Blog

What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – Heat, Power, & Communications)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010, 9:03 AM

Note:  This article is part of a series on personal preparation to help you answer the question, "What should I do?"  Our goal is to provide a safe, rational, relatively comfortable experience for those who are just coming to the realization that it would be prudent to take precautionary steps against an uncertain future.  Those who have already taken these basic steps (and more) are invited to help us improve what is offered here by contributing comments, as this content is meant to be dynamic and improve over time.

Heat, Power, and Communications

Being warm, having instant access to electricity, and being able to connect with anyone anytime, anywhere, are so integrated in present-day life that we often forget just how much value these luxuries offer us.  My town has experienced four weather- and usage-related power outages in the past year (for a total of eleven power-free days), which provided a useful reminder of just how dependent we are on the miracle of steady, uninterrupted energy.

Being able to see when it is dark, cook food, and heat your space should an outage occur in the winter are first-level needs to prepare for.  Remaining in touch with those you depend on (and those who depend on you) is also a primary need, especially in any prolonged outage situation.

Even more significantly than with food and water, there are major cost differences between preparing in an ideal or long-term sort of way using totally self-sufficient alternate energy systems and preparing in a good-enough stop-gap way for temporary outages.  There is certainly value in planning and investing to accomplish both, but do not let concerns that you will not have the perfect long-term system impede you from preparing for some of the more likely problematic wrinkles that may come your way.

Think of it this way:  The difference between having 3% of the electricity you desire and having 0% is literally like day and night.  This also goes for heat, communications, and every other system you rely on in your day-to-day life.  So even if you can only move your total preparation from 0% to 3%, you will still have significantly improved your situation.

In this post, I will discuss a little bit about both forms of preparing and will make recommendations for lower-cost, emergency backup systems as well as long-term alternative energy systems.  With this, I want to mention the caveat that the intricacies and variety of options in the long-term arena are quite substantial, perhaps more so than with previous posts in this series, so please consider the advice here as a basic jumping-off point for a more detailed discussion.  You can explore these ideas further in the comments section below, in our community forums, and/or through your own research with respect to your unique energy needs in the climate in which you live.

Emergency Cooking, Heating, Lighting, and Communications

Power and Fuel Sources

All the tips, tricks, and recommendations for handling backup power and heating start with the need for alternative sources of energy.  Our recommendations here revolve around two principles:

  1. Standardize around as few energy sources as possible.
  2. Use the sun as a backup power source whenever possible.

In our recommendations, the two non-sun power sources we focus on are rechargeable batteries and propane fuel (available at your local hardware store; residents of apartment buildings should be particularly careful when handling propane).

I struggled with finding good rechargeable batteries, trying out various brands of metal-hydride and cadmium types.  But I came away frustrated that most did not seem to hold the charge capacity they claimed, and all of them eventually lost their charge over time, even without a load on them.  That’s just how rechargeables work—or so I thought.  Then I found Powerex Imedion batteries.  These batteries hold up to 85% of their charge for a year while in storage, making them completely unlike any of the other rechargeable batteries I tried.

The Imedions only come in AAA and AA sizes right now (no C, D, or 9-volts yet).  At this point, I have almost completely standardized around the AA size, because they are the most common size (followed by AAA) and are used by the widest range of useful implements.  I use them in my preferred headlamps, radios, and even some illuminated optics that I use at the range.  When I buy electronics these days, I begin by looking preferentially for those that accept AA batteries.

In an emergency, rechargeables can be charged with a solar charging station.  But for more typical purposes, or for those who have other solar charging options, I highly recommend the Powerex WizardOne charger, which maximizes the lifespan and charge of your batteries by detecting if they need a simple recharge or a deep cycle to refresh and enhance their capacity.  This charger plugs into normal 110v household current, but its transformer steps that down to 12v, which means that if you are even a little bit handy, it’s easy enough to strip the wires and connect them to a solar panel or a car battery (or other battery system – watch the voltage!) to allow battery recharging even when the power is out.  I simply hook mine up to my solar PV system.

An additional, versatile way to accomplish both of the above and more is to use a power adapter that runs off of a car battery.  The adapter can only be used to power small items (don’t try to plug in your refrigerator!), but it can also be used to charge batteries without modifying the plug in any way.  Some might consider keeping a spare car battery in the house, remembering to trickle-charge it occasionally just to have some extra capacity around.

By having a backup store of rechargeable batteries, the number of secondary appliances you can use (e.g., flashlights, fans, alarm clocks) is substantial.  Consider how to invest in those after covering the basic needs articulated below.

Cooking

For countless reasons, being able to cook, even in an emergency, is non-negotiable.  Covering the basics in terms of cooking means being able to boil water and thoroughly heat perishable foods.  Boiling water is the easiest and most convenient way to tap into long-term food stores such as rice, pasta, and beans.  Even in short-term situations, being able to cook food and heat water makes life better.

For those of you with gas ranges, you may be able to cook on your stovetop during an electrical outage just by turning on the gas and using a match or grill lighter, but for those with an electric range, or in more severe emergency situations, a backup option will be necessary.

For cooking, we recommend:

• Solid performance – works fine for everyday family outdoor grilling needs
• Easily transportable
• Propane-fueled; takes both small 14/16 oz canisters or traditional 20 lb. tanks
• Customizable with many accessories
• Can be used to boil water

• Solar-powered
• Can be used to pasteurize water and milk
• Better for baking
• Includes 4-qt stock pot with steamer insert

Click here for smaller, travel-sized camping stoves.  We especially like the MSR WhisperLite because it can and will burn anything from gasoline to white gas to diesel fuel in a severe pinch.  It’s a true multi-fuel stove, and this flexibility is valuable.  Whatever you choose to use, be sure to stock up on reserve fuel for your stove(s).

There is also a wealth of advice about alternative cooking methods in our forums.

Lighting

The absence of electrical light is one of the most noticeable differences when you are experiencing a power outage.  It’s amazing how dark it gets when your house, your neighbors' houses, and the streetlamps are all without electricity.  Having some charged flashlights or a headlamp handy will be a huge relief during that first “uh oh” moment of a power outage, especially if it happens at night.  I strongly prefer LED lights for illumination because they are extremely battery-efficient (some will last 60 hours or more of continuous use on a single battery charge), the light is strong and useful (easy to read by), and there’s zero fire danger because they  emit light but almost no heat.  As a result, they are very safe for children and the elderly to use without any worries about fire or burns.

Having a store of oil lamps to place in different rooms in your house is another approach to lighting preparation and one that we happen to use.  Be sure to keep matches where you can easily find them.

We realize the lamp oil that we will suggest here is a third fuel type, after solar and batteries, but we feel that this option is more versatile (for camping, outdoor dinners, etc.) and the lighting quality is superior in some respects to battery lanterns or other options that you might come across.  The light is warmer and more pleasant than LED lighting, and some will therefore find it more appealing.  You will need to assess whether the benefits of oil lamps outweigh the fire risks and the hassle of procuring another lighting type and fuel source, but since we happen to use them around our house, I’m including them here.

For lighting, we recommend:

• Hands-free; useful when you need both hands in dark environments
• LED provides brighter, longer-lasting light source than conventional flashlights


• Extremely versatile: 3 different light sources (Xenon light, CCFL light, 3 LEDs)
• Up to 80 hours of light

• Simple, dependable
• Up to 33 hours of light with a single tank

We recommend stocking up on lamp oil.  It burns much more cleanly than kerosene, so more light is given off because lamp globes stay cleaner.  Lamp oil also has no noxious fumes, unlike kerosene.  Lamp oil is more expensive than kerosene, but if you are in an enclosed space (as in winter with the windows closed), you will appreciate the difference. 

Click here for additional backup lighting options.  We recommend that you build a robust reserve of fuel/batteries (at least several months worth) for your back-up light sources.

Heating & Warmth

The extent to which not having access to a heat source presents a risk for you depends on your location and climate.  Power outages in areas with cold winters, where damage to power lines is common during ice storms and blizzards, mean that electrically-controlled furnaces will not operate.

Having a woodstove can be a good and relatively inexpensive backup heating (and cooking) option that also provides a pleasant supplementary heat source in cold winter months.  I strongly encourage everyone to own a woodstove, if that’s an option, at least if you are accustomed to heating your home for any part of the year.  But for many people, a woodstove installation is not feasible or would require extensive remodeling to make possible.  The propane heater below is an excellent alternative; it’s versatile and heats a sizable area.  Keep in mind that a degree of caution is needed when using any kind of space heater, especially varieties that use fuel.  Be sure to carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions.

If a power outage occurs in freezing temperatures, it can lead to frozen pipes.  Even if you do have a reasonable supplementary heat source for space heating, it’s important to remember to shut off the water valve at the water service entrance in your house and to turn on all the faucets in order to drain remaining water from them to prevent damage to the pipes.  One convenience of a winter power outage, as opposed to a summertime outage, is that refrigerated and sometimes frozen foods can be preserved outdoors if the temperature is cold enough.

Blankets, comforters, sweaters, hats, and sleeping bags are very useful items to stock up on when preparing for a potential winter outage.  It is helpful to learn how to maintain core body heat by utilizing layers and covering up areas where body warmth typically escapes (head, neck, hands, feet).  Insulating garments are also terrific money savers, as their use can help you inch your thermostat lower when fuel costs rise.

For more information on how to stay warm and survive a winter power outage, our excellent copyeditor, Amanda, wrote this account of an outage she experienced and provided lots of recommendations that can be useful even on a shoestring budget.  Our forums are filled with similarly informative discussions.

For heating and warmth, we recommend:

• Heats up to 1,000 square feet (at least several rooms in most houses)
• Free-standing or wall-mounted
• Connects to a standard 20lb propane cylinder (comes with hose + regulator for doing so)
• Safety features for indoor use including automatic shut-off


• Natural, breathable fibers that wick moisture away from your skin
• Softer and more shrink-resistant than most brands of woolens

• Lightweight compared to heavy blankets
• Excellent at trapping body heat
• Look for styles with more baffles (areas that are stitched closed), not fewer

  • Woolen blankets from local wool farmers

• Wool farmers' associations in several states now offer blankets that officially use wool from local growers.  These blankets are beautiful, natural, and help support sheep farming in your local area. We know of blankets in Connecticut, Michigan, Vermont, and Rhode Island.  They may also be available in other areas; if you find them, let us know.

Basic Communications

"Anytime, anywhere" communication is an incredible enabler, and you should do all you can to preserve your access to it.  Keeping touch with the outside world, either by tuning in to the radio or being able to contact loved ones by phone, can make a world of difference in how informed your decisions are with regard to the situation you are experiencing, and can also improve how you fare psychologically.

For mobile phones, in addition to stocking a few backup batteries for your device, we advise investing in a solar battery charger to keep your phone’s juice topped off.  The car adapter mentioned above is also a convenient, versatile option.

We also advise keeping a landline phone in service as an emergency backup.  In some circumstances, landline service will still be up and running when the cell tower communications network is down.  Please note that landline phone service provided through some cable companies will lose service after several hours (six in our area).  Check with your local phone company to be sure.

Finally, self-powered radios (e.g., solar, crank) have reached a state of dependable utility where we feel comfortable recommending them.  In times of emergency, especially if communications networks are also down, a self-powered radio can easily become your primary source of important information about the world around you.

For communications, we recommend:

Eton MICROLINK American Red Cross FR160 AM/FM w/NOAA Weather Channels

  • A percentage of every sale of this authorized model is donated to the American Red Cross
  • AM/FM w/ 7 NOAA channels
  • Hand crank power from built-in rechargeable Ni-MH battery and built-in solar panel
  • Built-in 3 white LED light source
  • USB cell phone charger (USB cable not included)
  • 3.5 mm headphone output

Solar phone chargers

• Be sure to find one specified to work with your device

Much more can be learned about how to expand your resiliency in cooking, heating, and lighting in our community forums.

Long-Term Heat & Power Resilience

Once you have covered your emergency and short-term needs, you can focus on making investments in alternative energy systems in your home.  As with our garden, this is an area where we felt that having the time to be able to set up and invest in these systems was more important than waiting for housing prices to fall further.  Many of the investments recommended below require owning the space in which you live, but renters may be able to work with their landlords to implement positive changes in their homes.

The primary goal in meeting the need for shelter and warmth is to make your house as efficient and self-sustaining in energy as possible, so that you are not completely reliant on imported energy to function—energy that may be either very expensive or only intermittently available in the future.

For us, this means maintaining three ways of heating our house and heating water:  We have an oil furnace, we have a woodstove, and, as of this year, we have a solar hot-water system.  Our goal here is to cut our oil use by 50 percent in the first year of using the solar hot-water system.

However, our very first priority after buying our house was to ensure that the house was as well-insulated and airtight as possible.  With the number of states offering tax credits, grants, and other forms of assistance to help make houses more energy-efficient, there is little excuse not to button up your home if you own it yourself.  Some of these options are also available to renters who are working with their landlords to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.  Check out available programs and get busy, if you haven't already done so (you can also Google "weatherization assistance" and the name of your state for income-eligible support).  When it comes to energy, saving it is far easier and cheaper than procuring more of it, so you might as well invest first in conservation.

When it comes to selecting systems and components, I have learned to insist that they be as simple as possible.  I will gladly give up some efficiency or pay a little more if the system has fewer moving parts and could conceivably be fixed without flying in a Swedish engineer.  Unless someone local can service and fix the system, I want no part of it.  Simplicity is now a very high priority in my decision-making process when it comes to improving systems in my home.

Now that our house is in good shape with respect to energy, I anticipate enjoying utility bills that are half of what they used to be, a less drafty and more comfortable house, and the security of knowing that hot water will always be a part of our lives.  All of these improvements are worth my effort today, no matter what might come to pass in the future.

Electricity

Next, we also have solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays to create a modest amount of electricity and a battery bank for limited storage.  The primary purpose of this system is to provide a 100-percent fail-safe source of electricity to run our 25-cubic-foot freezer, the failure of which would result in a devastating food loss if the power went out in the early fall, when it is most packed with food.

Our PV array provides about 2 kilowatts, which is far more than the freezer needs, but far less than our house uses.  Still, in a pinch, this amount would be sufficient to recharge batteries, run a laptop computer, and drive a solar pump on our shallow well.

Our home remains on the grid, but I am comfortable knowing that we have at least a partial source of electricity on the property that could serve a wide range of purposes if necessary.  Again, the difference between being zero-percent self-sufficient and slightly self-sufficient is simply enormous.

If you’d like to learn more about alternative ways to power and heat your home, this thread in our forums is a great place to start.

Conclusion

If you haven’t personally experienced a major power outage, carefully thinking about your daily needs in terms of heat, energy, and communications is a necessary step in anticipating what best to invest in to be prepared. Having a decent understanding of the systems in your house and the visible and invisible ways electricity comes into play is essential in developing an action plan.

As for the longer-term options, it’s important to note that getting the money together to make them happen is more a form of investing than saving.  Given the prognosis for our energy situation in the coming years, sustainable energy purchases that may have relatively slow ROIs at the moment are capable of doubling or tripling that rate of return in the not-too-distant future.

Making decisions about where to allocate your resources at the home level is an important way of visualizing and keeping in mind the deep inextricability of two of the big three E’s.  It’s helpful for remembering where these otherwise seemingly theoretical topics actually live—quite close to home. 


If you have not yet seen the other articles in this series on resilience, you can find them here:


What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 8 – Community)


    What Should I Do?: The Basics of Resilience (Part 9 – Your Next Steps)

    Full disclosure: In this and future articles, we will recommend specific products and services that we have found to be especially suitable and relevant. If you click on a link to purchase one of the recommended products or services, PeakProsperity.com may receive a small commission. This will not impact the price you pay for those items -- you can locate and buy these products elsewhere if you wish -- but with the funds we receive as the result of these transactions, we can continue to expand our other community offerings, produce the next wave of videos, and bolster our outreach and educational efforts. You win by saving time and having easy access to our well-researched product recommendations, and we win by receiving your support and encouragement to continue doing what we do.

    We’d also love to hear any feedback based on your firsthand experience with the products and vendors that we recommend. Our goal is to ensure that we’re doing our utmost to offer the best guidance for utility, value, and service.

    Related content

    62 Comments

    Full Moon's picture
    Full Moon
    Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
    Joined: Oct 14 2008
    Posts: 1258
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    I just love the smartwool  socks .   

      We also bought  the -0  sleeping bags .    These are great for camping in the cold and if we loose heat in the house . They can be zipped together to put two people in and you have body heat .  We camped in 6 ft  of snow  with these .  Just put the baby snug between us and were plenty toasty .

    If a person is so financially strapped or does not want to spend this money   You can take 2  flat sheets , sew them around three edges and  in strips like a down comforter .   Go pick cat tails and stick the heads in and leave them until they explode  then pull the stems out and  sew the top shut .    I also like to then sew a flannel outer covering with snaps on them  so the flannel can be taken off and washed .   You just air out the comforter .

    Anyway  Wal-mart has their flannel on sale now and the cat tails have not gone to seed .    This really beats  pulling the down off the goose .

    Making quilts out of old wool suits is another way to keep very warm .   I still like flannel backing .   My grandmother used to use old wool army blankets for the batting .

    I just want people to realize there are simple ways to protect yourself too .

    FM

    goathollow's picture
    goathollow
    Status: Member (Offline)
    Joined: Jul 25 2008
    Posts: 1
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    We have a wood stove, 4 milk goats, a dozen laying hens, oil lamps, a 45 watt solar system, root cellar, shallow well with hand pump, 1500 gallon rain cistern, 6 months "Extended pantry", a large number of canning jars w/pressure canner,  I'm building a greenhouse, solar "Tin can" space heater, "Breadbox" batch water heater, have been experimenting with homebuilt wind chargers, have a number of security measures in place, can make charcoal, and soap.  I will be building a wood gas or producer gas generator soon (materials collected), am formulating plans for a smoke house, and home built solar food dehydrator, and we've torn up the entire front yard of our 1 acre place, for a veggie garden.  

    plato1965's picture
    plato1965
    Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
    Joined: Feb 18 2009
    Posts: 615
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    THE goathollow ?

    Hi-de-ho !! :o)

    Fantastic youtube channel btw...

    robie robinson's picture
    robie robinson
    Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
    Joined: Aug 25 2009
    Posts: 630
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    A milch coo is "the foster mother of the human race". Now who said that? Heck i don't even know where iread it?

    robie 

    Full Moon's picture
    Full Moon
    Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
    Joined: Oct 14 2008
    Posts: 1258
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    Hey  Goat ,    

        Which breed of milk goat do you prefer?  And meat goat ?

    Will you share your smoke house plans ?    My brother drug up an old  2ooo gallon  oil drum from some where .    I was thinking about cutting a  door in it and using it for a  smoke house as  I really can not think of another use for it .    Do you think it would work ?

    A friend of mine  thought  she might take a  sea crate and put a coat of spray foam on it then bury it for an under- ground storage/root cellar .    Of course this is a little more doable for her because her husband has the heavy equipment to do it with  but  still should be a lot cheaper than the cement to build one.

    FM

    Ivo's picture
    Ivo
    Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
    Joined: Jan 26 2009
    Posts: 59
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    Thanks so much for sharing your personal preparations Dr. M!

    I look forward to your article on transportation. I assume, you, like me, have a buffer of fuel for your car stored away. 

    A question about this article: while I, of course, agree that you need to be able to keep your cell phone charged at all times, isn't it so that the antenna's of the cellular networks get their power from the regular power grid? So they fail the moment the power goes down?

    Full Moon's picture
    Full Moon
    Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
    Joined: Oct 14 2008
    Posts: 1258
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    A month ago or so , I said how disappointed in our walkie talkies I was , but this weekend they were so handy to have... one at camp on  shore and  one on the boat . We were able to communicate for  many miles.  Also in   the caravan .  Our cell phones work  when  we are without electricity  but  if  cell towers  would go down or we did not want to be tracked  this would work  as  a bit of a replacement.  These come with their own charger and we could charge them in the little converter used for the dvd player that hooks into the car cigarette lighter.

    Another thing we found we want to get is a casting net . We have bait traps but  there were people hauling in many shiners for bait .   If all else failed you could eat these little fish  .   But  my kids had a very good  catch  each day .  I would easily be able to keep them fed with what they caught  from the shore .

    Add fishing license and gear  to your list of good things to have .

    The camping trip was a good practice run for some things  but  we would so be lost without the ice/refrigeration .  It helped that I had much of the food frozen  before and it lasted 2-3 days in the coolers no one touched .  The drink coolers ... open shut a 100 times did not last long .   The large  coolers with drink spouts lasted a lot longer and I had frozen ice cream buckets of water that slide right down inside .

    Do not forget the matches !  It had rained and there was no way they were getting a fire started without matches and a little diesel  from the truck  .

    FM

    EndGamePlayer's picture
    EndGamePlayer
    Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
    Joined: Sep 2 2008
    Posts: 546
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    My kinda people! I'd feel alot better if I lived closer to people who did all these things than the  "nothings going to happen" kind.

    In a pinch, we used the cheap emergency blankets as mattress pads to help reflect heat on the bed as well as in a layer saftey pinned between blankets. As discussed on another topic - they also make great window shades in the summer to help keep things cool and I'm in process of making winter insulated curtains out of some (2 layers of material with the emergency blanket "quilted" in the center. One more detail to add with emergeny blankets - in sub-zero temps I have cut them into liners for jackets, snow pants, mittens and boots and went out to collect wood for our wood burner on a sub-zero day - very envigorating! I ended up adding heat packs (those shake to warm and put in your pockets) in my boots.

    Over 10 years ago we had NO POWER for 2.5 weeks after a tornado and even though we lived lake side - hauling 5 gallons toilet water for 3 people got really old fast. It's the one thing I would recommend that's not listed here - get a back up toilet system that uses no water. Even if its a bucket with a seat in the garage - just "flush" adding a scoop of dirt. You can hear about more about our wood fired food dryer, ice house, fuel production and low energy food production on our web site MyBackAchers.com

    We just finished listening to "One Second After" so we now look at things a little differently when making purchases. We now want to know how durable the electronics are in the stuff we use every day and opt for the less technically advanced. . . and yeah - we enjoy listening to books together. Don't all couples like to share doomer books on the weekends?

    isora's picture
    isora
    Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
    Joined: Aug 8 2010
    Posts: 21
    cell phone will fail when the grid fails

    Yes, Ivo, most of the antenna grids don't have power backups. So if the grid goes goes down most of the cell phones are useless. The remaining grid with backups will experience an overload.

    I think, our old telephone could work somehow. But I prefer a selfmade grid based on little radio transmitters and an antenna with a high directivity. So you can mesh to a network to the parents, the kids or friends.

    Best: name a friend to work as a radio hub for relaying messages. All devices can be operated based on photo voltaic.

    @goat: wow! You lucky one! We don't have enough space for lot's of gardening or even animals. But I think about highly efficient roof gardening.

    We will have to restructure our  roof truss to be able to install PV. But sometimes it will be done... :-)

    Isora

    Full Moon's picture
    Full Moon
    Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
    Joined: Oct 14 2008
    Posts: 1258
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    EGP ,   

      We have used cayenne pepper in our socks and put bread bags on to keep warm  and dry on  cold outings ...  A redneck replacement for foot warmers  .  But those smartwool  socks are amazing for hunting and camping .    We found that digging down in the snow to set up the tents worked best for our wind protection . I remember being able to pull off anywhere and camping  by a stream or pond .   NOT  happening now days ...    they charged us to camp  by the lake  without using  their hook ups.  Darn we should have tried our new water filter .  I am going to dehydrate more after watching this gal http://dehydrate2store.com/  It would have been a lot lighter packing .

    I will confess  I was so glad to have the smaller pan on the turkey fryer to be able to cook enough fish and hushpuppies  for the large amount of people that ended up eating at camp .   My kids had even  picked up some GI along the way and he settled in with us for a couple days.   This is the most fun we have had in a long time .... we just left the world behind , laughed , told stories , and then..... We did a *Wow WOW ! *when we went rounded  the cove and landed at the yacht club !   Well they were surly not having as much fun as we were  Embarassed  We had nothing to loose .

    Heading to your back achers site right now.   It is raining today and  I am trying  to be catch up on much  inside work. oops .

    FM

    Ps.  My mom   reads Louis Lamour all the way down the road to keep my dad entertained on their travels .  They just took their little camper and headed out from Kansas to Canada  by way of Idaho , Oregon ,and who knows where else they will land .   If any of you see a little old man and woman having a gay old time  they are harmless .

    EndGamePlayer's picture
    EndGamePlayer
    Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
    Joined: Sep 2 2008
    Posts: 546
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    Wow- Been watching http://dehydrate2store.com/ ' s videos all day - Dehydrated watermelon taffy - I have to try!

    She also has youtube videos worth the watchin (I'm downloading them now). That woman has every kitchen appliance ever made - I have a knife and blender.

    I'll give the cayenne pepper a try - and have some sugar around to cool them down if the feet get too hot - Thanks for the tips!

    EGP

    flatspin's picture
    flatspin
    Status: Member (Offline)
    Joined: Apr 26 2009
    Posts: 8
    Re: cell phone will fail when the grid fails

    Don't overlook amateur radio as a good communications alternative. Can provide voice communication and digital access to internet. Licenses are ultra easy to get these days. A good way to network and make friends in the local community you will be relying on too.

    ReginaF's picture
    ReginaF
    Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
    Joined: Jan 16 2009
    Posts: 90
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    FASHY 6530 Thermoplast-Wärmflasche + Bezug, 2,0lAnyone mentioned Hot-Water bags? I found them extremly useful in cold winter nights and have stocked them up!

    Best greetings from northern Germany

    Regina

    johnf's picture
    johnf
    Status: Member (Offline)
    Joined: Oct 7 2008
    Posts: 24
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    Totally agree about the hot-water bags/bottles. They are very good value for money.

    For cold nights in the bedroom, instead of spending money heating the whole room, these things apply the heat to where you want it - ie in the bed where you are. When my kids go to bed on a cold night, these things keep them warm; they work instantly and last for ages. What's more, especially for the little ones, the physical presence of something warm to cuddle keeps them comforted.

    Full Moon's picture
    Full Moon
    Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
    Joined: Oct 14 2008
    Posts: 1258
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

      Regina ,

    Thank you so much for bringing this up !    Where do you find a good one anymore .  After years of use they spring a leak  and the new ones I found at China -mart   are so very thin.      I have gone back to rice in a bag heated up but it is just not the same .

    FM

    TNdancer's picture
    TNdancer
    Status: Silver Member (Offline)
    Joined: Aug 20 2008
    Posts: 127
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    Drums of war are beating again.....first shot fired at, or by, Iran, and oil opens at 150 the next morning and probably closes at 300.

    I got two more 500gal propane tanks set, in addition to the underground 500gal I already had, and had them topped off today. Together with 100lb bottles, I figure I'm good for 5 years now, minimum for water heating/cooking....longer with either extended with wood fuel.

    Diesel (200gal) and gasoline (300gal) tanks on stands are topped off, need to get 2 more 55gal drums of diesel to add to storage, and make 8 drums diesel, 8 drums gasoline, and couple of kerosene. I can run the tractor/garden tiller (yep....8hp Lombardini diesel on the tiller ) for 6-7 years off that much diesel.....probably more, wouldn't be using the tractor for playing.  ( and yes, have filters, lube oils, spare battery that is dry with acid in separte jug )

    Firewood is at two years right now, plan to lay in another 2 this fall......wood stores easier than the fuel to run saws.

    Portable sheds 6x12 hold about 3 cords each.

    Quadium's picture
    Quadium
    Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
    Joined: May 5 2010
    Posts: 42
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    It's still early days, but I have the option of moving. I'm actively researching properties in northern Idaho. I like this area for several reasons: no county building codes or inspections required; can be fairly remote but still be on the grid (local hydro-power) and have access to natural gas (first stops for the major pipeline from Canada), unlimited wood supplies (80% fed & state forests); clean water is plentiful; excellent fishing and hunting; etc. God willing, I'll have time to build and relocate.

    In researching I found three sites that should be of interest to those in a similar situation:

    http://www.thenaturalhome.com/

    "Sustainable housing design, passive solar, green home, zero energy, high thermal mass (HTM™) do-it-yourself solar house plans are featured along with septic system parts and consultation."

    http://www.heatkit.com/

    Kits for building masonry heaters, which are high-thermal mass masonry stoves that look like fireplaces. You burn a large stack of wood quickly, which heats up the thermal mass and releases it to the home slowly. One fire a day when chilly outside, two if really cold. Extremely efficient, very clean burn. Optional fantastic bake oven and hot water heating.

    http://www.stovetec.net/us/index.php

    Cute little rocket stove you can buy for $65 including free shipping. I bought one. Everyone should have one. The ultimate backup for cooking.

    I pray we have aother year before TSHTF, hopefully 2. In the meantime I am prepositioning food and supplies, etc., etc.

    Quad

    Ivo's picture
    Ivo
    Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
    Joined: Jan 26 2009
    Posts: 59
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    Admirable preparation TNdancer! I do, however, understand that gasoline starts to deteriorate after three months. Some say a year. Have you looked into this? It doesn't seem to be the case for diesel.

    TNdancer's picture
    TNdancer
    Status: Silver Member (Offline)
    Joined: Aug 20 2008
    Posts: 127
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    PRI-G will keep it at least 4 years in sealed, 55gal drums, from personal experience....stored in a cool location also helps.

    Also, use PRI-D for diesel + their biocide if stored in vented to air type tank

    "Stabil" brand ( much more commonly available ) is good for maybe a year, tops.

    Quadium's picture
    Quadium
    Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
    Joined: May 5 2010
    Posts: 42
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    EndGamePlayer wrote:

    Wow- Been watching http://dehydrate2store.com/ ' s videos all day - Dehydrated watermelon taffy - I have to try!

    EndGamePlayer -

    Did you happen to follow the link to the countryliving.com website? No power? No problem! A 2 horse-power grain mill that uses absolutely no electricity. Play the video at the bottom.

    http://www.countrylivinggrainmills.com/

    Cheers, Quad

    Woodman's picture
    Woodman
    Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
    Joined: Sep 26 2008
    Posts: 1025
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    Nice woodsheds TNdancer; i have 2+ years wood stored up too and need to build some more storage.

    For rechargeable batteries, management is a lot easier with a smart charger that applies the right charge and duration and tells you if the battery is bad or not.  I have the LaCrosse 4 cell for AA and AAA and a Maha unit for 8 cells that handles AAA, AA, C or D.  Good reviews on both at Amazon.com, and worth the extra cost. 

    I have a set of LI battery LED lights from dinottelighting.com for biking at night, which also serve well as my emergency light system since I use and charge them regularly. 

    A regular cheap old phone (that isn't cordless or needs AC) is good to have when the power is out but the phone lines still work.

    Tom

    robie robinson's picture
    robie robinson
    Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
    Joined: Aug 25 2009
    Posts: 630
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    TNDancer,

    You must have a BCS tiller, gosh i'ld love one of those things.

    robie

    TNdancer's picture
    TNdancer
    Status: Silver Member (Offline)
    Joined: Aug 20 2008
    Posts: 127
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    Robbie,

    I looked with the intent of getting a BCS, but the guy at Earth Tools ( KY ) sold me on the Grillo..he sells both.....Italian made, like the BCS, but better pricing.....and the attachments are interchangeable.  He said Grillo is made by former BCS folks that left the hive and started their own deal.

    Been quite happy with it.  Got the rotary plow attachment to go with it, and you talk about THE trick for hilling potatoes....run down the row center and it flings the dirt out one side and makes a beautiful hill.

    I got 30 years out of a gas powered rear tine tiller ( fixed tiller, no attachments, Ariens brand ), so I figure this is the last tiller I'll ever buy.

    andy

    TNdancer's picture
    TNdancer
    Status: Silver Member (Offline)
    Joined: Aug 20 2008
    Posts: 127
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    We also put in some solar power a couple years ago.  Have a 3kw system that is grid tied so we get the money advantage of feeding back to the grid ( which means a system that supplies 40-50% of our needs eliminates most of our bill.....last 4 month average has been about 12 bucks owed ), but the system is also battery backup so when the grid is down, we have power.  Not full power, but it keeps 3 freezers, fridge, lights and the washing machine running....which is the differrence between the 20th century level living, and all those previous ones !

    System has two arrays on single axis trackers I built, produces 300-400kw/hrs month here.  Also built a small, earth bermed  greenhouse to house the batteries/etc in a rooom on one end, and give us a place to raise winter veggies and start plants for the garden.  Glazing is tripple walled Lexan panel.

    Early construction on the greenhouse, solar trackers above before panels installed.

    Strawberry beds in the outside front, rainwater collection "system"  :)

    Some tomato plants along with a bunch of red weeds my wife scatters around the place in the spring....ahahahaa

    MarkM's picture
    MarkM
    Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
    Joined: Jul 22 2008
    Posts: 755
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    Andy,

    Thanks for the tiller info.  I had been lusting over the BCS for some time, but I will take a look at the Grillo. I have a 25 year old Craftsman rear time that is just about done. I don't use it a lot anymore, but when you need it life is so much easier when you have one available.

    Full Moon's picture
    Full Moon
    Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
    Joined: Oct 14 2008
    Posts: 1258
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    Andy ,     I am coveting thy place  but thanks for the pictures anyway  !     Gives us something to work towards .

    FM

    Ready's picture
    Ready
    Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
    Joined: Dec 30 2008
    Posts: 912
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    TNdancer wrote:

    System has two arrays on single axis trackers I built,

    Bravo Andy!

    I did the research on trackers some time ago, and found that the payoff in my situation was never, so I only adjust for seasonality.

    Can you provide any advice on how to DIY with the solar trackers for a really handy guy?

    Thanks!

    R

    TNdancer's picture
    TNdancer
    Status: Silver Member (Offline)
    Joined: Aug 20 2008
    Posts: 127
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    Full Moon, coveting keeps the economy running, you know.

    If it weren't for the Joneses, where would we be ?

    Cool

    Ready:

    Like you, I looked at commercial trackers, and couldn't justify the expense for the payback.....even less so now since that panel I used was 800 bucks when I bought them, and now you can find them for under 600.....simply cheaper to add more panels.

    BUT I like to tinker, so here is what I did:

    Bought joint (20') of schedule 40 6" pipe from a local machine shop, and had them cut it in half at 37 degree angle ( latitude for here ).  $200.

    Then I welded a 40" length of 2x8" channel on the 37 degree ends, ( scrapyard...$20 for 2 ), drilled/mounted two 2" pillow block bearings on the ends of the channel ( upper side ), then ran a 48" length of 2" round stock ( Mshop.....$40 ) thru each for a pivot ( think See-Saw axle ).  Then got some 1.5" square tubing ( 150 bucks ), cut/welded up an "H" looking frame, 48" wide on the inside, then welded that to the end of the 2" axle shaft.....now the "H" thing rotates left-right ( or east-west ).  Welded electrical "Unistrut"  ( 15 bucks each, Home Depot ) perpendicular to the "H" frame ( the shiny deal you see in the photo where the panels aren't mounted yet ).  Much cheaper than buying aluminum rails they sell for mounting solar panels.

    Poles sunk in a cube of concrete 4'x4x4',  Had to have it pumped up there, but while the pump truck was here, I had him pumping a ceiling on a root cellar as well ( whole nuther interesting story )

    Panels mount to the unistrut with an aluminum clip I had made at the machine shop....just a pc of 1/8" aluminum 2" x 5", bent at a 90 so you have a 2" leg and a 3" leg.  I drilled out the 2" leg for a 3/8" unistrut bolt that screws in a locking cam nut made for unistrut, then ran a couple of 1/4" x 1" self tapping screws into the other leg and the panel side frame.  Panel mounted.

    Drive:

    Bought two 36" 30vdc linear actuators ( Super Jack brand ) off the net....$150/ea.  These were used on the old C band sat dishes to run them around searching for satellites.  Mounted one end to the H frame, the center to a stud welded to the pole.  Controller is a unit made by Analogguy.com, with some modifications of my own. Now they track east to west daily, and reset at night to pick up the sun rise the next morning.

    Pic of the back of one array...maybe this will help make more sense:

    ( Reason for the difference in the back of panels is I installed 12 originally, then added more later....and they had changed the Tedlar backing apparently )

    Hope I haven't gotten too out of line with photos/etc.   Ya'll tell me if so, and I'll go back to lurker status.

    Ready's picture
    Ready
    Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
    Joined: Dec 30 2008
    Posts: 912
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    TNdancer wrote:

    Hope I haven't gotten too out of line with photos/etc.   Ya'll tell me if so, and I'll go back to lurker status.

    Quite the opposite. This is exactly the type of exchange that makes this site valuable! This is the best thread of the week by far.

    Thanks for the detailed description. I'm printing this out and doing some research. Based on your back of the napkin numbers, tracking all of a sudden starts to make finacial sense.

    If you had it to do all over again, whould you? Any reliability issues, or design changes you would make?

    Thanks again for your participation, no need to lurk when you have great experiences like this to share.

    Ready

    DRHolden's picture
    DRHolden
    Status: Silver Member (Offline)
    Joined: Oct 18 2009
    Posts: 128
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    Prius Power!

    I have a 1000W inverter connected to the 12 volt battery of my Prius, and then the inverter plugs into a transfer switch that is connected to 4 circuits in my house.  When we lose power I can just manually flip the transfer switch and plug in the Prius to run our refrigerator, a number of CFLs, the blower on our woodstove, etc. up to 1000 watts.  Unlike other cars that have to run coninuously to perform this same generator function, the Prius monitors the 12 volt battery and keeps it charged from the 230volt traction battery.  When the traction battery gets low, the car turns itself on and charges the batteries.  You can probably run for a week or more on one tank, and it burns much cleaner than a conventional generator, and is much quieter.  You really wouldn't even know it was running.  It needs to be parked outside of course.  Since we have a gas stove we can cook, and our woodstove can keep the whole house comfortably warm.

    Dean

    Full Moon's picture
    Full Moon
    Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
    Joined: Oct 14 2008
    Posts: 1258
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    The Pix and info are wonderful to me... the instructions too  !    I am coming over for strawberry pie . ..   your wife looks to be somebody I would like to know and learn from  .     I would invite you over if  I  could find my strawberries in my weed patch .   I did uncover the tomatoes and have two bushel waiting in the kitchen now  ,   but  the sweet potatoes ate my green beans !!!       I can grow some 12 ' weeds here  , they will soon be blocking my sun .  Embarassed I just can not get ahead of them this year .  If I ever have to totally feed us I am so in trouble .

    Please tell the root cellar story . It is on my  HONEY DO  list for this fall .  

    F M

    TNdancer's picture
    TNdancer
    Status: Silver Member (Offline)
    Joined: Aug 20 2008
    Posts: 127
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    Ready wrote:

    If you had it to do all over again, whould you? Any reliability issues, or design changes you would make?

    Ready

    Thanks for the comments....

    Yes, I'd do it again....in fact, I plan to do another single array of 3kw by itself, problaby go to an 8" pole this time, and use 2" tubing for the "H" pieceMy goal is for the power company to have to write me a check for 75-100 bucks a month.....just for fun.....

    Also plan to come up with a design that will allow me to manually adjust the seasonal tilt, which I'd do about once a quarter....thinking a hand crank type wheel with a threaded shaft and a pointer for "Winter, Spring, etc".   From what I understand, you pick up another 8% power by doing that second axis.  I know from leaving mine in the fixed position for several months as a test, I gain a bit over 25% more doing the single axis tracking, so that gives you something to figure panel cost vs. tracker cost.

    One thing you might have to watch for IF you design your own is wind.....we are on the sheltered side of a mountain, and very little wind problem, as it hits the west side of the mountain and blows up and over us.  IF you have wind to contend with, I'd be including some shock dampers in the deal.

    TNdancer's picture
    TNdancer
    Status: Silver Member (Offline)
    Joined: Aug 20 2008
    Posts: 127
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    Full Moon wrote:

    The Pix and info are wonderful to me... the instructions too  !    I am coming over for strawberry pie . ..   your wife looks to be somebody I would like to know and learn from  .     I would invite you over if  I  could find my strawberries in my weed patch .   I did uncover the tomatoes and have two bushel waiting in the kitchen now  ,   but  the sweet potatoes ate my green beans !!!       I can grow some 12 ' weeds here  , they will soon be blocking my sun .  Embarassed I just can not get ahead of them this year .  If I ever have to totally feed us I am so in trouble .

    Please tell the root cellar story . It is on my  HONEY DO  list for this fall .  

    FM

    You know, weeds are just a resource you haven't found a use for yet......or so I tell myself.....ahahahaaaa

    Seriously, you're finding out what it takes to feed yourself.  I heard once the best fertilizer for a garden was the footsteps of the gardener....and after 35 gardening seasons, I'd have to say that's a fact.  Here's a tip for you:  Look up Scuffle Hoe ( the diamond head shaped one with the T handle )....best little hand tool you'll ever find for really fast hand weeding.  Get one.

    OK...the root cellar:

    About the time I was installing my solar and such ( I really got a burst of enthusiasm that year ) I also decided we needed a root cellar to store apples/ potatoes/some jar canned goods/etc.  We built our house ( 25 years ago ) in an "L" shape with the bottom leg of the L being the attached garage. The right point of the bottom leg of the L is just about due north ( with the long side of the upright of the L being south facing, with lots of windows ), and is built into the mountain, so the dirt is about 7' deep on that side.  So while I had a guy here with a trackhoe to dig out some other things, I got him to dig out an 8x10 hole in the shale rock on that side of the garage.  Then I took a rented gas powered masonry saw and cut a "door" opening in the block on that side ( same block I laid 25 years earlier....ahahaha ) into the cellar hole.  Formed up a footer, then handmixed it and poured.  Then laid 8" block for the cellar walls. (See pic )

    Once that was done, built a temporary top using lumber sawed off my place ( have a Woodmizer sawmill also....nuther story....ahahaha ) as a concrete form.

    Then when the guys came to pump the concrete up in my solar pole forms, they snaked the hose around the side of the house and poured a top 6" think, plus filled the walls.....rebar to reinforce as you see....

    Gave the concrete a couple weeks to cure decently, then backfilled with a couple feet of dirt over the top.

    Went inside, painted coat of Thoroseal to brighten it up, ran some wiring, added shelving, there is are a pair of 6" PVC pipes on the right wall not seen that provide for ventilation ( put a duct booster fan in one on a timer ).  Built a laminated door out of red cedar, foam board and plywood to complete it. Left the floor gravel.

    OK...that's the end of root cellar story.

    Now, we can go to:

    Sawmill/Apple orchard story

    Man Cave ( auxilary kitchen with woodstove and home built walk-in cooler for on site meat processing )

    Food preps story, w/ various critters on the hoof around here

    Defense of selves and property story

    Heck, I've been at this 25 years.....I got a bunch of stories ( illustrated of course....ahahahaaaa.....what's a story without photos, right ? )  If I'm not boring ya'll, pick one and I'll post as I get time.  ( in the middle of a house remodel right now )

    SagerXX's picture
    SagerXX
    Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
    Joined: Feb 11 2009
    Posts: 2116
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    TNdancer wrote:

    OK...that's the end of root cellar story.

    Now, we can go to:

    Sawmill/Apple orchard story

    Man Cave ( auxilary kitchen with woodstove and home built walk-in cooler for on site meat processing )

    Food preps story, w/ various critters on the hoof around here

    Defense of selves and property story

    Heck, I've been at this 25 years.....I got a bunch of stories ( illustrated of course....ahahahaaaa.....what's a story without photos, right ? )  If I'm not boring ya'll, pick one and I'll post as I get time.  ( in the middle of a house remodel right now )

    I vote Man Cave or Food Preps.  I concur -- this is the best thread o'the week!  Thanks!

    Full Moon's picture
    Full Moon
    Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
    Joined: Oct 14 2008
    Posts: 1258
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    I second what Sager said .

    Full Moon's picture
    Full Moon
    Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
    Joined: Oct 14 2008
    Posts: 1258
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    You know, weeds are just a resource you haven't found a use for yet......or so I tell myself.....ahahahaaaa

     

      Well my  weeds  are not the valuable kind..   I did pull for  a couple hours tonight  got 4 wheelbarrow loads  full .  The calves loved them .  I found two buckets of carrots , 10 gallons of tomato's , 5 gallons of okra a few handfuls  of beans and beets .  I  tried the raised beds but my dirt is river bottom and I found no advantage there because you can not mow them off , burn them off , nor till them under , and they still get weeds .   We are expecting rain tomorrow so weed pulling will be easier as  my top soil is so deep the weeds get firmly rooted .  I just have days of being overwhelmed ....  kind of like chasing my own tail .The geese ate the leaves off my peppers and I really have to watch because they love grape leaves .   BUGS , ladies ,BUGS not my food !  If I am working outside the inside work goes to pot   .  Oh there is no going out an thinking the kids will stick to their inside work .   

    Ok I feel better after whining .    Tomorrow is  another day . 

    FM

    TNdancer's picture
    TNdancer
    Status: Silver Member (Offline)
    Joined: Aug 20 2008
    Posts: 127
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    OK, Food Preps/etc it is....may work the "man cave" into that as well, as it's really about food prep also.

    In the interest of keeping to the theme of each of these parts of Dr. Martenson's blog, I'll do the post over in Part 4, Growing/Preserving Food.

    Bear with me on the time it takes to post all... + I'm having some computer issues, bought a new PC couple weeks ago, and some bugs are showing up....will have to take it back to their shop for "fumigation"......ahahahaaaa

    Eye's picture
    Eye
    Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
    Joined: Mar 7 2009
    Posts: 88
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    Are "Pure Sign Wave" inverters necessary for running refrigerator and freezer motors?  Computers, TV's?

    DRHolden's picture
    DRHolden
    Status: Silver Member (Offline)
    Joined: Oct 18 2009
    Posts: 128
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    Eye wrote:

    Are "Pure Sign Wave" inverters necessary for running refrigerator and freezer motors?  Computers, TV's?

    My understanding is the for most applications a modified-sine wave is fine, but if you are planning to power high-end audio and video, life support systems, gaming devices or sensitive scientific equipment (among others) a pure-sine wave is better.  I opted for a pure-sine wave just to be safe, but I also own a modified-sine wave inverter just because they are fairly cheap, and a good backup if needed.  I think if you are planning to have things running primarily from your inverter, and not just for short emergency use, it's worth investing in the pure-sine wave inverter.

    Dean

    hmcgov's picture
    hmcgov
    Status: Member (Offline)
    Joined: Aug 25 2010
    Posts: 13
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    Regarding cooking and heating inside, beware carbon monoxide.  People die from this all the time, and any gas burning appliance could become deadly without proper ventilation. So make sure you use the Weber grill outside, and think twice before turning on your propane stove if you can't power on your exhaust vent.

    Page 5 of the Mr. Heater owners manual states "Asphyxiation Hazard: Do not use this heater for heating human living quarters." Wall vented propane heaters offer a safe way to heat a room, and they could also serve as a nice hedge against higher heating costs.

    Admin: after reading this post, we contacted the team at Mr Heater and have amended our recommendation. The vent-free product now featured in this post is specifically designed for indoor use. Please make sure to follow the user manual instructions carefully.

    Info on Carbon Monoxide here: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/co.html

     Evidence of how serious this is: http://news.google.com/news/search?aq=1&pz=1&cf=all&ned=us&hl=en&q=carbon+monoxide+poisoning&oq=carbon+monoxid

    isora's picture
    isora
    Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
    Joined: Aug 8 2010
    Posts: 21
    fuel

    Wow! But we live in a city - on the edge, but in a city. We don't have enough space to do like you did.  I'm the only one with fuel reserves I know. All people I know ignore the possibility public traffic systems being down and gas stations out of gas.

    Ignorance is a bless, it seems.

    ...more space: But  one couple I know intend to leave the town. They will sell their house and buy another far away from the city with lots of space. I know, we should do the same. But we don't want to leave our house. There is so much effort we invested into it. And me job demands for presence in the city. And daily driving long distances isn't an option for the future.

    SagerXX's picture
    SagerXX
    Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
    Joined: Feb 11 2009
    Posts: 2116
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    isora -- maybe you know (or can find) someone (or another family/group) that are like-minded.  With them, you can pool your resources and set something up outside whatever metro area you're in.  Or look into local urban gardening groups?

    Just a couple thoughts.  Welcome to the community!

    Viva -- Sager

    goodmaj's picture
    goodmaj
    Status: Member (Offline)
    Joined: Oct 18 2010
    Posts: 3
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    My plan is to take on room in my basement (use the earths insulation effect) and uber insulate it for emergencies in extreme cold weather.  Then move the family into the room vs trying to keep the who house warm.  I'm toying with what to heat the room with and right now a small pellet stove is winning out.

    jpitre's picture
    jpitre
    Status: Gold Member (Offline)
    Joined: Mar 3 2009
    Posts: 366
    Re: What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience (Part 6 – ...

    Eye

    Sine wave vs modified sign wave inverters - if you are planning to use for all normal electrical uses on a continuing basis, then do yourself a favor and spend the extra to get a full blown sine wave inverter. The "noise" on modified sine wave inverters does not do well with computers, radios and the like. My laptop hooked up had enough noise that it was unusable for audio when connected to the inverter - so I imagine it may have been potentially causing problems with the internal electonics also. I've been told that a number of appliances will have their life shortened by connecting to the modified sine wave systems.

    I have an older modified sine wave unit and kicked my self on numerous occasions for not spending the extra to do it right the first time -- just now installing a new full blown sine wave inverter in my RV trailer

    Jim

    BartWindrum's picture
    BartWindrum
    Status: Member (Offline)
    Joined: Jul 17 2009
    Posts: 3
    Best/Warmest Socks

    I've moved on from SmartWool socks. The wool is high grade but wears quickly. Plus, Smart Wool is always changing their product line and dropping models. After time it just gets too confusing. But the real deal breaker, if you tread heavily, is the wool wearing off the sock. What's the point?

    My next sock was Wigwam's Fusion line, a two-in-one layer with olefin inner, mixed merino outer. These last, and their lightweight models excel for warm and moderate temperatures.

    However: for late fall, early spring, and all-winter use, I have found that Feetures' F1102 medium cushion wool/bamboo blend far exceeds anything I have ever worn for warmth, maintaining dry feet, and comfort. It's simply no contest. Although I have no experience with mountain store hiking and mountaineering weight socks, for urban use down to ~0º (assuming proper winter footwear like Sorel) I have found Feetures to perform perfectly in every important way, and to fail in no way.

    DRHolden's picture
    DRHolden
    Status: Silver Member (Offline)
    Joined: Oct 18 2009
    Posts: 128
    Re: Best/Warmest Socks

    BartWindrum wrote:

    However: for late fall, early spring, and all-winter use, I have found that Feetures' F1102 medium cushion wool/bamboo blend far exceeds anything I have ever worn for warmth, maintaining dry feet, and comfort. It's simply no contest. Although I have no experience with mountain store hiking and mountaineering weight socks, for urban use down to ~0º (assuming proper winter footwear like Sorel) I have found Feetures to perform perfectly in every important way, and to fail in no way.

    Wow, I guess I'm out of touch in the sock world.  $50 for three pair seems pretty expensive.  I would hope they would last a long time.  Heck, for that price I would expect them to perform other "certain functions" :)

    Curtis_L_WALKER's picture
    Curtis_L_WALKER
    Status: Member (Offline)
    Joined: May 12 2009
    Posts: 2
    Keeping Warm During Power Outage

    My wife and I just completed four days without power due to a very intense winter storm here in Northern California foothills. We could not get the brand spanking new generator to run, thus our power backup was useless and it was in the 20s....and we were COLD. 

    We put four pots on the stove (thank goodness we have propane), filled them with snow (we have our own well, run by electricity within an hour the entire house was very comfortable; we were snug as a bug in a rug!

    Tip: We put aluminum foil over the stove vent/exhaust fan to keep the steam in the house. 

    Tip: No need to continually boil water. Start on high and once boiling starts bring it down to a simmer. We refilled the pots about every four to six hours depending on how high we needed to keep the house warm.

    Amanda V's picture
    Amanda V
    Status: Gold Member (Offline)
    Joined: Dec 31 2008
    Posts: 262
    The solar recharging station

    The solar recharging station link in the article takes you to an item which is discontinued.

    Does anybody else recommend where to get a good solar recharging batteries unit?

    (admin, I don't know if this means you want to take out that link or not)

    DRHolden's picture
    DRHolden
    Status: Silver Member (Offline)
    Joined: Oct 18 2009
    Posts: 128
    Amanda V wrote: The solar

    Amanda V wrote:

    The solar recharging station link in the article takes you to an item which is discontinued.

    Does anybody else recommend where to get a good solar recharging batteries unit?

    (admin, I don't know if this means you want to take out that link or not)

    I would think the best place to start would be the maker of your car...

    Doug's picture
    Doug
    Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
    Joined: Oct 1 2008
    Posts: 2748
    Wind Tamer

    I am considering getting an alt energy system, including a wind turbine from Wind Tamer Turbines:

    http://www.windtamerturbines.com/

    They're made in Rochester, NY and I haven't seen anything like their design before.  Does anyone out there have any experience with or knowledge about them?

    Thanks,

    Doug

    Comment viewing options

    Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
    Login or Register to post comments