With Hurricane Ike approaching it is time to prepare for the fact that you may loose electical power. South Florida including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and the Keys will likely be affected and may some of those communities may feel the full effect of the storm. The most common affect is loss of electrical power which can be anywhere from a few hours to several days. In major storms power can take a few weeks to be restored to everyone.
Generators are one option if you live in a house or townhouse. They are noisy and require fuel, usually gasoline. Usually after several hours the gas tank needs to be refilled if you are using a portable generator. Some generators use Propane. Whole house generators sometime use large tanks that store propane. A 45 gallon cylinder tank can power an 8 kilo-watt generator, producing electrical power for a few appliances for almost 24 hours with normal power consumption. Local laws sometimes regulate how much propane can be stored on a residential property.
Battery back up power is an easier method for powering some electrical appliances and lights. A gas grill with a side burner can be used for cooking and heating water. Propane or Butane stoves can also be used. For bright outdoor light propane camp lanterns can be used.
If you do not use electric appliances for cooking, a twelve-volt portable battery or marine battery with an inverter can power 120 volt items. You can run a small television, aquarium pump, coffee grinder, fluorescent lights, incandesant lights, radios, DVD players, CD Players, sleep apnea equipment, cell phone chargers, portable ice makers and many other items. Be sure the inverter is large enough. For example a portable ice maker needs more power than some of the other items.
You can attach an inverter to your car battery and start the car periocically to recharge it. Do not let a car battery run low as it is designed for quick bursts of power for starting a car. Totally discharging a car battery shortens its life. Deep cycle marine batteries are designed for providing power over longer periods of time and are designed to be discharged more often.
One method of charging batteries is through the use of solar panels. You can recharge the battery during the day. If you need a small amount of power, the cost of solar cells will be much less than if you need to fully recharge a large battery during one sunny day. Solar panels, marine batteries, solar panels and solar panels can be purchased from
Responsible Energy Corporation is another source for solar battery chargers and other products including rechargable batteries.
Coleman® Exponent® FLEX 5 ?Foldable Solar Charger
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