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Survival guide [6/7]: how to get by without electricity at home?

Traditionally, power cuts occur due to difficult weather conditions (storms, cold spells, etc.). However, even   a few days without air conditioning or heating, telephone, radio or TV can be a real set back. To manage these power outages , there are several options available to you to best prepare for it.

1. An emergency power supply

Let’s start with an essential point: energy needs. It’s important to always have a plan B when it comes to electricity, whether it’s so you can charge your devices, cook a meal, keep warm, or even keep you informed and allow you to communicate with others. Fortunately, there are back-up solutions to make sure you’re not completely deprived of energy.

Portable solar panels and small solar generators are ideal for ensuring electricity on demand, whether you’re in a house or an apartment. They are not only useful for keeping the lights on, but also for communication, since they can be close at hand whenever your phone needs to be recharged. To do this, all you need is a few rays of sunshine. You can also replace the solar generator with an external battery, as long as you have a solar panel to harvest the energy, that’s the main thing.

For large-scale needs, more powerful power stations and accompanying solar panels can be useful for powering many devices in homes temporarily. Some stations are able to charge small pieces of equipment such as a smartphone or tablet, but also larger ones such as a refrigerator for example, which can be very useful if you find yourself without electricity for several days.
You can also consider of generators with fuel that do not depend on the sun, although this has the added requirement of storing fuel.

2. Cooking and water

One of the things that can be worrying during a power outage is the loss of the food inside our fridge and freezer. To keep them cool inside, try to leave them closed as much as possible. Conservation is key in an emergency: the less energy you use, the better you can power your essential devices.

Note: In a fridge, food will keep for about 4 to 6 hours if you avoid opening it too often. In a freezer, food will at best keep for another 24 to 48 hours. Beyond these times, it is advisable to discard or cook your food.

To make do without, try to make sure you have food at home that doesn’t have to be kept cold. This can be snacks, cans, starches, but also compact rations for example. Having your own long-life food can be a good idea to avoid rapid inventory turnover.

If you have a gas or alcohol stove at home, for example, this will make your job easier. If you don’t have one, most freeze-dried meals can be rehydrated in cold water. It won’t warm you as much as a hot dish , but they will still provide you with the necessary energy.

  •  If you don’t know which stove to choose, this article should help you make your choice.

As for boxes and compact rations, they are essential for long-life stocks. NRG-5s, for example, are ideal because they have a good quality /weight/energy-intake ratio.

  •  To find out how to store your food, the Lyo team has created a user manual with its best advice.

As for water, remember to have bottled or barrel water with you. Thanks to this, if the tap water is cut off, you can nevertheless continue to hydrate and cook.

3. Lighting

To cope with power outages and keep the lights on (especially in the middle of winter when night falls quickly!), you can first make sure that you always have a stock of candles at home. Besides being cheap and easy to store and to use, this will allow you to have a source of light – more or less efficient depending on the number of candles lit, of course.

Although candles are ideal in the moment, they are not a lasting solution. That’s why it may be beneficial to (re)stock up on cells and batteries in advance. Thanks to this, you can use your torches, headlamps or even lanterns without fear of running out of light too quickly.
Light sticks can also be a solution, as they are 100% autonomous, very bright, and can provide lighting for several hours!

Some portable power stations are also practical given their ability to provide you with energy, as well as to illuminate your surroundings for several hours continuously, which can be very practical!

4. Heating

If it is possible in your home, lighting a fire is one of the best ways to warm yourself up quickly and easily. If this is not possible, you can always wear the warmest clothes you have: socks, sweaters and even a neck warmer will be very useful in helping you warm up.

Remember to hydrate yourself with hot drinks and especially to eat dishes that is good for the body. This will help your body warm up faster, have more energy and allow your body to continue producing heat even at night.

If you have the chance, check the insulation in your home. It may be that it is no better than a sieve and that the cold easily enters your home, without any heat being let in. There are a number of grants available to help you carry out this work, which can quickly become costly, and several sites give you all the information you need to know about how to go about it.

Finally, if you are really too cold, our article on ‘How to warm up at night in a bivouac’ may be able to give you some more ideas, although not everything is necessarily applicable.

5. Communications

To keep you informed on how the situation is developing, have at least a small battery-powered radio, just to know more about the duration of the power cut, its cause, and more.

Get an external battery if you don’t already have one, and make sure it’s always charged. This will allow you to continue to use your smartphone a little longer without losing too much battery. For larger needs such as recharging your computer or any other more energy-intensive device, you can refer to the first point of this blog post, which tells you about power stations and which will help you to have more energy with you in all circumstances.

In conclusion

Electricity is undoubtedly one of the most important resources, found in all aspects of our daily lives and which we sometimes take for granted, although it can be foolhardy to do so. That’s why it’s important to think about alternatives and be ready in case of a general power outage.

Whether it is to continue to eat, to (re)heat, to provide light, or simply to charge your devices, solutions exist. Solar panels and power stations are part of this and are increasingly growing in popularity all over the world. Also remember to have a stock of food with a long shelf life, and accessories to light and heat you, meaning you won’t be inconvenienced too much if a general power cut occurs.