Skip to comments.Survival in a Suburban Area without Power (vanity)
Posted on 11/01/2012 3:33:35 PM PDT by BobL
Hi fellow FReepers,
Since we have some really good people on this site when it comes to survival techniques, I'm wondering if people have suggestions as to the best method to keep warm in the aftermath of an event like Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast (where temperatures will be in the 30s in the next day or so). While we all talk about having 20 acres and multiple pillboxes for when it happens, I suspect that most people, like myself, live in relatively modest houses, in communities where people are packed together relatively densely. In other words most of us likely live on 1/4 to 1/2 of an acre. Lots of us probably don't have fireplaces, or have the lousy pre-fab ones that can barely fit a log.
So here's the scenario, and assume this is well before the hurricane has hit...so there's plenty of time to buy supplies and equipment:
1) Your house doesn't have a fireplace (it may or may not have natural gas service - I'd like to explore both scenarios). 2) You will not have electricity for a month after the storm, and it's winter. 3) You can store up to 50 gallons of fuel (any fuel), although an outdoor propane tank would get you into trouble with the town. 4) You can have firewood, but again, no fireplace. So you need some other way to burn it.
So the question is what would be the most practical way to prepare for this. I live in Houston and don't worry much about keeping warm (although it can get quite cold here in winter). I have lots of flashlights, batteries, gasoline/propane-powered lanterns, gasoline/propane powered stoves, even a portable propane-powered water heater (works great), along with electric and natural gas water heaters. I also have the ability to collect and purify rain water.
What I don't have is a way to keep warm if the temperature dropped to 10 degrees here (which it won't, but which it does in the Northeast).
So, any ideas? I would want the system used to keep warm to be the following: 1) Non-intrusive. In other words, not immediately noticeable if it's not in use. So something that can be deployed reasonably easy. 2) If combustion is used (as likely the case), then a way to safely vent combustion gasses, while keeping as much heat as possible indoors
Any suggestions are welcome, and thanks all!
Get a quality wood stove and have it professionally installed.
Well, this doesn’t apply to all areas of the country but I’m from MA and I always tell people, if you buy a house make damn sure it has a fireplace. During the ice storm of 2008 that was our heat for 8 days without power.
Get a whole house generator on auto stand by and run it off natural gas or propane. This will let you avoid the long gas lines we’re seeing in NY and NJ. If you do this MAKE SURE you build a roof and encloser for it to keep it out of the elements.
Obama is looking presidential. Nothing to worry about.
We have a large propane tank in the yard with a feed to a vent-less gas fireplace inside. And we have a carbon monoxide detector just in case.
We fill it up once a year, and it means that if the electricity goes out, we still have a heat source. And with our own tank we aren’t dependent anything except the tank in the yard. We pay a rental fee of $50 a year for the tank, plus $200 a year for refueling.
“Obama is looking presidential. Nothing to worry about.”
LOL. I’m sure he’s warming the hearts of the people there...just not their extremities.
“We have a large propane tank in the yard with a feed to a vent-less gas fireplace inside. And we have a carbon monoxide detector just in case.”
Wow, that’s not bad. So propane can be burned indoors without venting?
Or you could do this:
“Well, this doesnt apply to all areas of the country but Im from MA and I always tell people, if you buy a house make damn sure it has a fireplace. During the ice storm of 2008 that was our heat for 8 days without power.”
That’s still excellent advice. People (rightly) look at fireplaces as decorative or novelties, but they are valid for survival in climates that get cold. So, if given a choice, get a house with a fireplace. If no fireplace, maybe look into adding one.
Build a small ‘rocket stove’ in your backyard.
Little amount of wood gets you a ot of heat for cooking
That's the ticket. I haven't bought one yet, but I priced a 7.5 KWH stand-by generator at about $2,500 last year. There would be installation costs, of course, but a generator of that capacity would run my furnace, the lights, water heater, TV's, computers, and refrigerator.
I probably wouldn't use the electric range or oven, but the microwave would do.
Its the CIC jacket. It makes any man look capable.
“Get a whole house generator on auto stand by and run it off natural gas or propane. This will let you avoid the long gas lines were seeing in NY and NJ. If you do this MAKE SURE you build a roof and encloser for it to keep it out of the elements.”
Also excellent advice, although the generator isn’t the best way to heat a place (due to low efficiency), but it will work fine if natural gas is available (a bit expensive, but much cheaper than the alternatives). If propane though, it will deplete the tank pretty quickly.
What you really need to do is get the heat off from the generator into the house...but without the exhaust gases.
If you have a small fireplace, be prepared to convert it for burning pellets.
kartographer has an article here about his ammo can rocket stove.
Long johns, good socks, boots, and coats, along with a bit of heat to get the indoor temp to about 40F or so were good enough for during the day.
I did great with it.
Back here in semi-suburbia, with no natural gas, and not willing to pay for electric heat, I use propane heat in one room, and live there most of the winter. Same routine with lots of comfortors on the bed and no heat overnight. It rarely drops past the 20s here, so it's much easier to stay warm.
That has been my real-world experience. I still live in a rather rustic manner, so YMMV.
I agree. We were once without power for 4 days in 1996 I think. We live in Southeastern Pennsyvania where the temps pretty regularly go down to the single digits over night in the winter. Our direct vent gas fireplace heated our great room and the master bedroom (which is directly above the great room) sufficiently for us to stay in our home during a very cold four days. Now, whenever the power goes out in the winter, we immediately turn on the fireplace and stay sufficiently warm.
Here’s the link.
Propane Buddy Heaters rigged with adapter to accept 5-7 gallon propane tanks.
Tent wood stove, vent out window.
Pellet stove with Honda 2000 generator. Non-ethanol gas with stabilzer stored outside shed or cache.
Warm clothing hats & gloves and sleeping bags.
Set up im a small room of the house such as a den or secondary bedroom with a low ceiling and a southern exposure, as far as the space you spend time in during a power outage in cold weather. Your body heat will go a long way toward keeping the smaller space warm.
A gas stove and gas hot water heater would go a very long way toward making the house habitable, hot food and a hot shower will be the things you miss most, that will drive you into a hotel after a week or two.
Fire, the light,mthe color, the way the flames move, is a very comforting thing, so candles, oil lamps and the like make the makeshift living arrangements seem a little nicer and more bearable.