5 Big Tips for Living Without Electricity

Gas lines

When Hurricane or “Super Storm” Sandy hit here last autumn, I didn’t have power for eleven days. I was one of the lucky ones, though — I still had my house, a gas-powered stove, and gas-heated water. Here’s what I learned about living without electricity.

Light

  1. Headlamps are better than flashlights. Have one for each person.
  2. Large camping lanterns with fluorescent bulbs are great but be aware that they will only light up your immediate area. They also burn through batteries fast.
  3. Candles are traditional and don’t require batteries, but they also don’t provide much light.
  4. Another idea I’ve read about but haven’t yet tried is to charge up solar-powered LED garden lights during the day and distribute them around the house at night.

Refrigeration & Cooking

  1. If you’re not following Eve’s Tips for Living Without Refrigeration, you’ll want to get a cooler ready for your perishables. Alternatively, you can designate a freezer as your cooler. Organize your food so that you know what’s where and what you’re going to grab first.
  2. Freeze as much ice as possible — in containers, water bottles, and ice trays. If you can’t fit in or freeze all your bottles, fill them with drinking water. Set your fridge and freezer temperature settings to their coldest point.
  3. Bag your meat and ice cream to avoid a mess later.
  4. If you have the means to cook, plan and print your recipes before the power cuts.
  5. Once the power cuts, keep the fridge and freezer doors closed for at least a few hours. How long the temperature will stay down will depend on how full they are. Just be sure to grab the ice while it’s still frozen.
  6. Load up your cooler with the ice and your priority perishables. Open it as seldom as possible. Watch out for the inevitable leaks as the ice melts.
  7. Even after the ice has melted, the cold water and small size of the cooler will keep temperatures down.
  8. If you have a gas stovetop and a lighter or matches, you’re all set for cooking. You can make soups and stir-frys out of the last of your perishables, and then start on canned and packet meals. Even foods that don’t normally go in a pot can be heated by steaming them.

Temperature Control
Creating an enclosed space

The worst part of a power outage in the late fall and winter months is losing your heat. A fireplace helps, but burning logs isn’t enough. Unless you’re already in an enclosed space, the warm air is going to be sucked away. To avoid this, you can create a temporarily enclosed space, for example by using some good tape and a few plastic painter’s drop sheets. If you manage to get your fireplace and stove into the same space, it helps to boil some water and steam up the room a little. However, it’s not wise to run gas heat in an enclosed space for long (and a gas fireplace shouldn’t be enclosed at all). Also, the steam will eventually soften up your walls.

Keeping Cool During a Summer Power Outage

Connectivity

  1. Your best tools for keeping in touch are a battery- or hand-crank- powered radio, a corded landline phone with a backup battery, and your cellphone. The landline will only last so long, but that way you can give your cellphone a rest before it’s needed.
  2. Charge up any laptops in your home. You may not have wifi after the power cuts, but they can be used to charge up any USB-powered devices, like your phone.
  3. Write down or print out any phone numbers and emergency information you may need (e.g. where the nearest shelters and pet shelters are).
  4. Solar power is a great resource if you have or can build a solar charger, but don’t hold your breath — it may take a long time to power your devices.
  5. Prepare for gas shortages by rationing the gas in your car if necessary. Walk or bike when you can.

Tree down

Staying Positive

  1. It’s not easy in the dark, without many of your usual creature comforts. But this is just another adventure, same as if you got on a plane to somewhere exotic. You’re a post-apocalyptic pioneer, reinventing to survive and living with the bare minimum.
  2. Go back to the basics — I like to have some good books to read (especially old favorites) and some pen and paper to scribble ideas and play word games. Others prefer a deck of cards and some board games.
  3. Clean clothes can do wonders. This is when your hand-washable, quick-drying travel clothes made of wool or synthetics really pay off.

Source: Off The Blueprint

Untapped Renewable Energy – Preppers Power Source

The U.S. has a lot of untapped renewable energy, from wind in the Midwest to solar in the Southwest. These maps show where we could maximize our clean power resources.

Take a look at these maps: They show the renewable energy potential of every state in the country. The good news is that everywhere has resources to exploit, whether it’s solar in the Southwest, onshore wind in the Midwest, or offshore wind on the East coast.

The data was compiled by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, part of the U.S. Department of Energy. In total, the U.S. has 481,800 terawatt-hours of annual generating potential, or 212,224 gigawatts of capacity across wind, solar, biopower, geothermal, and hydropower. If you don’t know your gigawatts, that’s more than enough to go around, in other words, though questions about transmission mean that solar power in the Southwest may not help people who need more power in the Midwest.

U.S. Photovoltaic Solar Resource

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few states stand out. Hawaii has the highest offshore wind potential (17% of the national total). Alaska and the Northwest enjoy 27% of the realizable hydropower. Texas has the greatest opportunities in plant-scale photovoltaics, with California not far behind. The Rocky Mountain states have the best geothermal potential.

U.S. Wind Resource (80m)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s important to note that the NREL uses a broad definition of “potential,” though. The maps are based on what is technically available, given assumptions about technology, land use, and environmental constraints. They don’t consider future economics and market conditions, which are obvious big caveats. We may not be able to afford a wind turbine in a few years.

U.S. Biomass Resource

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NREL also had to normalize a lot of data from different sources, inevitably drawing arbitrary lines here and there. Still, as co-author Anthony Lopez says, the maps give “a sense of scale regarding the potential for renewables, and which technologies are worth examining.” Seems like every state has something to work with.

Geothermal Resource of the United States

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

source: Maps Show The Incredible Potential Of Renewable Energy

 

 

 

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