Electricity or not?

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zombiesrreal

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A lot of people may not worry about electricity when the apocalypse comes but for this discussion lets say you want to make electricity. The world as we know it is done. No matter what the reason is other than an EMP, how would you generate your electricity? The world is full of looters and you want to keep as less noticed as possible. So windmills might be out of the question. Ideas?
 

Shenandoah

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A lot of people may not worry about electricity when the apocalypse comes but for this discussion lets say you want to make electricity. The world as we know it is done. No matter what the reason is other than an EMP, how would you generate your electricity? The world is full of looters and you want to keep as less noticed as possible. So windmills might be out of the question. Ideas?
For us, I set up two small solar systems, each consisting of a single 100watt panel, 10 amp controller, a 1000 watt inverter and two marine batteries. One system to run the chest freezer and a second small system to run a 12volt water pump to pump water from the well out to our livestock tanks and for our water use in the house. Lights will be kerosene lamps and our solar lamps. We are far enough off the beaten path that I'm not worried about folks seeing our electricity use.

Blessings,
Shenandoah
 

Gazrok

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Solar is the best way to go, but it is an expensive route. Currently, we opt for a diesel generator (and just using it periodically, if the power is out). I do eventually want to go to solar, but our ancestors lived without power, so it isn't as high on the priority list. Solar too though, is pretty visible.

Wind is great if you are in the right area for it. Plenty of farmers could stop growing tomorrow, and just live off fat checks for all the windmills on their land, if in the right areas. Sadly, I am NOT one of them....:(
 

Shenandoah

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Solar is the best way to go, but it is an expensive route. Currently, we opt for a diesel generator (and just using it periodically, if the power is out). I do eventually want to go to solar, but our ancestors lived without power, so it isn't as high on the priority list. Solar too though, is pretty visible.

Wind is great if you are in the right area for it. Plenty of farmers could stop growing tomorrow, and just live off fat checks for all the windmills on their land, if in the right areas. Sadly, I am NOT one of them....:(
Honestly, our two little solar systems weren't expensive at all. 100watt solar panel was $140 delivered, that included the cables and 10amp controller, the inverter is a Black & Decker from K-Mart for $79, and then you have the two marine batteries at about $90 each. One of these systems is hooked to our chest freezer and we just leave it running and off-grid all the time. The other is for water. Agreed, if we were going to purchase a plug & play full-house system we would be looking at 6-8,000 here in the valley. But, since we enjoy more days of sunshine than any other state, except Florida, its a great option for us. As far as security, two solar panels aren't too hard to hide!

Blessings,
Shenandoah
 

Shenandoah

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Awesome, so you got a plan pretty much already set in motion?
Yes, the system attached to our chest freezer is up and running all the time. We are the last house on the electric transformer, so, at least 3 times every month our power is out, whenever there is a surge. Sometimes power is out just for a few moments but often for a couple hours. I grew weary of worrying about the chest freezer so we keep it off-grid all the time. The other little system is an emergency system to run water basically. We have a propane generator and a 1000 gallon propane tank but we seldom use the generator, maybe if we needed to run the washing machine. Our tractor is propane as is our kitchen stove, clothes dryer, and on-demand water heater. The 1000 tank lasts us 3 years when we are running everything. In a SHTF scenerio, we would only be using the kitchen stove and occasionally the generator and tractor, so it would last many, many years. Would love to add a wind turbine to our power supply. They are relatively reasonable but the necessary battery bank would essentally double the investment! Can't do it right now.....

Blessings,
Shenandoah
 

Gazrok

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If your power goes down so often, I can certainly see it.

100watt solar panel was $140 delivered, that included the cables and 10amp controller, the inverter is a Black & Decker from K-Mart for $79, and then you have the two marine batteries at about $90 each.
So, $400 for the whole deal huh? That isn't bad as a one-time fee. Pretty neat to have all that on propane...may have to look into that. I suspect it costs a bundle to fill that tank though.

They are relatively reasonable but the necessary battery bank would essentally double the investment!
That's just it. Even in the example above, the batteries were nearly half the expense. Sounds like you are pretty set though.
 

Deadly dave

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Solar is only as good as your batteries. what happens when they die and you can't find new ones during the hard times, what then!
 

Gazrok

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Good point, there are ways to refresh batteries of course, to a point...but I'm a bigger fan of redundant systems, multiple options. Just a matter of affording them.
 

Altani

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I could live mostly without electricity. Something to pump water would be nice and some kind of refrigeration would be awesome. Other than that, I already wash clothes by hand and hang them out to dry. I've lived without A/C before though I doubt I could do it the same way if I lived in the south due to health issues that keep my body from shedding heat properly. I've learned how to adapt around this problem though and know my limits. I rarely overheat badly anymore. I've done showers and baths with just heating up water. I know how to cook on a fire, already live without tv and have gone without internet in the past when I was too broke to afford it. (Really, I might live without it if it weren't for school and my occasional need to do research on something.)
Batteries would be a problem after a while, I agree. I've kinda thought about doing hydro in the future but haven't gotten on that just yet. Windmills don't work here well (maybe if you lived atop a BIG hill and it was taller than all the trees) and I agree that they can be a big flag as to where you are.
 

Gazrok

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I've done showers and baths with just heating up water.
Not too long ago, we had a water leak, so were without running water for a couple of weeks (was too expensive to fix, at a bad time, and we ended up fixing most of it ourselves with just a little pro help). We could turn on the water for about 10 minutes a day before the leak was too bad, so we'd hustle to fill everything we could in those 10 minutes. This also meant heating water for baths, so I totally feel ya.... No A/C wouldn't be a deal breaker, but it would suck (and be a huge security issue at night, with open windows). Of course, in a SHTF situation, we'd use sentries anyhow.
 

Altani

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Solar shower bags rock for that kind of thing. They take about all day to get warm and you aren't getting a hot shower on a cloudy or rainy day but warm is better than icy. Probably also don't work well in winter but in summer it would work okay.
As far as windows open, if they want in, glass isn't gonna stop them but yeah, posting guards at night is definitely a good idea in this situation.
Whenever I go without power for a length of time (two weeks is the most I've done and I actually didn't want to go back to the modern world after so I'm confident mentally I can handle it) I find that the things I miss most are dairy products. That's the biggest reason I say I really would want some kind of refrigeration. Hopefully a few dairy cows by then too. ;)
 

Gazrok

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The nice thing about refrigeration is that you could cycle the power and still keep it. So wouldn't have to be running 24/7.
 

Shenandoah

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Solar is only as good as your batteries. what happens when they die and you can't find new ones during the hard times, what then!
ll,

The key to batteries in maintaining them. A friend of ours has been off-grid for 30+ years now and he runs their whole house, barn, etc. on golf-cart batteries. They are all dated as to when he installed them and the vast majority of them are over 8 years old. He says the key is that once a month, (keeps a log), he reverses the polarity of the batteries which effectively boils them. Without sediment forming, and the fact that they are always in a charge mode, potentially they could go on forever.

Blessings,
Shenandoah
 

Hockie

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the looters will end up feeding on each other. I plan to have nothing much more than food to hold out a year. By then, nearly everyone will be dead, nearly everywhere, if something has not restored order by then. Once that year has elapsed, there will be stuff lying everywhere, for the picking up and using. that includes diesel fuel, diesel generators, etc, etc, and most of the world's people STILL does not have electricity, at least, not on a personal basis. The Chinese run diesels on peanut, soybean and tung bean oil. I've got other things to spend my money on. If you stock up on visible, non-portable stuff now, all you are doing is providing for your killers.
 

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