Cooking Without Electricity – 9 Off-Grid Solutions to Keep Your Family Fed

food cooking over open fire

Cooking Without Electricity

For literally thousands of years, people cooked without electricity. But if the power goes out today, most of us would be reduced to eating granola bars and maybe some soup straight out of a can. And I freely admit that if I think the electricity is going to be out for just a few hours my daughter and I usually eat cold leftovers, Nutrigrain bars and anything else that is handy. But, if we’re in a storm situation or other scenario where the power may be out for days, I know that my daughter is going to need real food. There are lots of ways you can provide your family with a warm meal even without electricity.

Gas Stove

I love cooking with gas and I hate that my current house only has an electric range. But if you think a gas stove will solve all your problems, you’re wrong. First you need to see if your house is piped for gas. Mine is not and the gas company quoted me $1,500 to run the line the 12 feet from the street. So, that is going on my wish list. Also, unless your stove is older than you are it most likely has an electric ignition which won’t be working during that power outage. Now, some models will still allow you to light it using a match or a fireplace starter. Here’s a video of a gentleman doing just that during a power outage.

Wood-burning Stove

My grandfather had a wood-burning stove in his living room and I remember gladly volunteering to keep the fire alive. I felt so important opening the side door and using an iron poker to push and pull the logs around. Now, this stove was just used for heat but it did not have a surface that was big enough to hold a few small pots or one large skillet.

dinner cooking on iron stoveThere is a second type of wood stove and this is one that is designed specifically for cooking. They complete with multiple burners and an oven. They are pretty pricey but if you have a basement it would be a great asset in an emergency.

Wood-burning Fireplace

Most of us are used to having a wood-burning fireplace as a means of warmth during those cold winter months. But this is also a handy means of cooking in an off-grid situation. There are even accessories available to turn your fireplace into a full-service cooking tool.

I am not including gas fireplaces in this list specifically because there are so many warnings about using them to cook food. There are a lot of concerns about grease or other food particles dropping onto the pipes and logs and possibly damaging them.

Propane

Backyard grills are one of my favorite alternative cooking methods. I have a propane grill on my deck and I find it so much more convenient than charcoal. Now that I’ve become comfortable with switching out the propane tanks, you can often find us grilling hamburgers during the summer at least once a week or so.

However, propane is not just found in large grills. There are several smaller tabletop options. I have a Coleman two-burner version that we take camping. It has always served us well when we’re frying up some bacon and eggs.

Charcoal

This is a tried and true method that most people are comfortable with. Charcoal grills come in all shapes and sizes but it takes a bit more effort than propane or natural gas. First, you have to make sure you keep a supply of lighter fluid handy. And second, it can take upwards of 20 minutes to get the coals to an appropriate temperature. They do make charcoal with lighter fluid now and that helps tremendously.

Cleanup is also a pain. I hate having to deal with the ashes which is why I love my propane grill. I will give charcoal a thumbs up for flavor though.

Natural Gas

Grills that run on natural gas are extremely similar to propane. It is true that propane is more popular but this is because of the extra BTU kick that propane has over natural gas. If you already have a gas line in your home, you can run an extension out to your patio. You’d never have to worry about switching out tanks again. If you have the space to build an outdoor kitchen, this is definitely an option you should consider.

Butane

There are some really cute butane portable stoves in the camping sections of the bigger retailers. They are single burner stoves with a small butane canister and matchless ignition. While they are small, they do put out 8,000 BTUs so it could definitely come in handy to cook soup, tea or other one-pot items. And did I mention that they are really inexpensive? I saw one the other day for less than $20. The replacement butane cartridges are also pretty cheap at around $3/canister.

Solar

If you’re looking for something that you could literally take anywhere, then this solar oven might be the perfect item for you. Since it relies on the sun’s energy, you never have to worry about carting around a bunch of fuel. As long as you have some sun and blue sky, your solar oven can cook up some brownies, pizza or even nachos.
There are several commercial options on the market but you can always go old school and build your own. This is actually a great project to do with your kids and introduce them to becoming more self-reliant.

Open fire

open fire cookingHere is another tried and true method. As long as you can find some wood and matches you should be able to build a fire in your backyard or even on your patio. Honestly, having a fire-starting kit and some dry wood is a great contingency for those times when the power goes out. You can get a campfire grate pretty inexpensively and this will allow you to use pots and pans. Don’t forget to put safety first and keep your fire contained. You don’t want to inadvertently burn down the neighborhood while making dinner!

Dutch Oven

I have to admit that this is an area in which I’m lacking some real experience. Dutch ovens are so versatile – you can charcoal briquettes on dutch oven covercook bread, desserts, chili, pasta, etc. I’ve used mine only twice – to make baked spaghetti and a cobbler. They’re portable and can be used on many different heat sources, including your stovetop.

Cooking in a Dutch oven requires some practice. Don’t buy a Dutch oven and then stick it in a closet and then pull it out when you need it. There are a ton of recipes on Pinterest so start looking.

Buddy Burner

If you were ever a Boy Scout or a Girl Scout, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. You take some simple items such as a #10 can, a tuna can, cardboard and some paraffin wax and you’ve got a stove that will cook up the best foil meals you can imagine.

If you really want to relive your scout years, you can always make some egg carton fire starters after you finish your buddy burner.

As you can see, losing electricity is not the end of civilization. It may require a bit of adjustment but there are plenty of alternatives as you can see. I suggest that you work on adding at least 2-3 into your prepper strategy so that when the time comes you can make a stressful situation less so.

The Generac 20kw Generator: Ultimate Home Power

protect house

 

We’re all guilty of taking the electricity in our homes for granted. Yet, as recent natural disasters have shown, there’s no such thing as a guaranteed power supply. It’s why families across the country are starting to think ahead. Depending on where you live in the States, hurricanes, floods and other disasters range from unlikely to inevitable. It’s always smart to prep for the worst and secure your supply.

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Emergency Water Storage

blue water containers

Did you know that you can survive 10 or more days without food, but you can’t go more than 3 days without water? Many people underestimate the importance of storing water. So let me ask you some questions to get you thinking about why you should be storing water.

In the event of a power outage, will your water pump work?
In the event of a flood, do you have a clean water source?
In the event of an earthquake, is your water source going to stay intact?

That last question is the most over-looked reason for storing water. There are many scenarios where water pumps stop working, or water is contaminated. Here is the south I may not be that concerned about an earth but you may live near a fault line. In those situations, water pipes and wells will move and may no longer provide water.

There is no downside to being prepared, so STORE WATER!

I’ve put together a few tips to help you store water. You may have some water or water purifiers in your 72-hour kit, but is that enough? You should have a supply of water in your home large enough to provide for your family’s drinking water and other water needs in emergency situations.

Emergency responders and organizations like the Red Cross and FEMA are now recommending that you have enough food, water, and first aid on hand to last 14-30 days.

So what do you need to know about storing water?

plastic water storage barrels

 

Water Storage Facts & Tips:

The average person drinks about a gallon of water per day, so keep that number in mind when calculating how much to store. Remember to store extra clean water for hygiene, medical emergencies, and food preparation.

Keep at least a 3-day supply of water on hand, but make sure you have the ability to purify water (with powders, tablets, filters, etc.) for much longer than that if necessary.

Only store water in containers that are sterilized, leak-proof, and safe for long-term water storage, like food-grade water storage barrels. (Clear plastic containers have BPA issues and breathe, which can cause your water to become contaminated if you store it near gas, heat, or non-sanitary spaces.)

Know which water sources in your house are and aren’t safe to drink in emergencies. For instance, it’s safe to drink water from your water heater, but not radiators.

Know how to safely use the 3 main methods of making water safe to drink: boiling, chlorination, and distillation. Learn more about water treatment solutions below.

Still not sure about exactly what to do? Let’s break it down into 3 easy steps now that you understand the importance of storing water and that water should be stored properly to be safe for consumption in an emergency situation.

1 – Calculate How Much Water You Need
Store at least 1 Gallon per person per day for the first 3 days. Then calculate 3 gallons per person for the 3 days after that. Then 10 gallons per person per day for the remaining 8 to 22 days you plan to store water.

So, if you have 3 people, the math looks like this:

3 people x 1 gallon x 3 days = 9 gallons for 3 days.

Then 3 people x 3 gallons x 3 days = 27 gallons + 9 gallons = 36 gallons for 3 people for 6 days.

Then 3 people x 10 gallons x 8 days = 240 gallons + 36 gallons = 276 gallons for 3 people for 14 days.

2 – Filter In, Treat and Store, Filter Out
The safest method of storing water is to filter it going into your water storage tank. Then treat the water for maximum long term storage and pathogen protection. Then filter the water coming out of the storage container when you plan to drink it.

3 – Gather the Supplies
Consider buying 55 gallon water containers, 30 gallon water containers, or easy to stack and carry water bricks.

Water Treatment

The nice thing about the 55 Gallon Water Container Kits is that they come with the water treatment solution, but you should also consider other options. It is pretty much impossible to store all the water you would ever need which means eventually you would have to look at gathering water from rain barrels, lakes or streams.

 

The Best Portable Inverter Generators

Generators

Having reliable power is one of those desires that people have not found the right means to satisfy. But things did not seem to be disappointing since time has changed everything for the better. Today, the option of capable inverters that are also portable comes at the right price, waiting to be purchased. These inverter generators are very much capable of handling circumstances, as they are powerful to come to terms with anything and everything. Due to the increase in demand, there are many manufacturers who have tried their hand and made shelves full. So, to help you pick the right one, here are some of the best portable inverter generators.

Honda EU2200i Portable Inverter Generator

Honda is an iconic brand that is known for all the right reasons. When it comes to quality, it is hard to go face to face with Honda, since most of their products tend to come out on top. The Honda EU2200i is no different, as it reeks some of the best features that your money can buy. With the power of 2200 Watts and the minimum noise level of over 48-57 dB, things look smooth for all the people who have already purchased this product.

Yamaha EF2000iSv2 Gas Powered Portable Inverter

Yamaha is no stranger in this category, as they have witnessed demand to a large extent. Their products have been tagged with the mark of innovation, and user experience has also been kind. Although it might not be as powerful as the Honda EU2200i, it still manages to impress on other levels. The low noise level and low oil light are few of the things that have been regarded as the finest from this particular model.

Westinghouse iGen2200 Portable Inverter Generator

If you are looking for an economical choice, then the Westinghouse iGen2200 is the right one for you. Based on the size, you will be enjoying the power of up to 4,500 Watts and a noise level of 52 dB. A run time of over 12 hours only makes matters interesting, as this model is the perfect one to start with. If you are running out of options in terms of size, then the Westinghouse iGen2200 is the one for you.

Champion RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator

With enough outlets and adequate power, the Champion RV is truly a winner. A runtime of 8 hours exhibiting 2,800 Watts of power is what makes this stand out in the crowd. In terms of design, you might see yourself falling for the Honda, but the Champion RV is still a winner on various other levels. There are also certain aspects of detailing that has gone into its making, which has made the product a better inverter.

Summary

You do not have to give up peace and quiet for a little power. With these quiet, portable generators you’ll be able to take the comfort of home with you on the road, power your house during outages, tailgate at your favorite sporting event, or keep the job site up and running.

Generator Size: How to Figure Out How Much Generator You Need

Figuring out the right size generator you need in a power outage really boils down to two main questions:

(1) which appliances and devices you’ll run, and

(2) which of these you’ll run at the same time.

Before answering these, however, you’ll need to consider if the main purpose for this generator is emergency power at home or something else — for example, for portable power at a construction site.

With this in mind, to answer the first question think of all the devices you’ll want to operate in a short duration outage (1-2 days) and those you’ll need in a longer outage (longer than a couple of days).

The second question is important because, while you’ll probably run a number of different devices, they don’t need to be operated at the same time. Consider what things are absolutely necessary to run; for example, a water pump for drinking water, refrigerator, oven, medical equipment, a furnace if you live in a cold climate, and so on. Then consider what additional devices would be convenient or possibly even necessary in a longer power outage, such as a television and laptop.

Now, with this information you can estimate the “running wattage” and “surge wattage”. The running wattage is just what it sounds like it is–the amount of power required to run a device at normal load. The surge wattage is the surge of extra power required to start the device’s electric motor.

How to Use this Table

The typical energy consumption of common household devices are shown, including running wattage and surge wattage, that you can use to estimate the size generator you’ll need. Simply add up the total running watts for all the devices you’ll run at the same time. This is the minimum wattage you’ll need to run them continuously at the same time. Do the same for the surge watts; this is the minimum surge wattage you’ll need to start all the devices at the same time.

For devices not on this list check the rating plate label on the device itself, its operator’s manual, or visit the manufacturer’s website. If you know the amps, you can calculate the wattage using this formula: Amps X Voltage = Watts. Household devices mostly operate on 120 volts, except large appliances such as large appliances like stoves, ovens, refrigerators and clothes washing machines and dryers, which operate on 220 volts.

Device/Appliance

“Running” watts

“Surge” watts

Coffee maker1,7500
Dishwasher7001,400
Electric fry pan1,3000
Griddle1,2000
Electric Range2,1000
Microwave (700 watt)700900
Refrigerator (full size)7002,200
Refrigerator (under counter size)350500
Freezer7002,100
Crockpot2500
Clothes washing machine7502,300
Electric clothes dryer1,8005,800
Toaster (2 slice)8500
Laptop computer750
MP3 player, tablet, cell phone800
Desktop computer3000
TV100-3000
Radio / CD player50-1500
Light bulbwattage printed on bulb0
Sump pump (1/3 HP motor)8001,300
Air conditioner (typical RV 13,500 BTU rated)1,5002,200
Air conditioner (typical window unit 10,000 BTU rated)1,5002,200
Central air conditioner (2,000 sq foot home)9,50011,000
Water heater (gas)3,0000
Water heater (electric)4,500-7,5005,500-9,000
Furnace or heat pump (gas or oil)based on size of fan motorbased on size of fan motor
Furnace or heat pump (electric)Cannot be run on portable generatorCannot be run on portable generator

* 1,000 watts = 1 kW

Watch This Helpful Video That Shows How to Estimate the Generator Size You’ll Need

This short video from Honda gives a nice overview on how to do what we’ve explained above using our table.

Source: Honda

Uncut Reviews: Dual Fuel & Tri Fuel Portable Generators

A portable generator is a convenient way to take power with you wherever you go, or as a backup power source in your home in case of a power outage. The impact of a power outage of only a few days on our modern lives can become much more serious than a mere inconvenience.

Many companies make hybrid generators that allow you to choose the fuel type that’s best for your situation. There are really two choices. First is the dual fuel portable generator, which comes in combinations of gasoline and propane or natural gas and propane. The second is the tri fuel portable generator, which combines gasoline, propane, and natural gas.

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Kipor Generators: A New Solution for a Quiet Portable Generator

There are some very high performing generator brands on the market. Unfortunately, they don’t all consider noise levels when designing their products. Many opt for all out power or maximum energy efficiency at the expense of a quiet running appliance. Yet, noise is an important consideration because most of us don’t live by ourselves.

We’re in close quarters on crowded streets and in busy trailer parks. We’re living within touching distance of neighbors’ homes. Sometimes, for their sake and our own, a quiet generator is the right choice. So, where can you get one?

Kipor is a great place to start if you’re looking to buy a quiet portable generator. The manufacturer has a reputation for quality, performance and longevity. Most of its generator models are designed with noise pollution in mind. Whether they’re used in residential neighborhoods or on construction sites, these devices are made to be unobtrusive.

A Quick Guide To Kipor Generators

Kipor is a Chinese manufacturer that has been operating for almost two decades. The company is based in China but its global presence has grown rapidly over the last ten years. Considering the fact twenty years is young in the generator industry – some rival manufacturers have existed for centuries – it’s remarkable to see Kipor enjoying so much success. It says a lot about the brand’s generators and their quality.

Kipor produces a variety of powerful machines including industrial grade engines, heavy construction equipment, construction tools and complete power systems as well as quiet portable generators. If it seems strange a company this accustomed to making big, noisy machines can produce quiet generators, well, you don’t know how much research and development goes into these products.

Kipor has over a hundred active patents out on its industrial machines, engines and other products. The maker considers itself an innovator, but do its quiet portable generators live up to this claim?

How Big of a Generator Do I Need?

This might seem like a complicated thing, but it’s actually not all that hard to calculate. The first thing to do is use the checklist we developed. It’s a step by step guide with instructions on how to use it and also explains the difference between running wattage and surge wattage–sometimes called starting wattage.

A typical home running the most commonly used appliances and devices requires between 3,000 and 6,500 watts (3 kW and 6.5 kW).  Remember, this is a general range that’s based on an average home and average uses. Your needs may vary depending on your particulars, which is why it’s very important to carefully think through your specific situation.

The Best Kipor Quiet Portable Generators

Kipor IG1000P Digital Generator

Kipor’s popular IG1000P Digital Generator uses standard gasoline fuel to produce around 1000 watts of electricity. It is designed to be super lightweight for effortless carrying and easy setup. Finally, a generator that can be picked up and moved without launching into a full stretching routine to protect your back first.

The IG1000P weighs thirty pounds in total so it’s significantly lighter than a lot of other generators on the market. It’s also a little smaller but with 0.7 gallons of gas in the tank, users get a guaranteed four hours of power at full capacity. If using the generator on half power, expect around eight hours of juice.

While it’s never going to compete with a full sized industrial generator, that’s not really the point. The IG100P is made to suit lower capacity needs. It’s ideal for use on smaller construction sites, in trailer parks and on campsites. If you need portable power fast but not indefinitely, it’s a great choice.

Don’t forget, you can refill the generator as many times as required. Our estimate is four to five gallons of fuel to keep the machine running for longer than a day.

The Kipor IG1000P Digital Generator uses electronic inverter technology to create an AC current via the alternator component. It is then turned into DC electric. The last step is to ‘scrub’ the DC electric and turn it back into an AC current. It sounds a little overcomplex but it’s the standard way to produce safe power for household appliances like computers, refrigerators and television sets.

It has the added benefit of minimizing noise levels. The IG000P emits between 54 and 59 decibels depending on what capacity it is being used at and whether it is being operated indoors or outside. To put this in perspective, Kipor says users can easily have a full conversation with the generator buzzing fifteen feet away.

We will point out, it isn’t the quietest generator currently on the market. After taking into account things like efficiency and price, we still think it’s one of the best options. You could pick an even quieter device but it probably wouldn’t run as efficiently as this one, so the compromise is worth considering.

The Kipor IG000P portable generator includes two 120volt outlets compatible with any standard extension. You can plug in any household appliance you want from televisions to home computers, kitchen appliances and other small devices. Just be careful not to accidentally exceed the 1000watt limit. It’s there for a reason.

The Final Verdict

The Kipor IG000P quiet portable generator is a good choice for anybody looking for a generator to fulfil low to moderate energy needs.. The model is perfectly designed for campsites and RVs because it’s small and easy to carry. It’s also fully compliant with California’s CARB and EPA regulations.

Kipor IG3000 Inverter Generator

Kipor’s IG3000 Inverter Generator is significantly more powerful than its smaller, lighter IG000P model. In fact, it produces around three times more power. Users can expect approximately 2800 running watts and 3,000 surge watts from this device. Like the IG000P model, it relies on an inverter mechanism to create clean, safe power.

When we say ‘safe’ in this context, we mean the electricity produced has a lower harmonic dissonance. This makes it compatible with smaller appliances and household devices like fridges, TV sets and computers. These machines can be easily overloaded so use the right type of generator for your home or worksite.

According to Kipor, the IG3000 generator works for up to eight hours at full capacity. As is common with these products, you’re probably not going to get the full eight hours. It’s not impossible but these ratings tend to be demonstrated under very specific conditions. Depending on where and how you use the generator, you should have no trouble getting a minimum of seven hours on full which is still impressive.

While the IG000P can be connected to a second generator and made doubly powerful, this model does not offer that same feature. On the other hand, its power output and overall efficiency is already much higher. So, it isn’t any less capable. The most remarkable thing about this model is the fact it performs so robustly while producing no more noise than its smaller, lightweight rival.

Like the IG000P, its maximum noise output (when used at full capacity) is 59 decibels. It’s significantly less portable at a hefty 132 pounds. This is the compromise you make for its clever noise minimizing technology. Yes, it’s heavier. You certainly don’t want to carry the IG3000 generator around a camp or construction site. It’s probably less suitable for RVs because of this extra weight.

This is a common issue for almost all traditional style generators. Yet, most traditional generators are noisy and disruptive. The more powerful the model, the more racket it’s likely to produce. The low noise levels of the IG3000 generator are its unique selling point and enable it to stand out in a crowded market. We should mention the IG3000 comes with retractable wheels and a pull out handle. It’s still too heavy to be lugging around a worksite but they do make it easier to manoeuvre.

The IG3000 model provides a 30 amp twist lock receptable and a 120volt 20amp duplex receptable.

The Final Verdict

It’s a bit chunky and unwieldy compared to the IG000P generator we agree. We’ve still got a serious spot for the Kipor IG3000 model because it’s so quiet. It’s ideal for anybody on the hunt for an affordable, high efficiency power producer. There’s no reason it can’t be safely used on vehicles such as RVs and campervans. Lots of RV owners use much heavier generators than this.

Do be aware of the weight though and account for it if you’re keeping the IG3000 on a frequently used camping vehicle. Also, it’s not CARB compliant like the IG3000 generator. Keep this in mind when making your choice between the two models. Throughout most of California, non-compliant generators are not permitted. It’s worth doing some research and making sure you’re buying an authorized product.

The Final Word On Kipor Quiet Portable Generators

There are plenty of bigger, better known generator manufacturers out there than Kipor. However, the brand is growing in prominence and continues to put out high performing products. What we like best about the brand is its investment in research and development. The maker spends a great deal of time on testing as a way to fine tune its electric power producers. The result is a line of generators that do more than produce power efficiently. They’re designed to fit around regular routines and real, everyday needs.

It’s why we recommend Kipor if you’re looking for a smaller and more compact backup generator. The company offers customers a two year limited warranty on all generator products designed for domestic use. There is a one year warranty on models used for industrial and construction purposes. Both of the models featured are covered by a warranty.

 

The Best Generator Brands of 2019

Demand is a particular aspect that quenches the thirst of manufacturers. Regardless of the product, this aspect makes them ask for more, as they tend to mix innovation and all such elements into making something that the masses can look up to. Generators are one such sector of power that has been dealing with the same story. Today, there are numerous names in this category that are here for the sake of demand. But you should not fall for everything since not everyone can bring out the best. So, to help you make the right choices, here are some of the best generator brands of 2019.

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