PREPARATION AT HOME: TOP 5

Simple sustainable preparedness for the end of days (is it still coming?) or just the next storm.

Port Hadlock Cabin by Eggleston Farkas Architects

1. Water

Catch rainwater from your roof into a cistern for reuse in your landscaping.  In longer-term emergencies, this may be your best source of drinking & washing water.

Vegetable Garden by The Brickman Group, Ltd.

2. Food

Grow a vegetable garden.  Start small with two or three items if you're a black thumb like me.  Learn about your soil, what grows best locally, and whether any plants might even volunteer next year.

PV cells integrated into canopy by Jensen Architects.

3. Power

Install a photo voltaic solar system.  Even if it's just enough to run a fridge and a couple of lights, you will have more than anyone else in a power outage.  Besides, emergencies aside, you are getting everyday value for your investment.*
*Of course, a working PV system (like any supplemental system) will operate invisibly (you won't be able to tell if it's working or not, because you are also using power from the grid).  It will be equally invisible if it is not working.  Get those things monitored.

Outdoor fireplace & patio
by Garrison Hullinger Interior Design

4. Cooking

Create a place for outdoor cooking.  This doesn't have to be an elaborate kitchen, but a protected spot for grilling or an outdoor fireplace/oven will be perfect enough when even the gas stove won't light without electricity.  Last time we lost power, we didn't even have a way to thaw food from our freezer. Microwave? Nope.  Electric stovetop?  Nope. Electric oven?  Nope.

Okay, kids, who's up for summer sausage, cheese & crackers, and applesauce from the 72 hour kit?

5. Stay warm in winter.  

How do you do this, when modern gas furnaces won't operate without the electric-powered blower?  Seems absurd to me that there isn't a battery backup to provide the minimal thermostat/switching needs of a furnace.

When we moved into our current home, it had a 1920's furnace that looked like an enormous stove burner encased in Goliath's helmet.  No fan, just gravity-fed ducts (hot air rises all by itself).  Now that we have the most efficient furnace on the market, it's completely useless in a power outage.  I feel duped!

Anyway, until I find the answer to this question, I'm considering this advice and pinned it to my EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS Pinterest board.  It seems like it would work as long as gas hot water heaters don't need electricity (how long before those are electrically powered, too?)
And no, I'm not interested in a generator that needs fuel from a gas station with an electric pump.

But please DO share your thoughts.  I'll try to keep additional "snippety" responses under control.

ally




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