Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Surviving with Emergency Heat Sources

Emergency Heat Sources

Are you prepared for a blizzard?

In the 12 years I've lived in Utah, I've never been under a Blizzard Advisory. Storm watches, yes. Storm warnings, yes. But never a blizzard.

It's making me a little nervous, so I'm rechecking our emergency heat sources today before the blizzard warning starts at 4 PM this afternoon.

We're super lucky to have the RV as a major backup. If things get really bad we can always move out there. With two rambunctious toddlers, I'm thinking I'd rather stay in the house whenever possible.

I want to prepare for the two likely scenarios that would happen at my house:
1. Power Outage
2. Power and Gas Outage
In both instances, how will we stay warm, prepare food and water, and handle bathing and bathrooms?

1. Heating Spaces
If the power goes out, we have a gas fireplace upstairs in the living room, and I know it will heat that room effectively, and keep us all warm. We may get to have a campout in the living room, but that will make it memorable.

2. Preparing Food
On the weekends, I'm a big fan of the microwave. If the power goes out, we're down to the gas stove, or the grill outside. I'll have to use food from the food storage, or the deep freeze outside, as I won't want to open the inside fridge for several reasons:
a. If the power's out, the fridge/freezer isn't working, and I want the food to stay cold as long as possible. 
b. Opening the door will also cool the interior of the room, and when the main heat source is out, every degree counts.
I may even go a step further and put the necessities - milk, punch, meat for the next few days - outside in a snow bank, to keep me from opening any freezer doors. I can go out through the garage, lessening the entrance of cold air.

Water will be easy, as there's now an endless supply of it outside. I have enough for several days in the food storage, but it might be fun to test the melting snow theory. I still have the gas stove in the kitchen working under this scenario, so I'll melt it in large pots, and store it in one of the bathtubs.

Which brings me to...
3. Bathing and Bathrooms
Since none of the faucets will work work when the power's out, I'll have the aforementioned bathtub for water, which I can use for flushing toilets and spit baths too. (The toilets will FLUSH with no electricity, but the bowl will need to be hand filled with water from the tub.) The RV has been winterized, so there's no water in it right now, and if the pipes froze, it wouldn't work anyway. I have a large garden tub in the master bath, so I'll fill that tonight, because it would take the whole yard to fill it, and that's just a lot of work.

Now, if the power AND gas go out, things get slightly trickier.

1. Heating
I have several small Mr. Heaters in the trailer that would come inside. They'll heat about 200 square feet, so we'd have to move to one of the bedrooms. In a worst case scenario, we could uninstall the catalytic heater from the trailer and bring it in.

MAJOR FACTORS HERE: I have lots of other heat sources, NONE of which are safe to use indoors. NEVER use a camping stove, or kitchen stove as a heat source. NEVER use an outdoor BBQ. Carbon monoxide becomes a serious threat. I have several big patio heaters that we wouldn't be able to bring in for that reason, too.

2. Preparing food
Same as above, though now I'd have to cook on my portable stuff from the trailer. I'll need to double check the supply of little green propane tanks, and big tanks for the BBQ. I'll want to be conscious of what I'm cooking, to keep water consumption to a minimum.

3. Bathing and bathrooms.
As long as I'm ahead of the curve, and get the bathtubs filled, we'll be ok for a few days. We'll obviously have lots of snow to melt to keep the toilets flushing.

I'm excited for another test. What's the weather like at your house?

Here's a great resource for other heating sources, you might have at your house, and how to handle them.

Stay Warm. BE SAFE!

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  1. Following on the Tuesday hop! Great info, thanks for sharing it. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


  2. i'm your newest follower from FMBT!

    i'd love for you to check out my blog and follow back!


  3. You are so right - we just had a blizzard warning too the last day and I am totally not prepared for anything (including flash lights!) That's horrible!!! Following you from FMBT - hope you can visit me at www.thejoyfuljungle.com Thanks!


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