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So you plan to bug out from the city.

Survival and Sustainability tips and ideas for suburbanites and apartment dwellers

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Re: So you plan to bug out from the city.

Postby Illini Warrior » Sun Dec 24, 2017 3:18 pm

John Galt 1 wrote:
Permafrost wrote:
Illini Warrior wrote:do you have a checklist to prepare the home prior to bugging out? - you even plan on shutting off the water? ...

You make a good point. I know our house in town is designed specifically to freeze, with water drains at low spots of all pipes and a release for the check valve in the well. We also have a 80 gal vertical air compressor next to the well to blow out the lines, it also does double duty for pressure testing the lines before we turn the water back on. I think I am in the minority in this though, as we leave to live in the woods a portion of the year and have built our life around this. I do not know how someone on city water would go about shutting down their water system at the main or draining the supply pipe coming in from the road so that it will not freeze & break. In Alaska most people only have grid electricity, there is a small percentage that have other utilities in the core of the cities but they are a extreme minority. Even when I lived within the city limits of Fairbanks (Alaska's second largest city) I had a well & septic. I have never thought about what it would take to close up a completely grid tied house and get it ready to freeze.

Good point about the pipes freezing. Even if you could heat some of the house the pipes would freeze in another part.

I worked for a summer resort for many years and every fall we had to drain the water from about 20 buildings. Even with drains in low places on the pipes there was always a burst pipe or 2 when we'd pressurize the pipes with water in the spring. It's really hard to completely drain a house's plumbing.



if you're really concerned you can fabricate a pneumatic air fitting plumbing piece that'll connect up into the house and blow it clean - most important is making sure the toilets & hot water heater don't bust up - doesn't hurt to have a gallon or two of RV antifreeze around for the goosenecks & toilets ....
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Re: So you plan to bug out from the city.

Postby anita » Sun Dec 24, 2017 5:39 pm

3ADScout wrote:Oldasrocks example is of a minor disaster could you imagine what will happen if 11 days turns into 11 weeks or God forbid 11 years (EMP)?

I am not a fan of whole house generators since they, in my opinion, don't consider fuel conservation, in a short term event this is no problem but in a long term event powering the whole house is a waste of fuel that might be a finite supply. A furnace and refrigerator don't run constantly neither should your generator. The other thing I plan to do when running the generator is to recharge all Batteries/power packs. This allows us to get the most benifit out of each gallon of fuel burned.

The other nice thing about not going with a whole house generator is that you can take it with you if you must leave. I keep a 5kw at the BOL and a small 2kw at the house. If I have to go to the BOL I take it with me as a back up and/or to power smaller items.

Propane is by far the best fuel in my opinion since it doesn't have a shelf life, you can store large quantities relatively cheaply and can use in a multitude of ways. You can use it for cooking for both a full size range in a home or in a smaller camp stove. You can use it to fuel a full size furnace or a small tent heater.


I'm confused. A whole house generator doesn't conserve or not conserve. It's the person in the house who makes that decision. In my last house we had a "whole house generator" which was a misnomer, because it didn't power the whole house. We had some electricity hogs, like the dryer, moved to a panel that wasn't supplied by the generator. But we made the decision what lights to turn on etc., how much water to use, etc. The generator didn't run the whole time. But at least it was hooked up to the well pump and septic pump, etc. (that is something I really dread in a SHTF event.)

And, it isn't as easily stolen as a portable generator.

As to the robbers oldasrocks mentioned. During Sandy, I refused to go to a hotel (we had an automatic generator, but it wasn't working real well, for reasons too involved to go into here.) I was worried that we would have a rash of robberies in our small (10-house) neighborhood if we left, because we were the only ones who stayed, even though several of our neighbors had generators as well. They couldn't even stick it out for four days without power. I don't know what they would have done if it were a longer issue. I do admit to eating out at a local restaurant that did have a generator, although I did get out the solar oven and make soup in it. I need more practice with that!
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Re: So you plan to bug out from the city.

Postby 3ADScout » Sun Dec 24, 2017 8:47 pm

Anitia,

Whole house generators do exactly that power the entire house and normally turn on automatically when commercial power is interrupted and run unless manually shut off.

The generator is burning fuel regardless whether the lights are on or not- if you have a 50kw generator but your demand is only 10kw you are wasting fuel. Some models can regulate this but if you are not using or capturing the most watts as possible it isn't efficient.
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Re: So you plan to bug out from the city.

Postby daaswampman » Sun Dec 24, 2017 9:54 pm

My whole house generator goes on and off with demand. It is one of the best investments I have ever made for the here and now. When and IF the big one ever happens ( I have been waiting for over twenty years). That is plan "C". Nothing more than flipping a few switches. Swamp
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Re: So you plan to bug out from the city.

Postby anita » Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:13 pm

My "whole house" generator did not cover the whole house, mainly because we had geothermal heat pumps with electric backup, and a 20 k generator couldn't keep up with both heat pumps if we kicked into emergency heat. So it covered one, and the other, along with other high usage/unnecessary items, were also eliminated from the panels that were fed by the generator, as I mentioned before.

The generator turned on and off, as needed. It did not run all the time. I can believe that it may not be as efficient as getting power from the grid, but I doubt it's any less efficient than a smaller portable generator. It's just larger, safer, more convenient, and more difficult to steal.

As Swamp said, it is great to have if you lose power for a few days. If the grid goes down long-term, that's a whole other magnitude of problem. But for your garden variety winter snowstorm or Hurricane Sandy, they are great to have. I plan to put one in this new (to me) house in the spring. Hoped to have it by now, but still getting other things accomplished.
In honor of RebNavy: "Then call us Rebels if you will, we glory in the name, for bending under unjust laws and swearing faith to an unjust cause, we count as greater shame". Richmond Daily Dispatch May 12 1862

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Re: So you plan to bug out from the city.

Postby oldasrocks » Mon Dec 25, 2017 7:29 pm

Our "whole house genny"11kw, operates as needed. At idle it burns a lot less fuel, about 1/2 gallon an hour. It idles up if a freezer or something calls for power. At full out it uses about 1.1 gallons/hr.

Since we put in the gas stove which operates a thermostat by batteries we do not need to leave the genny running. As someone said it is hooked through it own breaker box to the things we need to operate such as freezers and frig plus some lights.

The main reason for a "whole house genny" is convenience. 60 seconds after the highline goes down the genny starts itself. No running around in the dark dragging stuff out to hook up and get running, It starts and runs 11 minutes a week to keep the battery charged. Permanently installed so would be hard to steal at 400 lbs bolted down. Propane fired and hooked up to a 500 gallon tank which actually filled to 80%, 400 gallons, would run for 400 to 500 hrs. That's almost 3 weeks. Figure that out to 2 hrs a day if the need arose, enough to bathe and do the dishes.

We cook on gas, furnace is gas. That' s off a 2nd 500 gallon tank. Well is off the shop circuit and we have another 15 KW to run the well and shop. It's gas fired. An hour a day would pump a lot of water. If we had to repair something we can run the welders and power tools with it. I have 200 ft of 6-2-G cord for it and ample 110 cords from 10-2-G down.

I figure with stored fuels not counting what we could siphon from vehicles we are good for 8 months or so. After that? Punt.
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Re: So you plan to bug out from the city.

Postby oldasrocks » Mon Dec 25, 2017 7:33 pm

Another note. Small portable gennys are not made for long term use. They are made for a weekend outing on occasion. Don't rely on one of them for long term use.
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Re: So you plan to bug out from the city.

Postby sageprice » Tue Dec 26, 2017 3:17 pm

my parents house was built to operate on 60 amp service. This was lights and a furnace. The stove and furnace was gas. They had to bump to 150 service after installing A/C. Since then I live in a house with a heat pump, electric hot water, and 200 amp service. The HVAC and water heater accounts for close to 80% of my usage. Running a generator to charge batteries for lights would be next to nothing in fuel cost. still it would be a stop gap until I hack the rental solar panels on the roof. Eventually the fuel will run out and I'll be stuck with batteries and panels. :blush:
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Re: So you plan to bug out from the city.

Postby oldasrocks » Wed Dec 27, 2017 12:43 am

sageprice wrote:my parents house was built to operate on 60 amp service. This was lights and a furnace. The stove and furnace was gas. They had to bump to 150 service after installing A/C. Since then I live in a house with a heat pump, electric hot water, and 200 amp service. The HVAC and water heater accounts for close to 80% of my usage. Running a generator to charge batteries for lights would be next to nothing in fuel cost. still it would be a stop gap until I hack the rental solar panels on the roof. Eventually the fuel will run out and I'll be stuck with batteries and panels. :blush:


Well as least if you have lights you can watch yourself freeze to death.
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Re: So you plan to bug out from the city.

Postby sageprice » Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:00 pm

Alas the wood stove would object
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Re: So you plan to bug out from the city.

Postby oldasrocks » Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:41 pm

sageprice wrote:Alas the wood stove would object

Sorry didn't see you had a wood stove.
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Re: So you plan to bug out from the city.

Postby John Galt 1 » Thu Dec 28, 2017 12:53 pm

Illini Warrior wrote: It's really hard to completely drain a house's plumbing.



if you're really concerned you can fabricate a pneumatic air fitting plumbing piece that'll connect up into the house and blow it clean - most important is making sure the toilets & hot water heater don't bust up - doesn't hurt to have a gallon or two of RV antifreeze around for the goosenecks & toilets ....[/quote]

That's what we do, a jigger of antifreeze in every sink drain and toilet. We also have the fittings so we can blow air through the empty pipes.
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Re: So you plan to bug out from the city.

Postby John Galt 1 » Thu Dec 28, 2017 1:08 pm

While we have grid power at the shop on the back of the property the house is solar powered. In a pinch during a long cloudy spell we can throw a few switches and feed grid power to the house. Since I designed and installed the solar (so I know how everything works) and have a few emergency spare parts we'd probably have power for many years if the grid went down for the long term. But that presents it's own problems. While we can reduce the smell of cooking food by using the microwave ect. and store food in the electric powered freezer for years we would need to be very careful to keep electric lighting hidden to minimize attracting attention.

But considering that the property can be surrounded by motion detectors which require electricity (a lot of rechargeable batteries) we would probably be alerted if someone came within 200 yds. Of course deer can trip those sensors too so not foolproof.
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