Preps For Short Term Power Outage
A short term power outage will only cause inconvenience for most of us. The longer it drags on the more inconvenient.
For the sake of discussion and some fun, let’s talk preparedness for a regional power outage lasting 24 hours or less. And let’s say that it happens while you’re at home, not at work.
What are some of the preps that come to mind? What might you have on hand for such a power outage – to make life a little less interrupted?
Instead of listing a zillion things, lets limit the list to what might be the most practical or beneficial during a minor event such as this. We’re probably not going to need to unsheathe our Bowie knife or pop the tops off of 5 gallon buckets of rice & beans, but there might be a few things that will make our life a little easier…
Here are my initial thoughts:
Water (only for some)
A short term loss of electricity will not affect municipal infrastructure to the extent that you will notice. However if you’re on a well, you will only have water that’s sitting in your pressure tank (probably less than 50 gallons). So be cautious of toilet flushes that use lots of water. I rely on a well pump and one of my water contingencies is that I do store extra.
Generator for short term power outage
A generator solves lots of inconvenient issues! If you have a whole-house generator, then you might as well stop the list right here.
Not everyone has a generator, so let’s move on:
Flashlights & LED Lanterns
If it goes on into the evening and nighttime, you can either sit in the dark, go to bed, or turn on some lights. In this case, battery powered lighting (or that from solar charged lighting – which still charges a internal ‘battery’).
A good old portable camp stove will efficiently cook a can of beef stew from your food storage pantry. It will also enable a nice hot cup of coffee, tea, or chocolate ;)
I have an old Coleman, however I have also had the following little stove for years which has served me well too. It’s actually fueled by butane canisters:
GAS ONE 9,000 BTU Portable Gas Stove
Which leads me to the next item, a coffee percolator for you coffee drinkers out there. Gotta have that morning cup (or two) of joe… (where did that term come from?)
Portable Indoor Heater
Okay, I didn’t say what season we’re in, but if it’s Fall or Winter (or early Spring), some of us will get a wee bit chilly when the heat’s not working. Have a wood stove? Then you’re all set. Otherwise a convenient but effective indoor portable heater might be a good idea.
Mr. Heater Buddy Indoor-Safe (4,000 , 9,000 and 18,000 BTU)
Review: ‘Mr. Heater Buddy’ for Winter Survival Preparedness
Portable Charger for Gadgets & Phones
I use one of the “Anker” brand portable chargers (it’s a high capacity battery) which outputs USB to charge devices (e.g. cell phones, Tablets, iPads, etc..). While a short term power outage is minimal, if you’re device happens to be low on charge then this little charger will save the day…
Anker 20000mAh Portable Charger
What else might you have in order to lessen one’s inconvenience during a short term power outage?
I suppose we could eat the ice cream in the freezer before it melts…
We lost power for a few days earlier this year, due to a bad storm with high winds. Took down 4 of our trees and did some roof damage in the process. At the time we didn’t have a generator, but my in-laws did, and they weren’t affected so we borrowed it and had power back up within a couple hours. After we got that hooked up there wasn’t really any major disruptions to our day to day activities. One thing we did have to do though was run out and buy more gas cans/get gas for the generator.
We were gifted a generator a few weeks ago and I feel a lot better having our own now. We got lucky before because my in-laws live just a few miles away from us and it was a fluke that they didn’t lose power as well. If/when another bad storm goes through it could very well knock us both out and having two generators will make things a lot easier!
I have a dual fuel generator, gasoline or Propane. When buying a generator, try and get one that has a THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) of less than 5%. That’s the distortion in the sine wave. I bought one from Costco on sale for $650–7K to 9K watts. If you store gas in it be sure and use a long term fuel stabilizer, And, for God’s sake, if you connect to the house wiring be sure and turn off the meter breaker so you don’t send power down the line and electrocute some lineman.
We have a short-term power outage every time the wind blows. They always have power back on in a few hours.
For short term we don’t need generators, chargers, portable stoves, or percolators. I have water, flashlights, and battery-operated lanterns. I am not so hooked on “devices” that I need a way to recharge them (all I have is a cell phone, anyway.) I can get by for a day with food that doesn’t need to be cooked.
So I am good with my back-up propane heater, solar & battery powered lights, and food that doesn’t need to be cooked, such as canned fruit, crackers, cheese, etc.
If things went bad, they would be really bad — not a few hours, but a few months or years. I have tried to be prepared for up to one year. After a year I would probably be out of propane in my 500 gal tank and I would be in trouble, even if I had enough food.
You lost me at not needing coffee….
Ya don’t need a percolator to make Coffee. (I don’t happen to drink coffee)
Just toss the coffee in a pan or a tin-can and boil for a bit, strain the grounds through the teeth when ya drink it hehehehe
Remember we’re talking TEOTWAWKI, all out Armageddon here, well for 24 hours anyways.
Ya don’t want to take coffee from a coff-aholic for 24 hours, guaranteed
Good ol’ camp coffee lol.
I have a single burner camp stove and it will boil water away and still not percolate the coffee pot and I sip on coffee all day! What I did is just get the water hot and pour it over the grounds of my regular maker. I don’t get why my stove won’t do coffee-
Will that portable charger do kindles?
Grandpa used to put just a little cold water in the pot after perking to “settle the grounds” or in real times of plenty break and egg into the pot.
Me Father would put an egg shell in his “Camping” coffee
A variation on the pour-the boiling-water-over-the-grounds-technique (would that be PTBWOTGT?) would be using a French press to make the coffee. You would still get to do the PTBWOTG thing but you would use the mesh screen to separate the grounds from the brew and save your teeth for ripping open Mylar bags. As a bonus you get to save energy compared to percolating. You only have to bring the water to a boil not sustain a boil for the time a percolator takes to make coffee. I’ve never looked back at drips, percs or any other coffee making system after I got my first French press.
Just noticed that YoungestOf3 likes the press, too.
I like a French Press myself.
French press. Hot water and coffee is all you need. I mostly drink tea myself but the wife is a coffee drinker. So I have the press and a old style coffee pot
Just get a ‘French Press’ from Walmart, You just need hot water and coffee. I use one every day, The coffee tastes great.
I have a Kelly Kettle and lots of instant coffee (the good kind with artificial cream and sugar) so I can still have coffee. We are only talking one day here.
Most coffee drinkers I know cant go 1 hour in the morning without their coffee, cant imagine 24 hours without their “drug”.
Don’t forget that chocolate is a good substitute for coffee. So are Cola drinks, tea, and instant coffee.
At least people without coffee will just go to sleep. Imagine a town full of people without their anti-psychotic drugs.
I love my Kelly Stove the original Rocket Stove! Ecer try the BioLight stove? Cooks well and charges USB items like your cell phone or USB Battery charger.
Pretty much the same here. I do like coffee though, so what I do is keep a few types stored. Nescafe Classico instant isn’t bad. I don’t like Starbucks normally, but if found on sale, their instant Via is pretty good too.
It’s easy to heat enough water for a cup of coffee without electricity (a large candle, small pan even works) but both of the above dissolve in a bottle of water too. You can also store a few bottles or cans of premade coffee, if it’s a priority.
In my current small NH town, all power outages in the 10 years here have been 24 hours or less. If it’s winter, and there is warning it could go due to ice or snow, I bump up the heat. (We rent and sadly no secondary heat source) Store boiled water in Thermoses, and a Zojiruishi that keeps water hot for a long time. Everyone takes a shower. I clean any dishes, run laundry if needed. I try to keep phones and e- readers charged anyway.
I have the usual solar/crank/battery lanterns and radio. Plenty of camping gear, like base layers, headlamps, good sleeping bags. Short-term outages are actually fun. They’re a time to slow down a bit more, and also good prep practice.
Water comes from a tower, no power needed.
French Press coffee maker with a natural gas stove, no power needed.
Don’t open the fridge or freezer.
life goes on.
Light up the kerosene lamp, or led lantern for the evening until bed time.
If cellular towers are down – no biggie.
Using a solar panel, car battery or other power source to recharge things…. IF needed.
Even the USB crank generator for small things is ok too.
No biggie for a day.
Battery or solar radio for the news. Extra layer of clothes if it’s winter. Something to keep the little ones entertained.
good point. i have a small unit from canadian solar. it has a 50W solar panel and battery unit to provide lighting. it has a built in radio and will charge mobile phones. really pretty good for 300$. i will upgrade to a Goal Zero unit when i have more money.
Entertained??? Just, send the Little Ones out to chop wood.
My little one is too little for that….for now, lol!
OK, ok! When the lights go out and it’s dark, get some Braille books, set them on your lap and read to them.
There really are zombies.
In my experience, the older generation seem to take a power outage in stride – not so with some of the younger generations. I have seen many just fretting, agitated, lost, aimless, angry, … yup just zombies. I’m not sure that all the electronic devices we love, are not just one BIG mouse trap. Say cheese, but it appears that many here are more attracted to chocolate :).
oh and i have a good store of chocolate, especially hot chocolate with additives to keep you extra warm!
Hey!!! I resemble that remark :-(
old lady, you just don’t pay no never mind to that foreigner ‘hermit us’ and keep that stock of Chocolate up to par
ready for you and Blue and anyone else on the blog who wants to amble this way!
Remember, the road goes both ways if needed.
There is a classic novel by a Hans Christian … somebody, where a nice old lady invited people to come and partake of her sweets, chocolate, and charms – be careful of the road.
Well, sometimes you have put ones priorities ahead a blackout, and there is nothing better than a piece of chocolate or the whole pint jar. Of course one then🍩 is on chocolate over load…rolwl.
Ken should never have mentioned chocolate – now you have it smeared all of your face – even without a blackout. :)
Actually NO, not with M&M’s…☺
AC… Maybe not m&m’s, but the rollos will get ya lol!!
If we new it was a temporary I consider it a cozy time. We have a generator that runs the house, but when we have an outage we just use it to boost the frig and freezers, We have candles, and oil lamps and a fireplace with a comfy couch in front of it. Cooking is no problem as we have a propane stove and oven, and a coleman drip coffee pot that you can use on a stove burner. Our land telephone line will last 5+ hours because of battery backup at the remote line equipment site. After that no one has to call me, whether our phones are charged or not, There is no cell service or internet with the modem down. We have short term water in many, many 2qt water bottles to use for flushing and drinking and water in empty laundry and bubble bath jugs for washing. I am ready, Oh and some powerful flashlights of all kinds.
old lady – Thank you for the idea of putting wash water in old laundry jugs. My wife and I think it’s a great idea (we hadn’t thought of it) and have our first jug stored under the sink and ready to go. We’ll collect more. Thanks again.
CD in Oklahoma
Like most long time preppers, I’ve got most of the grid-down stuff in place and deal with short-term outages fairly regularly where I live. One little addition of my own making is a piece of 1×6 wood plank about 8″ long that I drilled six 1/2″ holes in (2 rows of 3). I removed the lower yard stakes off of six cheap solar landscape lights and inserted the globe portion into these holes. After charging in the sun all day, I carry the whole tray indoors at night and place it underneath a table lamp in my living room that I leave on all night. When the power goes off, they come on. If at night, the first thing I do if I wake up in darkness, is remove the little lights and place one in each room in the house. They provide enough light to safely navigate our home until morning, at which time I replace them in their holder and carry them outside for recharging. This little project cost me $6 for the lights and a piece of scrap wood and has worked for 4 years now w/o having to replace any of the lights.
Great idea – thanks for sharing that!
I just place the yard stakes in vases ‘for one rose’ size. I use the back porch railing to hold them–full sun all day.
Get ready to take inside? Just carry the vases.
I also purchased these and I love them–two in the kitchen, one in each bathroom, and one in the hallway and den.
I just use painter’s tape to hold on the wall–not the sticky that comes with it–they have held for months already.
6 Pack Motion Sensor Light, Battery Powered LED Night Light
Battery-operated, but I have a solar battery charger if needed.
I bought 6 of these and love them. As I said before, we lose electricity here every time the wind blows. If it is dark outside, you can trip over your cat as you walk through the house looking for a flashlight. These lights come on whenever they detect motion. When it is light, including when there is just a nightlight or other small light, they stay off saving the batteries.
Dennis, Although others have mentioned they use (or could use) outdoor solar landscape lights, I like your tray of lights idea… No need to jam the lights into the dirt and deal with that spike while indoors (it won’t stand up readily).
Power problems here are winter storms, or the random and infrequent somebody smacked a power pole, Nor’easters, usually a tree breaks a power line somewhere. Your article list of stuff pretty much is what I have built up over time: 10KW portable generator, Big Buddy heater, woodstove with emergency wood stack in the basement. Multiple cooking options: woodstove again, 2-burner propane stove with 20 lb. tank distribution tree, grill as a last resort with extra 1 and 20 lb. tanks,. Both battery and oil lamps, more tactical flashlights than I can count spread around the house. The camping perk coffee pot as a backup, more coffee stored (instant, long term and large containers), tea bags; over caffeinated to be wired and fired doing the snow blower and shoveling Olympics. Paper plates/cups, plastic utensils and trash bag city. The good old portable potties, if needed, when you gotta go, you gotta go…. .Multiple case of bottle water and 5 gallon containers; ordered the 55 gallon storage barrel. Got the cribbage board ready, with the stored chocolate (glass vac sealed) [M&Ms the flagship candy of MSB, other candies too] and an assortment of nippers if so desired. Couple of power packs in the vehicles that have USB charge ports for a laptop movie, paper books. Batten down the hatches, dig out when it’s over.
Timing is everything. This morning about 4-4:30 a.m. (early riser, long commute), working on the first cup of coffee, bonk, out goes the power (windy here), about a minute later power pops back on.
Finished getting ready for work, the old three power snaps in a row, bonked out again, verbalized “Oh FOOT!, Hopefully was not North Korea…”
Two minutes later, power pops back on. Spotty power problems in the area, cleaning out the tree limbs I guess.
Our previous house lost power all the time. It was a regular thing. Flashlights and LED lanterns all over the house. Keep the freezer/fridges closed. Natural gas stove easy to light to cook, propane BBQ grill available in all but the very worst weather (rare here).
Happened one night when friends were over for dinner. We ate by candlelight (lots), and drank adult beverages while playing board games by lantern light.
Well I have a question for Ken when setting up the scenario, “How do you know it’s only for 24 hours”?
Ok, I believe Ken and most has listed most everything needed accept invasion protection from those that will go ‘Zombie’ as soon as night hits. Recall the NY blackouts and many MANY more whereas the ‘Zombies’ decided it was their right to riot, rape, and destroy as they wanted.
My list of ‘stuff’ for the 24 hour “Lights Out”
1. Fire up the multi-power Radio & the Ham/SW, try to get some reliable info of what’s going on for sure. Did NK just EMP us, did the Sun Explode, did a tree fall on the power line, did the Left Coast fall into the Pacific? Without good info you have NO idea what’s going on and cannot make logical decisions.
2. Assuming we’re talking ‘now’, as in Cold Weather, I would check the status of firewood in the house, restock if necessary.
3. I’d prep the Gen Sets and cords for the ready if the “Lights Out” is longer than 48 hours.
4. If water is still running I’d fill the Tub Water Bob, no need using good water to flush the toilet.
5. Do one quick ‘grab’ out of the Refrigerator for a couple of meals, than keep the Frig closed.
Honestly I believe that a 24 hour disruption may just some families together for some talk and re-bonding that is missing so sorely in this world now, what ever happened to the “Family Unit”
Lastly grab Atlas Shrugged and have a good read well into the night, add a final load of wood into the Wood Stoves, and wave goodnight to the stars.
You mean to say you don’t believe when our power companies say the power will be back in 24 hours!?!?!?!
HAHAHAHA, Thanks kido, I just snorted my morning tea out my nose all over the keyboard…..
Even Blue had to ‘fart’ at that one… ROFLMAO
Completely agree and the family re-bonding., And this is probably horrible to say and will more than likely bite me in the hinney, We never get more than a few hours of disruption, I kind of wish we would have a 24 hour or so disruption just to wake up a few people and most of my family to the idea that maybe they should be a little more prepared.
Without opening an off subject conversation.
Sometimes I wonder if a good week or 4 disruption would not do this Country good, not wanting the violence, riots, death and everything that WILL come with it, but just to wake people up. How in the heck does one tell people how far down the rabbit hole we are headed?
Heck, even take the entire grid down for Kens hypothetical 24 hours and see what happens.
Worse than “violence, riots, death”, kids screaming their head off in less than 24 hr.
I guess I should add that no TV or electronic games will bring this on.
Good thought. We have had localized disasters (hurricanes and fires), but take the Whole Country down for a day or two. People would not be able to drive to ‘a better place’. Wake up call for sure. We may have this happen if our Sun-orbiting satellites detect a big in-coming solar storm (Carrington event size). I think fall back for the Big Utilities right now in such a scenario is to shut down the grid and ground things out to prevent major damage to the systems.
Just like ‘live practice’ fighting fires, such an event would be good for showing where we need to prep better.
I was on vacation several years ago and my neighbor was watching my house. The power went out and they said 24-48 hours. She called me freaking out about needing water and could she take the water bottles I put out to water the house plants. She is very liberal and always laughed at out preps, still is!?!? Never learn
ya knw ya “can’t fix stupid”
We’re talking 5 gallons of water for crying out loud
I did take Ken at face value about knowing it was a temporary outage, but how would I know that? Maybe if I was driving home and heard my area was in a heat-related power black-out (which could happen today with record breaking heat & Santa Ana’s at it again). But, you’re right, if the power suddenly went off at home or office, I would grab a light (if needed) and then an emergency radio. I’m much more on alert than I used to be (sad that it’s needed, but a good thing overall), so I can’t just assume a black-out is just a quick black-out.
So Cal Gal
“I’m much more on alert than I used to be (sad that it’s needed, but a good thing overall),”
I been thinking on that statement, and do wonder where did all the “innocence” go? I often wonder if my parents were the same as I feel now. Did they believe that there is a Black Rainbow just over the horizon? My family always did live the lifestyle to a point, we always had food and the necessities needed. Mainly because they lived the Great Depression I think.
But it seems different now-a-days. Seems to be more crime, more violence, 1000 times the corruption everywhere one looks. I often ask, what the heck if going on with the Country? Unfortunately I have no answer, nor do I see a good outcome to the current flow at which we are heading.
Back on subject, I wonder what would really happen if Ken’s 24 hour “Lights Out” would happen to an entire region as he suggest?
Without going off on CA again, what do you think would happen there in your neck of the …. Was going to say woods but…. Your neck of the concrete jungle? Seriously, how would So Cal act if 24 or more hours of no power?
PS; I remember at one time never needing to lock my doors, what happened?
Look at you showing all that self-restraint ;)
It does feel like everything is going the wrong direction. More congestion, more crime, more people living on the dole, more people completely dependent on electronic “money”.
So, 24 hours of no power? I guess it depends on how much info gets out to people about how, why and ETA to power back on. if the word was out on radio and through cell phones that power would be back on next day I think people would mostly do okay (there’s always some criminals who take advantage). But, with no word of what was going on, or no end in sight, different story. I think people would be out in their neighborhoods asking “What have you heard” – and folks could get very restless quickly, especially in downtown areas where people are very densely packed and crime runs high on a good day.
When I lived in So Cal, we had a few power outages, mostly due to wind storms. My suburban cul-de-sac block was mostly middle-aged folks with kids already out of the house, but there were a few young families, and one druggie house.
The last outage I remember, as it was getting dark, we all met in the street to see who knew what, etc…..except one young “lady” who was running up and down the street freaking out, didn’t know what to do, couldn’t call her BF, etc. (guess which house she lived in!).
Her biggest fear was it was getting dark (afraid of the dark?), so I gave her one of those little squeeze flashlights I’d picked up at a Gaither Concert a few months earlier and had on my keychain. All it took was that little light to calm her down (and help find her way to her stash, I guess).
After comparing notes among the neighbors, and learning
the outage was somewhat limited/localized, we all went home and made it an early night, except for the neighbor at the end of the block who volunteered to sit on his porch to make sure no one thinking about taking advantage of the situation showed up. Power was restored the next afternoon.
These days, I doubt a little squeeze light would be much help.
Humans will be the biggest problem in a serious collapse of any kind. 24 hours for us here, we hardly notice, we’re used to it. If it were an extended deprivation of any kind, I think we will be in for a show like we have never imagined. We will see human behavior that was thought to exist only in the movies. Just my humble hillbilly opinion on the matter.
I hope folks don’t underestimate what people are capable of doin.
I agree….that’s a big part of why I’m where I am today. Sure wouldn’t want to be anywhere close to a big city if things really HTF.
We had a nice neighborhood watch where I lived in CA, but would probably have been easily overrun by a large group of bad guys.
You’re gonna need a lot more than 24 hours to read Atlas Shrugged!
Agreed, but ya have to admit, A.S. is a hell of a GREAT book,
come on power outages HAHAHAHA
I have a wood stove that we heat with all the time so no problem there, have propane so I can use the stove top to cook and have a coffee pot, for lighting I have kerosene lamps and candles in the living ready to use, (most people think they are just decorative), a couple flashlights in certain areas of the house and batteries powered lanterns in the linen closet and if for more then a few hours we have propane lanterns in the tack shed we could use. The freezer we will just keep shut but if an extended time we have two generators and extra gas stored. Also have a land line and a corded phone to plug in instead of the cordless.
Question, could a person use diesel instead of kerosene, DH seems to think so but I am not so sure. Would be great if we could since the farm diesel tank is usually always at least half full.
As to your question, yes, Kerosene is just #1 Diesel, now the #2 Diesel (regular diesel the green stuff, and farm/offroad diesel the red) does have more impurities in it so it will ‘smell’ and give off some suit, but tis the same.
To everyone that is going to use Camp Stoves and Lanterns in the house, make DANG sure you have fresh air and don’t decide to kill yourselves from Carbon Monoxide.
Thanks, That’s kind of what DH said guess I just wanted to make sure, I do have kerosene stored but nice to know I can use the diesel also. And there is other diesel than red??? lol.
“And there is other diesel than red??? lol.”
Ya gata to love a farmers/ranchers life… I did read about Green Diesel once in a report on fuel… Figured it was not ‘Ripe’ yet. HAHAHA
“I did read about Green Diesel once in a report on fuel… Figured it was not ‘Ripe’ yet” Love that lol, totally going to use that.
RV’s have heat source, refrigeration, stove, lighting, and bathroom facilities–all powered by a generator and battery system which is why they are called, “self contained”. Don’t forget you can move into your RV if necessary.
I saw that SC is being hit with a severe storm now. Perhaps some people that lurk on this site are testing their “lights out plan” at this moment – be safe.
Our “cottage” is pretty well insulated, so for heat we would be okay for awhile, Propane infrared heaters for backup. Light up the Coleman Lantern, puts out a lot of heat and light. As with any fuel burning light or stove that does not have a vent, make sure you have battery powered or battery backup Carbon Monoxide detectors installed and working. If we need water for flushing, we have a section of irrigation canal that stays ice free all winter long. If power is off longer than 4-5 hours, we can always put the generator outside and run power cords in if we have too. If it gets too cold, can always snuggle up to Ol Jake the Farm dog. Ever hear of a “three dog night”? that must have been a cold one for sure.
Short term outage really would not affect us, except at night. We would light up the kerosene lanterns. I always have cooked food in the frig ready to eat so I don’t have to cook. The weakest point is the coffee. We do have a French press on our want list but it is not very high on the list so it could be awhile before we purchase it. We can still make coffee but I think the French press would work best for us since we all have different strengths that we prefer.
Also since our house is so well insulated we don’t have to worry about it getting cold too fast. In the winter the wood stove would be cranking anyway. We also have the Big Buddy for downstairs should it be needed. Stored water, books to read, cards to play, and just sitting around talking.
There is nothing more relaxing than sitting by the wood stove reading a book with a cup of hot chocolate while a raging blizzard howls just outside my window.
water stored in water tank, pressurized by tire pump to 20,lbs, keeps wife happy, inverter to truck to power fans tv internet frig, no generator,too noisy. inverters for 3 hurricanes now, had no power on poles for 1 week with each storm, had window unit did not need it, but if it had gotten hotter, inverter would support it. less expensive, quiet, put on self when not in use does not go bad. used my truck and wifes car, worked.
what size inverters do you use? You just keep the trucking running when you hook them up?
IF the power goes out in warm weather, a battery fan is a handy thing to have.
No generator here. We’re spending our time and energy preparing to live without 110VAC power, both short and long term if needed. Electricity is not a requirement health-wise, so let the freezer thaw out. The pets will love what little refrigerated food that we might lose. Maintaining refrigeration long term would not be sustainable for us, so we don’t plan for it short-term either. Making sure that we don’t run out of water (long term) will be our biggest concern, and if it’s cold, we have natural gas or wood for cooking and heat, and solar or oil for light. If it’s hot, we have wood cooking outside, solar recharging for personal cooling, and solar for light. Hunker down and relax.
Short-term outage boredom is relieved by playing cribbage (we do that every day anyway) and treadle or handcrank sewing machines to work on a long list of waiting projects. We’ll check the smart phone text a couple of times a day for our news, and otherwise enjoy the stillness while we can. When it gets noisy outside, our old antique wind-up phonograph is a fun way to help cover the generator racket from the neighbors, and provide exercise too.
It’s the Buck Owens Plan: Lay around the shack ‘til the power grid comes back, rollin’ in my sweet baby’s arms”.
CD in Oklahoma
We have a wall propane heater in our sealed room in the 40X20 metal building. No windows etc. There is a fireplace in the den. Mr. and I will just close off part of the house. If it is not cold will just wing it and use candles. We have 3 Water Bobs till the well gets dug. Well is going to have a frost proof hand pump. Bought one of those park type grills for outside. If smoke is a factor have other options. We have been looking at generators, time to stop looking. We are on septic tank so just need water. By the way NRP what is the best deal on TP. Meaning the kind that does take your skin off when ya use it!
“By the way NRP what is the best deal on TP. Meaning the kind that does take your skin off when ya use it!”
I get my stash from Sam’s Club, Quilted Northern 32 rolls for $16, it wont quite take the skin off, but it does the job….. Remember, roll from the Top… HAHAHA
IS 600 rolls really that much? :-)
Yup, should never get in a hurry when you leave a comment!!! Poop off even if rough is better than poop on……………………..
Although some will have plenty of water (until the city water tower drains) we on wells have other thoughts. A side by side hand pump for your well brings peace (at least in my house).
Even with a hand pump (good to keep youth busy) sanitation is a problem. In the army we would set up one garbage can with hot soapy water to wash mess kits/pots and a second with bleach water for rinse and sanitize. When the soapy one was too dirty to wash with we dumped in it into the hand dug grey water pit and the bleach water was heated up with soap etc. Now in OUR smaller unit size I plan on using 6 gallon plastic buckets (better size for pots) and the dirty water goes to flush toilet and the rotation as described. By the time the bleach water gets too dirty for washing the beach is reduced as so not to damage septic system. If in doubt wait until you cannot smell bleach to be sure.
Laundry (if the “Temporary Power Outage” goes longer is a 6 gallon plastic bucket with hot soapy water, a Janitors Mop bucket w squeezer (recycle that hot soapy water) and a rinse water bucket. Again similar rotation as dish washing as to get most use out of that hard pumped or hauled water. Remember to Wash the Cleanest/most delicate items first then progress towards your cruddy jeans.
Hope this helps somebody in basic sanitation.
I forgot with laundry you can buy a special hand plunger to agitate the clothes or a good quality toilet plunger and drill a couple of 3/4 inch holes in the rubber cup for the same effect.
I actually have one of those little thingies – tried it once and it will do the job but makes me wish I had kids around to do the work – sort of like a manual grain mill- well easier but you get the idea.
NH Michael-we’re on a we’ll now and I’ve never heard of side by side pump, need to look this up!
Just a hand pump that co-exists with your electric water pump. Find out who drilled your well ask static depth of water. Ask about average draw down. Ask if a hand pump can be placed beside the electric unit.
Once you get these answers you can buy yourself a hand pump and install it as a back up when power goes out.
Earth straw has a decent reputation and can be put beside almost any pump but is a low volume water pump. But you can remove it and take it with you if you needed to. Nice option.
If you are interested in a hand pump, check out Oasis Pumps. Theirs are made of PVC. The advantage is that if you don’t use it for months the water inside it will not rust the pump.
I have the gen set covered. I need power to run my CPAP so I picked up a 100amp hR battery to get me through the night. I also just order a new oral device in the event I don’t have any access to power. My challenge came recently with the Hurricanes taking out power at 2:00 am. Yes I was prepared with plenty of fuel and the gen set, however, I didn’t feel like going out in the rain to pull all the gear out and set it up in the middle of the night. If I had an oral device I just pop it in and go back to sleep. I ended up heading to the back room sleeping in a chair so my snoring didn’t wake up the entire house. Now I am figuring out what level of solar panel I need to use to recharge the battery. My math has the battery only lasting 16 hrs before I drop below 60% which is the lowest draw down I can take and still have it be rechargeable.
Check with your tax guy, but it is my understanding, if you need the generator to keep medical equipment going or meds cold the generator could be considered a medical expense and a tax deduction. Might be worth a try.
Better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission.
If the power went out before dawn, I could finally look over at my DW and say, “See, I told you it would happen some day!” Then I could finally strut around the house with my headlamp on playing Daniel Boone. If it was Breakfest time I could finally try a pouch of them MH Biscuits and Gravy I bought five years ago. As evening comes II fire up my 800 lum lattern, and gaze lovingly into its LEDs, dag, just went flash blind, I could take out my Emergency notebook and implement my plans for the rest of the time the lights are out while munching on a pilot cracker and slices of DAK canned ham topped with a dab of honey mustard, yummy! Can I please order a 24 hour blackout from Amazon? I’d like that as its starting to get pretty boring preparing for whatever that never comes! Better watch what I ask for!
Hahaha! I’m picturing your victory march around the house (with headlamp), proclaiming “See, I told you we would need all this stuff – now do you believe me?”
I’ve referred to my DH as “somewhat skeptical” on this site more than a few times. Sure, at moments he’s on board, then there are those other moments:
He: “With all this crap you have piled up you look like a hoarder”
Me: “Well, better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.”
He: “I guess… but you know we’ll never REALLY need all this stuff, right?”
Me: Audibile sigh.
SO Cal Gal
Silence/Sigh is a wicked VERY WICKED weapon ya know?
I know… but sometimes a sigh is the least volatile form of venting frustration available at a given moment. And sometimes it just slips out in exasperation.
On the other hand, I’m not a fan of the silent treatment at all. I know some people use silence as a tool, but it can be hurtful.
SO Cal Gal
Ohhhhh I have to tell ya, than get back on subject before Ken give me the “Silent Treatment”.
The late wife was an expert on the Silent Treatment, until I simply told her “Thank God, finally some peace and quiet” HAHAHA
Men never learn that’s for sure :-)
THATS when TSHTF big time HAHAHA
Well, that approach was one way to break the silence… pretty much guaranteed to provoke a reaction. I’m betting probably quite a reaction ;)
So Cal Gal
Hence the BOL :-)
I’ve got a whole 5 gallon food safe bucket filled to the brim with little survival/EDC items I have no idea when or if I’ll ever use them, you know rolls and rolls of Paracord, EDC key chains, pouches, plastic bags, tea candles, etc. maybe it’s time for a yard sale but then the neighbors would finally know what I get in those multiple USPS/UPS/FED EX 2-3 times a week deliveries….
I’d keep that stuff right where it is. Murphy’s law – as soon as you sell or get rid of it you will need it. Plus, better to keep the neighbors guessing. :)
some have mentioned natural gas. How long will it flow in a power out situation?
Excellent question as it’s pump pressurized and piped in to your house. Also Most Newer Gas stoves/heaters have Safeties built in to prevent you turning it on with out electricity. Something about gassing yourself I suppose.
Please test your items unplugged to see if they still work and ask your Natural gas provider about power outage plans to keep your gas flowing.
Before I got my big propane tank and my propane wall heater, I called Wyoming Gas and asked how long they could supply natural gas if the grid went down. They said about 2 weeks. Later I realized that wouldn’t solve the problem since my thermostat runs on electricity. I don’t think the furnace would come back on without a working thermostat.
I’m not sure about that. Maybe we should ask NRP.
Prepends on the type of “furnace” you have 99.99% of modern furnaces need power to run, both the fan for the “forced air part” and the thermostat, some thermostats have batteries in them but the circuit to run the furnace is power from the furnace through the thermostat.
The other type of furnace or “heater” is the old wall type (sometimes in the floor), those require no power, they have a thermal couple in them that regulate the heat output and temperature of the room.
I have both types. a 70,000 BTU natural gas furnace in my basement and a vented radiant wall furnace in my living room that used to run on natural gas, but was converted a few months ago to run on that 500 gallon propane tank that I was able to buy after I bought that vacant lot next door.
I am glad I am no longer relying on that basement furnace. Now I wonder if my water heater will operate for a few weeks if we lose electric power, or if it needs electricity to run the thermostat.
Water Heaters the normal tank type, do not need power to operate just the supply of Gas. I’m surprised you did not convert the Water Heater to Propane when you converted the Furnace and Wall Heater? or did you just convert the Wall Heater and not the Furnace?
DaisyK generally if it has a plug in it requires electricity to use that natural gas. The good news is NOT Much power so an UPS (uninterruptible Power Supply) can be used to power them for a couple of days. And for the really prepared a Renology 200 watt solar system and direct sunlight can recharge it for you. Solar is not rocket science once you try.
I did consider converting the water heater too, but my main worry is not enough heat in the house. It gets SOOO cold here. Sometimes minus 35. Record is minus 43. I thought that using part of the propane for hot water would use the propane faster.
I have a 500 gallon tank, the biggest one allowed inside town. It might need to last a long time.
I considered hot water a luxury instead of a necessity. I have several ways to boil water — Kelly Kettle, 1-burner propane stove, folding Sterno stove, and a charcoal grill outside that I have several bags of charcoal for. So I can heat water for my two hot water bottles to go to bed with, and I can boil water if my 3 different types of water filters stop working.
I can’t find a plug, so I hope it doesn’t have one. When I bought the water heater in 2009, I asked if it would work if the electricity went out, and the plumber said it would still work. I was not sure if he knew what he was talking about though.
if you use some to heat the water heater, the heat from that water heater will still dissipate to your home…
Sounds like you have it set up well…
Very happy you did the Propane Tank and conversion on the Wall Heater, good job kido
My water heater is in the basement. My basement is dug very deep and keeps the same temp (about 50 degrees) summer and winter, so any extra heat from my hot water heater won’t do much to heat the house.
I do plan to make use of any heat I produce. For instance I found some abandoned bricks and keep those near my charcoal grill. After using the grill to cook, I will gather up any extra heat with my bricks and bring those inside.
DaisyK now you need to find out if that wall furnace requires electricity. Most modern ones do to prevent folks gassing themselves when the power fails. An electrician can change it from hard wired into a plug in (with adjacent plug) so you could then use an UPS as emergency back up. Get COLD here too.
Otherwise a good Kerosene Heater and 10+ gallons of kerosene is a good idea. You can cook and boil water on it.
Does your water heater use a pezo-electric push button igniter or a match to light it? I am somewhat surprised your gas hot water heater has no electricity involved. Do you have a circuit in your fuse box/circuit breaker for the hot water heater or for the wall furnace??
I just checked my circuit breaker box. There are labels for all the switches, but none of them say water heater. However, there is some sort of wire coming out the top. I can’t figure out where it leads, but I don’t see it going to any electric outlet.
However, when the plumber hooked up my propane tank, he accidently cut into the natural gas line. After he repaired it, he had to re-light my furnace and HW heater with matches.
As for the wall heater, I had that installed after I moved here and watched them install it. There are no electrical connections at all. In fact, they told me that I could get it with an elec fan to blow the hot air around, but I wanted something that would work off grid. So it works completely without electricity. I think there is a valve system to prevent gas from coming into the house. Also there is a shut off valve outside and I have two CO monitors on the main floor and one in the basement
Night power outage
Hand crank radio to make sure its not anything major.
Battery operated clock – so no one will be late in the morning
Kerosene heater if its cold outside
Check on goat kids – if its really cold outside, their heat will go off too – might need to bring them in till the electric comes back on
Bring out the board/ card games for family fun
Day power outage
I’m here, till everyone get home so I just need a crank radio, all good!!
Where we live, our “power grid”(local service provider’s terminology), is the oldest in the area. The service provider still uses “fuses”in underground vaults. It’s so old, that when the power goes down in winter (at least 8-10 times minimum), the repair crews have to open up each vault and manually check the fuses for replacement.
It is my pers9nal opinion, that the onl6 reason we have not been upgraded, is for the over time the repair crews get each winter. We have invested in a natural gas generator with propane valves for backup, so that this winter, we can stay a bit warmer. I’m still trying to convince my wife that replacing the electric cooktop with a natural gas one is far superior and better for preps. I think she’s holding out,os that I’ll agree to replacing oour oldest GSD, with a smaller non-shedding Labradoodle. I remain firmly immovable in going with a different breed of canine companion. I can be just as stubborn! Our main level fireplace is schedule for next spring, will be good to have a fireplace on main floor, (we both agree on that one!)
I agree with NRP you need to know if it is 24 hours or longer. Good info is high priority. We have kerosene heater and lamps with extra kerosene, generator with extra gas, food and water stored, grill and extra charcoal and rocket stoves for cooking and a cowboy coffee pot. If it was really short term we could fire up the generator and carry on as normal, but if it is longer term we would save our gas to make it last longer. Board games and a deck of cards would be the evening entertainment.
This past Spring my wife went into town shopping on a Wednesday, when she returned asked if I knew that the power had been out in our area since the thunderstorm the prior Saturday. I said, “No, really?”.
We live off grid.
If out for month or so I have my Wonder Washers. I am partial to clean undies.
TMI !!!!!! just wayyyyy to much information.. HAHAHA
Currently, we have short term, regional covered with a natural gas gen. However, we had a tornado go through here 7 years ago and lost electric for 24 hrs. After checking to make sure we were good, we moved to our neighbors to ensure their safety. Everyone in town did the same. Within 15 minutes all the chains saws were going. Everyone had a job – clearing debris from roads, then homes, picking up debris manually for the small stuff or using heavy equipment for the large stuff. Anyone with electric cooked and brought food to those working and those without electric. I used our solar lights in the yard by placing the in flower vases in the house. We cook on the grill all the time so used this for coffee. Since we had to spend our time running for gas for the generator at the local rest home, we put our generator on our older neighbors home. She had limited eye sight and we worried about her being alone. Honestly, we’re so busy doing clean up, there was no time to think about what we didn’t have…..everyone was using whatever they did have.
The power people were able to restore power in under 24 hrs when they first said three days minimum. They said it was because they had never seen roads and lines cleared so quickly and safely. That is what a small town will do for you.
But reality has a way of kicking us in the butt so we decided to have a natural gas generator installed for any future short term issues. I feel we are prepared for many different scenarios and have back ups for most things, but worry about friends and family. So we have worked to get them minimal items needed to have safe drinking water (filters and containers), loaded safety bags, and knowledge. Many agree and feel something is coming but are on limited budgets. Many just think we are nuts. But I feel better knowing they have a chance if they care to take advantage of it.
The question is will any of us truly recognize it is a true emergency when it hits. How many of us will wait until it is too late to react.
Great story of a community coming together, thank you for sharing
As for your question; “The question is will any of us truly recognize it is a true emergency when it hits. How many of us will wait until it is too late to react.”
My answer would be two fold,
First of all I believe that the general population knows (“knows” is the key word here) a “true emergency” when they see it, whether it be a personal crisis or a Country Wide SHTF. Knowing that an emergency is at hand is not the problem; it’s the readiness and willingness to react properly and efficiently to prevent more losses
Secondly I truly believe that 90% of the people have the mindset that “Oh that can’t happen to me” and will put off reacting till the roof is ripped off by a Hurricane even knowing it’s 2 blocks down the street and “KNOW” the emergency is at hand. For instance the past few months with the storms and fires, you name it, there are always those that don’t react or move off their azzes to help themselves yet want to blame Trump or NRP on the Cat 5 that wiped out 1/2 of Florida or 30% of CA burning to the ground.
Yes I will help anyone that needs help, but I will not do it for them, if a Neighbor needs help rebuilding their home after destroyed by a fire, you bet your bottom dollar I’ll be right there at the Barn Raising, BUT not if he “expects” someone else to do it for them. Even the little old-lady that is for a loss, you bet your butt I’m the first there and will be right by her side in time of need. I WILL NOT write the check for some POS that wants everything as a freebie handout done for them.
Absolutely no difference in being prepared, people KNOW they should, but deny the need.
If I have the luxury of a head’s up regarding a possible outage, one of the first things I do is lower the temperature in the fridge. If it start off colder than what I normally keep it, then it should keep the food cooler for a longer period of time. I also put boiling water in a thermos in case I need coffee/tea.
Pretty much prepared for a short term 24-48 hour outage all the time. DH uses a CPAP and we don’t have a power source for it. We did realize that if he leans back in his recliner, he can sleep without the machine. We need to get a generator to power a few things.
We have all the fun stuff, oil lamps, crank/battery radios, and candles all strategically placed around the house. Now to go lower that fridge temp and boil water, gonna be getting high winds overnight.
Gene has a CPAP….in the closet!!! For Gene, the thing is useless.
A sinus tablet before retiring and a floor fan works for him.
DH does that but still needs his CPAP. Wish it wasn’t so. Oh well, maybe I’ll have better luck with the next DH. :-)
How ironic the timing.
Had a storm knock out power for the island last night, sitting here watching cartoons listening to my generators, feelin lucky i have them!
Years ago a friend pickup a Corning Ware coffee pot for us at a yard sale when they were visiting friends in Texas. Last year purchased deck solar lights(Costco) which are quite bright, they could be used for hallways or bathrooms. Additional lighting we keep in a cabinet in the family room. It is all in one location where we can pull what we need and it all goes back when finished.
Generator is set to power the well so we have water to the house. I have 1 gallon containers(Gatorade-Apple juice)washed an filled with well water for drinking water, water containers in the bathtub(guest bathroom)for the toilet. There are a few containers in the master bathroom so we can wash our hands.
Keeping items in a strategic location which are easy to reach an put back for dh, myself.
Call goes to the power company, so the idiot computer can log in a power outage. Then have it tell me,,,, really you have an outage,,,, first we have heard about it. Will located someone to confirm you do not have power.
I remember a night before the Big Opener of deer season the power went out.
The Boy spent the night. He slept in his room.. …froze his arse off. I slept on the floor by the wood stove. Had the wined
up alarm clock to get us up. And kerosene lanterns for the morning.
Got about three hrs sleep that morning, but got us up for the Big Opener. Had it been a workday……would have slept passed noon.
Where we used to live there was a transformer that would go out, usually at the coldest time of the winter pretty much every year, we had a wood burning fireplace so it was “camping” indoors till the power came back on. transformer would go because a raccoon or squirrel (or the occasional Canadian Goose) would take it out trying to stay warm. Township has replaced the transformers with better ones now but it was a regular occurrence. It usually meant 3-5 days without power. When we moved into the house we have now , the basement and furnace got flooded out a few years after we moved in so we installed a natural gas stand by generator same time we had the furnace replaced, Got a REALLY great deal doing the combo. I am working on other sources of power (solar, wind, more back up batteries) to keep the sump working in case they shut down the gas. I have dad’s kerosene heater and our propane grill so can at least make coffee LOL We also have a wood burning fireplace, a little buddy with propane. Oh I almost forgot have a two burner propane stove now as well. Still not where I want to be but am working on it.
I’m fortunate to have a whole house backup which would take care of things for a little while, working on getting redundancies (two is one!) with solar and manual well pump.
Are those little butane stoves safe to use inside? They look to be like what I’ve seen in some hotels on their omelet stations? How long do the 8oz fuel canisters generally last? Have a propane camp stove, but that would need to be used outside.
Also, I’ve read the Mr. Buddy heaters are rated for indoor use, but wouldn’t it be wise to have a carbon monoxide detector nearby? Any idea how long a 1 lb can of propane lasts when using them on a medium setting (actually, it looks like it takes 2 cans)? Am considering getting one for my shop building, it gets a little chilly out there in winter.
FinallyOuttaCA, I have two, the Mr. Buddy and the Big Buddy. Off the top of my head I can’t remember the difference in BTU output, but one has two infrared elements the other three. I use them sparingly because, in my opinion, they use a lot of propane in relation to their output. The Big Buddy will go a little over 2 hours on “high” with the one pound canister and 3-4 hours on “medium”.
I bought the adapter hose to use a twenty pound tank, but have yet to use it. Doing the math though I would guess around 60hrs on medium setting.
By the way, they take one canister. The other side is cosmetic treatment for balance in appearance.
MR. HEATER (9000 BTU)
The 9000 BTU model has a standard design to accept a 1-lb disposable propane bottle.
1-lb bottle: about 5 hours on low
1-lb bottle: about 2 hours on high
20-lb bottle: about 100 hours on low
20-lb bottle: about 40 hours on high
Hose Attachment for 20-lb bottle
MR. HEATER Big Buddy (18000 BTU)
The 18000 BTU model will accept two 1-lb propane bottles.
(2) 1-lb bottles: about 10 hours on low
(2) 1-lb bottles: about 2 hours on high
20-lb bottle: about 100 hours on low
20-lb bottle: about 20 hours on high
I have a pair of big buddies as back up heat for my 90+ year old parents. I am afraid they would burn themselves or set fire to something with a wood stove or kerosene heater. The adapter for the 20 pound propane tank is great.
That said if it was not for the Golden’s I would buy a good kerosene heater and some kerosene. Could get a LOT more heat for longer for the same cash outlay PLUS you can cook/boil water on a good Kerosene heater. Kerosene stores for pretty much forever in my experience.
I have a Mr. Buddy (big buddy) that i used as back up or auxiliary heat and Ken already posted how long a canister lasted but I could use one for several hours a day and it would run for around 3 weeks. At the time I lived in the Willamette Valley and it didn’t get very cold very often. I have the long hose so that the canister can sit outside and found that the inch or so opening from the hose going through the window was more than adequate for any concerns about ventilation.
One time in school, we had a black out prior to going out on an evening class. My girlfriend picked me up at my apt and we went from there. The conversation went something like this:
“Is the power out at your place too? Yeah.. I’ll be right back!”
where I returned shortly with my “funny fannypack” in that in contained a handgun and 50 rounds of ammo inside along with pepper spray, work gloves safety glasses, a wad of small bills and flashlights for travel at night.
I do not like traveling in cities during a blackout considering the number of times civil unrest develops in the urban core during blackouts. My wife does not like doing it either these days. If I am a home and I do not have to travel, I will curl up with a good book at home with the dog at my feet and a fat cat in my lap.
There was a spike in births in New York City about 9.5 months after the NewYork City Blackout back in the 1970’s. This was pointed out by statisticians and social scientists years later. ( same people that point out the skyrocketing water consumption that takes place in large cities during 1/2 time during the Super Bowl.)
Some have already pointed out the activities of stupid people during a “service interruption”. After the Rodney King Riots, I fear the power of large numbers of stupid people. Escape and evade time.
I have a UPS battery backup for modem and WiFi router. It keeps things running for up to 3 hrs and also helps during those power blips that happen frequently. The one bought has two USB ports too. Since we use WiFi calling via phones, having the UPS let’s us use the WiFi router for calls during an outage.
Losing power for 24 hours is such a short blip of time for us that there really wouldn’t be much effort since we’re well prepped. We’d get one of the gennys running for the freezer and one of the refrigerators. Everything else can be had, or done, off-grid, one way or another.
Picked up a generator last year just for emergency’s. Hopefully we don’t need to use it to much however its there if needed. Now looking at solar options to add into the mix.
Chris please do not just buy one and let it sit. Read the manual, check it over (you would be amazed how many big box generators do not have oil in them or enough/too much oil (blow a gasket level). Fuel them up test them. Practice using extension cords etc to power your fridge and other critical needs. Then you can run them dry for storage and get some of the best fuel you can non alcohol if you can find it (adsorbs atmospheric moisture) and use Sta-bl to preserve that fuel for later use.
Buying a generator and putting it aside still in the box is almost as bad as buying a gun with one box of ammo and putting it aside hoping you never need it. Stuff AND Knowledge/Skills are critical.
Being a native in Florida, having the power go out is normal (FPL isn’t called Florida Power and Flicker for nothing), especially during hurricane season. With Hurricane Irma we were without power for 5 days. I have a generator and Solar Panels, so the power part is taken care of. Having a mini frig is perfect. Kept all the small stuff/milk/eggs/etc. cold. Coleman stove is a must. Having a gas grill is a big bonus and if you have a hose that can go from the 5 gallon tank to the Coleman, you’re golden. Water…..duh. Fans, buy some fans. Box fans or pedestal fans it doesn’t matter but they will be a godsend when you have no A/C.
We usually enjoy 24 hours of peace and quiet when the lights go out. We have a propane stove/oven so I can always cook dinner and boil water. We have a wood burner in the house to keep us warm if the weather is cold.
One thing I like to do during outages is think, “What if? What if this was ‘IT’ and the electricity doesn’t come back on” and I make a list of what else we would need. It has been a good drill.
We live on the Central California coast. When the power is off we eat sandwiches and fruit. The climate here is mild year round so an extra blanket is pretty much all we need to keep warm. We have a well stocked pantry, and lots of flashlights and lanterns. Water would be a problem at some point. Most of our neighbors have solar power and one neighbor owns a Tesla. Everyone owns guns and we all like one another well enough. Life would be hard without a refrigerator and a washer and dryer. Living in earthquake country most of us are prepared for a few weeks off the grid. We are a politically diverse group. It is not brought up often. I am thinking that I will increase our water storage and find out a bit more about how to keep a refrigerator running. Today we are headed out to do a bit of fishing. It is November 1 and warm. I am always impressed that people can live off the grid in places like Montana. Here it would be much easier.
– We have a 7.5 kW gasoline generator. Basically, we need it for our water well (240V) if the power goes out. We have minimal water backup in our normal system right now, still working on figuring out what we might need to do with that problem. (our house does have a septic system) I do have bulk water storage for bathing, washing, or flushing, and we normally keep several cases of bottled water around for drinking in the short term. We don’t normally fire the genny up for a short-term outage, but we do have battery-powered lights, the 4 Dorcy 400 lumen LED lamps I mentioned once before. My eight solar yard lamps, which had been so useful in the past, fell victim to a recent hailstorm (about 2 inches of 1-inch hailstones.) We also have a couple of battery-powered radios, at least one of which I can and have powered with assorted multiple battery arrangements or wall power. Our biggest amount of prepping is usually one or more of several inverters. I have two (140-watt) $20 inverters, which reside in my and the DW’s vehicles. That is enough with a 100-foot extension cord and a couple of 3-ways to power the TV, satellite box, a couple of LED lights, and one or two other things. Just be aware you can’t run anything big from these little inverters that just plug into the cigarette lighter. The DW went out and bought her own 400-watt inverter after our first one died, and it normally stays in the glove box of her car. It will alternately plug into the cigarette lighter, if you only need 140-watts, or raise the hood and connect directly to the battery for the full 400-watt power availability. We’ve run an office off of that. I also have an 800-watt inverter, which is big enough to power either our refrigerator or our freezer for an hour at a time. Four times a day is enough in 100°+ weather, twice a day in more normal weather. I have also a 1500-watt inverter, which is roughly the same output as your bedroom outlets. I use mine with my electric chainsaw to cut up wood for my fireplace. You need to idle the engine for anything more than the 400-watt inverter. I filled the bed of my truck with pecan wood twice for about $3.89 worth of gas. You can run it every hour for 20-30 minutes for the 800-watt, continually for the 1500W. I do have two 105 amp-hour 12V batteries, rigged to be able to supply the house at least temporarily with power. I can recharge them either with a pair of jumper cables from either vehicle, or a wall plug-in 30-amp battery charger, or worst come to worst, I do have a 40-watt solar panel I caught on sale and put in my faraday cage, which looks like a cardboard-lined trash can. It shares space with one or both of my larger inverters.
– Papa S.