We have propane. The stove is now propane. Heat for the house is propane, but of course have to have electricity to run it.
Heat the water, and just pour over the coffee grounds in your same coffee pot. Coffee, mmm. All is good after that.
We were out of power when the day long of series of all day tornado's came through our area in the SE. We were out for almost 5 days. But we had coffee. Now that is saying something!
I did have many spare D batteries for the radio. Pretty much 2 solid counties had zero electricity. It was nice to hear something. They were on generator's so some of their coverage was limited to the amount of time they could broadcast. Also had lantern's for light which ran on batteries.
Oh, if you have an electric water heater, bathe soon and often. Soon the water will go COLD. Then it is no fun. Unless you can heat and pour in the tub.
My portable generator is not powerful enought to run the whole house, so we picked what key items are wired to the manual transfer switch: well pump, fridge, microwave, ceiling fans, lights, hot water heater, pressure tank, blower fans for the wood stoves; and which items are not wired to the transfer switch: oven and the a/c.
Get an electrician to install the manual transfer switch.
Or spend $$$$ and get an auto-generator to run the whole house
When we built our home we invested in a whole house propane generator. The key, as someone else said, is maintenance. Ours is programmed to cycle once a week at feeding time, so I hear it and know it is going. We also have it checked every six months. If/when the next hurricane comes, we can have a power outage for up to two weeks. We will not run air conditioning with the generator, but are confident with judicial use it can run enough to keep well and lights going until power is restored. In the last 3 years, we have only lost power two or three times, and the generator has kicked in every time as it is supposed to. We also have a portable gasoline generator.
We lived without power for three months last winter, our choice. Our house had been taken off the grid before we moved here and we were ok with that. We got here in January. Our biggest problem was and would be water-we had a generator that could run the pump so we could water. We hauled a lot from other locations and we have a creek at the edge of the property but if the power went out now that (water) would be our biggest problem.
We have a wood cook stove, an elderly gas cook stove and hurricane lamps and head lamps and battery operated speakers for the radios/mp3...we went out to do laundry though need be in a bad pinch I could do it at home (the creek). We have a deep pumphouse/root cellar that we used as a fridge and a cooler in there as a freezer. we could totally go back off the grid at any time, minor inconveniences. We didn't mind it without power at all, actually, and sometimes it's too busy now that we have it again. But we're feral that way.
I don't have one of these but have thought about getting one for just the example you provide - generator won't work or there is a fuel shortage because everyone is running generators...?
My understanding is that you would not want to pump it for long, but for emergencies, it would do the job. I think there is some battery attachment that can be used for deeper well depths.
We need to put some plan into action because right now we are in the "stored water" crowd and that's not good. We would be fine with everything except water...currently we are weighing the pros and cons of a generator + also considering a shallow well/cistern near the barn for horse water, v. running the generator to pump water for horses....
Probably the best thing is to get a generator and also have a backup plan....
When we put in the propane cooktop we also stubbed in some pipe for a propane hot water heater, but it gets hard to find the old timey ones that don't need at least a little outside electricity. For an example the oldest stove we had was regulated, so it ran all the time while you were baking, the flame was just higher or lower. The really old one had a touch hole for the match, no pilot light. Then they got fancy and the stove would turn on and off. We had two different camper stoves on the boat and one worked great, it was regulated, and the other generated a trickle charge somehow to turn on and off - don't ask me how it did it because baking in that thing was dangerous. The lady that gave it to us called it commando cooking as it would get a healthy load of gas in there before the spark would finally come on. Bang, the door would fly open and slam shut and whatever was baked in there had a lovely layer of soot.
Anyway I am suspicious of newer models of things like stoves and hot water heaters. Maybe the stoves just need the power for the stupid clocks and such but I don't know and the salesmen know less than I do.
One thing you could do is have a tank house. The best example is at Shaker Village in KY. There is a two story house that was built around a 20K+ wooden tank, they filled it using horse power and it fed a gravity feed pressurized water system throughout the village.
In our last power outage, gasoline was in very short supply and many of the folks who had spent $$ installing gasoline-powered generators were SOL when their gas ran out.
This is the conversation I've been having with myself over getting a portable generator. In my area, extended power outages = hurricane, and in those situations, gas dries up within a day or so. I didn't watch propane supply close enough to comment on the availability of that.
Last edited by morganpony86; Apr. 16, 2013 at 02:34 PM.
They have what they call "pump jacks" that run with a little gas motor and will pump windmills or other wells for you.
That would be an alternative to pumping water with a handle, which would not work well on any but shallower wells.
I can't imagine the kind of effort it takes to get water up 200', when you have to do it one push at the time.
Naw, OP, I wouldn't say we stayed up nights. We sat around during the day b*tching about how to do this better, where are the candles, where are the matches, if I open the door on this microwave or flip a light switch one more time I'm going to scream.
Now, I remember about propane. Our company had two systems, "will call" and autofill. First you had to buy or rent a tank, they are probably about $1500 by now and supposedly 800 gallons (but ours never took more than 400) or they were a couple hundred a year payable annually. If you bought it and it had a problem you had to pay to have it fixed, if you rented it they'd come out in their sweet time.
We used to try to track propane prices and do will call at the lower point in the cycle during the beginning of the summer, but then you can get hit with a HUGE bill even with a 400 gallon tank. Prices go up and down so the monthly autofill was less of a whack on the pocketbook but not as thrifty.
We had seasonal power outages in the winter so every October was Flood stock shopping day. When it floods you can't go to the store or much of anywhere so we stocked up on snacks, canned and dried goods. Peanut butter, tuna fish, stuff like that. We filled up all the kerosene lanterns and put a match book next to each one. Got about ten gallons of gas for the generator.
Lehmans is a great catalog for off the grid stuff.