I heard here in Oklahoma we were almost out of natural gas at one point. I don't know what'd I'd do if I lost electricity or gas for extended period of time. It was -7F here. I have no fireplace in my home. I'm wondering what I can do with respect to survival , for the future. I'd like to be able to stay warm with firewood if I needed to. Any ideas for an affordable solution? I can stock up on firewood for an emergency.
Would you need to keep your house warm too (freezing pipes, canned goods, etc) or is it just survival for you?
If it's the whole house, what is the layout? One story, basement, open concept? The simplest is probably just installing a traditional wood stove. Tolerably easy to insure and operate.
If it's just keeping you warm while the house freezes, maybe an outfitter's tent (elk hunting style) with a wood stove in it. Then you can set it up and move into it for the cold spells and you wouldn't have to put a chimney in your house.
My suggestion is (of course) build a rocket mass heater this summer!
Lots of questions involved with that as Mike pointed out, but bottom line you should have a wood burner of one style or another.
If having a stove pipe installed thru your roof is to daunting or expensive then a window or wall can be used.
Any disaster can disrupt services.
Having a generator to keep freezers running short term and lights on and water flowing is a smart idea.
Having a wood burner option to keep warm is an even smarter idea.
how about a gasifier to run a generator? is that taking it too far?
I had a wonderful daydream that went something like:
gasifier -> generator -> pellet mill
when we had unexpected negative temperatures here this winter (a bit further south than oklahoma), all of the gas stations shut down. no gas. no diesel. nothing to run a generator on other than what might be kept on hand and rotated.
as much as I knew that was always a possibility that there would come a time when the fuel supply would shut down, I didn't really expect it.
but i've got trees in abundance. If I wanted to get serious about going only RMH or gasifier, I would start coppicing trees. heat and cook with RMH / Rocket stove and electrify with pellets.
Here in Central Oklahoma we are too rural for natural gas so we have a 250gallon propane tank in the back yard. It feeds a ducted furnace that needs electricity to operate, so our backup is a wall-mounted propane heater (very similar to the wall-mounted natural gas heaters you see as the main heat source in so many cheap older Oklahoma rentals) in a central hallway location near the kitchen. We could by no means keep the entire house at 72F with that one heater, but it would keep us above freezing throughout the house and tolerably warm in the front of the house.
A traditional woodstove is great if one has lots of firewood, but if when one has to buy and store it, one will be dismayed at how fast it goes goes away in inclement weather. I love the notion of rocket mass heaters, but the many barriers to installing them in existing housing stock are... daunting at best.