Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Are you prepared for snow and power cuts?  (Read 4466 times)

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Are you prepared for snow and power cuts?
« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2021, 04:20:46 pm »
^ I know this wasn't my quote originally, but I do agree with it from experience.

I put really good Michelin winter tyres on our 2WD diesel Focus, and it was incredibly sure-footed. Naturally, it didn't have the ground clearance of our Defender wearing all terrain tyres, but it had a shorter stopping distance on snow and ice. (When you're braking, it doesn't make any difference whether you have 2WD or 4WD - it's grip that counts, so four grippy tyres outperform four slippy ones.)

As for climbing hills etc, I never found the Focus wanting at all. There's a steep hill about a mile from our house and I made it up there a few times in snow and ice when the likes of AWD CRVs didn't.
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

cans

  • Joined May 2013
Re: Are you prepared for snow and power cuts?
« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2021, 06:26:08 pm »
"A 2wd car with winter tyres has better grip in snow than a 4wd vehicle in summer tyres."



All depepnds on the car and the experience/confidence of the driver.


oor wullie

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Strathnairn
Re: Are you prepared for snow and power cuts?
« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2021, 08:04:30 pm »
A 2wd car with winter tyres has better grip in snow than a 4wd vehicle in summer tyres.

really ?

Did you just make this up or has it some foundation of truth - if so where ?

Practical experience.

I live at the end of a 3 km  unsurfaced road that doesn't get ploughed.  The snow gets packed into ice and doesn't melt.  Recent years it has been frozen continuously for around 100 days most winters.

I run a 4x4 truck and a smaller runabout (Toyota Yaris most recently).  The car gets winter tyres but the truck doesn't.
Even with a weight in the back of the truck the Yaris will always* outperform the 4x4 on snow & ice.  At times me and my wife have taken both vehicles along the road at the same time and the snow tires always win.

*The exception is, of course, when the snow depth is greater than the height of the car.  Then it gets stuck and the truck wins due to better ground clearance.

I carry chains for both truck and car, and expect to use them, some winters 20 or 30 times. 
4x4 with chains (on all 4 wheels) will out perform the 2wd.

Ideally I would put winter tyres on the truck too.  I did put them on a Hilux a few years ago but was forced to sell it a few weeks after fitting the new tyres which was a sickening waste of a lot of money!

mab

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • carmarthenshire
Re: Are you prepared for snow and power cuts?
« Reply #18 on: December 06, 2021, 09:02:56 pm »
on the winter tyres subject: It's hard to compare like with like but the best example in my experience was when i took my old series landy (2 or 4wd selectable, BF goodrich All terrains) to an off-road event along with a mate who had a mercedes g-wagon (road tyres) - my mate was very impressed with his g-wagon and quick to point out the g-wagon comes with a full set (front, rear and centre) of diff-locks as standard, so ought to be good off road despite the road tyres.


After I'd pulled him free for the 3rd time he conceded that he needed better tyres - I didn't have the heart to tell him the landy was still in 2wd.




I've had all-season tyres on the astra last winter - they are better than road tyres for snow but still wear well in the summer months - and i haven't had to use my chains yet. Haven't tried winter tyres yet, so i don't know how much difference a softer rubber compound will make.


back on the original subject:
I do think it common sense to have backups, particularly if you are out of town: I'm building a house at the moment and plan to use an ASHP, but will have a woodburner too, not just for loss of grid, but because any modern heating system incorporates complex electronics and if/when it goes belly-up you can't assume it can be fixed instantly - so you need a low-tech backup.


As for grid failure - i'm way ahead as i use hydro and solar to generate my own power - i use <100units of grid leccy / year - although when i get the ASHP that will go up a little i expect.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Are you prepared for snow and power cuts?
« Reply #19 on: December 07, 2021, 01:27:37 am »
Can we hear more about your hydro power please @mab ?
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

mab

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • carmarthenshire
Re: Are you prepared for snow and power cuts?
« Reply #20 on: December 07, 2021, 06:12:40 pm »
Oh, OK. Not sure what you want to know?


Well, when I was looking to buy this place I recognised the potential for hydro-power: a small stream in the trees that drops about 70' over 300' horizontally. It produces anything up to about 450w (currently about 360w). The original generator was built on a low budget:- an old induction motor 0.99 off eBay, a 'pelton wheel' turbine 27, some capacitors to make the motor work as a generator 30, some home made nozzles and the big expense - 100m of 90mm pipe to bring the water down the hill 500, Oh, and about 100 for cable to get the power back to the house.


Basic principle of operation: water passes through a strainer into the large pipe to go down the hill - it needs to be large as you want the water to be moving slowly to minimise frictional losses - then at the turbine it funnels down to a narrow jet. For my system a single 10mm diameter nozzle will give me about 120w; 20mm nozzle theoretically 400w, but by this time friction in the 'penstock' (big pipe) means you only get 350w. With this penstock it tops out at 450w (at this point I'm losing about 1/3 of the theoretical power in the pipe).


If you want to estimate the power available in a stream you should get some estimates for head (vertical drop) and flow and try them in this calculator.


https://www.powerspout.com/pages/advanced-plt-and-trg-series-calculator


 There is another calculator on that website for low-head turbines as well.


Actual power obviously varies depending on the available water - any you shouldn't take all the water as you need to maintain the existing stream for migratory wildlife,  but typically it runs for 10months / year.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Are you prepared for snow and power cuts?
« Reply #21 on: December 07, 2021, 10:45:19 pm »
Thank you @mab that's fascinating.  When my brother and I were kids we amused ourselves by designing a self sufficient farm which included hydro-electricity (all imaginary of course).  Ever since I've been fascinated by small hydro generators like yours, so it's good to know how you set it up, also how much power you get from it.  We can't do the same thing here as the only water we have, apart from a hand-dug well, is an unimpressive spring (more an ooze) which has appeared twice in 26 years - we find it when the tractor gets bogged down!


Does anyone else on TAS have their own hydro-electric system?


I've been scratching my head to remember where I saw a small hydro scheme.  It was at Dawyck Botanic gardens in the Borders, which is now apparently producing enough power to supply '25 family homes' (or perhaps one tea room?)
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Backinwellies

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
    • Nantygroes
    • Facebook
Re: Are you prepared for snow and power cuts?
« Reply #22 on: December 08, 2021, 07:23:40 am »
mab (long time no see)   

You didnt mention all the regulations (and costs) involved in using hydro .... it is water 'extraction'  so comes under lots of regs  (which ofcourse you have  :innocent:)

Just pointing out to all those others who may be off to buy a few bits to make own electric ..... we looked into it and it would have cost 1000's.
Linda

Don't wrestle with pigs, they will love it and you will just get all muddy.

Let go of who you are and become who you are meant to be.

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harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Are you prepared for snow and power cuts?
« Reply #23 on: December 08, 2021, 08:09:38 am »
mab (long time no see)   

You didnt mention all the regulations (and costs) involved in using hydro .... it is water 'extraction'  so comes under lots of regs  (which ofcourse you have  :innocent: )

Just pointing out to all those others who may be off to buy a few bits to make own electric ..... we looked into it and it would have cost 1000's.


Yes, I was wondering about this Backinwellies.


There are a number of larger hydro projects in the Lakes but also someone in our village has their own. They live in an old mill. They needed planning permission. The chap is an engineer and he built it himself but it was still a fair investment. It is fed from a largish beck, of course as a working mill it did rely on hydro to operate in the past, but they find the very prolonged dry spells we get now has a significant impact.

harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Are you prepared for snow and power cuts?
« Reply #24 on: December 08, 2021, 08:41:17 am »
@harmony I am all too aware of how badly an event like this impacts on the elderly and vulnerable - I'm one myself and a one-time hospital nurse and I know how quickly someone can succumb to hypothermia.  My rant was not directed at them but at those able bodied people who seemed to just stand back and expect help to arrive, having made no effort to make themselves ready for such an event.  There are plenty of situations in life where we truly need help; if there were not then we would not have organised emergency services. But for their time to be taken up with tending to those who could have helped themselves, when they are needed for the truly vulnerable is galling.


In fact I think most elderly people are like me and doganjo and still see a good electricity supply as a bit of a wonder, but one not to be totally depended on, so we have an alternative up our sleeves.  I love the vox pops of smiling people dressed snuggly in all their winter woollies, showing how it should be done. @doganjo a supply of those sticks and handwarmers which give off heat when you open them would help in an emergency, also keeping moving warms you up while your rellies are on the way.  Our rellies are too far away to come - you are so lucky in your family  :)


I have also realised that few younger people can imagine a time without electricity or some reliable power supply, so they can be connected by computers, phones, food deliveries and other instant services.  Also people under about 30 have only known the UK in fairly mild times, although we had a whopper of a winter storm here about 20 years ago.  I was on my own for that, initially locked out of my house as I got home from the airport to find my husband had flown with our doorkeys in his pocket!!  A blizzard produced 8' snowdrifts which initially were too soft to climb over.  I couldn't get to my coal which was lost somewhere behind the drifts, I couldn't get to my animals until we had a really hard frost to make the drifts almost climbable (but not quite, occasionally breaking through the crust).  Of course I was 20 years younger and not so badly affected by a medical condition then, but it was extreme.  It was 4 days before the electricity came back on and five before the roads were cleared enough for anyone, including my husband to get through.  However, I survived (as did all my animals), with only the little bit of help from a neighbour who dug out my coal for me.  So I learned a whole lot from that, and I apply it to how I prepare myself and our farm for winter.


My rant was directed at those who could prepare themselves but choose not to, to rely on the emergency services to do everything for them instead of taking responsibility for their own wellbeing.  Many people were well prepared.  Maybe we just need to get more information out so everyone has the knowledge they need.  After all, Climate Change means storms like this are likely to become a regular occurrence in the future, just as droughts are too.


Most people on farms have some stocks and maybe a generator, and are used to braving the cold to reach livestock, but in the end we must be aware that we have to guard our own lives first and be sensible about when to hole up and ignore what's outside the door.
Sometimes I'm mocked by those who think being prepared is just a Boy Scout motto, but in our family we had a death due to extreme weather and a bit of a lack of good sense on the part of the person who died. Also someone living just a half mile from us lost his sister who froze to death on her way home from the pub on foot.


So be sensible folks and be prepared - it sounds as if most of you are.


Folks on here are well used to dealing with weather and problem solving. The vast majority of the country are not. The biggest issue for people was heating. Is it realistic to expect people to keep a generator for the exceptional times that power failures last a week? Many of the alternatives talked about are beyond the pocket of many and there are limits to what investment people are going to make to rented properties.


I think you are quite right @Fleecewife that people do need educating about how they can be better prepared for weather events and climate change. Communities need emergency plans and that might include generators for powering community buildings for example.


The shops were not without food or the garage without fuel but tills and pumps work on electric. Nobody knows the price of things as they are scanned and they don't have change to deal with cash. The large supermarkets continued deliveries once roads were unblocked.


One of the largest failures was not people being unable to help themselves, or their communities, because despite the impression the media gave that people were about to die of cold and hunger because they weren't capable of dealing with the problem people have survived. It was the very poor communication/information from the utility companies. If people hadn't been told power would be restored over that weekend they could of done more early on such as moving elderly relatives to family with heating.

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Are you prepared for snow and power cuts?
« Reply #25 on: December 08, 2021, 09:49:25 am »
There are lots of problems with small generators which make them impractical for many. Storing them and the fuel, having somewhere to run them outside and under cover with power leads, draining them afterwards, replacing the stored fuel every 6 months which requires some way of using it up. In our case it can be used on the garden equipment, which few people will have, but they may have a petrol car? When we replace our diesel vehicles we'll be switching to petrol.


I think the solution for most people will be some form of secondary heating in one room (paraffin is very popular here), a small camping stove and an insurance claim for freezer contents and any burst pipe work.

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Are you prepared for snow and power cuts?
« Reply #26 on: December 08, 2021, 05:15:10 pm »



I think the solution for most people will be some form of secondary heating in one room (paraffin is very popular here), a small camping stove and an insurance claim for freezer contents and any burst pipe work.


I agree - we did a rough calculation when we first built our house (15 years ago) and decided that the initial cost and then maintenace of a generator would just not be worthwhile. So we have a multi-fuel stove for heating the main living area (which we use most of the time anyway in preference to the oil fired central heating), the hob runs on bottled gas (and we actually keep a electric hotplate for the reversal - us forgetting to replace the gas bottles and then running out...). Insurance covers freezer contents (though I do not know if it covers the three freezers we run, rather than just one). Cold water & toilets work without electricity, but no hot water for showers. I can live without a hot shower for a while...


Oh, and we do keep a good supply of batteries for head torches (used every night anyway) and candles.


Some friends in Northumbria were withoput power and water for over a week after storm Arwen, and they were fine, though the novelty of doing Sudoku/crosswords or just reading a book with a headtorch did wear off quite quickly... BUT they still use an oldfashioned phone, so we could at least chat!

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Are you prepared for snow and power cuts?
« Reply #27 on: December 08, 2021, 10:27:42 pm »



<< BUT they still use an old fashioned phone, so we could at least chat! >>

See land line phones are to be phased about by about 2025?



"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Are you prepared for snow and power cuts?
« Reply #28 on: December 08, 2021, 10:38:22 pm »
There are lots of problems with small generators which make them impractical for many. Storing them and the fuel, having somewhere to run them outside and under cover with power leads, draining them afterwards, replacing the stored fuel every 6 months which requires some way of using it up. In our case it can be used on the garden equipment, which few people will have, but they may have a petrol car? When we replace our diesel vehicles we'll be switching to petrol.


I think the solution for most people will be some form of secondary heating in one room (paraffin is very popular here), a small camping stove and an insurance claim for freezer contents and any burst pipe work.

I agree that most people don't have the space or even need for a generator, especially in town.  For rural dwellers though it is more of an option.

Personally I am terrified of paraffin heaters.  We had to use one when our children were young and we lived in married quarters.  We couldn't afford to heat the house any other way and it was sooo cold in the children's bedroom, but the paraffin heater worried me badly.  I used to keep checking on it during the night - knackering!

One year, someone on the airman's patch, burned all the furniture, doors, breadboard, anything flammable which wasn't part of the structure, in an open fire in the middle of the floor.  A mix of desperation and not giving a damn. (Salaries in the services were rather low back then)

For people who don't have a wood burner, a space for an open fire or a fancy self heating house (I forget what they're called but they don't seem very cosy to me) what other options are there to paraffin heaters in a power cut, if their gas needs electricity to start?
« Last Edit: December 08, 2021, 10:40:29 pm by Fleecewife »
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Are you prepared for snow and power cuts?
« Reply #29 on: December 09, 2021, 09:18:00 am »



<< BUT they still use an old fashioned phone, so we could at least chat! >>

See land line phones are to be phased about by about 2025?


Well I can't see that happen - the mobile signal in our house is non-existent, and even up the drive it is one bar at the most (not that there are "bars" anymore...). I can use my phone in the house now as it works through the WiFi, but of course our broadband comes into the house through the landline... No way will that be upgraded by BT in the next 4 years, and even if - to what?


After all cheque books were meant to be phased out years ago.... and even that may now be a bit closer, it still hasn't happened.

 

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