We are learning to prepare for and survive a power outage with the use of a 12 volt deep cycle battery and an 800 watt power inverter. The video depicts my set up and testing of the battery and inverter as an energy source in case of a power outage. The total cost for a battery, charger and inverter was $140 which is pretty good for 800 watts of power. It’s winter in America and past experiences have forced me to prepare for scenarios in which we may have to go without power due bad weather. Although last year’s winter was quite mild with not even a single solid snowfall the previous ones have buried this area in 3 feet of snow. At times throughout the area there were long and short term power outages. We were pretty fortunate during snowmageddon and other storms to not lose power but I cannot expect that to remain the case.
After researching how to provide my own power for a couple of years I finally turned some simple concepts into energy producing alternatives. Having some communication gear, entertainment and the ability to make bread is all we really need to get by for periods of up to about a week. In the video I show how I connect the TV converter box, TV, a light and bread maker at the same time. This load exceeded the capacity of the inverter by about 100 watts and for future reference it’s important to note that the TV and bread maker cannot be powered at the same time.
To ensure the ability to last four days I would need to recharge the 12 volt battery via the car battery and inverter or I need to get a second battery so that a backup is available. As one battery requires charging the other can do that charging. 800 watts of redundant power is a great way to prepare to for emergency power outages or as a resource when traveling or camping. This system provides enough energy to power our bread maker, TV and digital TV convertor box which is connected to an aerial antenna on the roof. We are also able to use a laptop and keep our cell phones and walkie talkies charged without resorting to the car battery as a power source.
If we lose power during the winter we have a couple of back up heat sources. We have a kerosene heater putting out 24,000 BTUs and a Mr. Heater Big Buddy propane heater putting out 18,000 BTUs. That’s more than enough to see us through any uncomfortable winter power outage.
Any power outage that exceeds a week would begin to strain our way of life to the point of being uncomfortable. Having a generator is probably the single greatest provider of energy in the case of a power outage but there are several variables that have so far made the idea of purchasing a generator not practical at this time. One reason is noise and the other is gas storage. A whole house backup generator is not necessary because we do not need to live like normal during a power outage.
A 2,000 watt Honda inverter generator would meet our needs as such a generator could be used to continuously recharge the 12 volt batteries, power the refrigerator and wash our clothes. Unlike most generators this one runs very quiet, weighs 50 pounds and can be kept out of view. This is the next wish list item but with a $1,000 price tag it’s hard to justify it without first testing and employing the much more affordable albeit less powerful battery energy source.
Many other generators provide more power than the Honda inverter generator but the efficiency and portability the Honda offers is not to be ignored. I will more seriously consider this as soon as the next model comes out or prices drop. The reason our power needs can be limited to 2,800 watts is because we have backup cooking and home heating alternatives. Although we would not get hot water from the water heater we should make an easy solar hot water heater. I link to a resource for this alternative in the resources below. Maybe I’ll get around to building it during some upcoming break time.
A thorough reading and understanding of all components in the energy system described is necessary to ensure safety and avoid injury or death. Also note that there is no mention of in home electrical power system because with this system it is not necessary to touch the home power supply.
Disclaimer – Neither this site or its owner are in anyway providing anything other than personal stories of what was required to plan and accomplish tasks for a personal to do list. No responsibility is to be attached to the owner or site for what you actually do with the information provided.
Emergency home energy and communciations kit
- 12 volt deep cycle marine battery
- Shumaker battery charger
- 800 watt Duracell inverter
- 100 foot 14 gauge extension cord
- HD TV converter box
- Aerial antenna
- Cell phone chargers
- Walkie talkies
- Bread maker
- Steve Harris on battery power supplies
- Steve Harris on generators and fuel storage
- All Steve Harris Survival Podcast interviews
- DIY solar hot water heater
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