Cooking with power outage

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brothers
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Cooking with power outage

Post by brothers » Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:46 pm

This is all about cooking, so I decided to post it here in the Cooking forum. A couple of years ago we bought a new gas range to replace the old. One thing we have always counted on was that even if there's no electricity, we could always count on the gas range for cooking or at least heating the kitchen in the event the outage occurred in cold weather. Then we learned that due to some relatively new federal rule or law, new ranges will not light unless there's electricity going to the range alongside the natural gas.

It seems to be a safety feature that I may have imagined I understood at one time, but no longer see any reason I shouldn't be able to use my gas range when there's no electricity. Something related to pilot lights and the fear of gas flowing and creating a serious hazard if left unattended, etc. But here's the kicker: my old and my brand new gas fired water heaters had/have pilot lights that work independently in the absence of electricity. This means we can still have hot water without having any electricity, so long as the natural gas and water are flowing.

Thankfully someone invented a means of lighting a pilot light without being plugged into the house power grid. Speaking of power grids, the aforementioned law/rule does allow the use of gas ranges in remote areas where there is no electricity. This isn't something I've spent much time on, but every so often it comes to mind when I read that a city such as Charleston at the moment has 200,000 electricity customers without power due to a hurricane (could occur for any cause, of course). Does anyone have experience in bypassing this situation by means of a battery pack or some such device that can be used in emergencies when it would be nice to have the use of our gas ranges?
Gary

SOTD 99%: 12 soaps & creams, SilkSmoke synthetic, General by Colonial razors, Kai & Schick, Superior 70 aftershave splash + menthol + 444 asb

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drmoss_ca
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Re: Cooking with power outage

Post by drmoss_ca » Sat Sep 07, 2019 5:28 am

I have a Kelly kettle and a rocket stove for prolonged outages. I'll be keeping my tinder dry today as Dorian goes right over the top of us tonight.
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace

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ShadowsDad
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Re: Cooking with power outage

Post by ShadowsDad » Sat Sep 07, 2019 5:56 am

Yeah, our homes are designed for an electrical connection and when it's not there they don't function all that well.

Gary, we experienced an ice storm 20 some odd years ago. There was, with no exaggeration, 4" of ice coating everything after the 3 day period that it took for that buildup. It was raining just slow enough not to warm up the ground cold layer, and yet cold enough to freeze the slightly warmer drizzle. Central Maine was a disaster area. To go outside it sounded almost like there were crystal chandelier firefights going on all around us as a branch would come crashing down bringing others down with it, all with their load of ice. After the relatively mild temps that occurred at 28°F during the storm the first clear night saw temps, with windchill, @ -80°F. That was the impetus for us to make changes. A power outage in rural Maine can be life threatening, so one must either be prepared to leave and go to a shelter if one can get to one, or hunker down in place. During that ice storm there was NO going anywhere, the roads were impassable from trees and power lines down. That means we need to be our own first responders but that's nothing new for Maineiacs. After a few days in and folks near the downed trees had cut them up we went to town to see what was going on. The supermarkets were empty of what folks run out of first, water and such.

Previous to that ice storm our power outage reply was to go back to pre rural electrification act days and light/heat/cook with hydro carbon burning appliances. But after that 5 day outage in the winter (from the ice storm) our walls were dripping condensation. Todays modern and tight homes just can't sustain burning hydrocarbons indoors for long w/o ventilation.

We added on an addition whose sole function was to give us a place for a woodstove and to house a photovoltaic utility in the mudroom portion. I can run it as a whole house UPS if I flip the switches when we suspect we'll lose power, or in 10 seconds I can get to the boxes and switch us over. That home utility included an 8k gen' and batteries for 1000ah @24v and we still use the system even though the batteries are about ready to replace. Maybe you can do something like that on a smaller scale? A 12v deep cycle battery (a starter battery won't last long since they aren't made for deep discharges) and an inverter to plug the range into. Or just not use the range top and get camp stoves or something like an Alpaca (see the link).

https://pleasanthillgrain.com/alpaca-ke ... i7EALw_wcB

They last close to forever, have few moving parts and it's a pretty decent cooking fire. It's one of the appliances that got us through that ice storm by heating our home, cooking, and melting ice for washing and flushing the john. We'd fill the tub with blocks of ice, and after melting the first pot of water, just kept doing that and added the warmish water to the tub melting what was in it. Lighting was supplied by kerosene lanterns and much brighter mantle type lanterns. Part of that home utility upgrade was the addition of hanging Aladdin mantle kerosene lamps. Again, quiet, put out decent light, and few moving parts. https://www.amazon.com/s?k=aladdin+mant ... fnircgin_e

If you have questions ask away.

Oh, be aware of CO buildup from burning hydrocarbons indoors, it's odorless, will kill, and fills low areas first. During every emergency of that type up here, despite warnings, someone gets a Darwin Award by running a gen' indoors and removing themselves from the gene pool. It can also happen with smaller appliances like the Alpaca or the Aladdins burning lots of fuel over time.

Don't forget food in the larder and keep it rotated "fresh". Only stock foods you normally eat and practice "last in, first out".

BTW, as I write hurricane Dorian is giving us the worst it can at this time, and it's not much quite frankly. There is mild rain and not much wind at all. Dorian is mostly dead. But that's typical for a Maine hurricane. By the time they get to us they are mostly a memory. But we're also inland, the coast is expected to get more than us and obviously waves and storm surge.

Edit: it's hours later and we haven't had any rain for most of that time. It's windier now, maybe 35 mph winds at most. No big deal. When it delivered rain it was never a real rain storm. Most rainstorms we get are more intense and they don't have a hurricane associated with them.
Last edited by ShadowsDad on Sat Sep 07, 2019 11:39 am, edited 2 times in total.
Brian

Maker of Kramperts Finest Bay Rum and Frostbite http://www.krampertsfinest.com/
Or find it here: Italian Barber, West Coast Shaving, Barclay Crocker, The Old Town Shaving Company at Stats, Maggard Razors; Leavitt & Peirce, Harvard Square

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fallingwickets
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Re: Cooking with power outage

Post by fallingwickets » Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:40 am

good luck,,,i was in myrtle beach when it came past...thankfully nothing 'bad' hAppened,

be safe

clive
de gustibus non est disputandum

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drmoss_ca
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Re: Cooking with power outage

Post by drmoss_ca » Sat Sep 07, 2019 11:34 am

Power on and off the last few hours. I mentioned to the boss that there was a traditional way of coping with power outages, but I was rebuffed in short order! Prepared food will be heated over rocket stove. While we have no power and no wifi, we still have cellular connections. Wish us luck, everyone who doesn't think these hurricanes are unusual as global warming cannot be happening.
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace

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drmoss_ca
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Re: Cooking with power outage

Post by drmoss_ca » Sun Sep 08, 2019 4:58 pm

So we survived, with the loss of a thirty year old linden tree we planted that snapped right though its 10" trunk. Today we drove from Tatamagouche, NS, to Amherst NS and then on to Sackville NB to inspect the properties that are either being being bought or sold to allow my widow-to-be to settle in Amherst. Quite remarkable to drive from trees across the road every few yards to such sights becoming rarer and eventually absent. Sadly the new house was flooded again, but the lawyer says it won't be economic to go after the lying bastards who sold it knowing about the issue. Cheaper to fix than to sue.
As for cooking, we served pasta with an alfredo sauce, a green salad and some home made bread toasted with olive oil, basil and oregano to our neighbour who still had no power. A cabernet-sauvignon/merlot mix sold under the cheeky name of 'The Arrogant Frog' helped, as did my favourite recording of Mahler's Resurrection Symphony. And so to bed.
"Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse."
Pierre-Simon de Laplace

brothers
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Re: Cooking with power outage

Post by brothers » Sun Sep 08, 2019 6:03 pm

The obvious solution to my OP question is a whole house, natural gas powered generator that activates automatically when/if there is a loss of power. I can probably recall maybe no more than 2 or 3 occasions in the past that would have required a generator. The expense involved would be considerable, eye-wateringly so. I should wait and ask myself later, after the dreaded serious occurrence has come and gone. For now, we'll rely on the gas-fed fireplace, lots of blankets and candles. (Confidentially, just between you and me, I imagine there is/are some off-market contraption(s) in existence that I could use to achieve the simple results I am looking for. There are a lot of intelligent and skilled individuals other than myself out there who know how to make stuff.)
Last edited by brothers on Sun Sep 08, 2019 6:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Gary

SOTD 99%: 12 soaps & creams, SilkSmoke synthetic, General by Colonial razors, Kai & Schick, Superior 70 aftershave splash + menthol + 444 asb

EL Alamein
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Re: Cooking with power outage

Post by EL Alamein » Sun Sep 08, 2019 6:08 pm

Dr Moss, glad all is well and you made it through. My condolences about the property, just glad you're OK.

Chris

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fallingwickets
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Re: Cooking with power outage

Post by fallingwickets » Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:06 am

glad to read you're ok but sorry for the loss and aggravation caused by flooding

The Arrogant Frog makes a half decent pinot which i keep buying...not really for the wine, but the label art is soooooooooo hard to resist :D

I installed a 'whole house' generator a few years ago while redoing my house...gave up quite a bit (radiant heating was the first to go) to be able too afford having it installed....haven't regretted the decision more than a few (in the dead of winter getting out of a shower hurts the most!!) times :D

clive
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ShadowsDad
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Re: Cooking with power outage

Post by ShadowsDad » Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:31 am

Gary, as I mentioned you don't need to do what I did. A much smaller system designed to only power the range will suffice. It would require a 12v deep cycle lead acid battery (kept on a trickle charger 24/7/365), and an inverter (find out how much power the item consumes and size the inverter appropriately. The only "hard" part is making sure when you hook up the cables that you observe black to black and red to red. Plug in the range and you're off and running. Running a genny only to cook is a huge waste of gas. That's why I went with a battery backup PV system with genny to back that up. When I run the generator it charges the batteries and does what we can't do when on battery power, then once the batteries are charged it gets shut off until next time it's needed. Think of it as not running the wash machine for one pair of socks but for an entire load of wash. Basically it's similar to the system used in WW2 submarines. Yours would just be a smaller system. It's what I started with before realizing that we liked what it did and just needed to size it up.

I'm betting that the most draw from the range is when the glow plug is heating (oven) or when the spark plug is doing it's thing, other than that you'd just be making the appliance happy to know it has juice and that would be virtually no draw. But the inverter needs to be sized for max' draw and not the minimum if you want it to work properly. Just to get it to function a smaller inverter might work, to trick it, then use a match to light it. Just don't forget to light it. That's why the feds mandated that they can't work unless they have power... to protect the many from the few folks who can't understand/remember and have gas explosions.
Brian

Maker of Kramperts Finest Bay Rum and Frostbite http://www.krampertsfinest.com/
Or find it here: Italian Barber, West Coast Shaving, Barclay Crocker, The Old Town Shaving Company at Stats, Maggard Razors; Leavitt & Peirce, Harvard Square

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