Thoughts on Freezers

Ken's picture

I am finding the 'How to keep the chest freezer frozen in a power outage' problem an interesting one. Particularly because most of the solutions cost FAR more than the contents of my freezer. At the best of times, the chest freezer has maybe a couple thousand dollars worth of food in it, and that's when I've just made my Alaskan fish boat purchase. The venison is valuable sure, but I can always shoot another deer... bullets don't require refrigeration. So I'm coming down to JMG's premise that if the solution to the problem costs more than just ignoring the problem; the problem will get ignored.

When hurricane's hit in the SE states, one of the first things you hear about is neighborhood barbeques to eat up all the meat in everyone's freezer that's going to go bad. That's actually quite a brilliant response when you think about it; there's far more meat in my freezer than my family can eat before it goes bad, so I invite my neighbors to a feast! It improves morale, it puts that meat on people's bones where it won't spoil and it buys a whole lot of good will, right when you need it most. Kinda brilliant actually.

My thinking therefore is evolving from, "How do I preserve the lifestyle (plenty of meat and fish in the freezer) that I'm used to?" Towards, "What do I ACTUALLY need?" The funny thing is, I am finding this transition in thinking strangely refreshing... The GW motto really is good advice.

So instead of trying to figure out ways to keep the electricity flowing to my freezers, pumps, lights, etc., I'm thinking about ways to NOT NEED those things. Of course "need" is requiring some redefinition... When the power goes out, which it does fairly frequently here, though not for extended periods anymore, I am always secretly relieved; no Netflix to try to resist watching, no hum of refrigerator to listen to, in an instant I am forced into thinking of REAL things: water, warmth, cooking, light, etc.. And after 30+ years here, I'm pretty well prepared, with the major exception of getting water up out of my well without electricity.

Thus, I'm thinking that rather than getting a generator to try and preserve my luxuries, maybe I should get a hand pump and install it on the wellhead? No fuel to go bad, no generator to purchase, install and maintain and I'm sure I won't be wasting any water when I have to pump it all by hand! As to the freezer - I'll have a barbeque for the neighborhood and then start building the smokehouse that I've always planned to build... I have a barrel stove that would work for the fire box.

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One of the solutions that my garden buddy Peg and I came up with is to pressure can all of the meat in the freezers if the power goes for an extended period. Of course that could be after the barbecue, then gather up the bones left over from the barbecue and make bone broth and pressure can that. Hmmmm. Need to make sure we have enough propane on hand.

mountainmoma's picture

I also get water from a well. Mine is too deep to hand pump I think, the pump is at 180ft.

If my well was a shallow one, I would also get a hand pump to go next to the SQ Flex, idealy have both.

But, I think like you do and want to be independent on the larger power system to have something as important as water !

I had a soft start 120V 1/2hp water pump before the fire, and a 2500 gal water tank uphill enough to get low pressure water to the house . I used to run that pump off of my solar backup battery bank and inverter when the power was off when I had no water tank storage at all. When I got the tank, I stopped doing that.

I now have a SQF Flex pump, grundfos, and this pump will run off of any power source, 120V AC, 240V AC, a variety of amp ranges on those or DC power, anything from 30-300V. I went ahead and had the AC wire to the pump house replaced ( it had melted) as it was covered by insurance. I also bought 2 used solar panels and I am going to use those soon so that this first critical system is not dependent on the grid or my 23 year old inverter and solar. But, I can run it off that if I want. Or a generator although I never have.

I do not have a stand alone freezer as I want less dependence on electricity for essentials I have pressured canned instead. And water bath canned pie fillings instead of freezing fruit, etc...

My lights and refrigerator are still on my 23 year old system for backup.

I heat with a wood stove, I replaced the old worn out one 2 years ago and have a Lopi Endeaver

I contemplate replacing with a DC refrigerator, direct to panels but am not there yet

Ken's picture

There are a number of hand pumps that will lift water from deep wells, they aren't cheap though! I should have bought one when I first looked at them 10 years ago...

mountainmoma's picture

I just cant do it myself ( install or pump water out, I have shoulder issues) and the expense is alot to get it to 180ft deep. I would need a new well cap with a second hole, my current drop pipe moved over, and the 180ft of special pipe and inner suction pipe for this pump, plus the cost of the pump. `

It is a good thing to have I agree.

I hope they stay in business and then if we have to some day the option will be there....

Ken, that sounds rather sensible to me.