Electrical Grid Down For 2 – 4 Weeks (Level 2 Preparedness)
My hypothetical for level 2 preparedness is being prepared for 1 month of disruption.
Previously I discussed Water & Food and Water Storage & Availability.
This time lets think about electricity being out for several weeks, up to one month.
Chances are that a level 1 (1 week) or level 2 (1 month) event will be local or regional, so one could always travel outside the affected region to where services are uninterrupted. But that wouldn’t make for much of an article or discussion ;)
Lets say that you don’t have the means or ability to leave the affected area and you’re going to be without power for 2 – 4 weeks.
That’s a long time without electricity!
Lets think about what type of interruptions that might have on your life.
All of the stores, gas stations, banks & ATM’s will be closed. And you can’t drive out.
What you have is what you’ve got. You will need to make it work for one month.
Your fridge, freezer, lights, internet, cell phones, stove, microwave, air conditioning, heating… NONE OF THEM WILL WORK.
Tip: If you have a gas stove, the stove top will probably still work.
Tip: If you have a wood heating stove the house will stay warm in the winter.
So how do we deal with the issue of no electricity for 2 to 4 weeks?
1. You will simply do without some conveniences.
2. Have substitutes that don’t require a functional power grid.
3. Have a generator with lots of gas (use sparingly).
4. Solar powered systems.
What can you do without? Yes you will survive without the internet or TV. However you can still get some news & information if you have a portable emergency radio.
[ Read: 3 Emergency Radio Choices ]
Your cell phone will lose its juice. The local towers may or may not be up and running (I haven’t specified in this scenario). However you can still charge your phones and other devices using solar power.
Check it out: 24W Solar Panel with 3 USB Ports (amzn)
A portable butane stove may be a real advantage. Why? Because butane is safer to use indoors than others. Here’s more about it:
[ Read: Single Burner Butane Stove Safer For Cooking Indoors ]
If you have a well for your water supply, you will need alternative energy to run that well pump. A generator that runs for just a few minutes will be enough to refill the water pressure tank in the house (typically 40 gallons or more). Note that a well pump will require 240 volts, so be sure to choose a generator that has that capability.
If you have municipal water, chances are that your town’s tower and pumps will have generators with plenty of backup fuel. It’s not until we get into level 3 and level 4 preparedness where our assumptions are much worse…
It’s always a good idea to have water storage in the house.
Heating and air conditioning without electricity! This could be a big issue. Think about it. It’s the middle of winter and you live in the north cold country. Or it’s the middle of summer and you live down south where “hot” is truly defined…
Wood stove. No problem. Even a pellet stove or conventional furnace will function if you have a large enough solar array and battery bank. However most people are not set up for this. Again, a generator will run these systems, but how long until you run out of fuel? They generally drink a lot of gas.
Lights. We can live without lights at night. However it’s so ridiculously easy to get your lights back on by using LED lanterns and flashlights. Even solar powered yard lights will charge up by day and you can bring them in at night.
Just think about it. Think about all of the things that you use at home that require electricity. Go through room by room. If you need it to be operational, figure out a substitute or alternative power.
You might be wondering what I do or how I would handle this situation. I have generator capability, and I have also put together a small/medium solar power system that will run all of my essential needs in the home.
Tip: If you’re storing lots of gas for your generators, be sure to add fuel stabilizer for longer shelf life (up to one year or more is possible). And rotate your gasoline. PRI-G (the best)
[ Read: Preparedness Level 1 – 4 Series Overview ]
Good start Ken! My first thought is of the issue of the less prepared observing you have LIGHTS and they do not. Your long driveway into the woods and a locked logging chain will reduce the chance of uninvited visitors BUT those that have the gumption to seek you out will not be easily talked into walking out empty handed. We who live less Rural will notice the “Interest” of our less prepared neighbors sooner.
Personally given I have neighbors I know well enough (BBQ get together and shared recovery from Nor’easters) I chose to have extra solar lamps and such to share with them. Indeed my Generator was wandering around the neighborhood “Recharging” Fridge’s and Freezers as well as warming up homes with oil heat last Nor’easter.
So to sum it up Please Meet and Greet your neighbors. Better to have some knowledge of who lives nearby and a friendly (IF Possible) relationship BEFORE a Disaster then to have some envious troublemaker riling up the neighborhood AGAINST that Rich? Lucky? Selfish? family that has power….
Also if your so inclined having a “Safe” looking BB gun is useful to teach (and OBSERVE the nature of folks) gun safety and shooting WITH OUT showing your an “Evil Black Gun” family. That worked well with two semi-liberal neighbors who now have firearms (mostly 22’s) and shoot in our backyard range.
Make allies friends, lone wolves DIE.
Pray for the Republic and wisdom
All good advice.
I will be talking about security in a subsequent level 2 article, however you bring up a good point regarding being seen (lights at night). You don’t want a situation analogous to bugs being drawn to a floodlight outside at night…
Ken I did a MSB search about generators and quieting them down. Did not find anything. Is reducing the noise signature of your generator important in your opinion? I know post storm before the electricity comes back in my valley you can hear generators and see lights from across the valley. That’s about 7-11 miles as the crow flies.
In the Army we built sandbag walls with a zig zag access to muffle the roar of the generators. I know that adding fiberglass insulation inside a generator shed greatly reduces the noise as does an UP Graded Muffler. I am sure with your years of research you have more ideas?
Generator noise and lights will bring un invited visitors.
Thanks for an excellent website
@NH Michael, My best advice for quieting a generator’s noise signature (if that is a concern) is to start with a quiet generator. This costs more money. But that’s what you need to do if it’s a high concern.
I have several Yamaha portable generators (a few different sizes for varying needs). They are the quietest on the market (Honda portables are pretty quiet too).
If you start with a quiet generator, you can then do various things to make it even quieter. You can buy your own little shed for it, or you can build your own.
You will need to exhaust the shed properly (and have adequate air intake). The exhaust is HOT so design accordingly. And certainly, yes, insulation on the inside walls will help tremendously. Don’t forget to leave enough space for serviceability inside the shed (or easy alignment to roll it out).
It would make for a good article to discuss this separately.
Related: ( Generator Shelters on Amazon )
I have the GenTent, allow operation during bad weather. Comes from your neck of the woods.
Based on my experience in the small engine/outdoor power field, I would recommend the Honda over the Yamaha. This is solely based on the ease of obtaining parts quickly. Both are top tier units, without a doubt, however I have found it difficukt at best to get Yamaha parts. The Honda dealer network is outstanding, you can find one in almost every town, Yamaha outdoor is not nearly as well supported, at least in my experience.
I agree with you Kevin. I see Honda everywhere. Yamaha not so much. What swayed me those years ago was simply the dB (audio) ratings whereby the Yamaha was quieter (although the Honda was close). If I were to do it over again I would probably go with Honda for the parts & service aspect. Fortunately my Yamaha’s haven’t required parts (so far!).
NHM, That style might work in your area, but it wouldn’t work where I am. We have quite a few old timers here — very Conservative. They take care of their own. People don’t ‘mingle’ unless it’s at church. What you suggest would be like trying to educate Amish how to live off-grid… “Advice” would either make ’em laugh or piss ’em off. Folks just wouldn’t be receptive to that — it would be like talking-down to them.
Everyone takes care of their own homes and households around here. We have 1/2 mile long driveways around here and plenty of acreage. If you don’t own a tractor w/ a plow, you have someone on-contract to do it for you.
If you need a new roof and want to DIY, you get your friends to help (and they generally live elsewhere). Only the elderly ‘hire out’ because it’s part of the lifestyle here. Generally, people aren’t gardening any longer, so if grid-down was longer, that would change. I do keep pounds of seeds to get some folks nearby started back into gardening — but I’m not doing their heavy lifting (or their gardening). If one of the established neighbors needed a hand, sure thing. Some of us have phone numbers of our immediate neighbors, but mostly people drive to another neighbor’s home.
Only the ‘new’ homes here don’t heat with wood — and that’s on THEM. Those of us who’ve lived here a long time do not associate with them — different ideologies and lifestyles. And we all resent how they have attempted to move-in and take-over. So no one is going to donate ricks to anyone, nor will anyone here open their homes up to the “transplants.” They may be the first to attempt to befriend others, but then they will be the first to leave.
We would be open to trades/barter, but I’m not keen on giveaways. It sets up a dependency which we are both very much against.
We lived through a 4 1/2 day grid-down winter storm. We could here generators running. We could see the tractors and snowblowers out, along with the families shoveling the 4 feet of snow. No one put on snowsuits and came knocking at the doors of their neighbors. Everyone toughed-it-out.
So, your suggestions may work in the suburbs and in some regions outside the burbs. But here? Nope. And that’s one of the benefits of living in a rural area.
Modern Throwback I am sorry your neighborhood is not into helping each other. I am sorry I did not specify the common sense idea of NOT Talking Down to your neighbors. You can piss folks off even around here that way.
Living through a week or so winter storm is good prepping (we end up doing that every couple of years, sometimes twice in a winter) BUT there was the awareness that Law and Order was still out there. With a MONTH Down just how much Law Enforcement do you expect to be around?
Do you have nobody with in 20 miles that might be a active hazard to a bunch of Loner Old Timers? Would be awful to hear a bunch of shots out their way and you had no way to check out the situation by calling or?
The last time we had unexpected shots fired in my neighborhood a pack of us showed up to check in when phone calls were unanswered. Happily they forgot their cell phones when they were testing a few new toys. If someone needs a pest trapped or shot we help each other. Maybe that is a NH thing.
Sorry to say the recent Masshole Liberals who have been moving in seem uninterested in being good neighbors. I mark them down as potential trouble when the Law and Order is in question.
Hopefully my suggestions can help others who visit this site.
Hahaha! If you DON’T hear gunshots up here where I live you’ll think something’s wrong… It’s part of the normal way of life ;) Someone’s target shooting or hunting (in season) often enough. It’s funny to imagine the tourists reaction when they’re in the region… the horror…
Same here. everyone shoots around here. I have a range set up for pistol so about once a week I’m out there blasting away.
Ken a couple of shots or some burst of FUN Fire as I call it is also normal here. We heard what sounded like a fire fight thus the neighborly concern and the phone calls if everything was alright. Was interesting to see squad level maneuvering to investigate the fire fight sounds. Old habits die hard around here.
When I was answering MT I was assuming that her old timers would Shoot Back at troublemakers and thus a Fire Fight level of shots fired.
When I hear a shot during Deer Season I think they got a deer. When I hear several shots I’m pretty sure they DID NOT get a deer :-)
“Tourists… send more the last batch tasted wonderful” Mr. Bear….
You wrote, “I am sorry your neighborhood is not into helping each other. I am sorry I did not specify the common sense idea of NOT Talking Down to your neighbors.”
You push the ‘helping others’ as a religious mantra here. Not everyone lives in that world, or with that mindset. Helping a neighbor is NOT the same as pushing a prepper lifestyle, or one with preparedness training. Those who do, well, they wear a label. A label becomes a target. With the current political climate being what it is, we tread very carefully. We hide what we can and use our smarts to keep as much of our belongings and preps as privately as we can. Neighbors do notice activities and projects, though. People are curious, some are nosey. We can’t hide a barn raising. We can’t hide livestock. We don’t stifle the noise of our gunfire, either. But here, there is no way that I would be pushing lanterns and little preppy items onto people because everyone would be suspicious, or they would put things together.
Gunshots are commonplace around here. Chainsaw buzzing is too. So is tractor noise, cattle mooing, dogs barking, roosters crowing, and a bunch of other sounds from the country. This is our life.
There are gads of people who read this site. Many live in the burbs. But not everyone does. So don’t assume we all live as you do. Or even want to.
MT I am sorry to offend you so deeply. Lets agree to disagree and stop reading and or responding to each others posts. This is not the first time you went out of your way to snarl at me. Go in peace.
I generally don’t read your posts anymore because you flip-flop and you back out when “debating”. Been there, done that. But you also put words into people’s mouths.
I know you don’t like it when someone disagrees with you because you’re vocal about it, then you begin accusing people of being ‘triggered.’ Do we REALLY need to be chastized because some of us don’t believe in your MOB fear-tactics? People don’t get ‘triggered’ by what you write, people just don;t agree with your every word.
When you are held to what you write, you can’t take it. You even did it to today saying that I am deeply offended. No I’m not deeply offended. I’m just not playing your game. It wasn’t long ago when half of the comments in a post was taken up by people writing to you, consoling you, because you felt that you weren’t getting enough of an audience. That’s called seeking attention. And it wasn’t the first time.
I come here to read Ken’s great content and the best, most practical reviews around. I also come here for comraderie and to enjoy those who comment. It’s not a big deal when we have a troll once in a while. It’s not an issue when someone who is truly in need reaches out. But I know when people are gaming others.
From where I sit, I see someone who sits at a computer quite a bit, and is on this site day and night. You have monopolized many threads. I can’t ignore your stuff if you are posting on every other person’s comment.
If you can’t take the heat, don’t play in the kitchen. If I am out of line, Ken will let me know. Not you.
I agree MT
I too, commented on the 24/7 verbiage by NH and have refrained from the ongoing banter. Seems to be an expert on every subject. Wish I was so knowledgeable.
Lights out around here is people looking after their own and not running around getting into other people’s business. If a friend needs a hand I give it to a point. We run our own saws, generators, tractors, …. I once thought the “gulch” was possible but human nature got in the way.
Kinda had to chuckle tonight. Combining cutting brush for shooting lanes and reading comments……
Ok so cutting tall grass, I have for an example, a spotter. Well I hit a large rock.
Spotter says u hit a rock. Didn’t you see it?
I say no $hit? You didn’t see it to forwarn me?
Nope…I thought something was there…just wondered if you saw it……
I carry an extra half moon, an extra.bolt and tools.
I cannot, nor.anyone else can give precise measures to any one or all circumstances.
We live in different areas, with different people, different midsets of said people.
We cannot and should not say, this is the way it should be. VARIABLES
Be prepaired in YOUR own foreseen
Like ya both. No favoritism…..
Not picking on no one
James chapter 3 NIV
Those preachy upper CAPS annoy me more than the subtle, passive/aggressive trolling…
(And lets all please keep our sock puppet names straight, okay NH?)
Dear Anonymous I’d like to think the membership of Modern Survival Blog has the intestinal fortitude to post their comments under their screen name and not hide behind a Trolls Anonymous Mask.
I do not use “Sock Puppets” as Ken is pretty rough on folks faking screen names when he checks ISP’s.
I will wait out the Hash Tag “Me Too” and Virtue Signaling of some unhappy people who at least have the Honor of using their screen names. I can respect their opinions even if I disagree with them.
Pray for the Republic, she needs all the help she can get.
I get it on make allies, but what about those who think you need to just fork it over?
You got lucky with your libs, many arent like that
Chuckling Tommyboy I use Bear Spray or quarter staff thumping or something more powerful to discourage such thoughts and actions.
As I have said a few times before “If your willing to WORK, I will feed you”. When the many “Mothers Little Helpers” that Electricity gives us FAILS someone needs to DIG that Burial-Trash Pit, haul water, do laundry and firewood and so forth. Remember the last time your power failed Tommyboy? A LOT of work to maintain semi-normal duties. Food maybe crude FAMEAL but my folks will also eat it so no griping.
Oh and again as I said before Nobody lives IN MY House aside from my most trusted. Temp Housing will be a tad crude for most folks taste. Letting folks you are unsure about living inside your home is a great way to have a “Night of the LONG Knives” event.
I know I cannot avoid being found so I have to make plans to secure the homestead and keep Reasonable Folks at least semi-friendly. Crazy people I have a burial pit for.
If the “Fork it over” crowd is Governmental then the Armored Vehicle “Wins” HOWEVER if I am still alive I can retreat deeper into the woods and restart. I do have several Plan B Olive Barrels out there.
After all Wallace said it best “All men DIE, not all men truly LIVE”.
(Chuckling Tommyboy I use Bear Spray or quarter staff thumping or something more powerful to discourage such thoughts and actions.)
(Crazy people I have a burial pit for.)
Sorry but I call BS on this.
When you type “I use Bear Spray or quarter staff thumping or something more powerful to discourage such thoughts and actions.” implies you do this now as in your use of the words “I use” says you are actively doing this.
If you did do this you would be typing your words from a jail cell, and the fact you are not in jail tells me this is pure BS…
No one here is buying this…
A Mad Max World with no law and the ability to harm and kill others without being held responsible for doing so is very unlikely. To think it’s OK to do so and then not be hauled into a court (and jail) is foolish at best and probably outright criminal.
Chuck Findlay in the context as I understood Tommyboys query cut and pasted here:
I get it on make allies, but what about those who think you need to just fork it over?
I think my response to forceful taking when normal Law Enforcement cannot respond was fairly well measured and controlled. Police use pepper spray to control a situation and move up to Billy clubs unless threatened then they shoot you.
I did make an assumption (which can make an #ss out me and you) he was talking about TAKERS. Not a set of girl scouts selling cookies or such. Maybe I misunderstood his query and answered poorly.
Given that there is an active Catch and Release Program on Antifa who use clubs on people AND “Mad Max” Maxine Waters preaching at a political rally to “Take out President Trump AND Mike Pence” and somehow she’s not in jail for inciting a riot or worse… There are plenty of other examples as you well know.
I sadly expect the America we were born in and love will look and act a lot different in the near future.
I hope and pray you are correct and a Mad Max folks TAKING using force from you and I does not occur. However in the context I understood Tommyboys query if in the Ugly Future calling law enforcement to stop folks from stripping your deep pantry will not work OR worse it’s Law Enforcement like in Venezuela doing the Theft what DO you plan on doing Chuck Findlay?
We would be fine for a month w/out electricity. We are on a well and have not yet added solar for the well….but it is in the plans. We have plenty of stored water in our 1,000 gallon tank (and we have additional 55-gallon plastic drums with water). We would ration water and use it for drinking. With an ability to decontaminate and pre-filter water for drinking, our last measure of safety would be the Big Berkey.
We would switch to using paper plates to avoid using much water for dishes. Pots would still need to be cleaned. Our bathroom needs would be taken outside to our outhouse that we built, just in case. And yeah, we’d have enough TP so we wouldn’t need to use old catalog pages or mullein leaves. lol
The worst issue would be if the grid went down during hot summertime weather. We would miss (and feel) air conditioning in the house, but that’s a modern convenience, not a necessity. Been there, done that — most of my life.
Winter grid-down would be easier with our wood stove and wood cookstove, but it would be colder on the back-end when going to the outhouse!
We have quite a bit of fuel for our generators (we have one running w/ gas, one running w/ diesel), so we would have enough to keep the freezer and small fridge running. And one fan, off & on. The gennies would be exclusively for the 2 appliances, but I’d be busy outside canning meats from the freezer. And yes, we have a propane burner to do that outside, and we keep a good supply of propane on hand in 100# tanks.
Does everyone have at least ONE analog clock???? Despite what digital would read-out, time does not ‘stand still’…
For us (and probably most reading here), it is the 1 year timeframe, or longer, where the lifestyle would become radically different!
(Does everyone have at least ONE analog clock???? Despite what digital would read-out, time does not ‘stand still’…)
Almost all my wall clocks are battery powered.
And I collect watches (have about 40 of them) and at least 1/2 of them are self-winding ones. And I have a few pocket watches, one is a gold one that is 122 years old and keeps time within 1-min a day, it was my grandfathers railroad watch.
We have done the no electricity for just short of two weeks after a major storm. Although we have a generator, it’s only powerful enough to run two refrigerators, a microwave if we unplug the refrigerators, and the coffee maker. After reading some accounts of generator and gasoline thefts in Puerto Rico, after last years hurricane we have decided to try and forego any long term use of the generator. I do like the idea’s on muffling the sound, that might buy us some time. Otherwise I am thinking that two weeks usage will allow us time to use up the food in the refrigerator.
The key is to have enough generator power to run your essentials (whatever they may be). Furnace. Fridge. Freezer(s). Well Pump. Those are my immediate essentials.
Surprisingly it doesn’t take a giant generator to do all that, but 4KW should be enough (generally speaking). It gets dicey when everything is on at once – although typically that wouldn’t happen. You could control that too (by managing the loads). The bigger the generator the louder they are too…
You can also just run the generator for an hour or two, then off for a period of time.
If you have chest freezers, cover them with thick blankets to buy more time.
I had my son do the calculations for a generator to meet our needs like water, hot water. Unfortunately because our well is so deep, our pump is our biggest draw. We will need a 6k generator. It’s on our list but not likely to get anytime soon. He said that a 4k would be at our limit.
Your son is correct. A one horse submersible pump will max out a 4000 watt generator. It will do it, but just barely. Check out my post below.
Good point. My pump is only 1/2 HP, not having to pump too many vertical feet compared with other people’s wells…
What if your well pump got taken out by the storm??? Just saying. My brother runs a well drilling company in Idaho. He tells me that the industry has run surveys, a full 1/3 of the well pumps are taken out by nearby lightning strikes. Average life of a well pump is like 4 years. Not to worry you more, just food for thought.
I feel fortunate that my pump lasted 30 years and was still working when it was replaced before it quit.
Cover your chest freezer but remember to keep the blanket off the cooling coils when it is operating.
Excellent point, In the last 15-20 years, the quality of pumps has gotten noticeably better. The old saying was “anything over 7 years is a gift.” It is not unusual to get 12-15 years from a quality submersible nowadays. Best to keep a new one on hand. Surprising to hear that many lightning strikes in Idaho. Mother nature will do as she pleases.
My pump is still original from ~18 years ago. With my luck it will go out during the middle of winter… and it would not be easy to replace (which is an understatement). Plan B.
I live in the desert so water is critical. I have 500 gallons stored and could store another 5000 in about 6 hours as long as it keeps flowing from the tap. My 3 chest freezers would be a challenge. Intermittent us of the generator to keep them going while I can everthing. I figure with 3 pressure canners and 3 hot water bath canners going I could process everything in about 24 hours. I have 50 dozen jars set aside so that should suffice.
I think we’d be fine for a month, particularly during the summer when the tanks are full. In the fall I have to empty them or risk breaking because of ice, so that would be more complicated, but still doable. We probably have a month of firewood, and if we turned the “fire room” downstairs into a hotbox it would heat most of the house. That’s the way it was designed.
I wonder if that kind of event would make anyone wake up, or if they’d just sigh with relief and say “Well, that’ll never happen again” and go back to their lives?
Lightning never strikes twice, right? (That’s what they would think)
We too have gone without electricity for several weeks. Minor inconveniences but we did ok. The worst was for my DH. We didnt have stove top coffee maker. That was fixed ASAP and now we have two. (Two is One and One is None). We live in cold country and are now ready for winter. Plenty of wood, food, and things to entertain us.
Oh yes, must have a stove top percolator (or manual press) for that morning coffee! ( I’ve had this one for years ) Have had to use it too!
Have a French press and old fashioned percolator but you can always just boil the coffee in a can. Cowboy coffee. The sissy’ s can even strain it after LOL
Those old stovetop percolators make pretty good coffee. Use one all the time at hunting camp. Try stirring a Hershey chocolate bar in a cup of stovetop coffee. Good twist on chocolate coffee.
I got to run some grains or something through the old fashioned grinder i got, gives the coffee an awful taste, not sure if its the wooden box, some machine oil, or shitty steel but between that and my old school percolator and 50# of coffee beans i should be ok for a couple weeks
Yum! I will have to try that.
Loss of electricity is a singular event, but coupled with another, such as flooding, and the situation increases in severity multiple times. Our basement got flooded years ago in a terrific storm so I went out and bought a sump pump and went to work with that and a wet/dry vacuum. Another storm hit the next day and took out the electricity for several days. Purchasing a generator seems to have prevented anymore power outages.
When we first started to build our place it took the power company almost 7 months to install our poles and power. We learned EXACTLY what it took to keep fridge cool, how much time we needed on the computer for the office, etc.
We have generators, fuel and know how. I do NOT worry about an electric down scenario. Besides, I might not have to go to work if that were to happen! (sigh)
Always good food for thought Ken. Thank you, as usual for keeping us on our toes.
Pioneer Woman, now that timespan without power is respectable!! What a test run!
Not having a generator where we live is not an option for us (evidently it is for a lot of people, I’ll explain later).
We started out with a 4k generator that we used when building our first cabin, then a year later our home. Experienced a two week outage our first year after moving into our home, struggled with multiple extension cords and flirting constantly with overloading this generator. We quickly upgraded to a 8k generator with a 13.5k surge capacity. I’ve wired it so that it services our home, our cabin, and our 30×50 shop building. It supplies all the power we need except we turn the breakers off for our central heat/air and electric water heater. When we need hot water for showers, I flip the breakers for the fridge, freezers, etc. long enough for the water eater to recover. Otherwise, we would not notice a difference from everyday life on the grid (other than the background drone of the engine located 100+ feet from our home).
Now, the explanation of why some folks don’t seem to see generators as a necessity. Every time we have a widespread, long term (week or more) power outage, folks line up around stores that sell generators paying jacked-up prices to purchase any generator they can find. Fights break out and bidding wars take place in the parking lots in attempts to talk folks that were lucky enough to purchase one, out of those generators. Six months later you see those once precious generators in yard sales for pennies on the dollar. People have very short memories. I’ve seen countless numbers of $1000 generators, used less than a couple of weeks, available for $250 or less.
I would strongly encourage those of you with deep wells, to consider a dc deep well pump. There are several available, for whatever depth of well you may have. Most are fairly low volume, like 1-3 gallon per minute and may require an additional booster pump to provide pressure once the water is at ground level. I have one in storage for an extended grid down. All the fittings, pipe wire etc. is here as well. Check them out, it may be less money than a large generator. Even at 1 gallon per minute, it’s a lot of water.
Gravity feed instead of booster pump. Direct solar operation, no battery required. Larger, more expensive dc pump. All options are available. Installing any submersible pump is actually pretty easy. None of it is rocket science.
More than one way to skin a cat.
Thanks Plainsmedic, I will look into this as well.
I think it would be advisable for those of you on a well to get a manual system set up for the well. I know, another “cost”, but a manual systems is back to the very basics. just my thoughts.
We did look into a manual pump made for deep wells. The deepest the manuals can handle is 350,’ if I remember correctly. Our well is deeper than that.
it is not the depth of the well you need to be concerned with, but the static water level.
One of wells here is 369 ft deep, but static water level is 145.. need to go at least 20 ft below water line… for most wells. So for that well would need pumping for 165 ft deep. one of nicer kits is @ 1K.. These install beside the existing well pump… I also have a pond. and water filter./pre filters.
There are few wells around here (Toledo Ohio area) and the ones I’ve seen are only 10 to 20 feet down. It doesn’t take much of a pump to get water out of them.
Thanks Just Sayin, our well depth is 500′, but the static water level is 375′. I haven’t checked on manual pumps in a couple of years. Maybe someone has developed one by now. I hope that I can eventually find a manual that will work with our well.
Peanut Gallery, You need a back up Genny, dedicated for your well. will be cheaper in the long run… and enough fuel to run ..hook to a large high holding tank, and use gravity to go into house.. with wells in that area being that deep, should have good water.. Our deep one mentioned is under stream of sand 100ft deep..protected by several large rocks..
those wells close to surface are easily contaminated.. .wells 10-50 ft do not have the protection from surface use/misuse of chemicals. Just water has a filter avail thru nra, I got the specs on it. It is good enough to get fracking chemicals and medicines excreted in urine filtered from your water supply.50 $.
Bailer bucket ..put in diy with the name in search bar…option can be hand made…improvised with all materials fom hardware store. biggest issue is knowing the depth and being able to pull up consistently..longer tube full of water…tall windlass would be optimal…and of course getting the cap that is installed, loose for entrance to system…
I’ve lived through a lot of hurricanes and their aftermath (grid-down). Back in the 50’s and 60’s it was more an adventure and living without air conditioning was normal anyway. Today? Not so much. After having to rely on the many “unreliable” portable gasoline generators over the years we finally broke down and bought a 17kW Kohler natural gas home generator after spending 5 weeks without power and air conditioning during/after Gustav in 2008.
The portable gasoline generators are nice for camping or several days grid down but beyond a few days… not so much IMHO. Portable gasoline generators just don’t have the “umph” required to power the whole house especially the heat pump. They also require running dozens of extension cords all over the place in and out doors and windows in order to supply power to different things in the house. I can live without coffee maker/rice cooker/lights and miscellaneous stuff but at my age air conditioning is a must. Plus, I have too much invested in the 3 freezers and if push came to shove I suppose I could salvage most of the meat / seafood by canning it but would rather not have to do that. The older I get the more I prefer to have Air conditioning in the heat of August and September. It’s amazing how our priorities change as we weaken with age. :) Just saying.
We hook our generator directly into the MAIN. No extension cords needed, no fuss. It is in the greenhouse attached to the main house, so weather secure, vented and fully useful.
Can actually run on about 4 hours per day with fridges and freezers opened minimally. Keep a baggie of ice at top of each freezer chest to watch for any melting. Works great
Related article: How To Know If Your Freezer Thawed And Froze Again When You Were Away
Pioneer Woman, please buy a transfer switch. Hooking directly into the main is not safe. You can easily ruin your own electrical system and appliances, and you risk injuring any power company lineman who thinks that the power line is off.
Right now, losing power for 2-4 weeks would be rough, but we would make it. Do have a generator, so if we had hot weather, it would be cycled to keep the freezers going. In cold weather, I would put my ‘plan B’ in motion. We have a very small cottage (900 sf) and not much room. In fact, no room for a wood stove right now. But, I have a Jotul stove, a wood supply, and have built up a supply of 4′ sections of stove pipe so I could install it inside in short order if we need it, I built the wall section to accommodate the future flue. ( our in-floor hot water is propane, but requires electricity for the controls and circ pump). Working on getting a large ( 1000 gallon) buried propane tank. (out of site, out of mind), and a propane genset as many of you have mentioned. The cottage is insulated enough to go maybe 3-4 days without freezing issues. This has been tested in the dead of winter without power in the past.
minerjim have you given thought about a small solar array and battery bank to allow you use of your propane fired heating? I helped a neighbor set one up last year as his oil fired furnace actually requires a surprisingly low amount of electricity to work. Right now with out any solar input from clouds etc. he can run his oil heat and a couple of LED lights for 3-4 days with out damaging his battery bank (about 40% drawdown) and could go for a week before his battery bank is flat and damaged. He was the one who figured out he could run long battery cables from his 12 volt automobile to top off his emergency bank through a basement window.
Also with a plug in battery charger set up if Grid Power was erratic like in Venezuela you could charge when grid was up and use the battery bank in-between.
Nice to have options, with that big a Propane Tank you could even go propane for fridge and stove. Both requiring very little power for the safety interlocks.
Ah yes. that is my plan “c” backup plan!! Always have backups to the backups. Solar is on my screen, getting the $$ for it another, but I am getting there. Actually having a 1000 watts of solar as a backup to run ….. whatever… is on my list. thanks for bringing this up again!
minerjim the best part about solar power is it’s Modular. Renology make a very nice 12 volt DC 100 watt solar panel for around if I recall correctly 130.00. Their control box is an odd duck being negative ground and their instructions leave a lot to be desired. However You tube has good video on proper set up. Or you can dump/store that control box for a better grade.
My second favorite right now is Grape Solar the 400 watt set up is very nice but non MPPT controller. If you go to Camelcamelcamel and sign up you can see how the prices vary and set an alert for when it drops to YOUR desired price. Normal price for the Grape Solar 400 watt system is 1600.00 However because of camel alert I bought a second backup at 980.00 I did have to wait 3 months if I remember correctly.
The key to doing modular is to decide on final product so your controller, inverter and battery bank is right sized. Then you can buy more solar panels as money allows to increase solar recharging capacity. Even if you decide to start with a smaller set up when you upgrade the older gear can go into Faraday Cage for emergencies. Indeed if you choose a good quality MPPT controller having a MUCH Cheaper PWM standard controller is a nice back up for EMP. Lead acid battery banks are best set up as a set. Just like other batteries adding strong NEW batteries to broken in older batteries tends to run those new ones down faster. If you must do more than 1 bank set up the second bank in (I think Solar Wiring book not nearby) parallel as so not to mix old with new
Plenty of good sites to find set up of 12 volt systems. Why do I use 12 volt vs. the superior 24 or higher voltage? Because POST SHTF I can salvage 12 volt stuff from lots of sources. RV’s and such have water pumps that a 12 volt bank can run etc.
Hope this helps
Thanks, good suggestions. Have been thinking about the 12 volt -24 volt issue. Your ideas make perfect sense.
Ahhhh yes, the good old Grid Down scenario.
I find it literally amazing how dependent the American People have become on Electricity, something they have ZERO control over, pay extraordinary amounts of money for, that can be “hacked”, blown-up, disconnected (try missing a payment or two), EMP-ed, CME-ed, have “Brown outs”/”Black outs” or just all out fried. This on a system that’s as fragile as an egg dropped from 3 feet. Heck just ask the latest Hurricane/Flooding participants about power…..
For anyone that’s trying to prepare please find a way of supplementing your electrical needs WHEN the Grid Fails, and it WILL at some time. Something as simple as a rechargeable flashlight can bet of GREAT comfort in the middle of the night when something goes ‘bump’.
Everyone has list upon list of things needed at Grid Down, and it’s all good advice.
AND tis nice to have that 1000 gallons of Gas stored up for the Gen-Sets; a question though, do you even know how to run a Gen “Safely”? Can you hookup that refrigerator up without frying yourself? Is it raining outside on the Generator?
I did want to comment on Ken’s “Tip: If you have a gas stove, the stove top will probably still work.”
Maybe Maybe-Not, a LOT of Stoves now-a-days have a “Safety” solenoid that shuts the gas off when the power goes off. Do yourself a favor, unplug the Stove and try to light it. WARNIING, if you turn on the knob, make sure to turn it back off and don’t fill the house with Gas.
Ken, Thanks for restarting the series, GREAT Information to those that are getting into being prepared.
PS; how many of y-all do Lights Out weekends and weeks, just to refine your skills and preps?
Good advice on the kitchen range. When we built our retirement home, I insisted on a propane gas range for grid down scenarios. Ours has top burners that can be lit manually (match or bic), but the oven has an electric glow strip that preheats the therma-couple allowing the gas to flow. This is no great problem since our range in the cabin adjacent to our home has the old style pilot light type oven if we must bake or broil anything.
I also insisted on a ventless propane wall heater located in the center of the home for those times when the grid goes down rendering our HVAC system inoperable. Relied on it several times and it keeps the whole house comfy.
My wife doesn’t like wood smoke, so I compromised on not installing a wood burning stove or fireplace when we built, but I do have a Ben Franklin stove, necessary flue piping and plywood ready to alter a window into an emergency thru the wall vent/chimney if that becomes necessary. Figure it will take less than half a day to get it up and going. My 45 acres produces wood faster than we could ever use it.
There is a battery back up unit made for slow shut downs of computers. I have one to hook stove into so I can run /start oven..on NG. might be options for others… with solar power bank can plug into to recharge, will be able to keep charged… working on those backups…. cook-Stove came with propane conversion attachment on back./instructions to change.. also I can cook basics including biscuits on stove top. just need heavy skillet and glass lid, spatula.practice. Lights do NOT have to be out in rest of house to practice skills needed for when power fails.
Our power company gives us tests periodically, when light poles are replaced, ..someone hits a pole..lightening hits /something has to be reset in substation miles away from office
It was an ice storm that knocked out our power for 2 weeks that got me started prepping. We have a gas furnace but it has an electric thermostat. At that time all we had for heat was a vent less gas heater that was buried under junk in the garage and a kerosene heater with a burnt wick. It took 2 or 3 days to get things set up where we could function in a semi normal way. After getting both of those heaters up and running we could keep the front half of the house warm. During that time we had three teen age kids one infant grandson and my elderly mother living with us. The first week we put milk jugs of water outside to freeze to make ice for the cooler with food. We had a deep freezer in the garage but it stayed cold because there was no heat in the garage. We cooked on the charcoal grille and the kerosene heater. The second week it warmed up and the deep freeze began to thaw. That’s when we bought a generator. We paid too much for it but it was better than losing all of the food in the freezer. We had to drive 20 miles to find an open store where we could get charcoal, kerosene and other supplies. Now we have 3 kerosene heaters in good working order, 10 bags of charcoal, 10 gallons of gas, 10 gallons of kerosene, and a shed full of fire wood. If the power goes out now we can be up and running in less than one hour.
I would like to get a solar oven but don’t want to spend hundreds for it. I found this one for $90 on amazon. Anyone have any thoughts about it?
Sunflair Mini Portable Solar Oven
aka in my experience that unit while kinda cool is a commercial version of the Auto Shade Solar Cooker. If you search for homemade solar cookers or go to Solar Cookers International (my Fav) you will be thrilled at the number of easy to build some far more powerful units you can make yourself for less than 50.00
In general the larger and more reflective your collectors are the more sun power you can focus on your food target. That auto shade unit is around an 50% reflector compared to the Sun Ovens FAR Larger surface polished aluminum reflectors at nearly 90%. A Moped vs. an Sedan as an example.
If you have a local Print Shop you can chat them up a bit as they have Great Reflector Materials they send to recycle. Thin Aluminum Print sheets. My print shop seemed to be very interested that someone would use them for a solar project. Give them a visit.
Hope this helps
Thanks NH and Ken- I later read a few reviews and seems that people have little luck with it going much over 200 degrees. Ouch! Seems not a good deal for $90. I’ll review the old posts on the topic and the solar international see what I can come up with. Can’t see spending $300 on something that I might never use or get marginal use at best. Too many other things that have a higher priority. I am a decent DIY’er
I agree regarding the price of the ‘good one’. Very expensive. Ouch. I bought it years ago. Have used it a good bit, and I feel good knowing that I have it. However other priorities should be considered first! (Like a good water filter? etc..)
Actually have been there. Middle of the winter no power for 13 days. Heating with gas range top and Colman lantern for light. All the food from the fridge went in ice chest outside.
That’s when I started getting solar lights, a Genny and went from electric water heater to propane. Wood stove for heat now. Could do the month standing on my head
Good article. I have some work to do. We live out in the country on 20 acres with a stream behind us and many lakes around, it is Northern MN so no shortage of lakes. I would like to get a generator to run the well pump, furnace, stove and refrigerator and some outlets. Not sure how big of one I need. Also need to determine how much gasoline to store. My wife has a CPAP machine so we need that running at night. Most other things I think we’d be fine for a month as I did buy a 30 day food kit. In the winter heat is important. We do have a wood burning fireplace in basement and propane up stairs with battery ignite back up so should be ok but we can hit -40 at night in winter. I really need to get the generator it will change things a lot.
Up North I hope you taste tested your survival food and checked the calorie and protein count per day. I have paid for samples from almost every survival food company and aside from MRE’s (very expensive and ah constipating) and Mountain House (very pricey but good flavor and serving sizes) most were misleading you with serving sizes instead of Daily Calorie/Protein amounts. Flavor of most is often nasty salty glue like flavor-textured “food”.
Most “Survival” foods the food “Portions” were a bit of a joke, calorie and protein count way too low for any sort of working person (around 2000 to 2400 calories and around 100 grams protein is what MRE’s are working at). Please check friend.
If you want a 2400 calorie 90+ grams of protein survival bucket from a Wal-Mart shopping trip please look my posting this last weekend. Cost including food safe bucket, lid and Vitamins was around 50 dollars and the second pail would hold a lot more food than the first as you would not have to buy seasonings and sugar.
Hope this helps
@Up North, Thanks – glad it got you thinking about things ;)
Excellent that you have so much water around!
Just keep on slowly building your food storage. A little at a time and next thing you know you’ll have a nice deep pantry.
Based on today’s comments on generators, I’m going to do an article just on that, generators. Sizing, Noise issues, Fuel Requirements…
The trick is finding a balance between size and load requirements.
The easy (and expensive) way is to install a big a$$ generator that will do everything. However the fuel consumption will be guzzling. It is convenient though for those looking for quick and easy switch-overs from temporary power outages. Costs a lot though.
I like my smaller generators (not for whole-house), however I consciously manage the loads (don’t have everything on at once kind-of-thing…).
my dad just had a 22k Gen install for his house with 250 gallon propane tank was very surprise when the Rep said that a full tank would only last 6 days on full load, Don’t think i would want that set up but it give my 87 year old dad a peace of mind. we still have two gas gen for back up with plenty of gas from the farm.
A friend of mine has a propane fired generator. He really likes it, no fuel stability problems. As for me, its a wood stove for heat and a propane cook stove for cooking. I do have a smaller gas generator for the deep freezer.
A friend over here who had a hog farm ran a 10kw generator off of methane gas from a converter that used,
Wait for it
It actually ran pretty good, he sold the farm and liquidated all his stuff long ago but still its something to consider,
We would have no problem. Alot of foot work, but with no issues.
Pioneer woman….. I’m with you, hopefully no going in to work!
We have a ‘Camp Chef’ portable lp oven that GF bought online several years ago. And a small lp oven back at the cabin she bought at a yard sale We haven’t used them (probably should at some point, huh?) Took awhile to find it.
It has the oven, a single burner and a small grill.
Approx. 18 in long x 12 in deep x 15 in high.
Two gennies 5500 that can be connected to the house and a 2500 for whatever…both gas.
Winter wood stove.
Summer if need be a couple auto cooling fans to run off of dc.
And solar for.those 12 volt.
Self enclosed horse trailer has lp fridge…..which reminds me…..I need to.fill those tanks……
Is that 1.5KW single cylinder diesel an 1800 rpm unit?? Brand? bet the fuel consumption is like 1/4 gal/hr. Nice. Like the idea of running it on veggie oil. (Guy up the mesa runs his tractors on straight canola oil, and I can grow that here.) Really like the idea of the MSR, but I understand the government issues with that. Bet you put together a nice unit, that would be something to see.( I would not dare try that, they are still keeping tabs on me. wave to the satellite when it flies over!). I think the main take away from your comment is that we could/should actually try to reduce our overall power consumption down to a point where we could most likely provide all of our power. I agree. Tea and two chocolates for you friend!
Just a tiny comment. For those not so familiar with “gas” stoves, there is a difference between Natural Gas and Liquid Propane. The natural gas (NG) ones hook up to the “utility” provider (maybe the city) that pipes the gas to your neighborhood, and the LP ones attach to a propane tank. The ones you buy at Home Depot and other big box stores can actually do both, but out of the box are set up for NG. If you have a LP requirement (such as if you live out in the country where there is no gas “utility” or you want to operate outside the grid), you have to do a “conversion” with the parts supplied with the new unit.
To compound the uncertainty, there is very little outward difference in whether any given oven is set up for NG or LP – I believe it is primarily a question of jet size and valve internals (because the pressures are different). I for one cant tell by just looking.
My guess is it would be very dangerous to hook up a propane tank to a NG-jetted oven that hasn’t had the conversion, so a best practice for the less knowledgeable individuals would be to have someone that knows what they are doing to make sure a gas stove is properly set up to run on LP. This is not a risk you would want to run: poof!!!!
When I bought this house, I replaced the gas stove and also bought a new gas dryer. Both came from the store jetted for Natural gas. I had to buy specific LP nozzles for them and installed them myself. Not sure how dangerous it would’ve been if I had not done that, but they were clear to tell me that the appliances were fitted for natural gas. Up here where I live there is no natural gas. Everyone’s on propane.
Propane thru a nozzle sized for natural gas would have been real interesting, as in lots of flames interesting, and not good!. Propane(C3H8) is higher btu content than natural gas (which is mostly methane CH4), Most manufacturers ship with propane nozzles (smaller) as a safe default. You run natural gas through a propane nozzle you just get a small flame.
Thanks for explaining what would’ve happened (excessive flame!). Glad that I switched them out!
In fact when I ordered the LP nozzle for the dryer, the company mistakenly sent me a bag full of them. Got lots of extras now (although probably specific for the appliance).
Ken and minerjim;
Correct me if I’m incorrect Jim, but most all Nat-Propane conversion also include a regulator adjustment to reduce the pressure on the propane.
And yes you’re correct, running Propane on a Nat Gas is fun, have seen it, LOTS of flame but no boom, luckily.
Could be right about the regulator. Our propane is regulated at the entrance to the cottage, so it only took a changing on the nozzles ( actually ‘orifices’). Our counter-top range does have regulator, but I never touched it. I think the instantaneous water heaters (Takagi) have integral regulators already set up for propane.
Considering how many folks in the Carolinas are currently doing a grid down exercise for who only knows how long the timing on article is great.
As I opened up the site earlier today I read Grid down for 2-4 Weeks and my power immediately went out. Went through the usual EMP? consideration and ruled it out as DW was on the land line to my MIL. Computer was working on battery so it wasn’t fried. DW had a cup of tea in the microwave so I went out to heat it on the stove in the travel trailer. By the time I got back in the power was back on.
But every time it goes out it does make you wonder. We can pump water for several months on the stored propane and run the freezers long enough to can everything. After the propane runs out we can put pipe down the well casing and use a hand pump. Wood stove always has at least 3 cords and we have lots of trees.
On the stove thing it is unfortunate for a lot of folks that there is going to be an uptick in the used boat parts market. Hopefully they were adequately insured and I’m presuming a lot of boats will have been severely damaged from Florence. Lots of them will be parted out. Check eBay for boat parts under eBay motors. Propane stoves on boats don’t typically need electricity to start. Most of them use a piezo crystal to make the spark that light them.
I’m sure there are a lot of folks in the Carolinas that are also starting to run out of their medications. Thin about getting ahead on any prescriptions you might be taking.
@me, “As I opened up the site earlier today I read Grid down for 2-4 Weeks and my power immediately went out.”
Wow! I had no idea I am that powerful!
Hmmmm… what to write about tomorrow… ;)
Hmmmmm….where were you when the three 5 MW generators on a project I was on in Korea went belly-up? Along with the five satellite links….and…and….it was not a good time in the ‘Land of the Morning Calm’.
Do you know what the good thing is about LP (propane)?
It lasts forever – no shelf life!
Other fuels (gasoline, diesel) have a definite shelf life.
That’s why I like propane fueled appliances. Having a 1000 gallon buried tank and a propane fired furnace (and appliances) really helps with peace of mind regarding grid down situations.
A furnace (and it’s associated pumps) don’t require that much power to operate. A very small generator will get it going (or solar powered system).
One might add to have a Propane Generator, it can be hooked to that 1000 tank if needed, and 100# bottles used are GREAT (always change out the valve).
Backups to the Backups.
Before I forget
Cans of wasp spray….?
Do they still make Yard Guard??
Might be handy for any prep.
Extra cans of repellent? Fly spray?
Well sure we could list a trmendous number of preps. But lets stick to ideas related to power outage lasting 2 to 4 weeks.
Got a manual can opener?
Enough extra batteries to last a month in your flashlights and LED lanterns?
An extra propane tank for the bbq grill?
Some games to play with the family since tv and internet is out?
Books to read?
Yeppers, I have several p-38 and p-51’s.
If the DW quits wasting the AA’s and AAA’s on useless toys I have enough.
I have enough propane for some very nice BBQ, for several months.
Games….screw that. The scam-bag idiots around here better git off their butts and do something useful instead of wasting time playing games.
Books?…..These function-less idiots don’t have the most minor idea what a book is for. (Must I add…..They are “millenniala”?)
Internet???? No way, Jose’. The useless idiots need to learn about ‘real life’.
I have a number 11 boot that will fit quite nicely across their functionless butt to initiate their functionalities. If you know what I mean.
Two weeks? Two weeks? My foot is going to be majorly worn out with this bunch of useless idiots. But, possibly they will learn something. Not something I would look forward to, but possibly ONE thing. Such as….GET OFF YOUR LAZY BUTT YOU FUNCTION-LESS TURDS!!!!
Off the soap box.
How things have changes since we were young, yes?
I recall my dad waking us up early on Saturday to start our chores. There was no sleeping in on the weekends…
Today, that would probably be considered “abuse” by some.
We’ve become soft.
A grid-down event that lasted 2 to 4 weeks would be ‘shocking’ for many of today’s ‘youth’ in my estimation.
8.5 on the Rant-O-Meter…….
AND I agree 1000%
On the topic of “extra propane tank”, a person might consider options in size for the portable ones,
They come in 20, 50 and 100 lbs (of gas, that is).
The 20 is the standard size short squat ones seen at any big box store. A grown man in good enough shape can carry one in each hand.
The 50 is about the same diameter, just taller. These can be found at feed stores, tractor supply, northern tool, etc. One of these is about as much as one person can easily manhandle.
The 100 is also about the same diameter, but taller yet. I’ll guess about 5′ tall. You can get the at the same type of place as the 50’s. These, as they say in northern new England are “stout”. I used to be able to maneuver them around, back when I was more “rugged” (New England-speak for a person who can move stout objects) but now need a dolly, or a handy teenage son.
The point of this is portability, which has two advantages: 1) anonymity – the propane tank company doesn’t have to come out to your hidey hole to fil ‘er up , and get an eyeful of he surroundings while he’s at it. 2) Your 250 gallon and up (to 5000 Gal!) tanks are simply not transportable and thus refillable when the tank truck can’t or won’t be making deliveries.
Soooo…even if you have a big propane tank already, it might be worth having a backup or two…..as well as ensuring you have the right fittings, supply lines, valves, etc. for a tank changeout.
Just a thought
Sorry as I sit on the deck canning dilly beans and can’t move without the second swarm of hatched mosquitos swarm me from every direction.
Hard to use and watch over the lp stove fire when being attacked. I say, post what’s on my mind at the time….
Bugs gonna die during a power outage in the spring/summer/fall?
Arguments amongst MSB members are more pressing?
I have books ( I haven’t had time to read) , a cupboard full of games a drawer full of openers. The overlooked stuff……
Good point about the bugs. ALL of our bugs are off grid. And they are more noticeable when the power goes out and they don’t have a pole light or bug zapper to hand around. We burn citronella oil in hurricane lamps if we have power or not. It keeps the bugs at bay, and the fuel lasts way longer than if burned in a tiki torch.
Now I see the connection with bugs and grid-down… power grid goes down – freezer begins to thaw – you’re out on the deck with the lp stove canning the foods (I’ve got one of those too, a double burner) – the mosquitoes are swarming. Why are they swarming? Because mosquitoes are attracted to heat sources (your body heat & the stove).
Only solution to that problem as I see it is to enclose part of the deck with screen material (or get one of those camp screen canopy contraptions). I might look into that myself ;)
Joe c, Ken,
I was born and raised in NE Texas during a time when only the wealthy had air conditioning. Summers were hot and bugs plentiful. Nearly everyone had “screened in” porches, not only for daytime lounging safe from bugs, but many folks moved their beds onto these porches for night time sleeping during the summer.
Joe c, Livin’ in the Woods, Ken, Dennis
Please remember Bugs are a GREAT source of Protein for when the Grid goes Down. Heck of the Birds eat em, why should we do a pass????? :-) :-)
You must have missed my comment awhile back that I’m a million mile motorcyclist.
I know exactly what you mean…. LOLOL
Ken the all powerful, Reminder please, what’s the brand of batteries that don’t leak?
Energizer Max (AA)
Energizer Max (AAA)
I’ve switched out ALL of my Duracell’s for Energizer MAX.
I can’t believe how many of my Duracell’s were corroding the contacts on some of my devices.
A couple of articles:
Batteries That Will Not Leak Or Corrode
Battery Corrosion, Why They Leak And How To Prevent It
Thanks ken, Duracells out and no corrosion, Energizer Max in both lanterns.
Been reading along, I would suggest Rechargeable batteries and a solar charger, Ken has some links, yes, they are expensive, but over time pay for themselves….
Already in the Farady box
As far as how to survive a grid-down event that may last for a month or so. I have solar panels, charge controller, inverter and batteries in a motor home that can keep me in electricity.
I also have 3 generators (800 watt, 2,500 watt and a 6,500 watt one in the motor home) but I don’t think running them would be a good idea as even the quiet ones are noticeable as far as noise.
I also have a lot of food that needs no refrigerator (Lots of buckets of food) I have many camp stoves, wood heat as a backup (and way too much fire wood laying about) I’m looking for a small wood stove to install in the motor home, but they are hard to find used. Large ones are easy to find used, but small ones are HARD to find!
I have a manual log splitter and chain saws, both gas and electric ones. Electric ones are better for being quiet and can be run off the inverter in the motor home.
I have a (portable) demand hot water heater that runs off of propane and 2 D batteries for the igniter.
I also have a composting toilet, lots of batteries and lanterns. But I would probably go dark at night to not draw attention to myself being able to cope where others cant as to not make myself more of a target.
Best to get things done during the daylight hours and retire to a room that is blacked out at night. I also have a Butterfly kero stove that I can cook on, it runs over 12-hours on a quart of kero and I have 35 gallons of stabilized kero stored. It could be used for heat but the wood stove would be better for heat.
If it happened in the winter I would drain the house water lines to prevent pipe breakage if the house were to get below freezing. .
Water is not a problem any time of the year as I have several water filters and there is a creek a few hundred yards away. I basically don’t store water but a shortage of water is never a problem here.
Great comment and insight. Thanks. You are pretty well set!
Particularly good advice to go dark at night (and having a ‘blackout’ room).
Chuck Findlay; I have a question, you mentioned “stabilized kero” From what I have heard and seen, Kero does not a Stabilizer like Diesel and Gas because of the quality of the fuel, maybe I’m wrong, can you enlighten me?
I’m no expert on storing kerosene, but I’ve got a couple of half filled kerosene lamps that have been setting unused for at least 4-5 years and other than some evaporation, the kerosene smells alright and still light.
I just added PRI-D to my kero, I did some research years ago and it seemed like a good idea.
I thought I would be using more kero for the salamander heater in the garage to warm it up when I first went out and started a wood fire. But for the last 2 years I have not had the time to work out there.
I hope to have a bit less work this coming Winter so I can tinker out there.
Chuck Findlay, Dennis;
Thinking on going ahead and treating the Kero with PRI-D, sure would not hurt it….. And GOD knows I have plenty HAHAHAHA
After you asked your question, it was nagging in the back of my mind that kerosene is just a different grade of diesel. I know we used to run it in old poppin’ johnny tractors (two cylinder John Deere tractors). Did a quick search and kerosene is also referred to as #1 diesel, and is added to the #2 diesel for highway use as a winterizing agent to prevent jelling in frigid temps. Hopes this helps.
Chuck,look up Samovar wood coal stove on eBay. Very reasonably priced and might fit your needs.
I have seen recommendations for using kerosene both ways, not needing stabilizer or using PRI-D in what I can only refer to as an excess of caution.
Kerosene is available, but not in common use here in my area. The one gas station that used to carry it in bulk took their elevated tank down about four years ago as sales simply didn’t warrant the space on the lot. It is possible to get it in five-gallon cans or 55-gallon drums, as well as 1-quart or 1-gallon jugs without difficulty.
Propane is the most common fuel, and natural gas is readily available if your home is in or near cities or towns in my area.
In the last 20 years, natural gas at my current home has been out three times, longest for I week when a dozer hit a main. My in-laws, who are now passed on, and who lived here then, were quite happy to use one of my propane camp stoves for that week. (DW inherited the house. Other house in town now is sold.)
– Papa S.
Papa Smurf, Dennis:
Thanks for the input.
I have a drum of Kero, guess it would not hurt to splash it with a shot glass of PRI-D.
On the nat gas. Have a few oil-patch gas lines that run within a stones throw, if it geys really bad, those suckers are easy to tap, IF you know how 😁😁
Coleman 1850w gas generator and over 80 gallons of gas.
Kodiak solar generator with 400w of solar panels. Can power an 18 cu ft fridge/ freezer for 33hrs without recharging. Recharges in approx. 4 to 6 hours of direct sun.
Power source chargeable 12 volt power that can store power with built-in charger.
Alternator that can be hooked up to an exercise bike or wind generator.
Emergency SW/AM/FM radio/flashlight with solar and hand crank
Magnetic rechargeable flashlights that you shake
Rechargeable AA & AAA batteries.
30 gallons of propane for gas grill.
8 lbs propane for Colman camp stove
Unlimited. Firewood for fire pit grill
– Surface water is rare here. Drinkable surface water is all but non-existent. There are, if you know where to look, still a number of old-style windmills which produce good well water, the same as from the faucet at the house. Filters are important, and we do have them. I also have a hand pump, which I can install in around an hour, should we need it. It can pressurize the tank as well.
My submersible pump is 220-volt, so I have a large generator (7.5kw) which is able to power it. Living at the far end of a rural power line, we get to practice ‘power out’ hours, days and weekends often enough. (something on the order of four times last month)
We also have a supply of gas in cans and a barrel, and I am looking for another (free) barrel to store gas in. (We occasionally get 30- and 55-gallon barrels offered for the price of hauling them away.)
– Papa S.
While not a level 2 disaster, we had two evil twin unexpected level 2 and 3 tornadoes wipe out 51 houses to the ground and cause 800 people to lose their homes. Some will be without power for 1 week. I am in a condo with mostly seniors and we grouped together. Our emergency generator ran out of diesel but we had a shipment yesterday. One elevator was operational as was emergency lighting. The condo board went to all units to ensure that we were OK and the superintendent opened his office for coffee and cellphone recharging via his generator. As an older single woman I felt quite safe here. Some of the residents said ‘we look after each other’. Maybe this is the 55 plus mentality (most residents are actually 70 plus). We received instructions from the board (no candles use flashlights), no using the garbage chute due to lack of hydro and odours from contaminated food. Today we had a meal prepared by the condo board. We got our hydro back today. I do not live in a tornado zone especially in late September. This could just be the beginning of a trend. Our condo is concrete and not wood frame. Most houses flattened lost the upper wood frame floors, not the concrete foundation.