Author Topic: 24-hour power outage hysteria  (Read 17682 times)

flamingo25

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24-hour power outage hysteria
« on: September 07, 2015, 01:19:26 PM »
We had a fairly significant windstorm in the PNW area about a week ago and many people lost power (most for 24 hours or less).

I'm part of a local mom's group on FB. Some of the info there is useful, but over the weekend all people could do was complain about not having power (on their dying iphones, no less).

People were complaining that they were having "panic attacks" over not being able to blow-dry their hair, make coffee, play games on their iPads, or watch football on TV. Their kids didn't know what to do without TV. Also a few Starbucks locations closed due to no power and that sent people into a frenzy. Many complained that they wanted to be able to go out to eat but the restaurants were closed ("what will we do?"). Afterward people were saying they had "PTSD" and would freak out every time the wind acted up again. Apparently these people have absolutely no emergency preparedness whatsoever (not even batteries for a flashlight or a few canned goods).

Unfortunately, a few people did have major damage to their houses and two people were killed in that storm (including a child). No one seemed to mention that though. Just concerned about not having their precious fancy lattes for a couple days.

nanu

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2015, 01:27:54 PM »
Beyond being antimustachian (and worthy of the wall of shame), I just find this sad.
As a kid I remember thoroughly enjoying power outages (though we never had one for more than a few hours) - it was a great time to sit with the family and play board games or read.

bacchi

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2015, 02:34:25 PM »
Beyond being antimustachian (and worthy of the wall of shame), I just find this sad.
As a kid I remember thoroughly enjoying power outages (though we never had one for more than a few hours) - it was a great time to sit with the family and play board games or read.

Roaming around the house with a flashlight, walking the neighborhood without street lights --
power outages were great fun as a kid (and now).

A lot of suburbanites here have generators ready to go for that once/year outage.

Spork

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2015, 02:45:36 PM »

A lot of suburbanites here have generators ready to go for that once/year outage.

If you have a freezer full of meat + the normal stuff in the refrigerator, it doesn't take long before a generator actually makes financial sense.   I've lost power for > a week before.

marty998

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2015, 03:10:04 PM »

I'm part of a local mom's group on FB. Some of the info there is useful, but over the weekend all people could do was complain about not having power (on their dying iphones, no less).

Thats must be the 21st Century definition of irony. Getting on Facebook complaining about low batt.... oh the battery died I can't finish my whinge post.

robtown

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2015, 03:28:20 PM »
I agree that we are addicted to technology.   Fortunately my social media exposure is limited to light Facebook use.   I do, however, like my electronic toys,  computers, smartphones, Kindle, and other gear.


Over the last 21 years we've had a few 12+ hour power outages and one 5 day outage.   This year I bought a sub $200 generator that would keep the freezer one refrigerator operating (at least part time).  With $1k of Angus beef in the freezer that's not bad insurance.    I have 4 solar chargers of varying capacities and a few batteries and lots of UPS.  The server sized one on my computer setup would last a day.
We have life straws for purifying water on the fly and a Kickstarter solar cooker.  I'm ashamed that I haven't spent the 2 hour assembly time to put it to use yet.

LeRainDrop

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2015, 04:44:53 PM »
Beyond being antimustachian (and worthy of the wall of shame), I just find this sad.
As a kid I remember thoroughly enjoying power outages (though we never had one for more than a few hours) - it was a great time to sit with the family and play board games or read.

Roaming around the house with a flashlight, walking the neighborhood without street lights --
power outages were great fun as a kid (and now).

Yes, I loved getting a power outage as a kid!  I lived in New England, so we'd get nor'easters and hurricanes that would do it for a few hours up to a day perhaps.  I remember after Hurricane Andrew (1996 -- I was 11) when the neighborhood kids, my brothers, and I all walked around the street with flashlights to see which branches had fallen, leaves everywhere, etc.  Inside, it was fun to use candlelight, play board games, and read.

Jakejake

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2015, 05:25:43 PM »
I'll admit to panicking if I think I can't get coffee because my caffeine withdrawals are beyond bad - headaches, but also throwing up, uncontrollable shaking. My husband's debated whether I need to go to ER before when I foolishly tried quitting for a week. Never Again!

We have that sorted out for power outages, though. We have a gas stove, a french press, and because often I only have whole beans, my husband will run our coffee grinder off the car battery.

regulator

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2015, 05:37:47 PM »
I simply can't imagine being that helpless.  It would scare me to be that exposed to even the tiniest bump in life.

Tjat

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2015, 05:39:02 PM »
I'll admit to panicking if I think I can't get coffee because my caffeine withdrawals are beyond bad - headaches, but also throwing up, uncontrollable shaking. My husband's debated whether I need to go to ER before when I foolishly tried quitting for a week. Never Again!

We have that sorted out for power outages, though. We have a gas stove, a french press, and because often I only have whole beans, my husband will run our coffee grinder off the car battery.

one method - drink 2 oz less each day, if you get a headache/reactions, keep your intake flat. 1-2 cups a day is generally viewed as fine, but if you're drinking it by the home depot bucket, it's probably worth it to reduce...

Jakejake

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2015, 07:03:00 PM »
one method - drink 2 oz less each day, if you get a headache/reactions, keep your intake flat. 1-2 cups a day is generally viewed as fine, but if you're drinking it by the home depot bucket, it's probably worth it to reduce...
Thanks, I did drop back after that, because the withdrawals honestly scared me. I used to have a full pot at work, and drank it empty daily. I gave it away and switched to a single cup brewer to force myself to have a cup because I want it, not because I "don't want to waste the pot." Last year I took that away and I bring a quart mason jar of it in my bike bag. When it's gone, I'm done.

Syonyk

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2015, 07:10:07 PM »
I simply can't imagine being that helpless.  It would scare me to be that exposed to even the tiniest bump in life.

But They'll make sure It won't happen!

And... have you seen those crazy lunatic Preppers?  They're insane!  And I don't want to be insane like them!

**sigh**

Generators do make some amount of sense, given how helpless modern homes are without power.  And, as noted, freezers/fridges can cost a lot to refill if the stuff in them goes bad.

Rural

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2015, 07:15:50 PM »
Just damn. I'd hate to lose the contents of the freezer, but it holds solid for a day and a half without any softening (lots of 2-liter bottles of water to fill al the empty space, also good for stocking the cooler).


How do people get themselves into positions like this?

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2015, 07:17:42 PM »

A lot of suburbanites here have generators ready to go for that once/year outage.

If you have a freezer full of meat + the normal stuff in the refrigerator, it doesn't take long before a generator actually makes financial sense.   I've lost power for > a week before.

I don't find a few hours with out power to be much of a problem.  But when it runs into days, that's when I decided that life with no electricity sucks.

Jakejake

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2015, 08:16:29 PM »
I forgot - I have one piece of advice for everyone with an electric sump pump and city water - get a cheap (100 dollar) backup sump pump. That's saved our basement a few times. It's fine to have the power go out when you are home and can bail if the basement starts to fill. But if you are at work, or worse yet, out of town and the power goes out, and the sump pump shuts down, it's horrible. Our backup one has no battery, when the float hits a certain height, it opens a valve on the water supply and does some fancy venturi effect that pulls out more water than it pulls in.

Shinplaster

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2015, 08:34:51 PM »
I forgot - I have one piece of advice for everyone with an electric sump pump and city water - get a cheap (100 dollar) backup sump pump. That's saved our basement a few times. It's fine to have the power go out when you are home and can bail if the basement starts to fill. But if you are at work, or worse yet, out of town and the power goes out, and the sump pump shuts down, it's horrible. Our backup one has no battery, when the float hits a certain height, it opens a valve on the water supply and does some fancy venturi effect that pulls out more water than it pulls in.

+1

The sump pump is the only thing I worry about when the power goes out.  We have clay soil, and when we get a downpour, the pump pit fills as quickly as a bathtub.  We have the water back up pump too, but I still worry.  I hate having a sump pump - you worry when it storms, the discharge pipes can freeze up in the winter......just a royal pain!

Friends have a battery back up pump, but never checked it.  Yup, power failure, torrential rain, a dead battery, and a soaked basement.

kimmarg

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2015, 08:41:41 PM »
Beyond being antimustachian (and worthy of the wall of shame), I just find this sad.
As a kid I remember thoroughly enjoying power outages (though we never had one for more than a few hours) - it was a great time to sit with the family and play board games or read.

Roaming around the house with a flashlight, walking the neighborhood without street lights --
power outages were great fun as a kid (and now).

Yes, I loved getting a power outage as a kid!  I lived in New England, so we'd get nor'easters and hurricanes that would do it for a few hours up to a day perhaps.  I remember after Hurricane Andrew (1996 -- I was 11) when the neighborhood kids, my brothers, and I all walked around the street with flashlights to see which branches had fallen, leaves everywhere, etc.  Inside, it was fun to use candlelight, play board games, and read.

Meteorologist has to point out the Hurricane Andrew was in 1992 and didn't impact New England. Hurricane Bob in 1991 did though,..... For me it was the 1998 ice storm that really stands out as far as power outages....

neophyte

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #17 on: September 07, 2015, 09:04:34 PM »
When I was in high school my family lost power for ... a week?  10 days? Something like that anyway. It wasn't too bad except that our well had an electric pump so we didn't have water either.  The toilets got, well, you can imagine.  We flushed when we absolutely had to, but that was a luxury because we were using jugs of water.  When it got really bad was when everyone came down with diarrhea....

I don't think any of us had PTSD or any other lasting ill effects. We do have a greater appreciation for being able to flush the toilet and wash our hands.

Syonyk

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #18 on: September 07, 2015, 11:47:56 PM »
Reasons why I'm making sure a solar and battery backup system for the well pump goes in early...

I'm also working on how to turn my truck into a good backup generator. Dual alternator kit and two 300A alternators should do it... That's 5-6kW usable.

meg_shannon

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2015, 04:36:58 AM »
With social media, I think a lot of people end up feeding off each other and getting more anxious than they would otherwise.

We've lost power for about a week with both Hurricanes Irene and Sandy. Our freezer food went bad, which sucked as I spent a lot of time turning summer produce into tasty items for winter. With Sandy it was cold and my husband was at a work conference out of state. I invited friends over because more bodies = more heat and our newer townhouse was more well insulated than their drafty 19th century construction (I have a little one and they have 3 so the extra playmates were nice too).

When we buy a house we'll probably buy a small generator to power the freezer and refrigerator. The grid isn't very well maintained so we also have periodic power outages due to storms as well.

MayDay

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2015, 06:35:28 AM »
We had never lived in an area with power outages (literally I can not remember EVER having one) So when we moved to OH it was a bit of a shock and I did a fair bit of complaining.  The first summer we lived here we had the derecho, and went a week without power in July.  That SUCKED.  We could not get ice anywhere, so we lost all our food.  We could not use our stove because it was electric.  We drove the 2 hours to my in-laws and stayed with them.  Sorry not sorry. 

Our town is rural and has a ton of huge trees, so it loses power a lot.  Usually just for a few hours or a day, but sometimes longer.  Our 1st house had a lot of outages, our second house was in a neighborhood with buried power lines so it was ok, and now we are back in a rural area and the house came with a back-up generator.  It gives me a lot of peace of mind to have that, since we have a deep freeze and fridge full of food, kids that need to be kept warm in the winter and fed, etc.

That said, I wasn't busy complaining that I couldn't get Starbucks, but that we HAD NO FOOD and it was eleven billion degrees out, and the kids were freaking out because of dark. 

TravelJunkyQC

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2015, 08:00:08 AM »
When I was a kid, our family ritual during power outages was that my sister and I went and got our piggy-banks, and as a family we would count out the change, put them in those little paper rolls, and the next day my dad would go to the bank and bring us the paper dollars. Don't know why we only did this during power outages, but it was awesome!

onehair

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2015, 08:36:28 AM »
We used to get a lot of power outages due to the fact our neighborhood has a lot of trees which like to fall on power lines.  We learned to keep a lot of canned and dried food and scatter to other houses with power as well as bring chargers to work and survived.  Pepco has been better about trimming the trees so we have less long term outages but one can get by.


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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #23 on: September 08, 2015, 08:54:53 AM »

A lot of suburbanites here have generators ready to go for that once/year outage.

If you have a freezer full of meat + the normal stuff in the refrigerator, it doesn't take long before a generator actually makes financial sense.   I've lost power for > a week before.

I don't find a few hours with out power to be much of a problem.  But when it runs into days, that's when I decided that life with no electricity sucks.

Our freezer will hold a day or so.   Refrigerator: much less.

When we lost power for a week I picked the freezer up with the tractor bucket and drove it across town to my sister's house.  The fridge contents were a total loss.

We have actually been pretty lucky with power.  We are in a rural area with power lines run pole-to-pole through pine forest.  Bad thunderstorms or mild ice storms generally cause outages.  We are on a leg that has 3 customers on it... so if that leg goes down, it can be a long time to repair.

We have gas for cooking and hot water... but the water heater requires 120v spark to ignite and turn solenoids.  I'm pretty sure a small generator would run run enough to make things very comfortable.

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #24 on: September 08, 2015, 08:55:19 AM »
We had a fairly significant windstorm in the PNW area about a week ago and many people lost power (most for 24 hours or less).

I'm part of a local mom's group on FB. Some of the info there is useful, but over the weekend all people could do was complain about not having power (on their dying iphones, no less).

People were complaining that they were having "panic attacks" over not being able to blow-dry their hair, make coffee, play games on their iPads, or watch football on TV. Their kids didn't know what to do without TV. Also a few Starbucks locations closed due to no power and that sent people into a frenzy. Many complained that they wanted to be able to go out to eat but the restaurants were closed ("what will we do?"). Afterward people were saying they had "PTSD" and would freak out every time the wind acted up again.

These people are in major trouble when the eventual zombie apocalypse happens...

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #25 on: September 08, 2015, 09:50:24 AM »
I remember in March 1993 when a major snow/ice storm took down power lines all over the east Coast. We were in a rural area, so we went a whole week without power in sub-freezing temps. I remember keeping the refrigerated goods on the deck outside to keep them from spoiling, we grilled supper every evening, and our whole family huddled up in sleeping bags in the living in front of the fire every night. It was awesome! I still love power outages to this day.

BlueMR2

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #26 on: September 08, 2015, 09:59:32 AM »
Thats must be the 21st Century definition of irony. Getting on Facebook complaining about low batt.... oh the battery died I can't finish my whinge post.

I remember during the big Northeast blackout (our location was down about 2 days), jumping on my Powerbook and dialing in real quick to get e-mail, then shutting down fast to conserve battery.  :-)  One nice thing about dialup was how reliable the phone companies are.  Internet companies, not so much...

Hamster

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #27 on: September 08, 2015, 10:01:04 AM »
We had a fairly significant windstorm in the PNW area about a week ago and many people lost power (most for 24 hours or less).

I'm part of a local mom's group on FB. Some of the info there is useful, but over the weekend all people could do was complain about not having power (on their dying iphones, no less).
Are you on BMSG?

FatCat

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #28 on: September 08, 2015, 10:17:26 AM »
We had a bad storm that knocked out the power for my town a few years ago. I was without power for 18 days. It was inconvenient but it didn't bother me too much.

My aunt was without power for 3 or 4 days and I remember her arguing with my uncle that they absolutely must buy a power generator because she will not go without power for a few days again even though this had never happened before in our town. She also went to the power company to demand a refund for the days when the power was off because she didn't want to pay for the electric bill for those days. They explained to her that she won't be charged for those days anyway because no power was being used. She stayed there for a while arguing because she wanted them to give her a check for the value of the power that she would have been using on those days had the power been on. They explained to her that her next bill will be less than it would have been otherwise. She didn't believe it because she doesn't see how they will remember how many days each person went without power to deduct it from the billing.

Chris22

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #29 on: September 08, 2015, 10:18:21 AM »
Protip: you can recharge a cell phone, etc, in the car during a blackout. 

Advanced protip: if you buy a $20 inverter from radio shack, you can recharge anything rechargeable in a car. 

Fishindude

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #30 on: September 08, 2015, 10:21:41 AM »
Heck, those power outages are kind of fun.  We live in a rural area and get a couple every year.

In the summer, no big deal, you just leave the freezers and refrigerators shut and they will stay cold for a few days.  We keep plenty of flashlights, lanterns and candles around for light, we have a gas stove for cooking, and can flush the toilet with a bucket of water out of the hot tub.  If it gets too hot, you need to bathe, or you get bored with no TV, just jump in the car and go somewhere that has power.   For winter we have a wood stove that will keep us warm and the house from freezing up, and no shortage of refrigeration, just let mother nature do the work. 

Your biggest risk is a power outage in winter with no alternate heat source that could freeze and ruin all of your plumbing.

Chris22

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #31 on: September 08, 2015, 10:39:40 AM »
Heck, those power outages are kind of fun.  We live in a rural area and get a couple every year.

In the summer, no big deal, you just leave the freezers and refrigerators shut and they will stay cold for a few days.  We keep plenty of flashlights, lanterns and candles around for light, we have a gas stove for cooking, and can flush the toilet with a bucket of water out of the hot tub.  If it gets too hot, you need to bathe, or you get bored with no TV, just jump in the car and go somewhere that has power.   For winter we have a wood stove that will keep us warm and the house from freezing up, and no shortage of refrigeration, just let mother nature do the work. 

Your biggest risk is a power outage in winter with no alternate heat source that could freeze and ruin all of your plumbing.

Sump pumps are also a big risk, even with a battery backup, if the outtage is longer than a few hours. 

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #32 on: September 08, 2015, 11:19:15 AM »
I guess our frequent T-storms and tornadoes make people a little less panicky about that stuff in the SE. I've had power out for days at a time and people just start grilling everything in their fridge/freezer. It turns into a big party.

Fodder

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #33 on: September 08, 2015, 11:24:48 AM »
I do have a generator for the 1x/year outage....mostly because my sump pump runs year-round and though I do have a battery backup, if we lost power for too long, my basement would flood (and the stuff in my deep freeze would melt).  That's all I have it for though.  Otherwise, I always have candles, gas for the bbq, wood for the fireplace and a couple of large jugs of water (we are on a well and lose water in an electrical outage).

When I lived in suburbia, I didn't worry about power outages.  It would be smart for people get get a crank radio/crank flashlight though.

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #34 on: September 08, 2015, 11:42:57 AM »
Thank you so much for this. I damn near lost faith in humanity because of that windstorm and the complete, whiny helplessness on display. Our neighborhood went 24 hours without power and it was great! First thing I did was zip-tie the fridge doors together so no one could "sightsee" and cause the temp to drop. Second thing I did was break out the board games. Great family time, and no loss for fridge or freezer contents.

Honestly, the experience of seeing how others reacted has nudged me substantially further down the preparedness path than I already was. I don't want to have to go get groceries or gas or aspirin or band-aids under any circumstances during an actual, longer-term power outage or emergency - I just want to stay home and avoid people and their collective panic.

Syonyk

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #35 on: September 08, 2015, 11:45:59 AM »
These people are in major trouble when the eventual zombie apocalypse happens...

The government will take care of them, right?

Disasters would be so less horrible if people were willing to keep a week or two of supplies around. :/

FunkyStickman

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #36 on: September 08, 2015, 11:54:44 AM »
Lol. I live in the Gulf South, power outages here measure in days/weeks, not hours.

celticmyst08

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #37 on: September 08, 2015, 12:26:07 PM »
Ha, I experienced the same thing on our local neighborhood Facebook group. "OMG SEATTLE CITY LIGHT SAYS WE WOULD HAVE POWER AT 6 BUT IT'S NOT BACK YET WHAT DO I DO UGH I AM SO MAD" blah blah.

We had a lovely, cozy evening reading by candlelight while the wind and rain howled outside. Broke out the camping stove and made a pot of soup. The only part that sucked is that I'm taking online classes, so I couldn't work on any of my homework (or even catch up on textbook reading) because it was all online.

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #38 on: September 08, 2015, 12:49:34 PM »
We had a fairly significant windstorm in the PNW area about a week ago and many people lost power (most for 24 hours or less).

I'm part of a local mom's group on FB. Some of the info there is useful, but over the weekend all people could do was complain about not having power (on their dying iphones, no less).

People were complaining that they were having "panic attacks" over not being able to blow-dry their hair, make coffee, play games on their iPads, or watch football on TV. Their kids didn't know what to do without TV. Also a few Starbucks locations closed due to no power and that sent people into a frenzy. Many complained that they wanted to be able to go out to eat but the restaurants were closed ("what will we do?"). Afterward people were saying they had "PTSD" and would freak out every time the wind acted up again. Apparently these people have absolutely no emergency preparedness whatsoever (not even batteries for a flashlight or a few canned goods).

Unfortunately, a few people did have major damage to their houses and two people were killed in that storm (including a child). No one seemed to mention that though. Just concerned about not having their precious fancy lattes for a couple days.

What you are describing is a "first world" problem.  The next time you watch a disaster movie and you see the multitudes standing around looking stupid, you will think back to those FB postings and say "yes, that is them".

:)

cirno

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #39 on: September 08, 2015, 01:00:12 PM »
I live in a 3 bedroom condo I found through craigslist, and the owner of the condo (Steve) is one of the roommates. A few weeks back we experienced a 3 day power outage, in the specific condo building that our apartment is in due to someone in the building running a very high power consuming item that blew out some fuses or something (I never learned the specific cause). I normally spend all day outside of the apartment and only really come there at night to sleep and read. Steve was sending me texts every hour or so to ask if the power is back on, and he would vent about how much of his "time was being wasted" by not having electricity or internet.

1. You can get all the internet/power you want at one of the many work buildings nearby our apartment, because we live very close to a large corporate campus, where both myself and Steve trade time for money on weekdays. I typically don't even use the shitty comcast wifi at home anyway, just download podcasts at work mostly.
2. What are these valuable activities that you are prevented from doing by being without power? For Steve, they are :

  • Downloading whatever commercial-laden garbage Hollywood pumps out. Watching it on the 9000 inch TV that takes up 98% of the living room.
  • Microwaving and consuming processed food. This too can be accomplished at a work building.

...And that's about it. Dude has even admitted to me that he hasn't touched a book since he last opened a textbook due to college 7 years ago.

I'm not hating on him. Just carefully observing what I do not want to be.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2015, 01:01:44 PM by cirno »

Anomalous

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #40 on: September 08, 2015, 03:07:56 PM »
Growing up in rural upstate NY power outages were fairly common, and every few years a bad ice storm would come through and knock out power for a week or two. I can't imagine being helpless because of a 24-hour power outage. It's really easy to keep a few flashlights and a few days worth of water and ready-to-eat food on hand.

Where I live now the longest outage in the last few years was 2 or 3 days. A logging company took out a couple of power poles (maybe they mistook them for very straight trees?) It was inconvenient since my heat, hot water, and stove are all electric, but certainly not a disaster. I keep a flashlight in every room and have an antique wood/coal stove that can be fired up for heat, heating water, and cooking food. If I had gas, propane, or oil heat I probably wouldn't keep the wood stove, but with just electric baseboards some kind of backup is necessary.

I'm also working on how to turn my truck into a good backup generator. Dual alternator kit and two 300A alternators should do it... That's 5-6kW usable.

I've run a boiler/furnace off an an inverter connected to a car. Very handy for the long power outages when it's cold out (assuming that your heat is gas/propane/oil and not electric.)

A hybrid car can work as a backup generator too. I bought a used Volt recently, so I have a 16.5 kWh battery connected to a 55 kW generator. The limiting factor is the DC to DC converter, which is rated for 2200 watts. 2200 watts is more than enough to power lots of useful things though (it's charging a 12V battery, so surge capacity is higher.) I haven't had an excuse to use the car for backup power yet, but it's nice to know it's there if needed.

BlueMR2

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #41 on: September 08, 2015, 04:08:05 PM »
Sump pumps are also a big risk, even with a battery backup, if the outtage is longer than a few hours.

We specifically bought a house on crawl, on high ground.  Basements and sump pumps are the devil.  BTDT, *never* again.  One of my richy-rich friends had his basement flooded this year.  He had 4 sump pumps.  1 normal, 2 battery backup, plus 1 on water pressure as backup.  He was not nearly paranoid enough...

MgoSam

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #42 on: September 08, 2015, 06:11:25 PM »
I would say something clever, but I am also way too dependent on my computers. I need to work on this.

Chris22

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #43 on: September 08, 2015, 06:14:34 PM »
Sump pumps are also a big risk, even with a battery backup, if the outtage is longer than a few hours.

We specifically bought a house on crawl, on high ground.  Basements and sump pumps are the devil.  BTDT, *never* again.  One of my richy-rich friends had his basement flooded this year.  He had 4 sump pumps.  1 normal, 2 battery backup, plus 1 on water pressure as backup.  He was not nearly paranoid enough...

I'll never buy a house without a basement, just way too convenient and useful. My previous house had a main and a backup, both never ran. Current house is half basement half crawl, with a dump that runs frequently. A backup is in our near future, and possibly a standby nat gas generator.

bacchi

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #44 on: September 08, 2015, 06:31:40 PM »

A lot of suburbanites here have generators ready to go for that once/year outage.

If you have a freezer full of meat + the normal stuff in the refrigerator, it doesn't take long before a generator actually makes financial sense.   I've lost power for > a week before.

You're not in suburbia. :)

I was going to put a disclaimer about freezers but I knew someone else would chime in. Assuming you've done the math (frequency, duration, maintenance), it makes sense to have a generator. There are no basements around these parts, and outages last maybe a day, once a year (usually from an ice storm), so it's really to power the tv and xbox and computer. That's pretty wussy (yeah, yeah, you work from home; or you run medical equipment that's keeping your great-grandmother alive; or you have to press the "S" key once/hour else the bomb explodes; disclaimer, disclaimer, etc.)


Spork

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #45 on: September 09, 2015, 10:41:59 AM »

A lot of suburbanites here have generators ready to go for that once/year outage.

If you have a freezer full of meat + the normal stuff in the refrigerator, it doesn't take long before a generator actually makes financial sense.   I've lost power for > a week before.

You're not in suburbia. :)

I was going to put a disclaimer about freezers but I knew someone else would chime in. Assuming you've done the math (frequency, duration, maintenance), it makes sense to have a generator. There are no basements around these parts, and outages last maybe a day, once a year (usually from an ice storm), so it's really to power the tv and xbox and computer. That's pretty wussy (yeah, yeah, you work from home; or you run medical equipment that's keeping your great-grandmother alive; or you have to press the "S" key once/hour else the bomb explodes; disclaimer, disclaimer, etc.)

I'm not.  My parents are in town.  Their power was only out 4 days with that storm.  They pretty much lost the contents of the fridge and freezer.

Jellyfish

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #46 on: September 09, 2015, 10:46:54 AM »
I read this topic yesterday at around 11:30am.  At 12:30pm my power went out as a thunderstorm blew in.  I had a nice laugh and then read a book by the light of my camping lantern.  I was fine. 
« Last Edit: September 09, 2015, 10:48:48 AM by Jellyfish »

Kaspian

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #47 on: September 09, 2015, 10:56:13 AM »
This made me try to remember how I made coffee during the big outage of 2003 and I remember I warmed a pot of water perched on two bricks with a few candles in the middle.  Personally, I didn't mind the blackout at all.  It was hot on the East side of the continent and most people here spent their days at the beach where there's no electricity anyway.  I remember how amazing it was to hear only silence and crickets at night as I went to sleep in my downtown apartment.  When the power came back I realized how very loud the background hum is in the city at night--mostly from lights and air units, I guess?  Best part of the blackout?  3 days off work.  :)

FunkyStickman

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #48 on: September 09, 2015, 11:25:02 AM »
I'm in Boy Scouts with my son, so we generally are set when it comes to cooking/etc when the power's out. I just go out to the shed, bring in my camp stove and lantern, and we do dinner as usual. Only thing we can't do is baking, because I haven't gotten a Dutch oven yet.

Plus, we have books and card/board games to keep us busy for hours. Paper journals and pens, craft supplies, building materials...

Spork

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #49 on: September 09, 2015, 11:30:21 AM »
I'm in Boy Scouts with my son, so we generally are set when it comes to cooking/etc when the power's out. I just go out to the shed, bring in my camp stove and lantern, and we do dinner as usual. Only thing we can't do is baking, because I haven't gotten a Dutch oven yet.


We just turn on our stove the way we do most other days.  :)