electricity

The Green Suite Of Chicago Offering Window Farming For Beginners, DIY Solar Electricity Classes In March

Nick Conrad and The Green Suite of Chicago (first blogged about here in January 2014) will be offering instruction in “window farming” and solar electricity next month. From their website:

DIY Solar Electricity
Thursday, March 2, 2017
7:00pm -9:00pm
Green House Loft (map)

Class Info

Wouldn’t it be awesome to harness your own electricity from the sun? Solar energy is green, silent and a lot easier to build than you think.

This DIY class will cover the basics of electricity as well as how to design, build, and install your own solar panel system. In addition to solar electricity, we will discuss other sources of renewable energy such as wind and geothermal power. The class concludes with hands-on experience assembling part of an actual solar panel.

You will walk away from this course with the basic knowledge needed to start generating your own solar energy at home…and for a lot less money than you thought!

As I type this, 11 spots are still open for the class. Cost is only $30.

Regarding that window farming class:

Window Farming for Beginners
Sunday, March 5, 2017
3:00pm-5:00pm
Green House Loft (map)

Class Info

Have you always wanted to start a garden but don’t have the space or knowledge? Window farming is inexpensive and easy way to grow your own food right in your window! Constructed from recycled materials, window farms are perfect for small apartments with limited space.

The class consists of a 1hr introduction to the basics of hydroponics, window farming and seed cultivation followed by a thirty-minute workshop. In the workshop you will make a small hydroponic planter to take home with you. Each student should bring one empty plastic bottle. (12-32oz is best)

Anyone can learn how to grow fresh, organic food, hydroponically. Enroll today and you’ll learn how to grow your own food, save money and turn trash into treasure!

What to bring

Each student should bring one empty plastic bottle. (12-32oz is best)

As I type this, 11 spots are still open for the class. Cost again is only $30.

For more information about the instruction and how to enroll, head over to The Green Suite website here. You can also register for classes on the Dabble Chicago website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Posting of information about any instruction is not to be construed as being a recommendation from this blog and its editor, unless specifically indicated. I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Tuesday, February 7th, 2017 Agriculture, Energy, Farming, Food, Preparedness, Training, Utilities Comments Off on The Green Suite Of Chicago Offering Window Farming For Beginners, DIY Solar Electricity Classes In March

Northwestern Chicago Survival Expo In Grayslake On March 18-19

Any Chicagoland readers interested in attending a local prepper/survival expo next month? I spotted the following on the RK Prepper Shows website this cold Friday morning:

Northwestern Chicago Survival Expo

Tickets Now on Sale!

Are you ready for a natural disaster? Could you survive for days, weeks or months without power? If you have thought about what it means to prepare for the worst, the RK Prepper Shows Survival Expo is for you. Vendors will be on-site March 18th-19th at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Grayslake, IL. Long term food storage, solar power, bug-out kits, tactical gear and so much more will be available to purchase.

Hours:

Saturday Hours: 9-5pm
Sunday Hours: 9-4pm

Tickets:

Adults: $12, VIP: $14.50 – no line, no wait
Kids: $5, VIP: $7.50 – no line, no wait…

A “Medical Preparedness Workshop” headed-up by two authorities in the field of survival medicine will also be held in conjunction with the event:

Medical Preparedness Workshop*

Learn how to provide complete wound care with hands-on suture training, as well as stapling with Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy, medical preparedness experts from http://www.doomandbloom.net/.

*Extra Charge, class limited to 30, does not include tickets to the Prepper Show…

Joe Alton, M.D. (“Dr. Bones”) and Amy Alton, A.R.N.P., (“Nurse Amy”) are authors of the Amazon “Best Seller” The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way, now in its second edition.

I own a copy myself. It’s chock-full (588 pages) of terrific information for dealing with most medical issues one might face in a survival situation.

Interested in checking out the Northwestern Chicago Survival Expo? Head on over to the RK Prepper Shows website here for more information.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Posting of information about survival expos and instruction is not to be construed as being a recommendation from this blog and its editor, unless specifically indicated. I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Friday, February 3rd, 2017 Emergencies, Energy, Food, Gear, Health, Man-Made Disasters, Natural Disasters, Preparedness, Supplies, TEOTWAWKI, Training Comments Off on Northwestern Chicago Survival Expo In Grayslake On March 18-19

Signs Of The Time, Part 112

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know that I’ve been covering “prepping” on this blog for some years now.

And recently, I’ve been curious about the specific activities “preppers” have been carrying out in the run-up to Election Day.

Apparently (and not surprisingly), acquiring (more) emergency food has been a priority for these forward-looking individuals.

Ben Popken reported on the NBC News website this past weekend:

In case of an election night Doomsday, preppers are running up sales of emergency survival food.

While sales for “long term food” typically see an increase around natural disasters and elections, “this is more intense than what we saw in 2012,” said Keith Bansemer, VP of marketing for My Patriot Supply, a manufacturer and seller of survival food. During the previous election his company saw sales double. This time it’s triple.

“We have everyone we can on the phones,” he said. “We are overwhelmed.”

Purchases at other long term food supply companies are up as well. Emergency preparedness online store TheEpicenter reports a 6 percent uptick in year over year sales.

Another company, Legacy Foods, predicts they’ll see a 1-2 week spike in sales after the election — if Hillary Clinton wins, said owner Phil Cox…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Popken pointed out what’s spurring preppers to purchase “long-term” food:

Survivalist consumers say they’re preparing for post-election unrest that could involve everything from massive riots, to power grid outages, to the total collapse of the financial system where a can of food becomes currency

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Post-election unrest”

Talk of such an event has increased in the months leading up to today, so much so that the Oath Keepers, “a non-partisan association of current and formerly serving military, police, and first responders, who pledge to fulfill the oath all military and police take to ‘defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic,'” (first blogged about here back on August 12, 2011) just conducted a webinar “that went over strategies for avoiding and surviving social unrest in the streets including rioting and police reaction to that possible unrest. We talked about family preparedness plans if there were God forbid be a terrorist attack on our soil. These included communications, bug out bags, medical considerations, recognition of tactics that various terrorist organizations may use in that scenario and many more topics spoken on by several expert speakers.”


“Civil Unrest Post Election Scenarios & Preparation”
YouTube Video

Popken’s article was an insightful read- and not a “hit piece” either- which you can view in its entirety over on the NBC News site here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Project Prepper, Part 46: Summer Storm Gear Check

In the last installment of the “Project Prepper” series of posts, I talked about “threat priorities” and how severe weather is a top one for me. I blogged:

From my vantage point, here are the “top 3” I’m mostly concerned about:

1. Severe Weather
2. Financial Crisis
3. Terrorism

Concerning severe weather, here in the Chicagoland area residents have to contend with spring and summer storms that can consist of high winds, torrential rain, flooding, and tornadoes. Winter can bring along with it ice storms (not too often), significant snowfall/blizzards, and brutally-cold temperatures. Consequently, structural damage, utility outages, hazardous travel conditions, and other threats to life and property accompany such events.

Case in point, prior to my girlfriend and I moving into our house in 2013, a large part of the Chicago metro area suffered significant damage from a “derecho” (widespread, long-lived wind storm) event that left many area homeowners without electricity for several days. A real nuisance for most of those affected, but potentially deadly to those with serious health issues- like my elderly father. And in case readers think I’m talking about those far-off “suburbs” of Chicago here (I remember one real estate agent referring to Rochelle- approximately 80 miles west of Chicago- as a “western suburb” during the housing boom last decade), these extended outages were taking place in near “North Shore” enclaves. I remember watching one furious Northbrook homeowner being interviewed on the local televised news, saying how he had been without power for a number of days and couldn’t understand why it hadn’t been restored yet considering the high taxes he paid to live in such a nice area. Anyway, severe weather tops the list for me. Not as “sexy”- as some would say- as preparing for the “Zombie apocalypse,” but oh well…

The other night the Chicago metropolitan area was hit by a strong summer storm in which the local news reported 15,000 residents lost power (actually somewhat of a small number compared to other recent severe weather events around these parts). The occasion served as a reminder that I should probably perform a gear check prior to the arrival of more summertime severe weather, which is the focus of today’s post.

Emergency Alerts

I checked the operation and battery backup of my ever-vigilant Midland WR-100 Weather/All Hazards Alert Radio (now discontinued by the manufacturer but replaced with a newer model- the Midland WR-120). Everything is in working order. You should have heard the racket that device was making the other night (early morning actually) prior to/during that storm. Yeah, it’s in working order all right.

Emergency Lighting

I gathered up the various lanterns, flashlights, and headlamps in the house set aside for emergency lighting (and day-to-day tasks as well) and checked the operation of all these devices. This included:

Coleman Twin High Performance 8D LED Lantern (580 lumens)
Rayovac “Virtually Indestructible” 3D LED Lantern (530 lumens)
Rayovac Sportsman 3D LED Lantern (240 lumens)
Maglite Heavy Duty 6D Incandescent Flashlight (136 lumens)
Rayovac “Virtually Indestructible” 2D LED Flashlight (320 lumens)
Rayovac “Virtually Indestructible” 3AAA LED Flashlight (250 lumens)
Coast HL3 3AAA LED Headlamp (60 lumens) x 2
Princeton Tec Fuel 3AAA LED Headlamp (43 lumens)

All but one passed inspection, with fresh batteries taking care of the holdout.

The Coast headlamps and Rayovac “Virtually Indestructible” lantern/flashlights are new additions to my emergency lighting stash, and have been working great when called upon to perform tasks around the house and off-site. Particularly those Rayovac products. These seem to be built really tough (rubber head/tail cap, aluminum titanium alloy body) and are incredibly bright. The free Rayovac batteries included with each device were a nice bonus as well.

Rayovac "Virtually Indestructible" LED lantern/flashlights- functional, tough, and affordable

Rayovac “Virtually Indestructible” LED lantern/flashlights- functional, tough, and affordable

ANY CHARACTER HERE

I should also mention that in late spring, I lubricated threaded regions on the Maglite and Rayovac flashlights with Vaseline to protect threads and minimize “squealing.”

In addition, some time ago my girlfriend received two stained-glass, programmable 3D LED wall sconces as a gift from her family. We mounted one of them in our second floor hallway and it functions really well as a night light- and emergency light that doesn’t require power in the home to be on. To avoid burning through D-size alkaline batteries, I ordered a 6-pack of EBL 10,000mAh Ni-MH D-Cell Rechargeable Batteries from Amazon to partner with my trusty Rayovac PS3 Universal Smart Battery Charger. While one set (3 batteries) powers the wall sconce that’s been installed, the other goes to the charger. I’ve only started this rotation quite recently, but so far the EBL rechargeable batteries have been performing quite well.

Emergency Cooling

Other devices I checked over include two dual-powered (batteries or included AC adapter) O2COOL 10-inch Portable Fans. These worked just fine. The portable fans should make extended power outages on hot summer days a little bit more bearable.

All of this gear is strategically-positioned around the house for fast access in an emergency (and for daily use).

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Items added to “Gear And Supplies” page)

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Thursday, July 7th, 2016 Communications, Emergencies, Energy, Gear, Natural Disasters, Preparedness, Project Prepper, Terrorism, Utilities, Weather Comments Off on Project Prepper, Part 46: Summer Storm Gear Check

Project Prepper, Part 45: Top 3 Threat Priorities

“As a result of my research and this blog, I’m now aware of the myriad of man-made and naturally-occurring threats to my life and lifestyle (and those of my loved ones), and think it’s probably wise to acquaint myself more with ‘prepping’ via a sustained ‘hands-on’ program of learning and doing, which I’ll call ‘Project Prepper.’

Through a series of posts on this blog which I suspect should last for quite some time (years?), I’ll be able to share my preparedness experiences with you…”

Survival And Prosperity, “Project Prepper, Part 1: It Begins,” October 24, 2012

This week’s “Project Prepper” post is going to be a little different. While I’m currently working on a number of projects related to fulfilling seven “innate survival needs” (hat tip Jack Spirko @ The Survival Podcast):

1. Physical Security
2. Financial Security
3. Water
4. Food
5. Sanitation and Health
6. Energy
7. Shelter

Today I’m going to talk about threat priorities. As a forty-something homeowner residing with my girlfriend in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, in 2016, “I’m now aware of the myriad of man-made and naturally-occurring threats to my life and lifestyle (and those of my loved ones).” Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know I blog about them frequently. But from my vantage point, here are the “top 3” I’m mostly concerned about:

1. Severe Weather
2. Financial Crisis
3. Terrorism

Concerning severe weather, here in the Chicagoland area residents have to contend with spring and summer storms that can consist of high winds, torrential rain, flooding, and tornadoes. Winter can bring along with it ice storms (not too often), significant snowfall/blizzards, and brutally-cold temperatures. Consequently, structural damage, utility outages, hazardous travel conditions, and other threats to life and property accompany such events.

Case in point, prior to my girlfriend and I moving into our house in 2013, a large part of the Chicago metro area suffered significant damage from a “derecho” (widespread, long-lived wind storm) event that left many area homeowners without electricity for several days. A real nuisance for most of those affected, but potentially deadly to those with serious health issues- like my elderly father. And in case readers think I’m talking about those far-off “suburbs” of Chicago here (I remember one real estate agent referring to Rochelle- approximately 80 miles west of Chicago- as a “western suburb” during the housing boom last decade), these extended outages were taking place in near “North Shore” enclaves. I remember watching one furious Northbrook homeowner being interviewed on the local televised news, saying how he had been without power for a number of days and couldn’t understand why it hadn’t been restored yet considering the high taxes he paid to live in such a nice area. Anyway, severe weather tops the list for me. Not as “sexy”- as some would say- as preparing for the “Zombie apocalypse,” but oh well.

Financial crisis. Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity and its predecessor know I’ve been on the lookout for coming “tough times” for some years now. From this blog’s “About” page:

Back in 2004 when SP’s creator/editor Christopher Hill was surveying the economic and investment landscape in support of his own investing activities, he concluded from his own research that the United States was heading towards a financial crash. Deciding that this was something other Americans might want to know about, Mr. Hill launched the independent financial blog Boom2Bust.com, “The Most Hated Blog on Wall Street,” on Memorial Day Weekend 2007 with the purpose of warning and educating others about the approaching U.S. economic crash. He has been credited with calling last decade’s housing bubble and subsequent bust, the 2008 global economic crisis, and the “Great Recession” as a result of his work on this project. Chris wrote over 1,500 posts on Boom2Bust.com during its nearly three-year run, with many of these picked up and republished on the web sites of The Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, Fox News, Reuters, USA Today, the Chicago Sun-Times group, the Austin-American Statesman, the Palm Beach Post, and the West Orlando News, among other media outlets. Chris was also interviewed for a May 2009 MSNBC.com article as a result of his work with the blog.

Since Memorial Day Weekend 2007, I’ve stood by and watched as the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble and subprime mortgage crisis was quickly followed by carnage on Wall Street in the autumn of 2008 and a “Great Recession.” I also observed how the Washington politicians and the Fed responded by “papering up” the mess with massive government and central bank intervention. But as everyone knows, you can only “kick the can down the road” so far. And my concern is that the road is rapidly coming to an end. Visit this blog often enough and you might get that sense as well.

Consequently, I’ve come to believe that the U.S. financial crash I still see headed our way won’t be like an airplane that suffers a sudden, catastrophic failure and plummets back to Earth like a rock. Rather, taking into account the abilities of the federal government and central bank to keep the aircraft aloft for quite some time, the crash may be more akin to a slow- yet-unavoidable descent into the ground. At which point, Americans might be left pondering what had happened to them, just like Argentines did after their economy crapped out in the early 2000s after prosperous times.

Making matters worse is the fact that I still reside in Cook County and Illinois, whose financial troubles are well-publicized. While I’ve left Chicago, I still haven’t made Wisconsin my permanent home address.

When the “balloon goes up” locally and nationally, I suspect everyday living is going to get particularly gritty around these parts.

As terrorism is concerned, post-9/11 I found myself working in the public safety field. As part of my duties at a local fire department, I catalogued potential terrorist targets in the area in the hunt for money to upgrade the agency’s response capabilities. It was my belief that the threat was real then, and it remains so today. Even more so in 2016, as U.S. border security is quite suspect at a time when those who would wish to harm the “homeland” continually make their operational capabilities and future desires for wreaking death and destruction known.


“Border Patrol Admits US Citizenship Doesn’t Matter”
YouTube Video

Like I’ve repeatedly said before on this blog, I believe it’s only a matter of time before the United States suffers terror attacks possibly resembling what occurred in Beslan (Russia) in 2004, Mumbai (India) in 2008, and more recently in Paris and Brussels. And a terrorist strike rivaling or even surpassing the carnage of September 11, 2011, is not out of the question as far as I’m concerned. New jihadists continue to replace their fallen predecessors in this “War on Terror,” and the religious duty of killing “infidels” remains the same. On May 6, 2011, I wrote:

In 2005, Dr. Paul L. Williams, a journalist and author, published the book The Al-Qaeda Connection, in which he discussed plans for a future nuclear terrorist strike, dubbed “American Hiroshima.” He wrote:

Bin Laden asserts that he must kill four million Americans- two million of whom must be children- in order to achieve parity for a litany of “wrongs” committed against the Muslim people by the United States of America. The “wrongs” include the establishment and occupation of military bases between the holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, the support of Israel and the suppression of the Palestinian people, the Persian Gulf War and the subsequent economic sanctions, and the invasions of Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

These days, the Islamic State has stolen the headlines from Al-Qaeda and other Muslim extremists. But such religious fanaticism as a whole remains a top concern for me.

Severe weather, financial crisis, and terrorism are natural and man-made threats that register the most on my radar. But this doesn’t mean I discount other potential dangers to life and property either (pandemic, severe space weather, and war would probably be the next three on the list). As such, an “all-hazards” approach is emphasized in my “Project Prepper” activities.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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DHS, FBI Launches Nationwide Program Warning Electric Companies About Cyber Attacks

While most of Main Street might not have a clue about the threat to the nation’s power grid from cyber attacks, it sounds like the Feds may be starting to take it seriously. Bill Gertz reported over on The Washington Free Beacon website last Friday:

Three months after a Department of Homeland Security intelligence report downplayed the threat of a cyber attack against the U.S. electrical grid, DHS and the FBI began a nationwide program warning of the dangers faced by U.S. utilities from damaging cyber attacks like the recent hacking against Ukraine’s power grid.

The nationwide campaign by DHS and the FBI began March 31 and includes 12 briefings and online webinars for electrical power infrastructure companies and others involved in security, with sessions in eight U.S. cities, including a session next week in Washington.

The unclassified briefings are titled “Ukraine Cyber Attack: Implications for U.S. Stakeholders,” and are based on work with the Ukrainian government in the aftermath of the Dec. 23 cyber attack against the Ukrainian power infrastructure…

The briefings will outline the details of the attacks, the techniques used by the hackers, and strategies to be used to limit risks and improve cyber security for grid organizations…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Those who have been sounding the alarm over the cyber attack threat for some time now have found a high-profile ally in American broadcast journalist Ted Koppel. Graham Vyse reported on the website of InsideSources, a non-partisan news organization, back on March 19:

On Monday, ABC News legend Ted Koppel sat down at a conference table at the National Press Foundation in Washington, accepted the mug of coffee he was offered and proceeded to describe a national security threat greater than 9/11.

The longtime “Nightline” anchor told reporters about the danger of a cyber attack on the United States power grid — an unprecedented event that could mean months of blackouts affecting tens of millions.

Koppel sees this scenario as a likelihood, not just a possibility, for which the country is woefully unprepared. He worries it would reduce America to a kind of Hobbesian state of nature, with conflicts over food, water and other dwindling necessities. It’s all the subject of his latest book, “Lights Out.”

“What happened on 9/11 is nothing compared to what a cyber attack on the power grid would do,” Koppel said…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Vyse added:

Koppel doesn’t think America can actually prevent a cyber attack, so he argues the focus should be on minimizing damage. The trouble is, he’s doubtful Congress would respond well to a request for $100 billion to buy enough freeze-dried meals to avoid food riots

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“The trouble is, he’s doubtful Congress would respond well to a request for $100 billion to buy enough freeze-dried meals to avoid food riots”

Yikes.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Gertz, Bill. “FBI Warns of Cyber Threat to Electric Grid.” The Washington Free Beacon. 8 Apr. 2016. (http://freebeacon.com/issues/fbi-warns-cyber-threat-electric-grid/). 12 Apr. 2016.

Vyse, Graham. “Ted Koppel: Homeland Security Chief ‘Ignorant’ on Threat to Grid.” InsideSources. 19 Mar. 2016. (http://www.insidesources.com/koppel-homeland/). 12 Apr. 2016.

Ted Koppel’s power grid cyber attack book…

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Wednesday, April 13th, 2016 Civil Strife, Emergencies, Energy, Europe, Food, Government, Infrastructure, Main Street, Mainstream Media, Preparedness, Public Safety, Technology, Terrorism, Utilities, War Comments Off on DHS, FBI Launches Nationwide Program Warning Electric Companies About Cyber Attacks

Project Prepper, Part 44: Backup Heating For House Update

Back on February 25, I started discussing backup heating for the house my girlfriend and I purchased in 2013. I blogged:

Last Friday, incredibly strong winds (max gust speed 62 mph) pummeled the Chicagoland area. Not surprisingly, we lost power for a few hours- along with the heat. As I lay in bed recovering from the flu and buried under the covers, I thought to myself, “It’s a good thing it isn’t that cold outside today considering its February in Chicago.”

Later on I started thinking about what my girlfriend and I would do if the electricity had been out for a longer stretch of time while the outside temperatures were more “seasonal.”

I decided to look into a backup heat source for the house once I was up and about again…

I initially thought a vent-free natural gas heater, installed on a basement wall adjacent to the utility room, was the solution. But as I wrote in my last “Project Prepper” entry:

I’m starting to like the idea of a natural gas-powered stationary (standby) generator above and beyond the vent-free heater. The standby generator would allow us to keep using the furnace to heat the house and run other essentials in the event of a power outage…

Now, our HVAC guy did come out to the house to discuss a new heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system for the structure- which my girlfriend and I subsequently agreed to purchase. But not before I confirmed the setup could be tied into a natural gas-powered stationary (standby) generator down the road. When asked if he knew someone qualified to install such a generator, he informed me his brother-in-law does such work. Nice.

In the meantime, while the Chicagoland winter was pretty tame this year (especially when compared to the last two), I’d still like to bridge the gap with some temporary backup heating setup until we can afford to buy a stationary generator. I’m leaning towards picking up a Big Buddy Portable Heater by Mr. Heater after reading a number of decent reviews about the product. From its “Description” page on the Mr. Heater website:

The Most Popular Portable Propane Heater in North America. This patented radiant 4,000-18,000 BTU Liquid Propane heater connects directly to two 1 lb. cylinders and is the perfect solution for heating enclosed spaces like cabins up to 400 sq. ft. An integrated fan increases the heating capacity of this unit, blending radiant and convection style heat to give you the best of both worlds. Two swivel regulators give you the ability to adapt usage from disposable cylinders to a remote gas supply with the purchase of a single hose and filter. To light the unit, simply push and rotate the knob. The built in Piezo sparking mechanism will take care of the rest. With the Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS) and accidental tip-over safety shut-off, you can be sure that you will enjoy years of comfortable indoor safe heat.

• 4,000, 9,000, or 18,000 BTU per hour
• For use with propane gas
• Heats up to 400 sq. ft.
• Single control start knob
• Hi-Med-Low heat settings
• Swivel regulators
• Automatic low oxygen shut-off system (ODS)
• Accidental tip-over safety shut-off
• Connects to two 1 lb. cylinders
• Connects to a 20 lb. cylinder with optional hose
• Fan operates on 4 – D batteries or AC adapter, both sold separately


“Big Buddy- Operation and Accessories”
YouTube Video

I like the fact that the device can be used for emergency home heating. From its product page on Amazon.com:

The Big Buddy Propane Heater by Mr. Heater is the latest evolution in portable heat-with the capacity to heat up to 400 square feet. It combines radiant heat comfort with fan-powered convection heat for maximum heating efficiency, providing safe, reliable heat anytime. Use it for emergency situations, workshops, garages, storage buildings, construction trailers, barns, tents, patios, porches, cabins, fishing shanties, truck caps, barns — anywhere you want to stay warm. May also be used inside your home in case of a power outage

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Some more research is required on my end. Still, it’s nice knowing there might be a temporary backup heating option available for the house until a stationary generator can be put into play.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Wednesday, March 30th, 2016 Emergencies, Energy, Infrastructure, Natural Resources, Preparedness, Project Prepper, Utilities, Weather Comments Off on Project Prepper, Part 44: Backup Heating For House Update

Project Prepper, Part 43: Standby Generator For Heat, Other Essentials

In last week’s “Project Prepper” post, I blogged about backup heating for the house my girlfriend and I purchased in 2013.

You may recall I talked about how strong winds knocked out power- and heat (electricity needed for furnace blower)- for a couple of hours late last month. I wrote:

Later on I started thinking about what my girlfriend and I would do if the electricity had been out for a longer stretch of time while the outside temperatures were more “seasonal.”

I decided to look into a backup heat source for the house once I was up and about again…

As we already use a natural gas furnace, I initially thought a vent-free natural gas heater would be a good backup heat source. Based on that initial research I did, I still think it is.

However, I’m starting to like the idea of a natural gas-powered stationary (standby) generator above and beyond the vent-free heater. The standby generator would allow us to keep using the furnace to heat the house and run other essentials in the event of a power outage. David Agrell reported on the Popular Mechanics website on January 25, 2013:

Standby generators offer a steadfast solution to extended outages. Unlike portable generators, they’re installed permanently on a concrete pad in your yard and will provide uninterrupted backup for days. That’s because they’re connected directly to your home’s electrical panel and powered by an external fuel supply, such as natural gas, liquid propane, or diesel. Smaller, air-cooled essential-circuit units… are slightly larger than portable generators and can energize just a few circuits at a time. Larger, liquid-cooled whole-house systems will do just as their name suggests—they’ll comfortably power an entire home…


“Standby Generator”
YouTube Video

According to the Generator Buying Guide (February 2016) on the Consumer Reports website, stationary generators range from roughly 5,000 to 20,000 watts and cost from $5,000 to $10,000. Yikes! Add to that the cost of professional installation. Plus there’s this from the folks over at Consumer Reports:

Guess What: You Need a Transfer Switch

What’s that, you say? Well, the short answer is that it links the stationary or portable generator to your circuit panel in one cable. Skipping it could cause appliances to fry, endanger utility workers, and damage the generator.

We recommend that you have a pro install it, and it could cost from $500 to $900, with labor…

Other items that might need to be addressed include:

• Maintenance
• Municipal ordinances
• Noise
• Physical placement

I get it. This would be somewhat of a complex and costly project to carry out.

Still, at first glance a natural gas-powered stationary (standby) generator looks to fit our anticipated needs better than just a vent-free heater for backup heating.

I’ll bring up the subject again after looking into it some more.

Stay tuned…

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Agrell, David. “Should You Buy a Standby Generator?” Popular Mechanics. 25 Jan. 2013. (http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/how-to/a8523/should-you-buy-a-standby-generator-14880060/). 3 Mar. 2016.

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Thursday, March 3rd, 2016 Emergencies, Energy, Natural Resources, Preparedness, Project Prepper, Utilities Comments Off on Project Prepper, Part 43: Standby Generator For Heat, Other Essentials

Project Prepper, Part 42: Backup Heating For House

The last two “Project Prepper” posts consisted of a recap of what the series is all about and a status report for the project a little over three years in the works.

Today I want to move forward and talk about backup heating for the house my girlfriend and I purchased in 2013.

Last Friday, incredibly strong winds (max gust speed 62 mph) pummeled the Chicagoland area. Not surprisingly, we lost power for a few hours- along with the heat. As I lay in bed recovering from the flu and buried under the covers, I thought to myself, “It’s a good thing it isn’t that cold outside today considering its February in Chicago.”

Later on I started thinking about what my girlfriend and I would do if the electricity had been out for a longer stretch of time while the outside temperatures were more “seasonal.”

I decided to look into a backup heat source for the house once I was up and about again.

Fast forward to tonight. Currently, the structure is heated solely by an older natural gas furnace. And as I mentioned before, when the electricity goes, so do the comfy indoor temps.

Not good in these parts at this time of year.

Thankfully, I may have found a solution:

A vent-free natural gas heater


“Vent-Free Gas Heaters”
YouTube Video

I’m thinking of something along the lines of Mr. Heater’s Vent Free Blue Flame Natural Gas Heater (Model# MHVFB30NGT). From the Cleveland, Ohio-based heating product manufacturer’s website:

This Blue Flame 30,000 BTU Natural Gas Vent Free heater is the perfect supplemental heating solution even on the coldest days. This heater is conveniently equipped with a thermostat for superior control of the temperature in your space. Also, with a battery powered electronic ignition, starting it is a breeze – battery included. This unit can be permanently mounted to the wall or securely fastened to the floor with included mounting brackets and fasteners. A clean burning blue flame tube burner uses the natural convection of the burn to circulate warm comfortable air. With a factory standard Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS), rest assured this heater will provide you with years of comfortable and safe heat.

• 30,000 BTU per hour
• For use with Natural Gas
• Heats up to 750 sq. ft.
• Blue flame burner for even convection heat
• Quiet integrated blower for gentle circulation of heated air
• Thermostat for automatic temperature control
• Automatic low oxygen shut-off system (ODS)
• Legs and wall mounting hardware included…

From the Amazon webpage for this family of Mr. Heater products:

Our Vent Free heaters need no external power, great for power outages and applications with no electricity…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Bingo. Just what I’m looking for.

And consider this from Rich M. over at the Off The Grid News website some time back while discussing a different natural gas-powered heater used in the home:

There are two huge advantages to using this type of heater. First of all, they don’t need electricity, and secondly, you don’t have to stockpile natural gas. Natural gas pumping stations provide their own power, so they will probably still be operating even if there is no electricity. About the only way that they can go down is if the gas pipes are damaged…

I’m pretty sure the above applies to the vent-free natural gas heaters too.

In a significant SHTF event, natural gas may or may not be flowing to the house unimpeded. Still, for reliable backup heating after a winter storm/other emergency knocks out the power- and main heating source- for several hours or more, this type of heater might fit the bill.

More research is necessary. As luck would have it, our HVAC guy is scheduled to stop by at the end of next week to talk about a different project. I’ll make it a point to ask him what he thinks about vent-free natural gas heaters as a backup heat source around these parts, and will report back to Survival And Prosperity readers with what was discussed.

Stay warm…

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Thursday, February 25th, 2016 Emergencies, Energy, Infrastructure, Preparedness, Project Prepper, Utilities, Weather Comments Off on Project Prepper, Part 42: Backup Heating For House

SP Intel Report- November 13, 2015

Chicagoland

DIY Solar Electricity, Window Farming For Beginners Classes From The Green Suite

Nick Conrad and The Green Suite will be putting on DIY Solar Electricity and Window Farming for Beginners classes over the next couple of weeks:

DIY Solar Electricity (class #1)
Wednesday, November 18, 7 to 9 PM
The Green Suite, 3958 N. Fremont, Apt. 3, Chicago
$30 to attend, 2 spots left as I type this

Window Farming For Beginners
Wednesday, December 2, 7 to 9 PM
The Green Suite
$30 to attend, 8 spots left

DIY Solar Electricity (class #2)
Tuesday, December 15, 7 to 9 PM
The Green Suite
$30 to attend, 5 spots left

For more information, head on over to The Green Suite website here.

Cook County Finance Committee Approves Ammunition Tax

It comes as no surprise that Cook County, Illinois, aims to tax law-abiding firearm owners in the county for the actions of criminals- yet again. Earlier this week I mentioned Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle had proposed a tax on ammunition sales in the county. Today, the Cook County Finance Committee approved the proposal. Hal Dardick reported on the Chicago Tribune website tonight:

The Finance Committee on Friday approved a series of other new taxes and fees. They include… A new tax on bullets- 5 cents per round of “centerfire ammunition” and 1 cent per round of “rimfire ammunition”- to raise $320,000 a year for public safety and health programs.

Todd Vandermyde, Illinois lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, said the county could expect a court challenge on the bullet fee, just as it is battling a lawsuit against a $25-per-gun purchase tax that went into effect two years ago.

“It seems interesting that the county wants to go down this road again, because you’ll incur even more litigation with a new suit to deal with this issue,” Vandermyde said, noting the relatively small sum the bullet tax is expected to bring in…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

See you in court? I’d be curious to find out how much that $25-per-gun purchase tax lawsuit has cost Cook County taxpayers to date.

Illinois

Illinois State Rifle Association Warns Of State Gun Control Legislation

Still on the topic of firearms tonight, gun control is on the march here in the “Land of Lincoln.” And the Illinois State Rifle Association has identified new initiatives that threaten the Second Amendment. From the ISRA Thursday Bulletin’s “Executive Director’s Message” for November 12, 2015:

In Springfield we have a couple of troublesome House Resolutions introduced. The first of these is HR0830 (Flowers, D-31, Chicago). HR 0830 calls for President Obama to hold a National Conference on Gun Violence by the end of 2015, in Chicago. This of course would be a blame the law abiding gun owners conference more than anything else. There are only 49 days left this year so it would have to happen quickly.

The next resolution, (Welch, D-7, Hillside), urges the courts, especially the Supreme Court, to adhere to the clear wording of the Second Amendment, being a right afforded to state sponsored militias, not individuals (this is their wording, not mine). What this clearly points out is that the Second Amendment is under attack. If you are not disturbed by this, you should be…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

You can read the entire Thursday Bulletin via the ISRA’s Twitter page here.

International

My thoughts and prayers go out to France this evening. While appalled, I am not shocked to hear of the Paris terror attack however. For a couple of years now I’ve talked about the November 2008 Mumbai, India, slaughter being emulated by terrorists. Almost a year ago to this day I blogged:

Something tells me our friends in Western Europe might suffer a major terrorist attack before a strike against the United States…

And on January 7, 2015, I wrote:

I still predict major terrorist attacks having the potential of inflicting large numbers of casualties will be directed against America and its allies in the future. The possible culprits being several, but including Muslim extremists like Al-Qaeda and its affiliates…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Captain Obvious strikes again? Perhaps. But the notion of a large scale terror attack directed against the United States and/or its allies doesn’t appear to have been registering on the radars of lots of people these days. With a laughable economic “recovery” and plenty of distractions in play by the powers-that-be, who could blame them?

After the carnage in France, America and her allies remain in the crosshairs of the terrorists. Stay safe…

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Dardick, Hal. “Preckwinkle wins hotel tax, declines to rule out future hikes.” Chicago Tribune. 13 Nov. 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-preckwinkle-hotel-tax-cook-county-met-20151113-story.html). 13 Nov. 2015.

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Survival And Prosperity
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RSS Chris Hill’s Other Blog: Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes

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