A couple days ago, I discussed some thoughts on some basic survival of storms. I then extended the theme to generators yesterday, because a generator would help with a storm, required more information, and would help for a longer period of time than just the acute circumstance of a storm.
I want to expand on what I was saying in the storm post about how to keep cool and how to keep warm during a grid-down situation. Keeping warm or keeping cool is important because, if the power goes out and it is 20 degrees outside, or 100 degrees, with a baby, it could be detrimental to health. This will also tie in with the requirements of your generator, or even the requirements of a battery bank. We will use as little power as possible to heat or cool ourselves. We need to have ideas on what will help us succeed at surviving in the smallest inconvenient times.
If you lose power and you have either a generator, inverter attached to your car, or attached to a battery bank, you have the ability to affect your comfort. When it comes to that, we decide to keep our power draw low by reducing the amount of heating or cooling that we need.
A couple rules of thumb that you will get tired of hearing me say are: Two is one, one is none; heat the person, not the space; cool the person, not the space.
I want to start by heating myself in the wintertime. The best way I can think of keeping warm and reduce emergency power loading is to have an electric blanket. New ones should only draw a small amount of power, and when they do, it isn’t for extremely long periods of time. What would cause them to use even less, if they are thermostat based blankets, would be to use them within a sleeping bag, or even the emergency blankets. These will reflect back tons of heat, so the blanket doesn’t have to work quite as hard to keep you warm. Heating pads are a good way to warm up as well. A good electric blanket may be the reason you didn’t get sick during this time.
Let’s heat up a space now. We don’t have to heat an entire room; we could use some of the blankets, or a space heater with temperature sensor and knock over cutout switch. You could make a nice little cubby hole out of cushions, mattresses, pillows, and blankets. Children call these forts, and all the material you used is thermal insulation for you. You aren’t even heating an entire room at this point, so the heater can stay on less, using less power. If you have natural gas, you have many good natural gas heaters, and it is usually the very last system to ever fail at home. There are heaters with connections to the 1 gallon propane bottles, and with adapters can go to a 5 gallon propane tank that you would use for your grill. The ones I would recommend are the ones that sense the oxygen levels, just in case of carbon monoxide, and will also turn itself off if knocked over. It would be easy for you to have one of these propane heaters, and keep several tanks of propane at home. You could just add a second tank to your gas grill outside, and rotate the propane as you use it. Now you have 10 gallons that will last you a while. If you wanted to keep 4 or 5 of the small tanks, it would be a good idea.
The propane space heaters are usually pretty good for a full room of heating. So are larger electric space heaters if you have plenty of generator power available. If you heat a full room, choose the most convenient room in the house, and everyone will live and sleep in there during the grid-down scenario. Obviously if you have a huge generator with a huge reserve of gas/diesel/or natural gas or propane, you can run nearly what you want, but remember that as you use the generator, you are possibly depleting your fuel reserves. You must think of your fuel BEFORE this happens. When a catastrophe happens, you are not going to get gas. It is the first thing everyone wants to get and even if you get some, it may be rationed and you will be waiting a long time. Preparation is the name of the game, everyone.
Another source of heat is a wood burning stove, which is very efficient but don’t let the kids touch it. You could use your fireplace, which is very inefficient, but will still work. There are also wood burning stove inserts that you can put in your fireplace and use a stack up your chimney. It is a good middle ground if you need an efficient and inexpensive way to go. Not as good as a stove, but better than a raw fireplace. A good fireplace reflector will raise the efficiency of the fireplace with little added expense.
Cooling is a little more difficult, but can be done. Personal fans directly on people would be a way of doing it. Less clothing helps with it.
A space may be cooled with a window unit. If you are cooling your living room with a window unit, you could be reducing the temperature loss, by keeping cross-ventilation with a fan in each room.
Water chiller units can cool off air by 10-20 degrees just by a little pump moving water around on fins and having a fan blow air across those fins, although it does add some humidity to the air.
You can make your own air conditioner with ice with salt in a metal cup or bowl, or even frozen salt water in 2 liter bottles. Place them in larger bowls to catch condensation. Than have a small fan blow directly on and across them. Sit in front of it.
Opening your chimney flue can draw hot air out of the house. Also, I felt I should mention that you should have a well-insulated home, and lots of tree coverage helps keep a home cool.
So, weather you are trying to keep warm or keep cool, you need to choose the smallest and best option for the job you want it to do, and based on your power availability.
I hope that this will help you if you ever get into a situation where you need to keep cool or warm in a grid-down scenario. Also, remember, that I am new to the blogging platform and community, which means that I am NOT an internet marketer and could use the help of all my readers to spread the word. Share my site on facebook, twitter, linked-in, google plus, or other platforms. If you can think of any reason my blog would be helpful to someone you know, please inform them. I have created this to help others and to help myself with keeping my thoughts in one central location. So, help me help you… and others.
As I write tips for your adventures and hear about cool gear, I will let you know all about it!