Phoenix Bird


I personally favor a combination of power sources, but also believe you should plan for total lack of commercial power source by acquiring alternate heating, lighting, and cooking sources. When I lived in the cabin, I did not have nor did I generate electrical power; rather, I found work-arounds to make life comfortable. I even purchased a butane curling iron. I used battery-powered, propane, kerosene and propane lights, plus kerosene heater, woodstove, and propane stove for heating and cooking. I had battery-operated radios and a cell phone with a roof antenna plus 12-volt deep cycle marine battery for power backup. I took my collection of rechargeable batteries to work every day for a refresh!

If you're only planning for a short-term power source a generator would appear to be the obvious choice. You can continue to use your electrical implements and appliances, though not everything-all-the-time-all-at-once. You can run your refrigerator and freezer at regular intervals to keep your food fresh. You can run your furnace and air conditioner for some degree of temperature regulation. You can run your water pump if you have well water, and your water heater to keep hot showers coming. You can have lights and all if you wish.

There are a number of drawbacks to having a generator. Generators require a fuel source so be prepared to store barrels of gasoline, diesel fuel, etc. They're also noisy and if security is a consideration you might want to consider where you're going to put your generator and how you're going to muffle the sound. If you own your own house you can build a sound-proofed room but you still need to provide for exhausting the beast. You can find plans for water-based muffling systems on the web. I've heard unconfirmed reports that during Hurricane Andrew some privately owned generators were commandeered by the National Guard, so you have this to consider also.

Solar power is another method to consider if you live in a part of the country where the ratings for killowatt hours of per square meter per day are high. To consider using solar as a main power source you'll probably need to be in the 4-Kw or higher range. As I am in no way, shape or form an expert in solar energy, you'll have to do your own research. Collectors, storage batteries, etc. are way beyond my area of expertise!

Two very good books about alternate energy sources are Other Homes and Garbage and More Other Homes and Garbage. You can try to find either or both of these out-of-print but very valuable books through or a search of used bookstores. I borrowed one from a colleague when I was living in the hunting cabin - thanks Ron, give me a yell if you need it back! We ordered the other online. Lehman's also sells accessories for solar.

Windmills are also an alternative power source. More information can be found on the Internet, perhaps starting at American Windmills. Other Homes and Garbage and More Other Homes and Garbage are also good sources of information. You can check for information on hydroelectric power and other alternate power sources on the Internet.

Below are the results of a search on each topic. It's up to you to sort through the links and follow ones that look interesting!

Generator links

Solar links

Windmill links

Hydroelectric links