Living without power for an extended amount of time can be a daunting prospect. Although a small group of people may have alternative forms of emergency heat and supplies stashed safely in their home or retreat, these may not be enough to see you through the an extended period without power and heat. Battery packs and generators have a limited life span and purchasing a large stockpile of fuel is an expensive undertaking. There is no way to tell where you will be when the SHTF and getting to your home and stockpile of supplies may be impossible. Therefore, it is important to be aware of a few simple methods of creating heat, warmth and cooking facilities that will prove invaluable during difficult times.
Solar Bottle Bulb
Solar bottle bulbs are convenient ways to illuminate outdoor storage areas, garages and other shelters that are not connected to a power source. Use an 8oz clear plastic bottle and measure the circumference of the bottle. The bottle will be set up so that the bottom two-thirds is inside the structure, and the top third is sticking out of the roof to harvest sunlight. Decide where you would like to place your solar bulb, and then draw a circle on the ceiling of your structure that is the same size as the bottle’s circumference. Draw another circle on a piece of sheet metal that is large enough to surround the bottle. Cut out the two circles using a handsaw, or power saw if you’re doing this ahead of time.
Fill the bottle almost to the very top with distilled water, and then top it off with 3 tablespoons of bleach. Replace the cap and allow the bleach to mix slowly with the water. Fit the bottle into the hole in the sheet metal. Seal the edges between the bottle and the sheet metal with industrial strength sealant. Slot the bottle into the hole in the roof with the sheet metal on the outside. Seal the edges of the sheet metal all the way around with sealant to stop water and humidity from entering the structure. As long as it is fitted well, the solar bottle bulb should last up to 5 years. Add a little extra bleach every few months to keep the water clean and free from mold. More detailed information can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5YQ4t5apPM
Soda Can Stove
If you are on the move with a bugout bag, you will need to carry the least amount of weight possible. Bunsen burners and gas canisters can take up precious space. For an effective and virtually weightless camping stove, you will need only an aluminum can and denatured alcohol. Using either your knife or a can opener, cut away the top part of the can leaving the outer lip intact. Draw a line around the can about 1.5 inches from the bottom. Cut around the can making sure the edges are straight all the way around. Cut the top part of the can so it is exactly the same height as the bottom when held side by side. Take a knife and then press the blade vertically all around the can to make indented creases all around the sides that are approximately 1 inch apart.
Next, make a series of small holes at the top of the can just under the outer lip using a thumbtack to allow oxygen to flow freely. Slip the top part of your can into the bottom base, and you are ready to begin cooking. Pour a small amount of fuel into the stove to begin with to gauge exactly how much you will need and light it using a long matchstick. You can cook relatively large meals such as rice or soup using the soda can stove. To extinguish the flames, place a pot or glass bowel upside down on top of the stove to deprive it of oxygen. Any fuel that is left over can be poured back into the bottle of alcohol and reused. More detailed information can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ui8t3pivqtk
Clay Flower Pot and Tea Light Candle Heater
All you need to effectively heat a small area for just a few cents per day, are one medium and one small size terracotta flowerpot, a bread tin and 4 tea light candles. Place 4 tea lights in a deep metal square container such as a brownie pan. The pan should be similar in size to the opening of the larger flowerpot. Turn the smaller flowerpot upside down and place it over the tea lights. It should fit snugly inside the dish. Turn the larger flowerpot upside down and place it on top of smaller one so it rests on the top edge of the dish. Only use flowerpots that have a small hole in the base, and air should also be able to escape from the corners of the metal dish that are not covered by the larger pot. Each flowerpot will be able to disperse a substantial amount of heat to keep the room’s ambient warmth. Increase the number or size of candles or even make several bread pan/flowerpot heaters to generate warmth in larger spaces. More detailed information can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brHqBcZqNzE
Battery Fire Lighter
If you find yourself without matches or a lighter, you can still get a fire going instantly with a small battery and a stick of gum. A small AA or AAA battery is ideal, and you will need a stick of chewing gum in a foil wrapper. Tear off a thin strip of the foil about ½ an inch wide and fold it in half. Holding the folded end at the top, tear off a corner ¼ inch by ½ inch. When you unfold the strip it should have a small rectangle indent missing from one side. Press and hold the ends of the foil to each end of the battery, and the thin middle section will now ignite. Drop the foil onto some flammable material such as dried grass or brittle wood. More detailed information can be seen here: http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/bear-grylls-escape-from-hell/videos/gum-wrapper-plus-battery-fire.htm
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