I'm all electric in my home, we've got a Honda eu2000i generator for lights, TV and the computer. Got a second 6500watt generator for longer outages to run deep freezes and refrigerators and such. I also keep a small window unit air conditioner around so if the outage is in the summer I can cool a room or two with it and a generator. I have two 18,000 btu Mr Heater Portable Propane heaters. I also have a portable propane oven with a two burner range on top of it and a two burner cooker and grill. I keep several 5 gallon cans of non-ethanol gas around, I use the oldest first for lawn mowers and 4 wheelers and try and keep them rotated to stay fresh. I try and have 4 to 5 cans on hand at all times along with 4 or 5 20 pound propane bottles. We were hit by a tornado 4 years ago and were out of power for over a week, after that we stay ready.
I got a 200,000 btu propane heater last year after we lost our heat twice last year (old HVAC system in a house we rent). Its a job site heater and will heat a room 20 degrees in 10 minutes. I keep a extra propane tank full and ready to go. I've been starting to look at adding a good old kerosene heater with a couple gallons of kerosene for a more subtle and longer lasting option. We have a gas grill to cook on and heck could cook with a pan right ontop of the propane heater if needed.
When I own my own home I will definitely be putting in a cast iron wood burning stove. My dad always had a nice one with a fire burning most of the winter, would keep over half the house warm and toasty with a couple of logs a day.
Even though my fireplace is gas, I insisted upon a complete chimney when I built my house back in 2006. The builder fought me tooth and nail, and the county code inspector just about had a cow, but I finally won. Sad that such a basic necessity has become taboo and considered a fire hazard in modern construction.
We had a real fireplace in our first house and it saved our butts back when Roswell GA lost power for 4 days during an ice storm in 1999. I'd just hike out into the woods with my old sea bag on my back and collect wood every day.
Propane fired generator to run the existing propane furnace and keep the fridge and freezer happy.
Four radiant propane heaters to keep pipes from freezing when winter is in the too-far-below-zero range.
Long johns, sweaters, coats and two dogs otherwise.
Propane grille in the garage, propane camp burner and Sterno folding stove for cooking.
A year or so after moving into present house, we had an 18 or so hour power outage from a blizzard. No fireplace, no wood stove. We did have gas to the range, so we could manually light the burners and keep the frost off.
Real soon I went and bought a small kerosene type heater and several gallons of low odor fuel for it. It's all been sitting, still in the box, in the garage for the past dozen years or so. I think some fuel has evaporated from the jugs!
I switched from wood to coal. I bought a Belgium coal stove that has a self feeding hopper and a thermostat. Far cleaner and more efficient than wood. Burns all night long.
What required 5 cords of wood I was able to do with 2 tons of (pea) coal.
Word of caution... you can't just put coal in your existing wood stove and expect it to work. It won't. You need a stove specifically designed to burn coal.
Up until now, I've relied on my single wood burning fireplace for heat, and propane camp stove and charcoal grill for cooking and making hot water. I also converted to a gas furnace heated indirect hot water storage container instead of the old direct unit a couple years ago that does a much better job at keeping the water hot for a couple days without use. After losing an entire chest freezer full of meat last year, and the fact that I have a child due soon, I think I am going to make the investment in a generator to run the pumps/controller on the gas furnace force hot water system, chest freezer, fridge and some other necessary lights and computer equipment. The contents of that chest freezer when its full of food alone justifies the cost of a generator, but with a baby coming, I know I need to step up the comfort level of the house.
I live pretty much in the center of where the April 27 tornadoes came through in 2011. Even though April, the temps got down into the 40's for a couple of days after the storm. We only went about 4 days without power, many went a lot longer.
I've had propane heat and grill since 1999 when my son was born. We used to have a problem with the electricity going out regularly.
Also, keep a few hundred in 20's around. Sometimes power outages affect the ability to take debit cards or checks.
My first "alternate fuel" heat was with a small coal stove - a Petit Godin. Ancient design and there are cleaner stoves out there, but this thing was magnificent for our tallish, 1890's farmhouse. It only held about 20 lbs of coal, but boy, once it was going it would keep going with little attention. We left once on a Friday night, and I shook it down, refilled it and closed the air inlet to a minimum. Came back Sunday afternoon and still had a fire! Lots of ash, but I didn't need to re-start. Overall, a coal stove needs a lot less attention than a comparable output wood stove, and the heat is much move even.
Originally Posted by Sig35seven
The thing about coal vs, wood is that the raw fuel is much more compact, but you have a lot more ash to deal with than with wood, and you can't use it in the garden. But if I'm back in the snow belt again, as long as there is a decent supply of anthracite, I'd go to coal in a heartbeat.
We have oil-fired, forced hot water heating, but it's mostly there to maintain temperature when we're away.
When we're home (and it's cold) there pretty much always a fire in out Jotul model 8 and the furnace runs to keep the water in the boiler at operating temperature.
When power fails for extended periods we keep the wood stove stoked. At night we can load it up and shut it down (air tight) and it'll keep the plenty warm until morning. We run the generator when we need to run the well pump or watch a movie in the home theater.
Two pallets of RioLogs (similar to BioBricks) and one 275 gallon tank of oil will usually see us through a heating season.
For cooking, the top of the wood stove is cooking friendly, there's a gas grill on the back porch and there's a full oven/stove in the motor home parked just outside the back door.
I installed a Regency i2400 wood insert about 7 years ago. My heating bill has gone way down and it has more than paid for itself. The furnace rairly runs until it gets below 20 degrees. My wife is always cold so I am usually sitting around in shorts and a t-shirt in January:
I live in Florida, you didn't have "BIC Lighter" for a choice.
pellet stove, generator, space heaters. That's the backup.
In the summer... the generator will not run the AC compressor but will keep the freezer and fridge going.
hfjeff, that's what I would like to install in my fireplace
Where's the go to Walmart option? I went there during that last power outage to buy a couple things and they had the generators keeping everything running 100% - A/C running and credit/debit systems working.
Apart from that, we have 3 rows ~25-30ft long and 5ft tall of wood to burn.