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Alternate Heat and Light


Alternate natural lighting and power

No light? No heat? no cooking?  Do NOT fear..there is plenty you can do - prepare NOW!

Battery powered torches and lanterns etc will be useful in the early days, so keep them to hand, and eventually after the initial surge, and if not completely fried by solar radiation, may work to some extent when all has calmed down. However, as the adage says, the simplest things in life will be the best under these circumstances, and I include a list below that may be of help.


Candle power is in..!


Ensure you have ample supplies of candles, including matches and waterproof matches. You can purchase pre-waterproofed matches at many hardware and outdoor supplies shop, however, you are able to make your own. Just simply light a candle and using the COOLING wax to cover the match heads -CAUTION with the hot wax, wait until it cools down slightly. This will prevent dampness penetrating your matches

It may also be a good idea to keep a supply of disposable lighters, you can purchase in packs of 12. Keep all of the above in a waterproof/airtight tin.


In an emergency you are able to boil a kettle (if you are not in a hurry) by candle power. Use three candles set in a circle within a metal holder (triangular) and place the kettle or metal container above on a flameproof support. Night light candles are ideal under these circumstances.

Keep all the wax that drips off the candles you use as this will be useful later for a variety of uses, such as waterproofing, general protection (cuts etc) and for making more candles!


Please keep matches and lighted candles away from children, and keep lighted candles in a secure heat proof container




Kerosene is a major alternate fuel in North America ,Europe and in UK, but  paraffin may be also be available as a substitute - many 'senior' readers will remember maintaining overnight heat in their greenhouse with parafiin stoves!


However, Kerosene is widely available and unlike gasoline is a lubricant and very stable in storage, its ignition point being more than 104 F. Kerosene may be safely stored in plastic containers, oil drums and old diesel tanks. Make sure you label the containers, and if you can avoid it do not use red or green containers, as these usually indicate gasoline (green for unleaded).

Do not store within the home, either use an old outside shed, garage or preferably under surface bunker.

Kerosene is excellent for use with kerosen heaters, lamps and stoves - 

Please ensure your equipment is safe to use with Kerosene.


The same above conditions apply to paraffin.





Depending where you live in the world, bottled gas comes in a variety of mixed gases and containers, the most popular being Butane (UK and Europe) and Propane (mainly USA)

Normally a safe liquified gas for a variety of purposes, cooking and heating etc. Ensure you have a few bottles in reserve.  (Background and history of propane)




If you are settled in your safe area, then it may be a good idea to start stocking up on any solid fuel you can get your hands on, which in most cases this would entail lumber. Take time to stack safely an amount of cut logs and sticks for kindling, and dont forget to store newspaper in a dry area, not just for starting a fire, but useful for insulation (wrapped around you or to sleep on).


Depending upon environmental conditions prevailing at the time, you can experiment now with simple alternate water heating methods, especially if you are now in your safe location.

Old Radiators.

Painted black, these provide an excellent storage system of hot water, especially if the sun shines for a number of hours per day. The water will remain quite warm for some time. Rig old hosepipes to the rads and siphon off to the required area.

Old piping or hosing

Another excellent method of keeping water warm. Stretch out as much hosing as you can and drape around the roof of your home, as the sun shines on the roof so does the heat within the hosing the bigger the diameter of the hose the better it will be.

Caution! on a hot day by mid afternoon the water in the hose will be near boiling!!

Plastic containers

Little used idea, is the filling of one or 5 - gallon old plastic containers with water and stored within a depression or under surface bunker. If you construct walls of these containers, (just like building a brick wall alternating joints etc) using their weight on top of each other, the gradual heat warms the water during the day, thus emitting the heat out slowly overnight.

This principle was used in subsurface greenhouses for growing tropical vegetation.


I hope the above well tested ideas and hints will be of use to you. Try them out now before we experience any serious catastrophies in order that you will be well prepared and trained. Remember to show caution when using any fuel substance, try outdoors and preferably not around any dry ground covering or trees, we have experienced too much of forest fires of late!

Keep a supply of water or sand and a fire beater to hand in order that you may dowse any fires before they get out of hand. Also, ensure that the remains of a fire is well out and covered with water, sand or soil when you have finished. -  and as they say when lighting fireworks, light blue touch paper and stand well back!!

Safe preparation

A useful related article by Anita Evangelista entitled How do you live without electricity published in the Backwoods Home magazine may be read by clicking on the link below.

How Do You live without Electricity

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