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Off-Grid Living

Why oil lamps should be part of your preps

In this day and age if you mention off-grid lighting most people’s thoughts tend to jump to solar power. But what if you live in an area with low levels of sunlight – especially in winter? Or maybe there is a solar flare or EMP event? That is where an oil lamp or lantern can shine.

Here are a few reasons you should stock up on oil lamps, fuel and wicks:

  • Lamps that rely on burning oil, kerosene or propane gas will also create heat. If it gets cold because your generator can’t power your electric heaters, then the heat from your lamp can still keep you warm to some extent.
  • Oil lamps can run on many different types of fuel, so you don’t have to keep a steady supply of refined oil at the ready all the time. They can even run on used cooking oil, melted lard, and alcohol. And if you are burning citronella oil, they help keep mosquitoes at bay as well.
  • When the grid fails for longer periods of time, oil lamps will not lose their energy after a few hours. In contrast, batteries have to be recharged in order to be reusable, so there’s a limit of days you can hold out with just a few flashlights.
  • Oil lamps will keep burning even if there are electromagnetic disturbances such as the ones caused by strong solar flares or EMP attacks. In the event of a nuclear attack, the EM pulse resulting from a nuclear strike can take out most electronics, including your solar lighting.
  • While store-bought laterns and lamps often have little extras, you can easily make your own lamp with just a jar or bottle and wicking materials.
  • You can grow oil-producing plants such as canola or sunflowers and then using a hand-cranked expeller press restock your oil supply. And the leftovers from the pressing can be fed to your chickens or other livestock.

Oil lamps and lanterns are generally considered safer than candles to burn and unlike candles, you can control the burn rate and light output with a lamp or lantern. However, just like candles, they should never be left to burn unsupervised.

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