There are many catastrophic situations where using a generator would be unsafe or draw unnecessary attention to your home or bug out location. For example, in a nuclear war situation, you would need to hunker down in your basement for up to two weeks and there would be no way to maintain a generator on the outside of your home. For this reason, I always maintain a fully charged deep cycle (also known as a marine battery) in my basement stockpile location. This battery can then be used to power a wide variety of 12 volt appliances for essential purposes, such as power inverters, lanterns, ham radio equipment for essential broadcasts, etc. However, keeping such a battery is not as simple as purchasing it and setting it on the shelf, it requires regular maintenance and upkeep to ensure that it is ready when catastrophe strikes.
To maintain my battery, I have taken the following steps:
- The battery is continuously hooked up to a trickle charger/maintainer that ensures that the battery is always fully charged without overcharging. Marine batteries will lose there charge just sitting on the shelf, the trickle charger/maintainer ensures that this does not happen.
- Every 3 months, the water level of the battery is checked and distilled water is added if the levels are low. Even so called “maintenance free” batteries should have their water level checked by popping open the caps on the top of the battery with a screw driver and looking inside the holes. Water should be completely covering the metal rods and plates inside the battery. Use ONLY distilled water, as normal tap water will destroy the battery.
- Every 3 months, a power inverter is hooked up to the battery and placed under load for an hour or two to ensure that battery is still performing properly.
In addition to providing a readied source of emergency power for essential applications, a marine battery is also an essential component to a solar power system. To learn more about solar power systems, ready my blog post entitled “Electricity in Disasters…A Sustainable Solution.”
The information, concepts, or opinions from CatastropheNetwork.org are intended for informational purposes only and must be evaluated by the reader, in consultation with a professional, to ensure viability for their individual situation.