This illistrates my personal efforts to be more prepared, and less reliant on others to take care of me in an emergency, and in general. This page will be a work in progress, so bare with me....
Feel free to email me any questions you might have...
I do many "Green" things however, the green part is just by coincidence. I am always striving to be more
self reliant. It is a balancing act between survivalist paranoia and trying to be prepared for emergencies. Most things I do in this arena, I do just to try and make my energy needs lower. This so that in an emergency, I can run more things with less resources.
The first green project I started was to install a pellet stove. Why did I install a pellett stove? Because our damn heat pump ran constantly in the winter, raised our electric bills through the roof, with 350.00 dollar electric bills not uncommon. While the house thermostat was set at 80, it kept it a balmy 65 degrees in here with the "Heat" pump.
Now our house stays a nice and warm 75 degrees in the winter with the installation of our Harman Accentra II Pellets stove, but how is that "Green" ? Well it is green because it burns biomass that would otherwise be thrown out. No trees are cut down for these wood pellets. It useds waste saw dust from the furniture, flooring, cabinet making, and building industry and compresses them into burnable pellets.
The nice thing about my stove, (besides that my house stays nice and toasty) is that in an emergency, like an ice storm or something causing a power outage, I can run the stove for no more than 200 watts of electricity, and in most cases, something like 60 to 100 watts. This is easily obtainable through a gas elec tric backup genertator, and my solar system I will show you later. TRY RUNNING A HEAT PUMP IN AN EMERGENCY POWER OUTAGE. IT TAKES LIKE 4500 WATTS. Good luck with that!
Of course, one possible downfall to having a pellet stove is that you need the space to store the bulk pellets. I buy mine at the end of summer, when prices are cheaper, and store them for winter use. I buy 3 tons and store 2 of them in my shed, and 1 ton in the basement.
After getting the stove, the question was, okay how do I heat my house in an emergency? How do I keep this stove running? Well the first thing I did was buy a Champion, 3500 watt back up generator for about 325.00 at lowes. I can run my refridgerator, all my lights, my pellet stove, a tv if I want, some electric space heaters, sump pum, etc.
Then I thought, "generators are noisey and use a lot of fuel. I would have to keep a lot of gasoline on hand, and it goes bad after two years of storage". So I started thinking solar was the way to back up my pellet stove.
Shown here, is 60 watts of solar panels. I bought each one separatley as I could afford them, and linked them together. One panel can go as low as 65.00 on Amazon Total cost, 65.00 times 4 over a few months.
Next, since I don't want to run things directly, I needed something to store all that accumulated power so it would be ready to use later.
I ended up buying two portable power packs. One from Walmart, and one from Amazon. I bought them over time, and linked them together. Total cost 230.00 over a couple of months. Plus, I have an old jumpstart pack I got as a gift, for a total of 66 A/H or Amp/ Hours. With this setup, I can run my pellet stove for 12 hours before I recharge the batteries
I could just plug the solar panels directly into the batteries to charge them, but I would have to watch them to make sure they didn't over charge. I wanted to be able to go to work and not worry about them so I had to buy a 15.00 Sunforce, Charge controller that automatically monitors the batteries to make sure they don't overcharge from the sun.
This keeps my batteries nice and charged, and safe. Not bad for 15.00
So okay, now you can run the stove, but what else can you do with this stored power? Well, the above power packs, have the ability to jump start cars, inflate tires, and play radios, lights in your house, a low power microwave( below 500 watts) etc. They have built in inverters, so you can power computers, TVs, Bpap machines, just about anything, except big items like refridgerators and stuff.
Here I modified a regular lamp so I could plug it directly into my power packs and have plenty of light in a power outages due to lightniing storm, or ice storm in the winter. Any lamp, without a dimmer switch witll work for this. Of course, to use this setup, you also need to buy DC ballast CFL bulbs (show to the right)
When you start to think about powering your mondern conviniences in a power outage, it is a good idea to get a good handle on your power needs before hand so you can prepare for it. I recommend getting one of those Killa watt Meters that you plug into the wall, and then plug your appliances into it to get a readout of how much power you are using. These are available for amazon for 15 to 25 dollars and are a very helpful tool. I used mine to see average power draw of my Pellet Stove to see how much battery supply I would need. Link Below
Questions and comments are welcome!
Self Reliance Resource, Heating
Here is a link to my profile on www.hearth.com, where I spend a lot of my time giving, and recieving useful information!
Pictured to the right, is my True Sinewave Inverter. While my power packs will run my stove for up to 12 hours, my ProWatt SW 600, is gentle enough to run the stove indefinitely with enough battery power. Without getting into too many technical details, The power packs use a "modified sinewave" to create the 120 AC. This is like a slap to the motors in the Pellet Stove to keep them spinning. My Xantrex Prowatt, uses a True Sinewave, which is like a gentle kiss on the forehead to motivate the motors to spin.
Types of pellets I have used in order of best to worst