10 Things People Will Miss Most Without Electricity At Home

Most people can go without electricity for a couple of hours, right? But imagine if their power stays out for days, or even weeks!

I decided to think about today’s modern way-of-life and consider what typical household things would be missed the most without electricity, by most ‘typical’ people.

So I came up with this list of 10 things that will be high on the list for most people, given the modern lifestyle of today…

THINGS THAT NEED ELECTRICITY

Most everything in our modern way-of-life requires electricity to keep the many systems functioning. However I’m just going to brainstorm a handful of things at home that most will miss right away.

LIGHTS

Since the days of Thomas Edison, we now take for granted flipping on a light switch when it’s getting dark out. So one of the biggest things most people will miss without electricity are their lights.

Got flashlights? A headlamp? A lantern or maybe some candles? How about some of those outdoor solar landscape lights – you could bring them inside at night… What about batteries for those things? Maybe rechargeable (via solar?)… Things to think about…

[ Read: Best Rechargeable Batteries ]
[ Read: Solar Power Battery Charger ]

REFRIGERATOR AND FREEZER

Most people will think about this right away. Without electricity your frozen foods will probably thaw out sometime between 24 and 48 hours. After that, you would need to consume all that food or preserve it some other way without electricity. Otherwise, it’s going to go bad.

Got a portable generator? Run it a few times a day and it will help keep that fridge / freezer cold. But what happens when your fuel runs out? Do you have extra fuel, just in case?

[ Read: How To Keep Your Chest Freezer – Fridge Running During A Power Outage ]

CELL PHONES

This is a biggie. Most of today’s communications revolve around our cell phones / smartphones. They are the lifeblood of our social networks and the primary means of communicating with our family and friends. How will you cope without that ability to communicate? No big deal for some, but a big deal for others!

Cell phone towers are among priorities for utility workers, system infrastructure. Even though your local tower may still be running, your phone battery will eventually go caput.

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AIR CONDITIONING AND HEAT

Depending on your climate and the season, this could be a very big thing indeed! How long until your home becomes sweltering hot or freezing cold? We humans used to survive without air conditioning (for example), however this would quickly become a big problem today!

Many modern buildings will become completely uninhabitable without electricity due today’s modern designs incorporating HVAC systems (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) which would shut down.

So what to do? That depends on your situation. Again, a generator could keep these systems running. Maybe you get a portable heater.

[ Read: Portable ‘Buddy Heater’ For Emergencies ]

THE INTERNET AND COMPUTERS

This category should almost go without saying… It is probably the most relied upon resource in our modern lives today. It is crucial to our communications, our finances, our economy, and our entertainment. It’s a big thing for sure…

The internet itself won’t go down (unless the whole world loses electricity!). But when your home’s internet router loses power, well, you lose your internet connection. Today’s modern home has lots of connections through your router. Obviously your computers, your cell phones will be affected too, any devices in the category of “internet of things”…

[ Read: What Would Happen If The Internet Went Down? ]

TELEVISION

I’ve read that the average adult watches 4 hours of television a day. And the typical child watches 6 hours TV per day including their video-games. It will be a shock to the system without this entertainment distraction…at least for many people.

It’s not a systemic survival risk. But it sure would be one of those missed things in most households. Maybe some people remember how to read instead? Or to “play outside” instead? Maybe a card game or board game? And here’s a scary thought…what about “talking” to each other? (((GASP!)))

iPODS, MUSIC

I mention this category because of my observation that so many people walk around with ear-buds attached to their heads. Attached to a device like an iPod (or other devices) while listening to their music. Similar to the cell phone problem, the battery is going to run out.

Unless you have one of those pre-charged battery power bank devices, your device will go dead.

>> Anker Power Bank – High Speed Charging Technology
(view on amzn)

KITCHEN APPLIANCES

OH Noooo! What about my morning COFFEE! How will you handle first thing in the morning without a cup of coffee brewed in your electric coffee pot? Think about ALL of your small kitchen appliances that run on electricity and how you would manage without them. You might have to do the dishes by hand!

Lots of inconveniences unless you have ‘manual’ operated backups.

>> My Backup Coffee Percolator
(view on amzn)

STOVE, OVEN, MICROWAVE

Although considered a kitchen appliance (which I mentioned above), I put them in their own category of ‘missed things’ without electricity. The majority of people rely on an electric stove, oven, or microwave for cooking their food. Could be a pretty big inconvenience without them…

One solution is to have plenty of foods in the home that don’t require cooking. That’s pretty easy to do if you plan for it.

[ Read: Cooking Without Electricity ]

CLOTHES WASHER – DRYER

Keeping our clothes clean is something that we completely take for granted. It would not take long for this situation to become, well, dirty…

[ Read: How To Do Laundry Without Electricity ]

 
More Observations and Considerations…Without Electricity

I have written quite a lot here on the blog about the many scenarios and hypotheticals without electricity. Just use the search bar up top or in the menu to browse.

Most common outages are short lived. A few hours. Likely less than a day. Major storm events can make it worse. Days. A week, Maybe a bit longer – depending.

But there are outlier events that could make things worse than that. Probably less likely, but not impossible.

Imagine the unthinkable. Challenge yourself to consider life without electricity for several weeks, a month or even longer! (e.g. Solar SuperStorm or EMP)

[ Read: Without Electricity Most Of The Population Will Not Survive ]

Entertainment.

Some of the categories listed above are really subsets of “Entertainment”. It WILL be a major emotional factor for many people when the power goes out because most people rely on entertainment for daily distraction. When things go “quiet”, it will be jarring for most who have become accustomed to the constant ‘noise’. They will be forced to deal with the reality of their own life and circumstances, and may not know what to do. It could even result in a rapid escalation of social chaos, particularly in densely populated areas as tempers flare while people are forced to deal not only with the loss of their distractions, but they will be forced to deal with survival itself.

Communications.

My observations of the world we live in today reveal that many people, if not most, always seem to be on a cell phone talking with someone else – everywhere they go. In the car, in the store, at home, on the street, at work… It seems to reflect an insecurity of sorts. The need to be in constant contact with their circle of friends. Without this emotional support structure of constant communication, these people will have a very difficult time coping (with real life). Even if cell towers are up for awhile during a power outage, when your cell phone battery drains, that’s it… Silence.

Kitchen.

You better start thinking about how you’ll manage without your electrical appliances – your stove – your microwave – your refrigerator and freezer – even if only for a week. Do you have the ability to put food on the table without them? Do you have food that doesn’t require cooking? Think of a power outage or grid-down scenario in terms of various lengths of time. While it’s pretty easy to survive a few hours or even a day or two, start thinking about a week or more – and what you would do.

Water.

While this resource is pretty much #1 for survival, during short term power outages you will not lose your water pressure. This will only become a critical issue if electricity is lost for a significant period of time. All water municipalities have power generators for their pumps, and so long as they can get fuel for their water pumps, they can keep the water flowing. A severe enough disaster however could throw a wrench in the works. This is similar for sewage treatment. A long-term outage will prove disastrous in the water and sewer category.

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74 Comments

  1. My DH uses a CPAP, so we have a marine battery dedicated for that. For Mother’s Day I requested and received another battery to run my sewing machine. I’ve been asking for a treadle machine for years, but nobody seemed interested in getting me one. We have a couple of solar panels to recharge the batteries, but apparently only one inverter, so I will be purchasing a couple more of those in the next couple of weeks.

    1. A sinus tablet each night and a great floor fan works. G stopped using his machine a few weeks after receiving it.

  2. We often go through a “Lights Out” event during hurricane season. I have been without power for as little as 1 day to two weeks. I believe that the biggest threat is that the fuel pumps don’t work. Should/When a SHTF event occurs, traffic will stop pretty soon.
    Ken has covered this before, if the delivery trucks stop coming!

  3. What is the predicted RIP rate if “Lights Out” long term?

    If short term I would greatly recommend NOT wondering out n about. Think NYC area when the NE lost power for a few days a couple of decades ago.

    As for myself, a week or two of no power. Going to be busy canning up a cpl of freezers. Other than that…

    A suggestion, practice a few “Lights Out” weekends or a full week, find out where the holes are in your Preparedness. When TSHTF is not the best time to go “Ahhhh man I wish I had a XYZ”

    1. We have had MANY opportunities to practice Lights Out when we were on the Mountain. When we moved, we brought ALL essentials with us. I recently asked DH to “top off” the grainery (for poultry food) and also the fuel barrels both gas and diesel. He DID JUST that today!

  4. Old houses were built with heat and cold in mind–central heat (as in a fireplace positioned to heat the whole space) and smaller homes as well as thicker walls.

    When I was a kid I had a habit of sneaking into the bathroom to read at midnight, or 2 am, or 4 am, and so on. I’m surprised I was able to function at school. But my parents figured this out and put a high window in the bathroom (one of only two rooms in the house that doesn’t have any level of external light) so they could tell if the light was on. If I ever remodel I’m going to redo this and build a high window made of those opaque blocks to get more light in there.

    The sun was invented as a clothes dryer long before electricity arrived. Washer…that’s a different issue. Percolators and french presses were made long before coffee makers.

    For entertainment, I have lots of books.

    Lights, refrigeration, cooking and temperature control will be the big ones for me. If I go to sleep with the sun I end up waking up at like 2 AM so lights are used early instead of late. They used to call it “second sleep,” where they would go to sleep with the sun (say 9 pm) then wake at 2 or 3 and go back to sleep. Some used this time for studying, and it was apparently common enough that it actually had a name. Others would just get up and start the morning chores.

    Lots of things to consider, and it’s one reason that I’m working on my outdoor kitchen.

    1. Mrs. U,
      Absolutely hot water. Do a tiny bit of research for hot water. A coil of black plastic pipe inside a glass covered box, will provide a surprising amount of hot water when the sun shines. Though I must admit, I rarely take afternoon showers. I guess everything would change.

    2. Mrs u at the old ranch all our hot water came from solar,set up right with a tank and solar pump ,,, hot water even at night and in winter ,

    3. Solar shower bags! Unless of course, you have a generator back up source for your electricity….and a way to keep your propane tank topped off!

      1. I had forgotten about solar hot water bags. Used one in the high Rockies reopening a remote mine. Got tired of driving 1-1/2 hrs to get cleaned up. 3 gallon solar bag, Dawn dish soap, and I was set. Thanks for the reminder, I’ll have to add one to my preps.

  5. Cell phone – bigger than big. Biggest. My phone is my computer, my post office, my department store, movie theatre, games arcade, rock concert, dictionary, bank, cookbooks, lifeline to reach emergency help, means of having cozy chats with friends up the road, family in other states, buds around the globe. Camera and photo album. Home movies. Keeper of memories in chronological order. Repair guide. Library. Virtual doctor and vet offices. And best of all – convenient. Electricity overall is more than a convenience; it allows for much fuller days. An hour spent washing clothes by hand, or filtering and bottling water is an hour not in the garden, sewing, or managing other needs.

  6. Let me do a little reminiscing for a bit, having moved to the farm at the tender age of 6 in the early 50’s, my folks milked cows by hand for almost 5 or 6 yrs, before moving to our own farm when they were able to purchase a milk machine and our herd of milk cows increased from 6 or 7 to 25 at any one time. And when the power went out, Dad would the little ford ( tractor ) up and be able to run one ( out of three ) milking machines for 2 to 3 hours ( where three machines would take an hour to milk the cows ) by this time we were selling bulk milk ( and the milk truck would come every three days ). So yes Dad and Mom having grown up kew what to do and how to do it and when to do it. My wife used to laugh at them behind their backs when they talked about how thing were back then and why they did things the way they did. My wife ( don’t get me wrong, I loved my wife dearly and I miss her more than I care to admit but there was times where she would look down her nose at different things and laugh about it ). So if things so go sideways and get really bad, things, people will hard a hard time adjusting, whether you / they are live in town or in the country. Will you / they survive? good question and how for long? Hmm, just wondering out loud and thinking.

  7. I live in Texas. So air conditioning. It gets so hot here. I think without electricity that will do alot of people in. In the summer, there are cooling centers for people to go without a/c.

      1. We have thought about solar panels. That is one we were thinking about investing in before the hubby’s cancer thingy the last year. Now that he is recovering, we are trying to decided what projects to prioritize. haha With summer coming on, those solar panels might get bumped up.

    1. Tex Girl
      When I lived on Toledo Bend, I sprayed myself with water with clothes on before I went to work, during work and after work during those 95 degree humid days. At night, I put plastic down on the bed and laid on a wet beach towel to sleep on as long as there was a breeze through the windows. I had no air conditioning either, and one of those summers many people died, and cattle dropping dead like flies in a hot tent. I don’t know how the people kept cool there 100+ years ago without electricity, but if I had a dirt cellar or an open porch, I would be sleeping there.

      1. Stardust,

        I was raised in NE Texas on the blackland prairie on the ’50’s and 60’s. Most every summer, between mid-July through August, most days were 100 degrees plus. Most rural folks had no air conditioning….including us. The homes I was raised in had 12-14 foot ceilings with multiple windows per room. These window stretched from ceiling to floor almost, were double hung (could open bottom half, lower top half). Lowering the top and raising the bottom created a convection current. Hot air rose to the ceiling above our heads and flow out the top of the window causing “cooler” (relatively) outside air to be sucked in. You could actually feel the wind flow.

        My brother and I slept upstairs in our 2 story farmhouse…where it was the hottest (warm air rises). Got my first paycheck at age 9 working on the farm for 50 cents an hour…. bought a 8″ fan at Western Auto to put by my bed… thought I’d gone to heaven.

        It was hot, but we never knew anything else…it was just the way it was….people would talk about the heat, but was just something we dealt with best we could.

        1. I think houses are not built like the old days anymore. People are too used to the air conditioning. We all have gotten “soft”. When I was young we did not have a/c either, we lived in a big, old, airy house. We also had fans. As kids we also stayed outside all day, especially in the summer. Kids do not do that anymore.

        2. Dennis, I know what you mean. When growing up we had a ceiling fan in two of the homes I lived in. If there was no breeze through the windows, it would create one. We opened up the basement windows where it was cool and the attic fan brought cool air through the house during the day, but at night we opened our bedroom windows to creat a breeze over us while sleeping. I lived in a cooler place in Illinois but still had those 95-98 degree summer days. Keeping cool without power during the day, we kids went swimming or spent time in the basement. It was those days I learned to use hand tools, played with my brothers erector set, and used my skateboard that hadn’t been invented yet. No power needed and it was cool, cool that is, to do that stuff.

        3. In NJ growing up (on the THIRD floor of an old Victorian) we used to freeze our neck wraps. Or at least run them under cold water. Wrap round our neck or mid sections as we went to bed at night. Worked pretty good back then!

      2. Stardust, my grandparents were from Maine and I remember hearing stories from my Grampy about his boys hauling their mattresses out to the screened porch to sleep on during those hot summer nights. Our Amish friends have also mentioned the menfolk sleeping on their porches…which are not always enclosed.

  8. My number 1 would be refrigeration. That makes things much tougher, i think the #2 is washer and dryer.
    Honestly, if electricity goes away, life will just be much different period, if everybody is in the same boat that changes things too.

  9. Went a full week without power at home, but lived many weeks each year without power camping all over the country for over 30 years and half the time for my sewing business. No problems without power. Cooking was on a grill over the campfire in my Tipi. Ozan used for colder nights, used oil lamps for lights, used canned and dried foods, bread, wild foods, and fresh caught fish for meals and coffee, baths in lakes or creeks or a warm basin of water to wash hair, propane curler for curling my hair, and a big 2 gallon pot to boil water. Entertainment was with my dulcimer and with friends using guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, jewsharp, empty jug, and a washtub with a string on a broomstick. Oh, and my own chamber pot… not to play music with, but for the call of the wild.

  10. My question is are you talking ,,, no grid ,or no alt power ,or on nada power ,i have lived most of my adult life with out grid. ,,, you do things differently but life goes on , at the old ranch there was no chance to have grid , and that is what made it possible the buy the place at a low cost ,i lived with a wind mill for water ,oil lamps and propane lamps for light ,went to town to use the phone with a 40mile drive , and get the news if there was any worth knowing and have coffee with the guys meanwhile back at the office in town life went on too , oh the homestead in Alaska had no chance of grid ,, the big ranch to this day has no grid about 200 people live there. And my retirement place has grid available , but ,,,this computer link off grid

  11. Is grid down looming in the near future? Don’t reckon anyone knows for sure….but I do know this as of this moment, it appears that bad news is cascading down upon us and picking up speed.

    Shortages are already apparent in certain food stocks…fuel prices were already on the rise, then a major petro pipeline is sabotaged …border patrol, local, and state law enforcement overwhelmed at the southern border……blm, antifa, and good ol’ everyday ne’er do wells are taking over the streets of the “major” cities….meat shortages are looming….a bunch of politicians who couldn’t run a lemonade stand, but want to dictate how we live our lives…while operating behind tall fences topped with concertina wire patrolled by guardsmen……a media that lies to our faces and thinks that is a virtue…..inflation already skyrocketing but ignored….and oh…covid-19, the catastrophe of the decade…and we still can’t figure out where it came from.

    ……and I’m just beginning….so sure…why not a grid down event….every cake deserves a cherry on top……….or do we need more layers to the cake first?

    1. Hey Dennis,
      Ya really dont need to sugar coat it do ya!
      Sounds pretty awful when you list it like that, i cant see any of it from the homestead though…..

      1. Kulafarmer,

        Yep, life is still good on the mountain……

        …..but who wudda thought….all these years of preppers being called pessimistic misfits….turns out we may have been over optimistic…..and before our time…..survival might be the new “thing”…..but then….judging by soaring gun sales….it may be the new “woke”……

        …..to which I say….’bout durn time….my alarm went off a long time ago…….

        Have a good evening friend (or is it mi-day on your mountain?)….. I’ll just say “have a good ‘un…….

        1. Well, misfit is better than what the current gubermint folks r callin us, terrorist, i still cant wrap my mind around that thinking, i believe in God, don’t need any managing from nobody, i love my country and would die to protect her and the constitution, i support law and order and LEOs, but am labeled a terrorist because i think i have rights.

          How foolish of me, i should just say BAA baaaaa bAA then burn something down and loot something then burn a flag….

          Farkin assholes, all o em

          1. Kula,
            Some day you’re gonna have to tell us what you really think :))

        2. Thank you for wishing me a good evening, afternoon,
          Its afternoon, nice n quiet just the way i like it, just a breeze through the trees and my big wind chime gonging away and mother nature in the background,
          Wishing you a good evening sir!

          1. Kulafarmer,

            Speaking of wind chimes…..just saw a meme with a picture of a “NO TRESPASSING” sign with 9 spent .308 hulls hanging by strings from it, with the 10th string hanging empty…caption read “Just one more and my wind chime will be finished”

            …..figured you might get a kick out of that………..

    2. Have it on good info that we are looking at serious grid down issues following the success of Colonial attack. Folks need to GET READY. This is just the beginning….it was a simple test run.

  12. From my experience with hurricane Katrina clean water for every purpose would be missed first. Water to drink, water to wash, water to cook. You really miss it when its gone. Also a small fan at night. Lights some but after a time not so much.

    A small generator helps, solar and inverters, etc. but eventually we would, most of us anyway, have a rougher existence. A week or two is bad but never again would be ……

  13. Andy Griffith re-runs :)
    Just think, if the grid goes down we’ll have to use paper ballots.
    No more electronic voting machines. Always a bright side:)

  14. After experiencing two back-to-back hurricanes, Laura and Delta, we were without power for a total of 28 days. The two things we missed the most were refrigeration and air conditioning. It gets brutally hot in Louisiana in August and September. We were more prepared than most. After 8 months, some people are still living in tents, camping trailers, damaged homes, and a few in their cars due to the fact that insurance companies are not fulfilling their obligations. A wise old man once told me that having insurance is like wearing a hospital gown-you think you’re covered but your certainly are NOT! These insurance companies are telling folks that they can live in their homes without electricity! Its a real shame.

  15. I already have had practice for this…. 12 days without electricity during Hurricane Sandy back in 2012. At the same time the back end of the storm dropped 4″ of snow and we had lows of 21oF at night…. Bring it on…!!!

  16. Not sure where my comment went…off to cyberspace somewhere. But I mentioned that Klaus Scwab and the WEF are planning regional and global grid-down scenarios this summer starting July 9th. It is called ‘CYBER POLYGON,” You all might want to research this. This is the same group that a few years ago did a ‘global coronavirus pandemic….” and look what happened after that! Coincidence? Nah. I’m thinking not. I have always been led to prepare like it will be the like the 1800’s again. Hm.

    One thing I would really miss with no power would be my washing machine. Beats doing laundry by hand for sure.

    1. Have to agree with you. I have some unfortunate inside knowledge that grid down scenarios are coming. I TOO will miss my washing machine, I use it for therapy! Guess I will lose a bit of weight doing my therapy BY HAND! LOL

  17. Not really sure what I would miss most. Hot water and stove run on propane. Genny runs the TV ,fridge and freezer. I have somewhere between 600-800 books so entertainment should not be a problem. Short term my life won’t change. My longest run without power was 13 days but 2-3 days are common in the winter here. Wood stove heats the house in winter and it doesn’t get above 90 here in the mountains. I guess washing cloths would be the thing I would miss

  18. Reading through the comments seems Fans for cooling and later spreading heat around from the wood stove is a common theme. A small solar panel set up can handle that easily enough. Just have a spare controller and inverter in a faraday cage in case some Nation State gets frisky with EMP. Even your critters will need this support, it’s a sad thing to see a chicken house full of dying chickens due to heat.

    Even the reduction in egg production due to excessive heat makes a solar powered fan system for the chickens well worthwhile. I’ve lost lambs in Eastern Washington due to power failure and thus the birthing barn fans failed.

    If you have a long term grid down situation that fan will be very useful for assisting your solar food dehydrators processing as well as blowing chaff away when your cleaning harvested grains.

    Washing clothes we’ve had many good discussions on easy ways to do off grid laundry. The worst case is the Sub African rock near the creek. Bad idea due to ergonomics (Your back will HATE you), hard on clothes that will be hard to replace, AND Polluting valued drinking water.

    A Scrub Board and a Bucket a slight improvement. Still a lot of work, hard on your hands and arms, and you STILL have to deal with the dirty-soapy water as not to create swampy nastiness that breeds biting bugs and pollutes your surface waters.

    A Plunger and bucket style is a better solution especially IF you design it as a see-saw style double bucket system allowing legs to be used instead of arm power. A agitating rock the cradle style (singing rock a bye baby comes to mind here) also works very well. AGAIN the need to PLAN a workable drain system as to avoid creating a nasty swamp is needed.

    In the sand box we used a double bucket Rubbermaid mop bucket and squeezer. Worked VERY WELL once we removed the wheels and mounted it on a table and installed a hose bib and length of hose for drainage. We drained ours into initially a 4X4X4 deep pit into mineral soil saving the topsoil for back filling. Well tensioned twisted length of 550 cord made an excellent clothes line. The twist replaces clothes pins we didn’t have.

    Later as our washing machine got too popular we had to go to 10X10X4 drain pits as to get enough solar evaporation-drainage as not to have a swampy biting bug mess. We gave this set up to the next unit when we left the sand box.

    1. Love the mop bucket on the table idea….saves strain on the back. Have used an old fashioned “Mangle” machine when I was growing up….Used the Mop bucket while Lights out exercises….works pretty good actually….but mounted on a counter or table…yeah baby!

  19. AAAAH-Haaa! Heat subtraction/removal science. What a wonderful thing. Kept Kenmore in business for decades. But, how does one accomplish that sans fluorocarbons or ammonia? In a word…..Peltier. What’s that, you say? It’s a thin, generally square, thing that when a DC voltage is applied “gets cold on one side and warm on the other”. It does, electrically, “remove” the heat from one side and “sends” it to the other like the gaseous versions. That’s why there’s generally two fans with one Peltier device. One to circulate the “inside” air across the ‘cool side’ to acquire the heat, and one “outside” fan to dissipate the heat. (Lecture over). What’s that have to do with loosing AC power? Well, if you have an extra solar panel, a Peltier junction device, A not-so-large, well insulated container, you can make an impressive amount of ice to keep your refrigerator cool(er) with any AC Mains. I currently am using, sporadically, an obsolete…..but still working….Rubbermaid VEC212RB “cooler” in a test mode. With no modifications, it runs quite well on automotive battery voltage (13.8VDC) and produces frozen 500 ml water bottles (one at a time) in about 1 1/2 hours from initial turn-on. It draws a constant 3.2 Amps. (44.16 Watts) That’s in 650 cubic inches of container. Next project is to take the ‘spare’ solar panel(100 watt), the extra charge controller, no battery (day use only for time being), and run the Rubbermaid box sans AC service and see what gives. Who needs AC?

  20. Thanks for the reminder Crow Bait. I had been researching cold plates for ice boxes a few years ago and got side tracked. This has put me back on course and given me ideas for the equipment I have other than running pumps!

    1. J Frost….

      As a hint…….Go to your local hospital…….contact ‘Plant Operations’…..or what ever the division is called, sometimes ‘maintenance’. Ask if you can take the non-operational electronic refrigerators off their hands….i.e. ‘Recycling them’. Also look into Goodwill….they usually have several. Ask for non-functional refrigerators. (Wine Coolers) I have got them for nothing just for asking. The majority of Peltier junction devices for consumer things are made for 12 VDC. A decent Chi-Com (Chinese Communist) 12 VDC power supply rated at 20 Amp can be acquired for $12 – $15. Keep in mind…a Chi-Com power supply rated at 20 Amps is dependable at 10 Amps. (LOL)

      1. Crow Bait – Crying shame isn’t it? A right proper made in ‘murika, Galco brand power supply can drive your peltiers well, starting at around $400 each for the size you need. So even if your Chi-Com (Chinese Communist) piece is only good to 10amps… um, ya know, buy two and gang them in parallel… put the other $370 back in your pocket, problem solved. OR, take your $370 found money and get a ‘murkin AGM spiral battery and a high capacity ChiCom solar panel and a ChiCom charge controller… and run your solid-state fridge… for free!

        Them Ebbil ChiComs are always coming up with clever, affordable ways to let us do cool shit, on a reasonable budget. Pretty sweet huh?

        1. Tmac could you please translate that interesting idea into something I can go BUY the parts at Amazon perhaps and do something with?

          I *Think* a insulated cooler running my very cold well water through it AND Peltier’s MIGHT be a nice addition to my Resilience Program. I already have the cellar space and needed pvc plumbing laid in so please advise about the “Chi-Com” (Sad to use such terms eh? Like Cutting off my nose to spite my face eh?) power supplies, and such.

          TMac maybe a message similar to this perhaps: 12 volt 200 watt nominal Solar Panel—Controller—Battery AGM or LiFeO4 @100 amp+ to XYZ Peltier units inside a well insulated fridge box (Keep both fans clear for ventilation) = a 6 cubic foot fridge cooler?

          I don’t have the REAL WORLD up to date information about current Peltier units and such like you have. Please advise, your my tech geek.

          Sad we have to argue about WHAT IS. Our “Leadership” sold us down the river with our off shoring of businesses, so lets work with WHAT IS please.

          1. NH Michael – Clearly I was having fun with someone who was more than just ‘crow’ bait. And I am no expert on Peltier junctions either. Per my reply to AC I have run these devices for many years with good success on products that must be kept cool, if not terribly cold. As a beer fridge, they disappoint.

            That said, I do not encounter problems with ‘chi-com’ power supplies, at all. Maybe I am just lucky. Or, maybe I build in overhead to my systems so I don’t routinely push devices to max limits. Nothing works well like that. Try running your vehicle at full throttle and bury the speedometer, it will become unstable and unreliable too.

            In the case of my Peltier fridge, it needs ) But the Peltier stuff is wrapped in the garage ready for emergency use if needed.

          2. Wow, that post got trimmed somehow… Anyway I was describing a load of less than 5amps, with a 10 amp supply on it, running for years in hot environment with occasional cleaning only

        2. Tmac…..
          I had to read your response several times… then I got it. Anallogie: You are correct, one can spend $10K on a $10 problem. I haven’t done that. Yet. Well….not too close. But, I do agree with the “buy what you need at twice the rating to get twice the value”. Sounds a little off-center, but is a good idea. i.e., Buy 10 Amps for a 5 Amp load to get twice the life. It really does work.

          Now, my friend, let’s throw in ‘losses’. Solar panels to charge controllers to batteries to load. 100 Watts to controller, controller eats 20 watts, batteries get 80 watts, loads can use about 75 watts. Minus line loss. Yeppers, I got it…..line-loss is just like taxes. No matter what you do….taxes got you by the, uh, controls. So, figure out what you need, add 10%, or more, then pro-ceed. (Just like Buckwheat said)
          Then, re-run your calculations. Figure them out at 50% above need. That means 50% above usage. That does not mean 50% usage. You cannot leave the fridge door open longer.You cannot leave the TV on for 2 more hours. That means if you NEED more electrical time, you have it. Close the door! Turn off the STUPID tv! OK….more later. I gotta turn off stuff.

      2. Thanks Crow Bait. Know all about those fine Chinese parts Tmac! Info folks are providing is, as usual, very helpful.

  21. NH Michael,
    Research DC fans. They’re out there and reasonably priced. I’ve got a couple “on the shelf.” I always try to look at it from both sides DC vs. AC. For somethings there is an advantage with DC. Other things, not so much. Tiny DC water pump and DC fan, add in a little ingenuity and it all equals “swamp cooler.”

  22. Tmac & Plainsmedic
    Could please write this up for a person who is not ‘electrical’ minded. This was one job I never had to take on, so if possible drop it down to layman’s terms so that I can understand the work around.
    Acdh was the electrical person, so I must now learn this also.

    All of you with this knowledge could you piece together an article for those of us who are challenged by this concept. So we(I) can figure out the ‘how to’, for the times ahead.

    1. Good Morning AC –

      I’m already burned out on angry birds this morning, time for my mental health break. You know how your fridge kinda lurches to life when it cycles on? Maybe the lights dim a bit. It takes a ton of power to kick on a fridge compressor, so it is not practical to try to run it from battery.

      Peltier Junctions are essentially a solid-state electrical ‘trick’ that transfers heat in one direction, silently and with low power. They are ideal for tailgate picnic coolers that run off your vehicle battery without making it go flat right away. They have practical limits below the theoretical temp delta of 70C, it’s more like 30-40C temp drop in real life. But it’s better than nothing. I used one for years to keep herbs, tinctures, vitamins and medicines cold and away from summertime heat.

      The nice thing is they run sweet off 12 volts DC, without any conversion, so they are handy for power outages.

      1. Tmac the delta of 30 degrees is realistic. Thats why I am thinking about using my 40 degree have to be pumped well water as a baseline. Historically springhouses were used for milk storage and cheese aging.

        I figured getting a cooler with my well water pumped through And Peltier effect might make that springhouse effects.

        Any decent cheap Peltier units you could recommend as they’re not cheap.

        1. NH Michael – I only bought a small Peltier unit one time as a discrete component to play with it. But I have used numerous powered coolers. The one that served me for many years, with only occasional fan blowouts is the 40 quart Igloo iceless cooler, stands upright, looks like a mini-fridge. I don’t think this is going to do what you need with water cooling.
          There are indeed very small efficient compressors found in countertop icemakers. they need 120 but small current, a tiny inverter could provide it. Being utterly ignorant of well water in general, if tasked with cooling it, I might consider a tiny compressor/condenser and a helical copper heat exchanger. Or maybe I’m talking out of the wrong end again.

          1. Sorry Tmac I was unclear. My well water is very COLD, as in between 34 to around 40 degrees F (oddly enough warmest mid winter). Prior to mechanical refrigeration folks used to build heavily insulated buildings around natural spring oddly enough called springhouses. These were used by Dairy Farmers and others as a natural refrigerator BEFORE Refrigerators were thought of to keep milk and such cool, safe and fresh longer.

            I was thinking of running some or all of my house well water THROUGH a cellar insulated box to utilize that naturally COLD water and maybe ADDING a Peltier unit or three to it to enhance the cooling of that insulated box. Then the base temperature of that water cooled box around 40 degrees F could be cooled more towards a Fridge level of cooling?

            Thus my query of a simple working diagram of a solar-Peltier unit from you and suggestions as to what brands-models you’d suggest. Ken might even set up Amazon Links perhaps?

            I mean IF your going to pump the naturally cold water WHY not get more than one use out of that pumping energy?

      2. Tmac
        where can these Peltier Junctions be found. this has my curiosity up and i’m going to look into it.
        new? used on old equipment? sounds like a good alternative to compressor systems for 12V.
        thanks in advance

        1. nyscout – Ebay seems to be a good source for everything from a $5 novelty to keep a beer mug cold(er), all the way up to multi kilowatt junction plates and the mega buck power transformers to drive them – and everything in between. These are clever devices with a definite list of possibilities in a grid-down prepper applications.

      3. TMAC,
        Another thing to note the Peltier junctions can also be used to generate electricity from heat. Like mounting a few of them on the side of a wood stove or on your stove pipe as it goes through the wall or roof to outsite and generate electricity. Need to have a heat sink on the cold side though, very important to keep from buring them up. Peltier Junctions are what powers those stove top mini fans for heat circulation. I like your use of solar to power these electric cooling systems. I am seeing more of them in electronic applications where they need to cool components inside of a casing.

    2. Antique Collector,
      First off, condolences. Do you have a multi-meter? If not, get one (about $15). When ya get time, get out some batteries. Doesn’t matter how big, just need several to play with. Think AA or AAA. Use the meter to measure the voltage of one battery. Write it down. Then put two together and repeat. Then 6 or 10 etc.

      You’re a smart gal, so it will click for you. If ya buy a new meter, there will be a lot of info on the paperwork. Your meter will measure ohms and amps, AC or DC. You can learn a lot very quickly with small batteries. They’re very safe, so no worries with electrocution. Start there. AC can be dangerous. DC too, if ya get enough together. If ya stay with a few small batteries, even a mistake won’t hurt you.

      I enjoy helping my grandchildren discover how it works. When it clicks in their minds, you can see it. I know you’re not a child, so please don’t mis-interpret my meaning here. I add in a tiny light bulb or a small dc motor for the kids. They can see it, so it’s not scary for them. My wife would be in your position. I’ve always just done those kinds of things. She knows plenty of things I’m clueless about, so it all works out.

      1. Plainsmedic
        We have a multi meter in the garage I do recall seeing one in there. Believe acdh purchased it via H. Freight during one of their get free specials he loved to pick up for his work shop.

        Thank you, it is one day at a time, and I am handling him not being here with us.

  23. Tmac, others,
    I looked into peltier units a while back. Very Pricey!!!!! if purchased new. Is there a salvageable source for these? I know about the fans for wood stoves as Minerjim noted. Other than that, ????
    Most deep wells have a fairly stable temperature, at or around 54 degrees. There is some variance, depending on the location. Even at 54 degrees, a guy could work with that for refrigeration. Not great, but workable. Some natural springs are colder yet.
    A swamp cooler with 54 degree water, would be a fabulous thing on a 100 degree day. I’ve gathered some tiny dc pumps and fans, just in case.

  24. How long for each chest freezer do I need to use the 400 watt inverter and my car battery??
    I have lots of meat in one freezer, vegetables, canned butter, etc in the other two.
    One is 5 cubic ft and other two are 7 cubic ft. Why have 3 instead of one?? So I don’t lose everything if one dies–been there, done that.
    I had broken toes and didn’t hear the alarm for 24 hrs….yeah…crap happens.

    Thanks for any help. I have many industrial extension cords. And always have car on half full to full and gas in the shed.

    1. J. J,,,,,,,,we have for years ran 3 small feezers off a inverter ,2=5s and one 7,,,we use a1200 watt pure sine wave,and rotate between the three when the gen is on during the day , we have a small 2500 w diesel that we start in the morning and run till we go to bed ,uses about 1gal of fuel a day ,feeds the 12v battery bank. ,, I would not consider using a modified sine wave ,hard on start and run of the compressor in the freezer , and will wast watts in the system ,, the 1200w will run all lights and one applince at a time ,IE freezer or mircowave or washing machine,with charged battery ,,tea and chocolate ,,John galt is laffing

  25. – Since we recently saw a “lights out week” last Valentine’s Day, I will mention that we had lights and sufficient power to watch TV from my (currently in a Faraday trash can) 40-watt solar panel and controller, and my two (John Deere marine battery) battery bank. It was backed up with the little ‘solar path lights’ as needed.

    I do not have an inverter big enough to run my 240V well, which was frozen and useless anyway until I could thaw and repair it. I do have a 7.5 KW generator, which I did not use.

    I do have several 115V inverters, including a 1500W which will run my electric chainsaw all afternoon without incident. All I had to do was hook it to the truck, start the engine and leave it idling, while a nine-year-old helped me cut firewood piling the cut wood in the trailer.

    1. A couple of inverters can if need be, be attached at one time to the same car battery; extension cords and multi-tap outlets will provide a lot of power while you have gas in the car and are able to idle it.

      If you can either read the stickers or find out with a Kill-A-Watt meter, or just look up estimates of power use online when you do have power and do a little bit of simple math, you would be surprised how much you can have for how little cost.

      I did use my Kero-Sun kerosene heater, which my DW has decided is preferable to the fireplace as needing less attention. Five gallons of kerosene and another 5 in reserve got us by just fine.

      Several gasoline cans, and a different color kerosene can stored safely, the worst part was being out in the weather to set various portables up.

      – Papa S.

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