Emergency Power Options for Your Home As winter months are approaching, a lot of us are preparing for the cold weather – especially homesteaders. The more isolated we are, the longer it takes for utility crews to reestablish power, or clear roads of snow and ice. One long power outage is enough to spoil food …
Fives Ways to Better Prepare your family for a Crisis Families today are accustomed to power outages and a few hours of the power being out is generally not a problem it is simply an inconvenience and any tasks needed to be done can wait. However, once services such as electricity, water and gas have […]
Surviving a Power Grid Collapse Conclusion Part 3
Once the disaster extends for weeks or longer citizens in the community will become desperate and will be looking to survive by any means possible. Your home could be a target once people realize you have an energy source. Home-defense must be part of any emergency preparedness plan and you must be ready to handle desperate friends, neighbors and strangers.
Do not advertise the fact you are prepared. Many of the so-called “preppers” do actively encourage and will help others prepare for a disaster because the ones unprepared will be a burden on everyone. Not only will they be a burden they may turn to violence and justify their actions in the name of providing for their families. Once disaster strikes the unprepared will be looking for those that did prepare. You must protect your possessions, tools, equipment and materials during a crisis and the less people who know how prepared you are the safer you will be.
Living without Electricity
Regardless of your plans, you have to assume that at some point during an extended crisis you will be without electricity. Equipment fails and without the proper tools and expertise, you may not be able to perform major repairs. The disaster will prevent you from obtaining parts or seeking the help of experts, so as part of your survival preparedness plan to survive without electricity.
You will need an adequate supply of the basic essentials and for natural disasters plan on at least 14 days. If a natural or manmade, disaster destroys or damages the nation’s power grid you may be on your own for months or even longer. You must have enough food, water, and other essentials to sustain you for up to a year.
Once you realize the crisis is for an extended period, you must consider alternative food and water sources. You will need a food source that you control such as a garden, and livestock. Heirloom seeds are an essential part of any long-term survival plan. The seeds will produce plants that will develop seeds that can be harvested to reproduce an identical plant whereas; hybrid plants only produce sterile seeds. By using heirloom plants and seeds, you can be assured of a sustainable food source.
Water will be a precious resource and you must have a water source that is free of contaminates and that you have control over. You can dig your own well or have one drilled before disaster strikes. Wells must be protected from contamination by proper capping or by building a well house to prevent ground runoff from contaminating the well from the top. The well must fill from the bottom to ensure the water has been filtered by at least ten feet of uncontaminated soil.
PREP NOW AND PREP HARD!
Surviving a Power Grid Collapse Part 2
If you did not catch Part 1 you can catch up here
Solar panels are costly on the front end and once installed they cannot be easily removed and transported if evacuation is necessary. However, solar panels are ideal as a supplemental energy source and they can be relied upon when your community’s power grid goes down as long as you have a stand-alone system that is not connected to the grid. You will need battery storage along with gas or diesel powered generators to make sure you have an uninterrupted supply of electricity. Solar panels can be damaged, by a natural disaster or by vandals so it is important that they not be your sole source of electricity.
Wind and water can be used to generate electricity by powering an electrical generator, which would generate Direct Current and would work similar to a stand-alone solar system. One problem is of course that excess electricity must be bled off into batteries capable of handling the load. Direct Current is flow directly from the source to the load, such as refrigerators, air conditioning units and so forth. Households usually use AC so the DC must be converted for most appliances. The current does not stop flowing when the turbine is operational so it is important you have the system properly configured to handle any excess electricity.
Certain natural and man made disasters can have an effect on solar panels. Volcanic eruptions can spew ash into the air essentially blocking sunlight and depending on the magnitude of the eruption; the sun can be blocked for weeks or months. Additionally, blockage of the sun may also cause a climate change bringing snow and ice to areas that would otherwise not expect this type of weather.
An atmospheric nuclear detonation can cause an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP), which can affect all electrical/electronic components of your solar panels. It would be impractical to try to shield your panels from an EMP. Therefore, it is important you have backup systems in place such as fuel-powered generators. Fuels include diesel, gasoline and bottled propane. Natural gas generators are available but it is likely your source for the natural gas would be interrupted during a disaster. Solar flares can also affect your solar panels similar to how an EMP would.
Once Disaster Strikes
Keep in mind once disaster strikes you would have to prioritize your energy use. If you have solar panels, you could simply use them to heat your hot water or possibly run a refrigerator or heater. Once heated the hot water tank would hold the water temperature for several hours, and the same would apply to a refrigerator once chilled the food can last up to six hours. Your daily wattage would not be as high during a disaster because you would probably not be using computers or televisions and certain other appliances. If you have a dug or drilled well and have an electrical pump, you would need to ensure you could pump water.
Therefore, if considering solar panels to be used only during a disaster where the power grid is destroyed keep in mind you may not need as many panels because of reduced usage. Determine what appliances you would consider essential during a crisis and determine the wattage needed daily to operate those appliances. Use the figures to determine what size generators you may need as well. By using numerous sources, you can conserve what fossil fuels you do have. Bottled propane can be stored indefinitely. You can begin acquiring bottles of propane (100-pound cylinders) or have a large capacity tank installed on your property.
Fossil-fueled generators of course need a fuel supply and an extended crisis means you would deplete your fuels without a means of resupplying. Nature’s natural energy sources, such as sun, wind and water would have to be incorporated almost on a daily basis to ensure an adequate energy supply.
Coal and wood are alternative energy sources that can be used during a crisis. Wood is considered a renewable and sustainable energy source because of the fact that trees can replenish themselves. However, once a stand of trees is clear-cut for energy use it can be a generation or longer before the source is renewed. Coal is not renewable because supposedly, there is a finite amount and it will eventually be depleted, but during a national or worldwide disaster, coal usage would drop dramatically. Thus, the source would last longer. There is no reason to suspect the world will run out of coal anytime soon and if you have the means to store coal, it is recommended as an alternative energy source.
Come back next week as we conclude this three part piece on surviving a power grid collapse. For more information on alternative energy visit our sponsor at www.earth4energy.com
This is a guest post from our friends over at Power Research Inc. They make a great product. I’ve used it myself.
Preparedness – Emergency Power
Emergency power is a critical lifeline when disaster strikes. But experience has shown that fuels stored to operate the emergency standby diesel or gasoline generators are too often neglected.
In fact – when disaster strikes – these failures are quite predictable. During Hurricane Sandy for example, generator failures at three New York City hospitals forced mass patient evacuations in the midst of the storm. When Hurricane Irene hit Connecticut in August 2011, backup generators failed at the Johnson Memorial Medical Center in Stafford, with 41 patients evacuated.
Generator manufacturers estimate that more than half of all generator failures in emergency situations are the result of fuel gone bad. When stored for months and years at a time, fuel will deteriorate and become unusable – disabling engines, plugging filtration systems, damaging engine components with excessive carbon – and in some cases – refusing to ignite. This neglect of stored fuel is one of the weakest links in disaster preparedness. This stored fuel can be preserved and insured against such deterioration and performance failure. The solution is application of industrial grade PRI-D for diesel fuel, or PRI-G for gasoline, to the stored fuel.
By simply applying a small amount of PRI-D or PRI-G at the time of storing, the fuel will remain refinery fresh and stable. This freshness will hold for a minimum of 18 months, and often many years depending on storage conditions. With periodic re-treating of the fuel, it will remain fresh indefinitely.
PRI chemistry is much stronger than “lawn and garden” fuel stabilizers, and ensures quick startups each and every time. PRI chemistries are also used to restore de-graded fuels to refinery freshness.
Vice President, Technical
Power Research Inc.