soapy towels…DD and I took them into the driveway and wrung them out (still soapy oh well, I guess we’ll get even cleaner or I will take them to the laundry mat in town) and hung to dry on the clothesline (another good thing to have if no electricity) – we often hang up other laundry in the upstairs bathroom shower curtain rod. Anyway, one tip I would like to pass on is that thick towels are a “bear” (grrrrr!) to clean if hand washing. I am looking into good yet thinner towels to make it easier. We have a hodge podge of towels now. So I am going to hide the few thick ones for now (shhh, don’t tell anyone).
Someone might have already said this, but a manual pump for a water well or spring is good too.
Soapy peace out ;)
PS Posted this b/c I was thinking of washing clothes towels without electricity :)
Wringing out towels and things like jeans can be a bear if doing so by hand. I bought a manual wringer to make that job easier. They can be found at places like Amazon or Lehman’s. I think they are in the neighborhood of around $150 to $200 but can be well worth it if you have a lot of heavy things that need wringing out .
You are right about the big towels. Every time I had to replace the towels I always bought bigger. Then while removing them from the washing machine I realized how hard they would be to wash by hand. So now as I replace them, I buy the smallest I can get without it being a dish towel. After all, you are only drying off. It will make doing laundry by hand a whole lot easier. Which reminds me, I really need to pick up extra clothesline for outside.
Good tip on the washing and drying, I’m thinking more like grabbing a bunch of stuff and swimming in the River with a bottle of soap, the ‘rinse cycle’ may be fun to watch HAHAHA
RIP mashing machine….
Four years…..of not having electrical service living in a 31 foot travel trailer. Dh managed to kill 4 generators before he was told hp was not the issue, it was the amps to start the well pump that was killing them. Best generator we purchased after our learning curve (fiasco) was a tri fuel Kohler 7kw.
We were younger then, I like my power, so a whole house generator on propane is what we are striving for at this time.
An ice storm that knocked out our power for 2 weeks is what got me started prepping. It took me a couple of days to get everything set up where the household could function semi-normal, thanks to my folks for having a gas space heater and manual tools. Now we have a generator with extra gas, kerosene heaters with extra kerosene, a wood burner to heat the garage that can be move to the house if need be, and a shed full of fire wood. We can be set-up in a couple of hours now. There were 4 generations of us living in the house during the power outage. Mom, the kids and grand kids all came to us.
Several years ago when power to Southern California was out I was at a friends
house when lights went out but her son had a good battery operated radio so we
knew exactly what was happening and she had several small battery operated
lights. Neighbor came over to see if she was okay because it was dinner time and
he knew she had electric stove and he had gas. She said we were fine because we
just happened to be grilling outside.. Had I been home when it happened I would
had been totally unprepared. Not so much today because of this site.
I stopped at a gas station with a mini-mart for a soda on the way home (only had
maybe an eight of a tank but enough to get home) and was told by kid working
that they couldn’t use the register. I mentioned that all registers have a manual
access key and he said yeah, but the boss had it.
As an ex-waitress I’m still befuddled when the young ones can’t count change back.
With the new registers they never learn so can’t really blame them. Best story about
change is I was always assigned counter nearest the cash register because it was
a breeze to handle although it meant I was stuck with the extra work including my
Once when really busy and many people standing in line to pay their bill a fellow
threw me $50.00 and asked for change. I finished the last transaction and handed
the bill back to him with the comment and smile…”You know, let me do that as soon
as finish with these folks. I don’t want to shortchange you in the rush.” He smiled and
said he’d get it somewhere else He knew that I knew what he was doing and I had
won. I said thank you. With the registers today and the young folks it’s a great scam
and this fellow was good and probably mad a living off of it . Everybody has a calling.
I would like to get a small solar setup for portable fridge/freezer but frankly I find
it confusing and I’m not sure where to start but that’s something I’d like to learn in the
Personally, I think having food and water for a month is my idea of minimum stash. And having the means to cook, wash etc during that time. Have been making a point of having a 2 week supply of underwear and socks on hand. It would make life a bit easier since it takes so long for clothes washed by hand to dry.
Living in Toronto Ontario with a baby and toddler, we experienced outages during the winters on a regular basis. Needless to say, we got really good at living off grid. Now that we live out in the country, outages are common all year round. It’s a “here we go again” kinda event.
Have been nagging DH to invest in a portable generator but so far, he hasn’t done anything about it. He debates making emergency circuits vs using extension cords……..endlessly. And he’s master electrician! Works for the power company in the solar division and we don’t have a solar system either. Gotten to the point that I just keep a lot of pop bottles of water in the freezer to help keep things cool. Can handle a few days without breaking a sweat. Over 4-5 days, if there are no stores open, then I’ll be doing a whole lot of canning on the woodstove.
I still retain some old habits from living and working in off grid homestead:
1. I still keep a mini mag light around me at all times both work and at home as a backup to a headlamp. I have yet to find a simpler, more reliable flashlight than the Mini mag lights. Most of mine these days are in LED lighting.
2. My priority if the power goes out is to consume the fridge food first followed by the frozen food then the canned food. My truck still carries a small ice chest with a 7 lb block of ice within a gallon sized water bottle. I rotate the bottle each day from my freezer so I can buy fresh salad and apples at the store, they can sit in the cold ice chest for an 8-12 hour shift and still be cool and crisp when I get home.
3. Most of my emergency backup for light and cooking is in the form of propane to include a little buddy heater and lanterns with spare mantles. candles provide enough light within the house to prevent me from stubbing my toes but good usable light in which to read by comes only from propane lamps or LED headlamps. Most of my candles are tea candles kept burning within a widemouth jar or glass bowl to prevent accidental ignition of cats tails etc.
4. When I was off grid, I went to town in order to do laundry and to attempt to flirt with the waitress at the diner next to the laundromat. A note about those manual wringers: Yes, they do save time and your hands and forearms will thank you butt they are very hard on big buttons. Be prepared to replace broken buttons on jackets etc. if you choose to wash them in a manual fashion using an old fashioned wringer. ( I am now now married and I am no longer allowed to flirt with any waitress or she-who-must-be-obeyed will whop me upside the head with a cast-iron skillet…repeatedly.)
5. Being off grid allowed me to study my upper division classes in college and helped to get really good grades. Fewer distractions maybe. Depending on the electronics, you will go through batteries though with the new LED and energy efficient models out there, you will go through far fewer than in years past. ( an LED headlamp had a set of batteries last for 2 months when used for 60-90 minutes per night for 61 days. I was walking my dog in an area where the daytime temp was 110 degrees in the Summer so we walked together at night.)
6. While my siblings have modern things within their kitchens like food processors, I have numerous cutting boards and a fine selection of kitchen knives and sharpening stones to keep them sharp. If the lights go out, I put on the headlamp and continue chopping and cooking.
7. I saw somebody mentioned the Sawyer brand filter units. That is what I used as they were affordable on my salary. I could also afford replacement filter units and did so frequently (several times per year). You can extend the life of your filter by pre-filtering your water with an inexpensive coffee filter and by letting some of the gross contaminant settle out prior to decanting the “clearer water” through the coffee pre-filter. These are good things to know in the aftermath of a storm when the water in the streams is the color of hot chocolate.
Would I do it again? yeah, if I had to. It is nice knowing that I can and have survived this way in the past. My wife is not wild about the scenario at all. I have to say, I would miss this site and all the knowledge shared about generators, solar panels, gas versus diesel versus propane or LNG. I am learning a lot. It has got some nice people posting here too.
OK here’s an update from a power out situation here in Florida. In the past we’ve all talked about tangible assets, currently in Florida people are without power and looking for generators.
Through the years I have stored a hoard of generators, that I have found at sales. Repaired and stored them properly, I just sold the last one of 25.
A simple sign at a stop sign saying generator for sale. Cleared out the barn. Each one came with general instructions and a CO detector.
And no I didn’t gouge anyone, most of the people were Nieghbors.
Some of them I knew, most were driving by.
The summary is simple, anytime you can turn worthless paper into something that is needed. And can be a bartering asset it has value.
I traded for what people had, animals, tools, gold, silver and even cash if I had to, had one guy want to use a credit card🙄.
I’m lucky enough to have a whole house generator, but I also planned on long term outages and have oil and filters to do the routine maintenance myself. Of course this relies on natural gas flowing, so I have non-electric things to do all the basic tasks – lighting, cooking, washing, etc. And a few small solar panels to charge a few USB battery packs gives us Kindles and cellular phones as long as the sun shines every third day.
As to water, unless you KNOW it’s a short-term disaster (hurricane, blizzard, etc.) rather than TEOTWAWKI, it’s just smart to fill your bathtub (or WaterBOB), and any empty containers you have ASAP before the town’s water tank is empty. Sure, I have a filter and stored water, but I want to delay the need to drag 400 pounds of water back from the river for as long as possible….
Thanks for the interesting article!