Six affordable home emergency preparedness tips
Whether it’s a natural disaster, pandemic or other emergency, home emergency preparedness doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. And it will give you peace of mind knowing you and your family will be safe. Here’s five tips to get you started today.
So, I think the whole world was given a wake up call after COVID. We realized how quickly the store shelves will go empty and we’re left to fed for ourselves. That’s why thinking about home emergency preparedness is essential. Here’s 6 tips to get you started.
#1: Install used solar panels
Yes, that’s right. You can buy used solar panels and install them yourself. With each panel costing as little as $34, having access to off-the-grid power to your home in case of an emergency is more affordable than you might think. We bought six 240-watt used solar panels from a company in Arizona called SanTan Solar. These panels are recycled when solar farms upgrade to new panels. The panels we purchased have been clean and tested for degraded output. Our panels didn’t have power degration. You can save up to 80% buying used panels whey you compare the price per watt.
According to Consumer Affairs, the average cost to hire a company to install solar panels in the United States is about $12,000 after federal tax incentives. So buying and installing solar panels yourself ends up saving you literally thousands of dollars.
#2: Invest in a solar generator and battery
So, your solar panels are basically useless unless you connect them to the electrical system that will utilized the solar panels. In case of emergencies, you can buy a solar generator and battery and the power in your home. If the entire electrical grid in your area goes down, this solar generator (when connected to your solar panels) can power your furnace and your major appliances indefinitely. Here’s a simple video on adding a plug generator plug to your house furnace.
Our solar generator consists of a Growatt all-in-one Inverter Charge Controller and a LiFePO4 lithium battery. This generator when used with this particular battery provides enough power to keep your home running during any emergency. Total cost was $2,200. Don’t get stuck with a $2000 dollar generator that is laud and will run out of gas. Solar panels also the the ability to produce power on cloudy or stormy days. Here’s a video showing how my husband ran three fridges and a furnace using this Growatt and lithium battery:
For day-to-day savings on your electric bill, you can hook your solar panels up to a grid tie inverter. These cost as low as $500 for the kit. Depending on the number of panels you buy, this setup could eliminate your power bill. Be sure to follow your local regulations.
#3: Buy gas and water shut off wrenches
If there’s an earthquake or other natural disaster, you’ll want to shut off the water main and your gas to avoid dangerous leaks and flooding. This is a home emergency preparedness tip that many people forget. For less than $15, you can buy a gas shut off wrench that will allow you to shut off the gas to your home. For about $20, you can buy a water shut off wrench that will allow you to shut off the main curb water and waste valves. These simple tools can prevent explosions, flooding and sewage from ruining your home.
#4: Make 72-hour kits for each family member
Every member of the family should have their own 72-hour kit in case of emergency. Each kit should include:
- Hygiene supplies
- Survival essentials
You can buy your 72-hour kits online or you can make them yourselves. We made seven 72-hour kits for our entire family and it only cost us about $25 per kit. Store your kits close to an exit in your home for easy access.
#5: Buy short- and long-term food storage
Home emergency preparedness wouldn’t be complete without food storage. The best way to approach this is to buy three month’s worth of pantry food. This is shelf stable food that you will actually eat on a regular basis. We’re talking canned corn, cream of chicken soup, ketchup, mayonnaise, oats, etc. Just grab of few extra of these items everything you go to the store. Or take advantage of a case lot sale at your local grocery store.
Then, you can also buy long-term food storage that has a shelf life of 30 years or more. An example of this is wheat, rice, black beans, and apples slices. If you can build up enough of this storage to last a year, that should be plenty.
#6: Water, water, water
Since, an adult cannot survive more than 3 days without water, you don’t want to be stuck in an emergency situation without it. We have three 55-gallon water containers stored in our garage for that very reason. I found all of these containers as yard sales and the classifieds for $5 each. Pretty affordable. However, if you want to buy them new, they’re not too expensive either. A complete kit including the barrel will set you back about $150. Prepping these barrels and storing them isn’t as hard as it may seem either.
Hopefully these tips are helpful for you as you are considering your own home emergency preparedness. Let me know if you have any other suggestions in the comments below.
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