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TWO WEEKS OFF GRID – DAY 5

Day 5.  Thought I would catch you up on how much water we’ve used so far and how the propane and other fuels are doing.  Also how the food supply is doing.

First a report on our first extended test of running our furnace off of a generator.  In most emergencies natural gas will still be flowing (the big exception is earthquakes).  If you can power your furnace blower fan then you can heat your house.  The temperatures dipped into the 30’s last night but the house temperature only hit a low of 63 degrees.  Normally I’d just put on a light sweater in the morning and wait for the sun to warm up the house but I wanted to give my generator and furnace a good test.

I fired up my Tri-Fuel Honda EU 2000i on propane and plugged in the furnace.  The furnace motor start-up drew 1400 watts and then settled in at about 800 watts, well within the 2000 watt peak and 1600 watt continuous rating for the generator.  Ran the furnace for about 30 minutes and had the house temperature at 69 degrees, which is our normal winter temperature.

Since I was firing up generators, I fired up the Tri-Fuel Wren 3500 on natural gas.  I used it to run the automatic coffee maker.  The coffee maker drew 1200 watts for 10 minutes.   One thing I should have done while the generators were running was to run a battery charger on my battery bank.  The main bank was still at 12.8 volts so I didn’t but it is a good habit to charge your battery bank any time you have a generator running.

We are using a Colman 425E 2-burner stove today.  That model was made from the late 60’s to the early 70’s.  It is the last stove that was rescued from the Thrift Store and now uses a propane adapter to run on one-pound propane canisters.  This model is smaller than most Colman Stoves but it was still big enough to put a 12” fry pan and an 8” round pot on the stove at the same time.

Food is still plentiful.  We have used all of the food we had in the refrigerator by the middle of Day 4.  Some roasted chicken went bad because we didn’t use it soon enough.  If there is a next time, we’ll use the food in the refrigerator sooner and not try to ration it.

Now for water usage.  By far our number 1 water usage is for toilet flushing, about 5 gallons per day.  In a real extended emergency, we’d need to go waterless and use disposable bags or a composting toilet.  One thing we did learn, it is better to fill the toilet tank with water and flush normally rather than pour the water directly into the bowl to flush.

Both methods flush the yucky stuff down the sewer but pouring water directly into the bowl doesn’t leave any water in the toilet bowl but filling the tank and flushing normally leaves water in the bowl.  Well, if there is water left in the bowl, the next time you make a potty contribution, it all goes down when you flush.  Without that water in the bowl, the potty leaves behind a little mess on the sides of the bowl that requires cleaning.

Second biggest water usage is for showers.  One thing we didn’t plan on, was getting so dirty.  We’ve been doing spring yard work and coming in dirty and sweaty.  I guess not so different then if the emergency was caused by a storm where there is a lot of heavy clean up to do.  Well when you are really dirty and sweaty, a birdy bath will not do.  We heat the water in solar jugs and use about one gallon for a complete head to toe shower.  So far we’ve used 4 gallons on showers.

Other water usage:

  • Coffee – 1 quart per day.
  • Food Preparation – 1 quart per day.
  • Dish rinsing and cleanup – ½ gallon per day.
  • Drinking Water – 1 gallon per day total for two of us.

Totals:

20 gallons Pool Water for Flushing Toilets

8 gallons Clean Water

We are getting some double usage from some of the water.  We use the dish water to flush toilets after we are finished with it for dishes.  I guess the water for flushing toilets is only 18 gallons since we’ve used 2 gallons from dish water.

Propane and other fuels are going great.  We are still on the first one-pound propane canister for the stoves.  It is a little harder to check the propane used for the generator.  The Honda uses about one-tenth of a gallon of gasoline for each hour of use, running at half power.  Propane has less octane than gasoline and we’ve only run the generator for ½ hour.  So I think we’ve used less than ½ of a pound of propane.

 

I think that’s it for today.  A lot of details.  Still doing well.

 

Ed Rogers
Copyright “Keep It Simple” 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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