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Discussion Starter #1
Due to a few factors in my life I have basically prepped for lack of electricity. I feel that for other than short her events, having a generator and stores of fuel eats up a lot of the budget. In a SHTF scenario, unless you start making fuel, there is a finite amount of time you can continue to have power. Stabilizing the fuel for long term storage also presents issues. Solar has its perks, but would take a large investment to have an array big enough to run everything in your house.

Just interested in other's thought process on it. I am not saying I would not have this stuff, just that I can't right now.
 

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Super Moderator and Walking Methane Refinery
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Generators are good for short term disruptions such as storms. But long term either requires a large investment in solar, batteries, chargers and inverters, or a lifestyle change. I opted for the lifestyle change. I'm set long term to simply do without. Our ancestors did just fine without it, living in all the various climates.
 

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Born 120 years too late.
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THE ISSUE really depends on where you live.
IF the grid goes down in -20 then you better have a way to keep heat working and everything moving.
AND
while I can take roughing it, I have to consider the wife.
Generators are short term of sorts, depending upon the amount of fuel you have access to. Otherwise there are folks who live off generators because they can keep fuel in the supply chain.
I have wondered about the ability to take a small steam engine and adapt it to running a generator. You could feed it anything that burns and they are not rocket science in concept.
 

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very little. some small solar devices to charge a cell phone. if it came to it - plan would be to find a deisel generator, and power it off heating fuel left in people's emty homes, but that is more if things come to scavenging - and really it is SHTF in a major way, other than that - electricity is very low on my list.
 

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A power outage will more than likely happen to everyone on this board unless there off grid. While it may not be a true shtf event it's still something that is quite common and should be prepared for.

All it takes is you getting cought with your pants down once to learn from your mistakes. I got cought durring sandy/irene..alot of the northeast did. Im prepared now.
 

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Run Silent, Run Dark
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Short term electricity loss is common here. We are prepared for it.


Over the last 10 14 years we bought 32 plastic five gallon gas cans and an assortment of 1 gallon plastic cans. The original five or six plastic cans were for vehicle use. Then we got a generator and increase the qty to 16 containers. These were obtained over time at costs from $8 to $14 bucks. So the expense was containers and the initial fuel purchase. Since we rotate and use the gas in our vehicles, that expense in $ drops pretty low. A years supply of Stabil and carb cleaner for each place is about $26. Plus, there is the expense of time to rotate 5 to 10 gals each month, at home and the cabin.

Solar for us is a lower priority due to the budget.
 

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Stop YOLOing
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Re: how much power is worth having, it depends on your lifestyle and other preps. I prep to be comfortable during hard times, not just to scrape by. But it's probably worth getting at least one solar panel and battery so you can charge cell phones, rechargeable batteries for flashlights and radios, etc. That's a pretty minor investment for a pretty major capability.

I'm a data-driven decision maker, so I start by addressing the most likely events first. History shows that I'm much more likely to experience short power outages than I am to see full-on social and government collapse--events where access to gas never goes away, but having a generator would save me a lot of trouble and money.

So I bought one, and now I can stay comfortably at a damaged home and not leave it vulnerable to looters, even running a small A/C while I make repairs. It has already paid for itself just from the frozen food I didn't lose during storms. (We buy in bulk when things go on sale; consider it a financial prep.)

Also, we lost power for a few days during Hurricane Matthew, and I used the electric griddle to make a huge meal of bacon, eggs, pancakes, etc. Then we plugged in the router and streamed movies while we charged the phones. Used the microwave every day, too. Showing my kids that a little bit of planning can make you comfortable during hard times was worth the investment in itself.

And if we ever get to the point where I can't get gas, then I'll just do without like everybody else. I didn't throw out my wood stoves when I bought the generator.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Is a natural gas generator an option?
Propane might be because I have a tank for the propane logs. Unfortunately it is just about as far away from the electrical hookup as could be.

Luckily here the weather does not get terribly cold here. The logs will help with that anyway.

We live in an area where we normally do not get large long lasting snow, floods, large earthquakes, tornadoes, mud slides, or hurricanes. With those major natural disasters out of the way, any power loss for an extended period means things are otherwise bad. In that case, I would prefer to have the additional food and other supplies aside from a generator. I do think I need to look into a small solar set up that could charge the drill batteries, recharge common batteries, run fans, and such. Anyone got a suggestion on a prebuilt setup for that?
 

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Born 120 years too late.
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Short term electricity loss is common here. We are prepared for it.


Over the last 10 years we bought 32 plastic five gallon gas cans and an assortment of 1 gallon plastic cans. The original five or six plastic cans were for vehicle use. Then we got a generator and increase the qty to 16 containers. These were obtained over time at costs from $8 to $14 bucks. So the expense was containers and the initial fuel purchase. Since we rotate and use the gas in our vehcles, that expense in $ drops pretty low. A years supply of Stabil and carb cleaner for each place is about $26. Plus, there is the expense of time to rotate 5 to 10 gals each month, at home and the cabin.

Solar for us is a lower budget priority.

I HAD a bunch of gas cans, BUT, by driving by flea markets and such, I bought my first 250gal old fuel oil tank over 30 years ago. Much easier way to store gas and no one is going to do a run in and grab a can and run off. Since the advent of Craigs, I have picked up 2 more 250 gal tanks. along with a smaller 150 gal. So, I sit on about 5-600 gallons of treated gas and cycle it through during the year and use the gas cans for my gas refill runs. SO, I can keep on lights and water flowing through a full winter with good planning.

I leave one 250 gal tank empty for back up or if I ever have to go mobile I can actually take it all with me. on my trucks and trailers.
 

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Worst thing about solar, hurricanes, tornados, high wind and your solar system is a goner. There are no easy answers unless you know how to do like they did it. before electric.
 

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I don't have hurricanes or tornados but high winds concern me but winds that take out the panels will also take out the roof...
I can survive without electricity but I want to thrive and I want comfort for grandma and grandkids.
 

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Over time I have acquired a few different solar panels of various sizes and wattage due to different projects and opportunities. I have always been fascinated in the technology that will allow us to harvest electricity from the sun and collect it in batteries to be used at our leisure. After some consideration of the cost/ benefit of a large scale system to meet all energy needs. I have decided that in a situation without grid electricity, that I would have to forego air conditioning and cooking with electricity and use propane for cooking and a RV gas refrigerator. Living in central FL., heating is not a concern for us. The solar panels will be used for smaller electrical demands such as radio, walkie talkies, lighting, AA and AAA rechargeable batteries, a 12 volt fan, and a laptop computer. For energy storage, we have 2 deep cycle RV/boating type batteries, as well 2 portable battery packs, and several solar charged usb outlet battery packs. Also, 2 full 100 lb propane tanks for cooking and refrigeration as well as several 20 lb. tanks. Propane will not degenerate over time, as long as the integrity of the container is solid. I would expect the supply to last 5-6 months of continuous use. This allows a lot of versatility in how the various small solar/battery systems can used and are very portable. Not as convenient as a whole house system, but still a workable solution for a long term grid down scenario and certainly easier on the budget.
 

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Solar has its perks, but would take a large investment to have an array big enough to run everything in your house.
Just interested in other's thought process on it. I am not saying I would not have this stuff, just that I can't right now.
I have 6 ea. 100 watt panels, 6 ea. 6 volt golf cart batteries, a 40 amp MPPT charge controller and a 1,750 watt inverter. I' m guessing it all cost about $2,000. This runs my shed/ham shack. I didn't buy it all at once. I started with 2 panels and a small charge controller and added on as I could afford it.

The thing is you won't need to run everything in the house at the same time.
Refrigerator/freezer is turned ON all the time but the duty cycle is around 50% depending on the refrigerator. The furnace doesn't run continuously either. If you install LED lighting you cut your lighting load by 90%.

Now if your range/oven and water heater are electric, that's a whole new ballgame. My house has natural gas furnace, water heater, range and oven. My 2000 watt generator will run my refrigerator and furnace no problem as will my solar system if I need to hook it up to the house.

I have been living off grid on micro solar for over 5 years....
<$5,000 and I have a 14.8 cubic foot chest freezer in addition to 12v lighting, fans, entertainment and charging battery powered tools.
This ^
If it came to it I would use solar for when it was the best option with a gas/propane/natural gas generator for backup.

You can get tri-fuel kits for existing generators or buy one that already has that capability. Costco had one a while back but it was MUCH bigger than what I need.
 

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Born 120 years too late.
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@NW GUY - How do you fill up the big containers? Are they on trailers so you take them to the gas station each time?
I have 9 gas cans, total capacity of 51 gallons. I put them in the truck. Go to town. fill them, dump them into the tank the STABIL added and has a DC pump and then redistribute the treated gas into the next tank in my system. While I pay with a CC it is not the same as buying a couple hundred gallons at a time and maybe setting off some kind of notice. A big truck running around will burn 40 gallons in a day, so it won't get noticed.
 
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