Wondering if your backup power supply is enough for when SHTF?
How can you be sure?
Check out the article below from energy expert Robert Brenner, and make sure your backup power supply is good enough to last you through “the big one.”
Backup Power Supply: How Long Will That Backup Last?
Survival is all about planning and preparation. And this includes your actions after a catastrophic event such as a terrorist attack on our power grid. Thanks to SurvivalLife.com, thousands of people are becoming aware and preparing for the onset of trouble. But how many people are analyzing and acting to keep surviving after an emergency?
Our world is an increasingly dangerous place, and most of us have learned to be alert and cautious. Disaster can and will strike. And most of us will survive. But what happens the next day, week, or month? How long can you depend on your backup energy source to light your home, heat or cool your rooms, or keep your food cold or frozen?
What’s the burn rate for your supplies? How long will your food and water last? What about food for your animals—your early warning systems? And what about medical supplies and prescriptions? How long can you go before necessities run low or out?
A typical 17 kW whole house electrical generator burning propane fuel can consume between 1.9 and 3.6 gallons of fuel each hour. How long will it take for that 300 gallon propane tank outside to go dry and your generator to spin down and stop?
At half load the generator will consume 1.9 gallons per hour and remain energized for about 158 hours (6.6 days). And if your generator is working at 100% load to power your home, burning 3.6 gallons an hour, the generator will run just over 83 hours before the propane tank is empty. This is less than three-and-a-half days!
Then what? Can you get another propane truck to come and refill the tank? Is there fuel available in your area? What if there isn’t?
What if you’re using natural gas to run your generator and the gas lines are not available? What if they shut down right after a power outage? Do you have a backup for your backup?
I’m reminded of the times I meet young couples and ask them how they’re fixed for getting through a power outage. Their responses are usually a smug, “Oh, we have flashlights and candles.” Then when I tell them that 20% of the power outages last three days or longer, they get a worried look until they blow it off with “Well, the government will get us power back quickly.” The government will take care of them. Will it? Just ask the people who survived Katrina, Sandy, and the polar vortex ice storms—people who went without power for weeks.
Most people don’t want to think about this. They stick their heads in the sand and become “sheeple” expecting the government to come to their aid. They want to be left alone with their handheld devices so they can text those sitting next to them or across the country. Perhaps they’re on their way to a ball game or a party. No time for preparation thinking.
The reality is that government policies have created a massive dependent society whose existence is guaranteed through government subsidies, welfare, electronic devices and online resources. Should the power go out and ATMs and electrical doors, gas pumps, and switches cease to work, credit, debit, and EFT terminals fail, chaos will quickly occur, and 140 million “entitled” Americans will turn on each other for survival. You don’t want to be in their path when this happens.
So it’s up to you and your family. Stockpile, hide resources, maintain a low profile, and learn skills that you can use to trade for material. Our lives could become one of barter and service. Little things could become highly valued. Extra batteries, bathroom tissue, medical supplies, and water purification services could be great barter items.
Look over your stockpile. How long can you expect your food and water to last? What if a family member from out of town reaches your home needing shelter, food, water, and other assistance? What does this do to your “backup” resource sustainability timeline?
When extended family members mention coming to our house in an emergency, I tell them, “You’re welcome in our home, but here are the things I’d like you to bring with you.” By making a list of items to bring, they minimize the impact on the burn rate of your own supplies.
And be thinking now of backup to your backup. Consider all forms of power generation—solar, wind, hydro, and heat. If the sun is shining how much electrical power can your system generate and your home use? If the grid goes down, can you still get useful power from those PV panels? How much power can a battery backup provide?
There are many ways to generate electricity. All of them should be considered. Many of them could be installed as redundant backup for the primary backup you intend. If the solar day is become shorter—say 7 hours of sunlight down to 4—what affect does this have on your ability to charge a battery bank or directly drive electrical devices? How long does it take to charge those batteries? And how long can they drive a DC to AC inverter?
Make an operational plan for the optimum use of your resources and supplies. Can you use electricity during the day but rely on flameless candles or intermittent-use LED flashlights at night? What effect can a circadian lifestyle have on your survival resources when you’re active during the day, but rest or sleep when the sun goes down?
Create a flow chart showing what resources will be used first when power goes out, who will do what, and which devices will be used as primary backup gets weak. By thinking through these things before a catastrophic event, you will improve your odds for survival and successful living after the event. Have a backup for the backup and multiple levels of redundant backup. The idea is to never run out of backup resources.
Want to know more? Check out these related articles:
- Emergency Lighting | Flashlight Power
- Alternative Energy: Get 1500 Watts of AC from Solar
- ALTERNATIVE ENERGY: Power Plants… Literally?
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 15, 2015, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.