Natural or manmade disasters can occur!
What are the basics for you to survive without electricity, water service, heat, cooling, or sewage disposal for seven days in your home?
If you have your Bug Out Bag stocked and ready to go and have a 72 hour In-Home Survival Box prepared, along with a Get Home Bag in your vehicle you are almost there!
Now it is up to you to decide how comfortable you (and your family) want to be for a week without power.
Here’s what you need to add to the 72 Hour Box for In-Home Survival:
- Toilet paper—at least two rolls per person.
- Additional water—at least one gallon per person per day.
- More paper plates, plastic utensils and paper towels.
- Four more days of canned and/or non-perishable foods. Your BOB and Get Home Bag probably only contain energy bars.
- More sturdy garbage bags for sanitation.
- Another roll of heavy duty aluminum foil.
- More replacement batteries for radio, flashlight and lantern.
- A box of baby wipes for sponge baths.
- Baby powder for a dry hair wash and general freshener.
- One reusable emergency blanket per person if in a climate that gets below freezing.
Comfortable Self-Reliance for One Week
- A portable heater with enough fuel for a week. Be sure to have a working carbon monoxide detector.
- An extra bottle of propane for your grill for three seasons of cooking outside. A camp stove with extra fuel for inside cooking.
- Add comfort food to your supplies—chocolate, popcorn, mac and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, marshmallows… Whatever will store well and taste good to you and your family. A good quality manual can opener.
- A popup tent for “camping” in your living room or outside if the weather is nice.
- A plastic, passive solar camp shower.
- Two coolers in case you can access ice to keep your refrigerated goods from spoiling and dry ice to keep your frozen foods from spoiling. If not, have a block party!
- More flashlights and lanterns.
- Decks of cards and games.
- Some wine or spirits to relax with.
Thriving Off-Grid for One Week
- If you have a natural gas furnace, a natural gas garage heater mounted in the basement or upstairs – will it work without electricity? Heat rises and there will a comfortable area near the heater—these usually cost less than $300 installed. Be sure to have a working carbon monoxide detector.
- Upgrade to a gas range and you will have burners, and, check before you buy, an oven to back in or use as an extra space heater.
- A generator of at least 3500 watts
So it is your choice! Survive, be comfortable, or thrive and potentially be able to help others during a disaster!
Chocolate… gotta have chocolate!
Yes! Big morale booster.
Thanks – Rourke
The thing to remember with a generator is that in an emergency if there is no breakdown of civil order, it’s great! However if there is a breakdown of civil order, the generator is noisy and advertises that you have things worth getting.
I personally have two generators. One big 4,000 watt noisy one, and one 2,000 watt quieter one that is very portable. The larger one is fixed to tie into the main household circuit if needed. (don’t attempt this unless you know all the do’s and dont’s). The smaller one does about all the stuff you’d need for short term outages under normal conditions.
You also have to remember aside from the noise, they require proper ventilation, need gas, and hate rain.
As a long term power source, I have a solar array setup in a modular fashion so as to be able to add or subtract cells based on need. While not setup to power all the household needs, it will run a small freezer and other electronics, and recharge batteries. You can start somewhat small, and build up the system as you go.
I – as well as many other readers – would love to hear more about your solar system. Total watts, panel configuration, charge controller, inverter, etc. I think solar is the way to go long-term.
I will assess what I have, and make a post regarding it, real soon.
John from Iowa
Your idea sounds great, however is your system one that could be set up by someone who has limited knowledge with electrical systems, much less a solar systems?
Most Solar systems can start out real simple, as they can be pricey. I started with 5 watt cells, and even some of the Volkswagen Solar cells on ebay. Volkswagen units are self contained, and pretty handy. They were originally put on the dash or windshield in Volkswagen automobiles at the factory to maintain the batteries while the cars were parked long term before and during shipment to the dealers. If you watch and buy wisely, they can be a great investment and a good start in Solar.
I have since evolved to the larger 80 watt panels with storage batteries, charge regulators, power inverters and other useful stuff. I’ll be making a further post on what I actually have, and some tips on use, in the near future.
John! A modular, add-on solar system! More! More!
Yeah! Yeah! I’m so excited!
As promised, here is more solar info….
The first thing to remember is that solar is not cheap! The power is free and sustainable, but it’s costly to get there. A person can spend as much money as you want, in that direction. I did not go whole hog on my system, as I wanted primarily the ability to power a few appliances, and mainly a power source to recharge my rechargeable batteries. I have a couple of systems setup in different locations, as well as the ability to setup portable arrays.
My main array consists of 4 – 85 watt panels & a 30 watt panel. These run to a 21 amp ICP charge regulator/controller, and then to a bank of 8 – 12v deep cycle marine batteries. Tied to that I have a 2,000 power inverter for the 110 household current, as well as 2 – 12v cigarette lighter type sockets to have the ability to run 12v appliances if needed.
I have a problem with this system in that I really hate to cut trees as you can’t really replace them in your lifetime. So my system doesn’t get full sun all of the day. It gets about 2 thirds of what it could get, but meets my anticipated needs.
It will power a small freezer, or a portable ice maker, a 110v chain saw, and many other like items.
I have a secondary array at a nearby building that is not used much to full potential, but is kind of a backup system. It consists of 1- 85 watt panel, and 2 – 50 watt folding panels that run to another charge regulator/controller and only 2 – 12v deep cycle batteries. This then runs to another 2,000 watt inverter that is actually a backup in case of a failure of my primary unit. The panels on this array can be plugged into the main array by the use of polarized two way plugs, making it very
modular for increasing power to the main system.
At my pond I have a shelter house on which I mounted a 30 watt solar panel than runs to a smaller charge regulator/controller and then only 1 – 12v deep cycle battery. This runs out to 12v lights in the ceiling of the shelter house, as well as a couple of cigarette lighter 12v outlets. I can plug in a 400 watt inverter to the 12v system and power most small appliances that I might have there.
Last, but not least, I have several smaller panel setups that are extremely portable & powerful that can provide 12v power just about anywhere that has sun exposure.
As I mentioned in the beginning, this stuff isn’t cheap. It was done over a long period of time so it became more affordable. I started very small with a couple of the Volkswagen solar cells, a plastic battery box that had a built in 12v lighter socket and external terminals, and of course a deep cycle
battery, added to that a splitter that allowed multiple lighter sockets for plugging in panels or for power out.
I will post in the future some Do’s and Dont’s as well as some tips for use. There is much to know about solar, but it isn’t as complicated as most might think, for the smaller setups like mine.
Thanks so much – this is excellent. I will share with others!
Here are some of the basics of solar power.
First you have the solar panel. This is what generates electricity from the sunlight or even artificial light. They come in many sizes, types, prices, and wattages. Power coming from the cell to charge a battery must have a diode in the circuit to keep from discharging the battery when there is no power coming from the solar panel, as the current will flow backwards discharging the battery. Think of it as a one way valve. Some panels, like the Volkswagen units, have the diode built in. Other wise it is built into the charge regulator/controller if your system is going to use one.
Second, if you are putting together a larger array of permanently mounted panels, you’ll need a charge regulator/controller to control the charge rate from the solar panels so than you don’t over cook your batteries. These also come in various sizes, types, and prices. The key thing to remember is that the wattage here must be larger that the total of the wattage of your panels. I made the mistake several times of thinking my system was only going to be a certain size, and later having to buy a larger controller because I was expanding my system. So buy big in the beginning, and you won’t have to buy again later.
Third, the batteries. The best batteries to use are the deep cycle batteries that are commonly used in golf carts. But they are very pricey, heavy, and not easy to find in some places. They usually have to be special ordered in the rural areas like where I live. So I opted for the biggest Marine type deep
cycle batteries. Though not cheap either by any means, you get what you pay for.
You now have a system that produces and stores 12v power. There are two things you can do with it in this form. You can hook up an inverter to change the power to 110 volts, or you can use it as it is at 12 volts.
If using an inverter, here are some things to consider. They come in various sizes, types, and of course, prices. In the most common types, there is pure Sine wave and modified Sine wave. Pure Sine wave is more expensive, but modified Sine wave is fine for most normal use. If you want a technical explanation of what it is, you can Google it. But simply put, some sensitive electronics require pure Sine wave, whereas most will work fine on modified Sine wave.
The inverters are rated by wattage that will show two different numbers. One number is the normal usage wattage, and the other is the surge wattage. Some appliances use a bit more power as they start, but level out at a lower wattage as they run. This is what the surge rating is about. It is important to understand how much wattage you’ll need to run the appliance you want to use. There is a plug in device called a ‘Kill A Watt’ that runs about $30 that will tell you how much electricity your appliance uses by plugging it in, and then
plugging your appliance into it. It can be an eye opener in some cases!
Almost all inverters have overload protection, and low voltage protection. They will auto shut off (sometimes with a small alarm), when over or under loaded.
Buying a quality name brand here is important. I got stung a couple of times with cheap off brand units that were rated higher than they actually worked at. You usually get what you pay for here as well.
What size array do you need? I started out very small and worked up. There are those that power a whole house with their setup, but that is very expensive and complicated. Plus the upkeep isn’t very cheap. A smaller system will serve most emergency needs.
I have noticed the Amish in my area use solar power to run their cash registers at their small stores in the area. They also have little outside phone buildings that have solar power to charge the batteries for the fiber optics used in the phone lines. These are all single small solar panels.
There will be more to come if there is continued interest.
John this is FABULOUS! You say where even I can understand it! Would it be possible for you to send me some pictures of your set up and then I can create a post for EVERYONE to read?
Sure would appreciate it!