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Tue Feb 16, 2021, 11:18 AM

Couple ideas for heat and lite in an emergency

Here in Western Pa power goes out in summer storms more often than winter.

Instead of recycling an old one, I keep an old car battery (actually 2 of them) charged as much as it can (doesn't have to be full or be able to start a car) with an electric charger BEFORE the emergency. Battery chargers can go for $25 to $100 depending on load capability. I've had a couple for years so they are always ready. I bought some bright LED Strips from Amazon. It's easy to connect them to the battery as they are 12 volt. Buy some clamps and/or use black electrical tape. They use virtually no power and a 4 foot or longer string can light a room almost daylight-like.

Even old car batteries can have 300 to 600 CCA Cold Cranking Amps (New 500 to 700 needed to start cars) that translates to 3000 to 7000 watts of continuous power depending on the condition of the battery.

I also have three power inverters (45 bucks each that can provide 110 vts @500 watts for using 60 to 100 watt electric light bulbs (NOT LED Bulbs). You can get inverters that will put out 100 to 1000 watts from car batteries. Put these in a (Mechanics) clamp light (has that aluminum reflector bowl around it) and you'd be surprised at the amount of heat a single bulb gives off. You can also use 12vt lights from an auto store that use less wattage and don't supply as much heat but will last longer.

Put the batteries on something safe (board, floor, counter top etc. NOT something metallic) when in use.

Almost ALL inverters will also charge phones and run radios or even smaller portable TVs. Get an app that lets you watch TV on your phone. There are also items that attach to the phone that allow you to watch "Over the Air" (OTA) Local TV Local Channels to keep informed in your area. They run around $35.

The car battery lasts well over 12 hours continuous with a lot of light bulbs on and with care (off and on times) can last a day. With decent inverters you can even use a microwave to heat water which can also give off heat somewhat longer. You can also get those small auto heaters to provide limited short-term warmth, BUT they use up a lot of watts!

Total investment over a summer was about $200. Have had to use this setup a number of times the last 10 years. Worth the trouble and investment.

After the emergency, make sure to recharge the car battery(s) as much as can be done. Then keep checking it every month or so to make sure it's charged in case you need it again.

There are lots of ways to help you keep warm and lit and even help provide warm food and water capabilities on the net. Check them out.

Good luck.

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Arrow 23 replies Author Time Post
Reply Couple ideas for heat and lite in an emergency (Original post)
3825-87867 Feb 2021 OP
procon Feb 2021 #1
PatSeg Feb 2021 #10
procon Feb 2021 #15
PatSeg Feb 2021 #21
BComplex Feb 2021 #2
maxrandb Feb 2021 #3
rickyhall Feb 2021 #12
3825-87867 Feb 2021 #14
NameAlreadyTaken Feb 2021 #4
Tracer Feb 2021 #5
marlakay Feb 2021 #6
Yeehah Feb 2021 #7
Kaleva Feb 2021 #9
Yeehah Feb 2021 #11
Kaleva Feb 2021 #13
Yeehah Feb 2021 #16
Kaleva Feb 2021 #18
Yeehah Feb 2021 #22
TheBlackAdder Feb 2021 #17
Kaleva Feb 2021 #19
TheBlackAdder Feb 2021 #20
Kaleva Feb 2021 #8
Roisin Ni Fiachra Feb 2021 #23

Response to 3825-87867 (Original post)

Tue Feb 16, 2021, 11:39 AM

1. You can get solar chargers for almost anything.

Hooked one up to my car battery because I wasn't driving enough to keep it going. Works great even when skies are cloudy.

Basically anything with a USB port can be put on a solar charger. I have a couple sitting in a sunny window that serve all my devices and some small LED lights when the power goes off.

Very handy gizmos and much easier to move than picking up a car battery which is physically impossible for us oldsters and disabled folk.

Adding:

If you don't have a gas stove to cook on during a power outage you can buy a Portable Gas Burner for the countertop for under $30. Larger BTUs available. You can serve a hot meal or boil water. The fuel canisters are cheap and sold everyhere

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Response to procon (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 16, 2021, 02:19 PM

10. What kind of solar chargers did you get

that are "sitting in a sunny window"? Do they charge well indoors like that? I was looking at some portable ones at Amazon for when the power goes out. That has happened several time this past year in New Hampshire and I want to be prepared the next time.

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Response to PatSeg (Reply #10)

Tue Feb 16, 2021, 03:07 PM

15. The Cheapo kind.

Bought one at Amazon for about $20 and the other at Wal-Mart for a bit more. Both are off brands I've never heard of, but they work great. They charge faster in direct sun, it just takes a bit longer in the window.

They both have two USB ports and keep all my electronic devices charged in case of power outages. I really like to have a few LED lights on at night.

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Response to procon (Reply #15)

Tue Feb 16, 2021, 04:00 PM

21. Thanks

I found one at Amazon that looks like a really fat smartphone. Says it can charge 4 devices at one time. I might give it a try. Thanks for your input.

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Response to 3825-87867 (Original post)

Tue Feb 16, 2021, 11:57 AM

2. Thanks, MacGyver!!

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Response to 3825-87867 (Original post)

Tue Feb 16, 2021, 12:13 PM

3. From the thread title

I thought this would be about great ideas of cuddling with our significant others. It's a great way to stay warm.

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Response to maxrandb (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 16, 2021, 02:26 PM

12. Only works if you have a significant other or a big dog.

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Response to rickyhall (Reply #12)

Tue Feb 16, 2021, 02:44 PM

14. Three Dog Night!

Supposedly how the Pop group got it's name. When freezing cold, you need three dogs surrounding you to keep warm.

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Response to 3825-87867 (Original post)

Tue Feb 16, 2021, 12:15 PM

4. Solar lights. They recharge every day.

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Response to 3825-87867 (Original post)

Tue Feb 16, 2021, 12:31 PM

5. Buy a generator.

No, they are not cheap, but they will run lights, your refrigerator and maybe a space heater.

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Response to Tracer (Reply #5)

Tue Feb 16, 2021, 12:38 PM

6. Well at least in the deep freeze refrigerator

Going out isn't a problem!

I told my daughter to get generator and camp stove for emergency and she said, this never happens but I seem to remember her power in Texas going out with bad wind storms too.

Its best to prepare for emergencies. I am grateful I have wood stove. We also have a camp stove we never use but glad I have it.

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Response to 3825-87867 (Original post)

Tue Feb 16, 2021, 12:39 PM

7. Kerosene heater and a 5-gallon jug of kerosene

Can be used indoors and also provide light.

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Response to Yeehah (Reply #7)

Tue Feb 16, 2021, 01:16 PM

9. An issue with kerosene is the smell.

I'd prefer going with a 9k BTU Mr. Heater attached to a 20 lb. cylinder. On high, the tank could last 40 hours and on low, about 100 hours.

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Response to Kaleva (Reply #9)

Tue Feb 16, 2021, 02:20 PM

11. Yep. Some kerosene doesn't smell but some does.

I've found the red dye off-road kerosene stinks a bit. Clear kerosene doesn't seem to stink so much.

5 gallons of kerosene will last about a week with a 24,000 BTU heater.

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Response to Yeehah (Reply #11)

Tue Feb 16, 2021, 02:38 PM

13. I can use the 20 lb LP gas cylinder for my smoker and grill.

Other then emergencies, I wouldn't have a use for kerosene.

The shelve life of propane is more then a lifetime but kerosene can last to about 12 months. Maybe longer under ideal conditions.

One of my goals this year is to install a vent free 30k (or 24k) LP gas heater to my house LP gas line. I could last for weeks.

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Response to Kaleva (Reply #13)

Tue Feb 16, 2021, 03:29 PM

16. The shelf life of kerosene is three to five years or longer

I heat with an indoor wood stove now. I only use a kerosene heater if it's really cold in the morning before I start a fire.

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Response to Yeehah (Reply #16)

Tue Feb 16, 2021, 03:42 PM

18. I looked at several sites and almost all say about a year for the shelf life.

Propane will last as long as the container that holds it lasts.

But kerosene works for you. LP gas is a better choice for me.

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Response to Kaleva (Reply #18)

Wed Feb 17, 2021, 09:38 AM

22. I know all about propane

I have a 500-gallon tank at my house in Montana. Propane is very inexpensive there - about 80-90 cents/gal. in the summer.

Kerosene does not break down. The only problem you can encounter with stored kerosene is condensation. If you have a full jug of kerosene, it can sit forever and the fuel will be good for a wick stove. A half-filled jug might get some condensation, but it will still burn in a wick stove. The water might cause some corrosion in the stove tank, but that's about it.

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Response to Kaleva (Reply #9)

Tue Feb 16, 2021, 03:33 PM

17. Mostly from wick being too high or wet. Low-grade kerosene. I use Kleen-Heat kerosene alternative.

.

You need to find a kerosene supplier that supplies low-surfer low-aromatic K-1 kerosene.

Kleen-Heat stores well, burns clean and has virtually no odor or soot.

.

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Response to TheBlackAdder (Reply #17)

Tue Feb 16, 2021, 03:43 PM

19. I'm familiar with the kerosene heaters used at job sites.

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Response to Kaleva (Reply #19)

Tue Feb 16, 2021, 03:48 PM

20. Oh, those larger ones are really rank. I've worked with them at my dad's material handling company.

.

These guys really stink, but when it comes to being in a zero degree welding shop, I'll take it.

They can't be used in a residence, but only in a well-ventilated area.



.

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Response to 3825-87867 (Original post)

Tue Feb 16, 2021, 01:10 PM

8. If one has a gas oven, the stovetop burners can provide heat.

You'll have to light them with a torch lighter but they can kick out the heat. Don't use the oven and leave the door open as it won't burn correctly and may be hazardous.

Emergency candles can be made of vegetable shortening (Crisco), birthday candles and 1/2 pint mason jars or some other suitable, non-combustible container.

A frugal Crisco emergency candle.

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Response to 3825-87867 (Original post)

Wed Feb 17, 2021, 10:42 AM

23. We have 3 portable propane heaters that run off 20 lb propane tanks, solar panels,

deep cycle 12v batteries, 2 inverters, a generator, several camping lanterns with LED bulbs (batteries last a long time because of the LED's), portable rechargeable phone charger, a 12v car phone charger, a water filter for backpacking, 7 gallon plastic water storage containers, a portable propane stove, a white gas Dragonfly expedition stove, a wood stove and lots of wood, a well stocked fist aid kit, several quality LED flashlights, a small rechargeable Shortwave/AM/FM radio, a stash of bic lighters, good sleeping bags, and lots of blankets.

These are some things folks might consider investing in, for use during emergencies.

Years of living in remote places, (sometimes off the grid), a deep distrust of the grid, and a passion for hiking and camping has caused us to collect some gadgets that allow us to be relatively well prepared for grid failure.

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