Power and sanity

Starting June 1st, the power companies in my state are jacking up prices, my provider is going up 35.4%. This is a big change, and realistically shows the real cost of inflation across all markets. The media can say inflation rates are dropping, but when my money doesn’t stretch nearly as far as it did last week, last month or last year, there is a fundamental change in the way money is working.

This has led to some far deeper conversations on how to conserve electricity. Starting simple is that we converted everything to LED’s a few years ago, so lighting is reduced as much as it realistically can. Next, utilizing things like the sun to off set electrical usage. We are setting up clotheslines, which we really should have been using prior. We have not because our neighbors like burning all sorts of trash and tires, and our clothes don’t need to smell like that. Luckily, at least for now, that is no longer an issue as they are incarcerated.

Another aspect of utilizing the sun is increased usage of the All-American sun oven. This works in 2 aspects. Firstly, the hottest days are the best to use the sun oven because they tend to be clear days. By using the sun oven, not only are you cooking without using electricity, but you are minimizing additional heat inside your dwelling, helping to keep your house cooler.

Another thing we are doing to minimize electrical use is actually a shift instead of a withdrawal from electrical use. We have solar set up in small doses, but our biggest chunk of usable power comes from a 5 marine deep cycle power bank and 200 watts of solar input. We will not be running big and power hungry appliances off of this, but all the little devices you regularly use that are draining, like tablets, phones, hand held ham radios, etc.

We are also working on developing mini family adventures throughout the summer to minimize time in the house. Some are little fun hunts like geocaching. Geocaching is fun, and with an app on the phone and time outdoors, you can find some neat little treasures others have set out. We also need to place our geocaches out for others to find. Going to local parks is another activity that can be done. Our local park have not only trails to walk, a swimming area to keep cool and fishing areas, but camping sites and is a state park. We have activated the park with ham radio in the Parks On The Air program, known as a POTA activation. I enjoy this activity as I use minimal power and my portable radio kit.

Another in house solution is to try to keep it cool without using A/C as air conditioning uses a lot of power. Our basement is always cool, and I am currently tearing down a chimney through the center of the house. I decided to keep a section of the chimney going from the basements into the first floor. Temporarily, at least for this year, I am cutting a hole in the chimney on the first floor and one in the basement. I will run 2 box fans and pull air into the chimney in the basement and push out into the first floor, and cycle that cool air up a level in the house.

At the end of the day, needing to cut down electrical use is a good idea for everyone if possible. I look forward to this as a move toward getting my family more used to a simpler life should everything in our country continuing to go the way it appears to be going. The electrical issue is also being considered to move toward rolling blackouts, which people here are not used too. Sensitive electronics may not be ready for that either. We are also getting accustomed to unplugging things when not in use. I understand a lot of electronics use a decent amount of power just being plugged in, and that adjustment is being made as well. I hope everyone stays safe and looks forward while making decisions for today. Stay safe and stay prepared.

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