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Cooking with Corona - coping with power cuts

Discussion in 'Home adaptations, mobility and personal care' started by Wonko, Mar 10, 2020.

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  1. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    This is doing my head in.

    I live in an electric only home.

    If the electric goes off for any significant amount of time then I will have a small problem, several small problems actually, but I'm looking at a small but important one, that I might be able to sort out a solution for.

    How to cook and make a cuppa.

    I am aware that little gas rings can be bought, for camping, but the canisters seem not to last long, and are expensive - cost for ring and 4 canisters (maybe 2 hours a canister) seems to be in the a bit under £30 range. Okay for warming stuff up, and making the odd drink, but not for cooking.

    Next up are things that use an external, but still small, canister. These last around 6 hours a canister for roughly the same as each little canister costs and seem to have a mini regulator. Cost for a basic ring and a 6 canister pack seems to be about £45. Maybe enough gas to last a week or 10 days from what I can gather.

    Next up is getting a calor gas cylinder and some form of compatible camping cooker, and a regulator and hose/clips. I can't figure this out, it looks like used as a main/only cooking source that even a small (4.5L) would last over a month, but I can't figure out how much it costs, or where to get one from, that will deliver. There may be, only seen the page once and can't find it again, some form of contract to get a cylinder in the first place, on the page for it they stated that online ordering and delivery to my home was possible, but when I go to order it says that deliveries are not possible for this product, for all the cylinders they sell.

    None of the 3 systems, and I'm getting the strong impression there are more, seem to be compatible. They all use numbering that obviously means something to someone who understands the system, but I don't, so its just gibberish.

    All I want is hopefully a backup, that will never need to be used, enough gas to last a few weeks, and a device to use that gas to cook with, preferably compact enough to it can just be stored, indefinitely.

    Just in case the power goes out for a while, so that I can reheat and preferably cook stuff.

    Just as a mental comforter.

    Not that I'll ever need to use it.

    Anyone understand the whole camping/calor gas thing enough to suggest what I need?
     
  2. Diluted-biscuit

    Diluted-biscuit Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Have you thought about alcohol or fuel tablet stoves used for ultralight camping? They would need plenty of ventilation and it’s only one burner but it would be enough to do one pot cooking and make tea on.
     
    JemPD, Dolphin, Louie41 and 2 others like this.
  3. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It doesn't look like they (fuel tablet stoves) are controllable, at all. It looks like they will burn until all the fuel is exhausted?
     
    Louie41 likes this.
  4. Arnie Pye

    Arnie Pye Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Years ago my husband and I had a three bar fire which ran off a large calor gas bottle. We just used it as an extra source of heat on top of the central heating because our house was very poorly insulated at the time.

    What took us by surprise was the upfront cost of buying the first gas cylinders. After we had those first gas cylinders we just swapped empty cylinders for new ones and so we were only paying for the gas. One thing to be aware of is that standard sized gas cylinders are extremely heavy and may be beyond the strength of a sick person.
     
  5. Arnie Pye

    Arnie Pye Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    For finding a gas bottle supplier this link might help :

    https://www.calor.co.uk/gas-bottles/retailers

    Camping shops may be a good source. It is also possible that some coal and/or log merchants may also sell gas bottles. And also possibly petrol stations.
     
    Louie41 and Wonko like this.
  6. RuthT

    RuthT Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  7. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I've had a couple of those heaters (everywhere used to have them in the '80s), never stayed anywhere long enough to figure out how to get them refilled.

    Depending on the cost I may not mind the upfront cost, as long as they deliver, even a small cylinder is far too heavy to lug back here on foot (or possibly even get out of the 'shop').

    I am aware of the weight, I have moved the ones that were in those old fires (as moving the fires with them in would often result in a broken fire). More recently i have a 9L compressed gas cylinder here and it's too heavy to move more than a few feet at a time. But if I can get someone to deliver it to my door, that would help.

    I haven't settled on a solution yet, getting something that will last a reasonable time seems sensible but only if it's not too big, or too heavy, and it can be stored out of the way, and it and it's cooker, isn't too expensive - coz money is an issue right now.

    My instinct is always to go for the most robust set up I can, but given I don't understand how that works, or what's needed.....yet.

    I've looked at that, it is a very confusing site seemingly designed to ensure that visitors leave with more confusion than when they started. My desire can't be that unusual, which cylinder (apparently 19l propane according the their wizard which is odd as everyone else that I've seen with these things seems to use butane for cooking, the only times I've seen orange/red cylinders is for heating), find local dealer, click on buy, local dealers, none of them have a website, supposed to be 0.4miles to the closest one but google says it's 1.2 miles, 1.2miles carrying at least a 7kg cylinder, I don't think so ;)

    ...and so on, the only contact info given are phone numbers, I cannot currently use a phone, I clicked on a link saying buy online, I cannot walk there and carry one back.

    /end winge/
     
  8. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I now have a ballpark figure for the 3rd option

    https://www.flogas.co.uk/shop/cylinders/flogas-gas-cylinders/11kg-propane-gas

    Easy to get info, on that site, that the calor gas site just didn't want to provide

    New cylinder £30, fill £32, delivery free (up to 5 days) - maybe need a regulator if the cooker/ring doesn't come with one (£8) - so £70 for maybe 54 hours continuous run time on a single burner

    Add what seems to start around £50 for a double ring cooker (I haven't yet figured out if the single ring £15 things are compatible) and it's well over my budget :(

    So it seems like a choice between option one, which is 'cheap' and easy to store, but in use probably not very good, and option 2 which is a little better in that if needed it should last 18/4 (4 ish) times as long, but costs more.

    The more complicated to understand option would seem to be eliminated.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2020
  9. Kitty

    Kitty Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Are you okay to have bottled gas in your flat? After Ronan Point, even mains gas was (and remains) banned in the low-rise blocks where we grew up. I guess the regulations will vary from one area to another, though.

    In the power cuts of the 1970s, we used to put candles inside a clay flowerpot and light them. Then another clay plant pot the same size was placed over it, rim to rim, with the kettle on top of that. It worked surprisingly well!

    Edit: added word 'bottled'.
     
  10. JemPD

    JemPD Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I have also wondered about this @Wonko

    I looked at getting a little camping gas stove with the butane canisters just so I could have a cuppa.

    But I have no idea what the chances are of powercuts. I suppose if we had a bad storm when covid's at it's peakthen staff capacity to fix powerlines etc could be compromised. I would love other's input on this.

    My carer is a keen camper so i'll ask her about the different options Wonko & feed it back if she says anything useful.
     
  11. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    Wonko, are you allowed such things in a block of flats? I am guessing there are fire related regulations.

    I can't see why there would be prolonged power cuts particularly during the corona virus outbreak. Electricity repair people would be treated as priority workers.

    How about having hot takeaway meals delivered if the worst occurs.
    For a warm drink, how about something very basic like this stand for tealight candles:
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I am not aware of any restrictions on such things here, I do know that the woman downstairs got a medium sized cylinder delivered a couple of years ago (I assumed she prefered cooking on gas), I just happened to be going down the stairs when the driver was lugging it up.

    Somewhere I have 6 or so boxes of the same type of candles my family used in the '70s - I got them for the last one that didn't happen and they've sort of floated about ever since, moving from draws to boxes to bags etc. Probably in the loft and I really should find them - but after last week I am in no hurry to engage in any meaningful way with the ladders.

    Sooner or later I'll figure out levitation.
     
  13. JemPD

    JemPD Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Moderator note: This post has been copied and some posts responding to it have been moved from this thread:
    China Confirms New Coronavirus Spreads From Humans to Humans
    ____________________________



    I cant remember if I asked this before or not, I couldn't see a post with it but I am pretty muzzy foggy so... my apologies if I did.
    Does anyone know what the chances are of there being power cuts. I suppose if we had a bad storm when covid's is at it's peak then staff capacity to fix powerlines etc could be compromised?. I would like to find out whetehr China had powercuts during the worst? But I did a quick google & not been able to find anything, not sure if that my useless searching skills or??? anyone know?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 11, 2020
  14. Kitty

    Kitty Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I can't see why there would be, unless we get very high winds again – and then the lines would be repaired asap, as always. We all depend on the power grid, so it'd be a top priority job.
     
  15. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I've lived here for over 17 years (maybe 18) and no one has ever suggested that I can't store or use such things here - you'd think they'd send a memo if it was important to them.

    Based on what I've seen with other things on the news in the last couple of years it seems perfectly possible that power could go off for a few to several days. I'm fairly sure that with full crews it has taken them that long to restore power to some storm/flood hit areas. It's not likely, but possible, and if I can ensure a buffer against such an event...within 'budget'...(the exact same budget that has been spent several times over now, the only reason the new wall unit could be purchased was if my food spending was minimal for the next few months, and then this happens, and because of the virus my food spending is 'higher' than it would otherwise normally be)
     
  16. Diluted-biscuit

    Diluted-biscuit Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Ive never used a tablet fuel stove myself but I think you are right and that they only have one heat setting and that you ideally leave them them to burn out. I also just read the fumes are quite nasty too so it may not be something you’d want to use indoors at all, even with a window open. It seems you shouldn’t even cook over some of them with an open pot.

    Alcohol stoves are more flexible. Some have simmer settings and you can choose how much fuel to put in them. But I don’t know how many years methylated spirt can be stored for or how much you’d need if you are planning for a long electric break.
     
    alktipping and Wonko like this.
  17. Diluted-biscuit

    Diluted-biscuit Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    The other option might be having some MRE style meals in with the self heating packs?
     
    Wonko likes this.
  18. JemPD

    JemPD Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It will be priority but they often take days to restore power, especially to remote areas, & that's under normal circumstances. Also if it got very bad would there be enough staff to man power stations etc? - that last be may be a remarkably dumb question, but I am ignorant of the power system tbh.
     
    ladycatlover likes this.
  19. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    If the power goes out then I can recharge my phone and tablets only a few tens of times (power banks and a couple of UPSs). What I cannot do with the kit I have is heat things, or not for long anyway, heating things needs a lot of power, or 30,000 tealights.

    I went out today, it wasn't by choice.

    It is 'odd' out there, few people but lots of cars and full buses. Sainsburys had virtually no trolleys, but the store wasn't that busy (maybe they'd sent them off for disinfection - doesn't seem likely, practical, or sensible, given that as soon as someone used one it'd need doing again, but they had very few trolleys compared with the people in the shop).

    Most of the people on the bus were older people, which is odd coz their day for mobbing the town and shops is Thursday.

    Almost everyone in sainsburys that wasn't staff was a pensioner. I jumped to the conclusion they were stocking up while they could, given there was reported to be an announcement earlier that in a few days they will be advised not to go out.

    Almost no toilet rolls, no bread mixes, no pasta, no standard rice other than 'basics' and brown rice, no dried milk - oddly tinned meat, veg and fruit still had sensible stocks.

    The younger people that were out were mainly visibly, and audibly, ill, and the rest seemed skittish.

    Both bus drivers were ill and coughing.

    My local council offices seem to have been fully automated, even to the extent of removing the helpdesk and signs that might tell people what to do. I responded to the complete lack of information or help by doing nothing, simply standing next to where the helpdesk was last year.

    Where it no longer is. I can state this as a fact as there is no longer a desk, or any structure, within the room, merely lots of 'interfaces' around the walls. (I thought these people had absolutely no money)

    Beside an empty bottle of hand sanitizer on the floor.

    The only one that could be seen.

    Eventually security came out and asked me what I was doing there (I can always count on such places being camera'd and human curiosity, or at the very least indignant hostility, to resolve, or at least clarify, problems.)

    It was a 'fun' day out.
     
  20. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Last time I looked at them they cost an absolute fortune in the UK.

    I think I have probably settled on option 2, a £15 burner with a few c500 canisters (6 hours on 'medium' burn each). Given that it's not, I agree, that likely that there would be a sustained power cut, at least not one of of longer than a few days, I'm not going to go into even slightly survivalist mode.

    Something to cover me if there is a power cut near a mealtime and/or overnight will have to do.

    At my age it's something I really should have already, I did after all grow up in 70s Britain lol
     

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