Preps found wanting, or sufficient in current severe weather

What changes can we make to our lives to deal with the economic and energy crises ahead? Have you already started making preparations? Got tips to share?

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adam2
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Post by adam2 »

Infrared heating from above is preferred for livestock rearing since it is cheap to install, quick reacting and animals seem to like it.
A relatively cold concrete floor covered with straw, and radiant heat from above, does somewhat simulate natural conditions of cold ground and warm sunlight.

Some experts recommend clear glass heat lamps during the day so as to simulate sunlight, and red lamps at night to reduce glare and encourage resting/sleeping.

In the installation to which I refer, red and clear lamps are provided with a changeover switch. Also a fluorescent light for when illumination without heat is needed.

The only occupants so far are the farm cats, and a colony of feral cats. These animals have clearly decided that this is a whole new village, specifically intended for them.
(the farmers kids are humanely trapping the feral cats and taking them to the vets. Any seriously ill or diseased animals are to be put down, healthy cats will be neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and returned)
"Installers and owners of emergency diesels must assume that they will have to run for a week or more"
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adam2
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Re: Preps found wanting, or sufficient in current severe weather

Post by adam2 »

In view of the recent very cold weather it seems worth revisiting this old thread.

Hope that all members coped all right and were properly equiped with heating appliances, fuel, warm clothing and bedding.
Has been fine at adam2towers.
Long underwear in use (100% cotton which is more comfortable than wool or poly anything, but only suitable for dry conditions)
Several large thick wool blankets on my bed, and spares available.
Stove was kept in continualy in the most severe weather, logs nearly all gone. Anthracite in reserve but not used normaly.
Other rooms heated with electric heaters, on time switches to utilise off peak electricity (which is greener as well as cheaper)
Oil lamp used in downstairs toilet as plumbing might freeze otherwise.
Tilley infra red radiator used in bathroom.
Very little snow here but it was unusualy cold. Below freezing all day, and that in one of the mildest parts of the UK.
One long power cut and numerous short ones. UPS worked fine.
Some disuption to deliveries.

Neighbours generally coped OK, apart fron one whose shed was destroyed by fire "caused by the generator"
"Installers and owners of emergency diesels must assume that they will have to run for a week or more"
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Re: Preps found wanting, or sufficient in current severe weather

Post by kenneal - lagger »

We're about halfway through the logs we cut and chopped last summer and autumn with a big pile yet to be chopped so we will probably be OK for next winter as well. I have been offered a lot of softwood logs which will be ready for the year after although these will have to be cut to size and chopped. We run entirely on wood for heating but with a small solar panel to part heat the domestic hot water supply.

We have had the living room fire going for about twelve hours a day during the cold weather and in the colder spells we ran the wood fired central heating cooker as well to heat the floor. When the cooker is not running we cook with propane, a 47kg cylinder lasting about six months.

I will be commissioning a new generator tomorrow so that the old one can have its main bearing oil seal replaced. It's chucking out about a litre of oil a day which is very messy and extremely expensive! The old one will then go on standby.

I then have to roof and wall, clad the timber frame, of, our new workshop which has been built around an old tent type garage so that I can get the old Genny in to mend it. I've got some hefty timbers in the roof so that I can use a chain winch to take the alternator off more easily. The structure so far has stood up to the wind and weather well and should get stronger as the cladding goes on. Once the roofing goes on I can take the tent down and gain a foot and a half all round.
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Re: Preps found wanting, or sufficient in current severe weather

Post by clv101 »

This winter as been much colder than the last two. For the last two months we've lit the fire an average of two days every three. It provides space heating, water heating and cooking. Typical burns are ~6 hours, one in four more like 10 hrs. We've used around 2 cubic metres of split, stacked ash/oak/willow.

Zero oil, zero gas, zero grid electric. Our only other source of energy is solar PV. 190 kWh in December and 206 kWh in January, that power provides light, IT, fridge/freezer, ~half cooking and a little bit of hot water on the rare full sun days we had in January where we banked around 10 kWh into the water tank.
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Re: Preps found wanting, or sufficient in current severe weather

Post by anotherexlurker »

I have been living in a rented mobile home for the last 2.5 years (was only supposed to have been for a few months!!!), its quite large at 50x20 foot and
is a nightmare to heat (or cool in a heatwave) .
The oil boiler that provided heat and hot water packed up late at night on 26th Jan and has yet to be replaced (landlord is putting in an all electric boiler), was very glad I had kept a couple of temperature and timer controllable electric heaters (1.8-3kw) along with a couple of portable gas room heaters (fit round a 15kg butane cylinder ) stored in a mates garage.
Hot water is currently only from an electric kettle, I rigged up a spare car battery and 12v electric pump so that I can have a shower (carry kettles of water and pour into a container in the bath , set temperature of water by adding cold water and dunk the submersible pump in the container).

Despite my electric usage going through the roof (along with most of the heat!!) the main room and kitchen where dropping to 5 and 6 degrees C, the gas heaters where mainly used to get the temperature back up in the morning and early evening , then switch to electric (and close the windows ) for the evening.

I had the further time pressure of my van's MOT running out on the 27th Jan and not sure if it would pass on its booked MOT on the 28th Jan (it did), so had to urgently collect the gas and electric heaters on the 27th as sod's law said if I did not then the van would fail its MOT.

If it was my own place I would have attempted to fix the boiler as its only a small hole in a copper pipe going to the heat exchanger (it is in an arse of a position to get at, and not a standard diameter) , but various firms all say boiler needs to be completely disconnected and pulled out before a repair (which is not economically viable).
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adam2
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Re: Preps found wanting, or sufficient in current severe weather

Post by adam2 »

If useing a lot more electricity than usual in a mobile home, beware not just the cost, but also the risk of overloading the supply. Mobile homes often have a restricted supply, esp. if intended for only for fine weather use in the holiday season.
"Installers and owners of emergency diesels must assume that they will have to run for a week or more"
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Re: Preps found wanting, or sufficient in current severe weather

Post by Potemkin Villager »

It sounds a really tough way to spend the winter. Have you any chance of finding
something easier to heat before next winter? One thing I have seen people do is boxing in the underside
so at least they have no howling gale under the floor. Could your landlord not be persuaded to upgrade
it for year round letting? Maybe that's a silly question.
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Re: Preps found wanting, or sufficient in current severe weather

Post by kenneal - lagger »

A friend has stacked big square bales of straw around the base of his caravan to stop the gale underneath. Forming a whole house of bales would be the best thing!!
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Re: Preps found wanting, or sufficient in current severe weather

Post by anotherexlurker »

The mobile home is a full time residential unit ,most of the underneath is bricked up, but there are 2 large open access points and numerous low level air vents that let a howling gale in!!. Normally these are not possible to rent , but temp permission was granted from the council. I will be the last person to rent this , then it has to be sold (they go for £250K-270K in the north west part of the south east). I don't see an electric boiler as being financially viable for this type of place , I reckon that the heating/water bill will go from £750-£1000 a year on oil to £2500-£3000 a year. If I was buying the place I would go back to oil. I am not sure of the environmental saving on using electricity from a gas power station, transmission losses, then heating water to pump round a large mobile home (no zone control) to heat the air , if using electricity it makes more sense to just use a heater to heat the air directly in the room you are in.

The main electricity supply is 100amp , but the cable from the supply box is not rated for more than 40amp , so a 40 amp breaker in a separate box provides the supply (according to the sparky)
(I have been mentally adding up the usage of each device , and making sure I dont have 2 kettles, an oven, washing machine, tumble dryer and various heaters on at the same time etc).

The current plan is to run a separate armoured cable from the main 100amp supply in for the electric boiler. Listening to the heating engineer and sparky
discussing that they will just reuse the existing condensate pipe for the electric boiler did not fill me with confidence (not sure what they expect to be forming condensate !!)

I hope to be back in bricks and mortar before next winter, but I thought that last year !!

This was a temp move between houses (mother was forced to sell and we were consolidating finances and moving to a cheaper part of the country (shropshire was plan A)), but we got gazumped), then mothers health deteriorated , then she was diagnosed that her cancer had progressed to leukemia during lock down one , then she passed away last October. (LJ is not the only one to have had to deal with ambulances, hospitals and death during covid , but by being polite and understanding I seemed to have had the better experience with NHS staff in 2 hospitals and a hospice during approx 30+ visits during covid)

Hopefully when I have finished sorting mothers estate and the current lock down is over , I can try and buy a place in Lincolnshire at least and then worry about where my income is going to come from before retirement (The last few years I have just been caring for my mother).

This is not intended as a tale of woe , but more to show that the most important prep is the need to be adaptable as the sayings sods law and it never rains but it pours can really mess up the best laid plans and you can't even go and meet a mate down the pub to rant about it!
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Re: Preps found wanting, or sufficient in current severe weather

Post by adam2 »

One neighbour reports that all was well in the recent severe weather, with the exception of greatly increased propane consumption. The bulk tank was empty when more than half full was expected. The greatly increased useage was a worry in case it had leaked which is a significant explosion risk.
No leak found.
Propane is used only for the cooker, a couple of lights, and bath water. Heating is from a wood stove.

After a while it was realised that the children were leaving the grill of the gas cooker on all day "because the kitchen was cold" For some reason home learning due to school closures can only be done in the kitchen, and not in the warm living room.
Very expensive home learning !
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Re: Preps found wanting, or sufficient in current severe weather

Post by kenneal - lagger »

adam2 wrote: Fri Feb 19, 2021 9:04 am One neighbour reports that all was well in the recent severe weather, with the exception of greatly increased propane consumption. ..........
Extra cups of tea as well?
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Re: Preps found wanting, or sufficient in current severe weather

Post by BritDownUnder »

If it is any consolation the weather has been 'cooler' than normal over here but with much increased humidity and rainfall. I suspect we have benefited from a "La Nina" year down under.

I moved the woodpile recently which involved disturbing a colony of Bluetongue lizards. A raised bed will be put in its place so it is a preparation of sorts. No gas or wood used this year and with no electricity bill this quarter and entirely free source of electrical energy since September.

Other preparations are quietly but methodically being put into place while my salary is still high and my health is good and the worlds resources are still there.
G'Day cobber!
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