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.
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.
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!!).
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.
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.
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