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Around the Internet => Antimustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy => Topic started by: flamingo25 on September 07, 2015, 01:19:26 PM

Title: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: flamingo25 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.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: nanu 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.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: bacchi 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.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Spork 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.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: marty998 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.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: robtown 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.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: LeRainDrop 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.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Jakejake 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.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: regulator 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.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Tjat 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...
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Jakejake 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.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Syonyk 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.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Rural 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?
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: FIRE me 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.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Jakejake 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.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Shinplaster 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.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: kimmarg 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....
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: neophyte 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.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Syonyk 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.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: meg_shannon 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.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: MayDay 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. 
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: TravelJunkyQC 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!
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: onehair 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.

Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Spork 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.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Welshrabbit 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...
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Mississippi Mudstache 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.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: BlueMR2 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...
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Hamster 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?
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: FatCat 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.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Chris22 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. 
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Fishindude 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.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Chris22 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. 
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: zephyr911 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.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Fodder 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.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Erica/NWEdible 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.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Syonyk 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. :/
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: FunkyStickman on September 08, 2015, 11:54:44 AM
Lol. I live in the Gulf South, power outages here measure in days/weeks, not hours.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: celticmyst08 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.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Drifterrider 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".

:)
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: cirno 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 :


...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.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Anomalous 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.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: BlueMR2 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...
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: MgoSam 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.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Chris22 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.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: bacchi 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.)

Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Spork 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.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Jellyfish 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. 
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Kaspian 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.  :)
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: FunkyStickman 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...
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Spork 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.  :)

(http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-NXhdJhBcrbc/Ts2WI7MU7BI/AAAAAAAAFTc/8XsolzkZfyo/s640-Ic42/IMG_0001_half.jpg)
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Kitsunegari on September 09, 2015, 12:19:53 PM
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.  :)

(http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-NXhdJhBcrbc/Ts2WI7MU7BI/AAAAAAAAFTc/8XsolzkZfyo/s640-Ic42/IMG_0001_half.jpg)

OMG is that an original Chambers gas stove?! I'm salivating!
Where I live the city asks for hundreds of dollars to be connected to the gas network :( Not that I can have a Chambers anyway...
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Spork on September 09, 2015, 12:44:29 PM

OMG is that an original Chambers gas stove?! I'm salivating!
Where I live the city asks for hundreds of dollars to be connected to the gas network :( Not that I can have a Chambers anyway...

Chambers 90C circa 1951 (and 1950...  I built it from 2 stoves).   http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/how-your-kitchen-can-be-hip-cool-retro-and-still-have-lip-hair/

We're on propane ($$$).  Gas doesn't come down our road. 
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: FunkyStickman on September 10, 2015, 08:12:28 AM

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

(http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-NXhdJhBcrbc/Ts2WI7MU7BI/AAAAAAAAFTc/8XsolzkZfyo/s640-Ic42/IMG_0001_half.jpg)

I'm officially jealous.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Shinplaster on September 10, 2015, 12:58:43 PM

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

(http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-NXhdJhBcrbc/Ts2WI7MU7BI/AAAAAAAAFTc/8XsolzkZfyo/s640-Ic42/IMG_0001_half.jpg)

I'm officially jealous.

That is a thing of beauty!
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: MsPeacock on September 10, 2015, 04:00:59 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.)

We had 20 days of power outages a few years back. Not all at once, but in blocks of 5-7 days. Long enough that the entire contents of the fridge and freezer had to be tossed. That many days does qualify as a major hassle. I bought a generator after that - gas, has a panel it plugs into and I can flip the whole house over to it when needed. I don't need to run it 24 hours a day - but it has been worth the expense. Our neighborhood in suburbia is full of 120' old trees and cruddy old wiring and lame Pepco -  all of which equals lengthy power outages if there is a big storm.

However, not being prepared to handle one day, even two, without power is just silly unless it is extremely cold outside.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Welshrabbit on September 11, 2015, 01:49:56 PM
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. :/

There was a member here who worked for the National Guard that posted a very interesting explanation on what exactly the government does and does not do during an emergency.  It should be mandatory reading for anyone who doesn't believe that they need to do a little preparation for an emergency of some kind.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Torgo on September 11, 2015, 07:41:11 PM
A long power outage is just a perfect opportunity to bust out the telescope.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: PhotoBrandon on September 12, 2015, 02:54:01 AM
I work at a hotel in Seattle, I know we sold at least 2 rooms the night of the power outage to folks that couldn't go 24 hours without their electronics.  The first was to an older couple who couldn't go the night without TV.  They were very explicit that the TV is all they cared about, and called probably 5 places to get an idea of who had the channels they needed before ultimately deciding to choose us because they were already here.  The second room was to 4 college age kids who split the room to get their League of Legends game time in.  Actually didn't really even end up using the room, hung out in the lobby all night long because the wifi was better.

Rooms were relatively scarce/overpriced already due to PAX and general summer tourism/weddings/cruise season/etc, so these folks paid roughly $350 after tax.

Meanwhile my only concern was the fridge and freezer as we had gone grocery shopping the day before.  Both held up after 28 hours.  I did bring ice home from work for both of them, which might have helped.  Our 7 month old seemed to get a kick out of the house being lit by candles and flashlights.  Snapped a few candlelight pictures I might not have taken.  Then made some terrible shadow puppets for her.  Pretty enjoyable, all in all.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Making Cookies on September 22, 2015, 09:06:04 AM
Last winter we had an ice storm for the first time in a long time. I knew from growing up elsewhere that an ice storm would eventually take out the power so I better have some heat on standby. Ran all over town looking for kerosene (my backup to the backup b/c it stinks). Used my little propane heater when the power did eventually go out for 6-8 hours. It was able to maintain the normal temps in the front room just off of the little green throwaway BBQ canisters. I think we used one canister.

We were ready. Just break out the camping gear. Sleeping bags to stay warm, flashlights, those little button cell tea lights are a great way to light a room just enough to find the bathroom. Buy a dozen or two for cheap, and put three or four of them out per important room. They stay lit forever. No fire hazard with kids and critters around, no soot, but then no heat either. Dinner could have been on the camp stove. Coleman makes a nice grille with interchangeable grille surfaces. We were given on for a gift. I have a proper camp stove but needed neither.

Youngest child definitely keyed off of us - if we had gotten apprehensive so would he. We were calm so he was too.

When I was growing up we could loose power for a week. Ice storms generally meant it was difficult to leave the neighborhood for a hotel room.

That's what I prep for - ice storms. Didn't live anywhere near it but Katrina really opened my eyes to the potential miseries a family might be faced with if they don't prep a little. The gov't can't make everyone comfortable right away.

Anyone that wants a generator: shop for one of the quiet generators for sale these days. At work I used to drag along a generator with a noisy lawnmower style engine and I'd work near it for 3-4 days a few times per year. Once I had enough budget, I bought my team a big quiet 6500W generator. You can sit right next to it and have a conversation. It throttles up and down depending on the load. There are many different output capacities ranging from 1000W to 6500W across several brands. Totally worth it. I like the red ones. ;)

In an emergency it might be worthwhile to have a "quiet" generator so it doesn't attract thieves though your house lights attract the same thieves.

What I'd really like to have is enough solar panels and deep cycle batteries that I could get through an evening on a silent inverter and then have enough PV capacity for the system to charge itself back up the following day.

For now I could idle a car and run my 2000W inverter. We've used it with the engine off to brew four or five cups of coffee using our single cup coffee maker (wire grounds basket, plain coffee, plain water). Engine started just fine and its one of those little 51 series Honda batteries.

Have seen a person on the web that took a push lawnmower, removed the blade, cut the mower deck and mounted a car alternator and spun it with the lawn mower engine. Not as quiet or fuel efficient as a proper modern generator but he could then keep a battery up and run an inverter off of the battery indefinitely as long as the fuel held out.

Power - just want to keep the fridge running (protect the food investment mentioned above) and want at least a radio to track a tornado if it is the cause for the neighborhood power failure.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: tallen on September 22, 2015, 12:10:58 PM
We haven't had a power outage in years, but if we did my main concern would be the fish tank. Couple bags of ice and my big cooler would keep the fridge food cold. Got candles, cards, and board games so I'm covered there :)
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: MoonShadow on September 22, 2015, 12:48:32 PM
We haven't had a power outage in years, but if we did my main concern would be the fish tank. Couple bags of ice and my big cooler would keep the fridge food cold. Got candles, cards, and board games so I'm covered there :)

Once the power goes out, how would you buy ice?  I keep one large bag of store ice in the bottom of my deep freezer, which I used just this past Sunday.  My power dropped out about 1 am on Saturday night (I was awake, so I noticed) so I put a few of the frozen bottles from the deep (I used old apple juice bottles, because they are tougher than milk jugs) into the fridge.  The power was back on by the time I got back from church on Sunday, but I used the bag of ice anyway, because my two boys were due their birthday party and no drinks were cold, and the freezer (obviously) didn't make any ice.  Another trick is owning two multi-day coolers, wherein one can fit entirely inside the other, with both tops closed.  Here the idea is ice longevity.  They need to be large enough that the both of them can hold one half a pound of ice per quart capacity PLUS the contents of your fridge between the both of them.  If the outage lasts longer than two or three days, presumedly both your volume of ice & your volume of remaining food has decreased; and you can move everything into the larger multi-day cooler.  This reduces your ice loss rate, because a reduced cooled volume also has a reduced surface area to lose heat.  If the outage continues for a few more days, you might be able to move the remaining volume into the small cooler, then put that into the larger cooler.  This reduces your ice loss rate even more, both because of another step down in surface area and because of an improvement in overall insulation value.  At this point, your condiments can go into the spaces left between the coolers, because (excepting mayonaise) they don't need much cold to keep; anything less than 60 degrees is okay for ketchup, mustard, etc.  I've tested this method, with a colman xtreme 5 day and an Igloo 3 day, for a ten day run with the initial total ice load; but I've never actually had to put it into practice.

Of course, all this presumes that you actually have that much ice when you need it.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: regulator on September 22, 2015, 08:33:33 PM

In an emergency it might be worthwhile to have a "quiet" generator so it doesn't attract thieves though your house lights attract the same thieves.



I'd guess that would mostly be an issue for an extended period disaster (Katrina, Sandy, etc.).  In that case, anyone who has anything will be a target. 
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: MoonShadow on September 22, 2015, 10:14:50 PM

In an emergency it might be worthwhile to have a "quiet" generator so it doesn't attract thieves though your house lights attract the same thieves.



I'd guess that would mostly be an issue for an extended period disaster (Katrina, Sandy, etc.).  In that case, anyone who has anything will be a target.

In any extended term outage, such as Katrina, anyone who had that much fuel would have driven out of the city in the first three days.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: regulator on September 22, 2015, 10:32:15 PM

In an emergency it might be worthwhile to have a "quiet" generator so it doesn't attract thieves though your house lights attract the same thieves.



I'd guess that would mostly be an issue for an extended period disaster (Katrina, Sandy, etc.).  In that case, anyone who has anything will be a target.

In any extended term outage, such as Katrina, anyone who had that much fuel would have driven out of the city in the first three days.

Katrina for sure.  Sandy, not so much.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: tallen on September 23, 2015, 11:57:35 AM
Once the power goes out, how would you buy ice?

I've never had a power outage that wasn't localized (only a few block or few mile radius), so I'd go outside the outage area to buy it. If the entire midwest (or entire nation) lost power, I don't think my main concern will be buying ice.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: MoonShadow on September 23, 2015, 12:32:39 PM
Once the power goes out, how would you buy ice?

I've never had a power outage that wasn't localized (only a few block or few mile radius), so I'd go outside the outage area to buy it. If the entire midwest (or entire nation) lost power, I don't think my main concern will be buying ice.

While the localized outage is the most common, I've been through several outages in my life that would have required driving 30 minutes or more to find ice, and once I got there they were out.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Spork on September 23, 2015, 05:34:25 PM
Once the power goes out, how would you buy ice?

I've never had a power outage that wasn't localized (only a few block or few mile radius), so I'd go outside the outage area to buy it. If the entire midwest (or entire nation) lost power, I don't think my main concern will be buying ice.

Just a note:  If you have a localized disaster (tornado, for example) and have weathered the storm... DO NOT go outside the area to buy ANYTHING.  You may find that the national guards won't let you back in.  Been there.  Done that.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: RetiredAt63 on September 23, 2015, 05:42:30 PM
For an ice storm no ice for the fridge/freezer isn't an issue, or at least it wasn't for us back in '98.  As it got colder (we ended up with -20C days, colder nights) the ice just fell off the trees.  We collected it, put it in bags, and had an ice box.  When it melted we just put it outside overnight, and had more ice.

Thunderstorms bringing down trees, with resulting power outages, can be more problematic - the weather is hot, the break may be hard to find, and there are probably lots of them.  We went 2 days without power at my parents' cottage one summer, and the hardest part was finding ice.  Fortunately the outage was small and the gas stations had ice.  We cooked on the barbecue, we carried water from the lake for plumbing, that part was easy.

We haven't had a power outage in years, but if we did my main concern would be the fish tank. Couple bags of ice and my big cooler would keep the fridge food cold. Got candles, cards, and board games so I'm covered there :)
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: tardis on September 26, 2015, 07:18:52 PM
I love power outages.  :)  Talking about them always make me think of the neighbour who had to borrow a can opener the one time, because they had stocked up on non-perishables but had only an electric can opener.

I was also in the Yukon when the entire Territory, and parts of BC/Alberta were taken out by a single tree on a not-terribly stormy day (I was told last time the same thing happened it was a squirrel).  No EMS, no airport radio, nothing for about 12h.  Thank god it was still around 15C out, and not the middle of winter and -35C.  Everyone went to work anyway, but we had nothing to do for a few hours because everything required a computer.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Spork on September 26, 2015, 07:33:21 PM
I love power outages.  :)  Talking about them always make me think of the neighbour who had to borrow a can opener the one time, because they had stocked up on non-perishables but had only an electric can opener.

LOL.  Growing up, the ONLY thing we had was an electric can opener.  The first time I used a normal one I had this feeling of revulsion for the electric.  Why in the world would someone have that (outside of someone with a disability that CAN'T use their hands.)  The manual openers are easier and take up so much less space.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: pancakes on September 27, 2015, 12:23:29 AM
I was living with my parents between moving cities when we lost power for a little over a week due to bad weather.

I was very surprised at how my parents reacted, by the end of it they were driving around the block in circles for no other reason but to charge their phones and iPads because all the powerpoint at the local macdonald's were in use. I thought that Gen Y were supposed to be the ones glued to devices but were welcomed the break.

Interestingly they got a credit on their next power bill that more than covered the cost of their freezer of meat that had to be discarded.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: MoonShadow on September 27, 2015, 11:33:38 PM

OMG is that an original Chambers gas stove?! I'm salivating!
Where I live the city asks for hundreds of dollars to be connected to the gas network :( Not that I can have a Chambers anyway...

Chambers 90C circa 1951 (and 1950...  I built it from 2 stoves).   http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/how-your-kitchen-can-be-hip-cool-retro-and-still-have-lip-hair/

We're on propane ($$$).  Gas doesn't come down our road.
Cool stove and somewhat like mine. I have a 1950's house that's pretty much original (yes, with that mint green tile in the kitchen!) and the gas stove (and heat and hot water) are great for power outage time.

Around here, in SoCal, we have rolling blackouts during hot summer days to save the electric grid from collapsing but are given notice in advance so can plan for it. Probably a problem for people in hot areas where it can be in the 110 range but not a problem where I am close to the coast though. I've lived in some places where long power outages were common (Alaska, New England, Gulf coast) due to storms and was usually prepared to go without power for many weeks so no problems and I always enjoyed them.

I had an original Chambers in an apartment above a garage I once owned.  Sure didn't look that good though.  Considered selling the stove separate from the property, but it was too heavy to move.  I never did figure out how they got the thing up there.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: FLA on September 28, 2015, 02:15:17 AM
PTSD, huh?  What a ginormous insult to people who actually have PTSD.  Of course, if someone develops it in the families of those who died, it makes sense.  The rest are nit wits
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Making Cookies on September 29, 2015, 08:32:17 AM

In an emergency it might be worthwhile to have a "quiet" generator so it doesn't attract thieves though your house lights attract the same thieves.



I'd guess that would mostly be an issue for an extended period disaster (Katrina, Sandy, etc.).  In that case, anyone who has anything will be a target.

In any extended term outage, such as Katrina, anyone who had that much fuel would have driven out of the city in the first three days.

And that's why we don't live in a big city. Don't want to try to survive during an emergency among potentially millions of desperate people unable to provide for themselves b/c they did not plan ahead.

We're in a small town with alot of farms and woods around us. Folks help each other and the ones I know have supplies to last a week and know how to cook dry goods like beans. Tornadoes yes, hurricanes no, earthquakes unlikely, terrorists unlikely. We'd shelter in place unless things were really bad and we needed to try to drive out to another part of the country.

Every family ought to have food and camping gear for themselves and practice enough to know how to make use of it. I've been in outdoors stores (Cabela, Gander Mtn and others) which sell five gallon buckets packed with weeks of dehydrated food for a family of four. I'd rather have dry goods from the grocery store at a fraction of the cost if I was sheltering in place but it all gets the job done.

I'm a student of history and have paid close attention to the plight of the refugees during WWI and WWII. We are getting a reminder of their situation again with the Middle Eastern refugees in Europe. A person needs cash money on their person and either their own travel supplies or they are reliant on the generosity of others. In a peacetime emergency the generosity might be easy to find. In wartime - not as much.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: zolotiyeruki on September 29, 2015, 12:53:11 PM
My extended power outage story:  Hurricane Rita, which hit land a couple years after Katrina and Ike.  We were living in the NE Houston suburbs, and had a week-old baby.  If you drew a line straight south from downtown Houston all the way to the coast, everything to the east of that line lost power for several days.  Our power was out for 9.  Fortunately, we were blessed with mild weather (mid-80's instead of the typical mid-90's for that time of year), and I was working a job in the western suburbs, so I could get groceries, ice, etc.

The first night after the hurricane passed, it was eerily dark and silent.  Like, seriously spooky.  It was the world's biggest cookout for the 2-3 days following the hurricane, as everyone got the most out of their frozen meat.

Other than a lot of downed fences and trees, our area was not terribly hard-hit.  But the neighborhood response was awesome--people helping each other cut up trees, cleaning up the mess, stacking downed sections of fence next to the roads for easy disposal, sharing generators, sitting outside in the evenings and talking to neighbors.

We bought a generator after the panic had passed.  We've never needed to use it ourselves, but we've had several occasions to lend it out to friends who lost power and were getting water in their basement.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: MoonShadow on September 29, 2015, 03:21:38 PM
I attended a presentation at my employer, a major appliance manufacturer, concerning their makerspace-like small run micro-factory, FirstBuild. (www.firstbuild.com)  Mostly they talked about their current ( http://www.nuggetice.com/) and near-market (https://firstbuild.com/mylescaley/chillhub/activity/) products.  But when it was time for Q&A, I asked about my own idea of a full sized refrigerator that can run directly (without batteries) from a solar panel during daylight but automaticly switch to AC grid power at night.  I was told that they have been developing that exact idea for some time now, and that project will be ready for early prototyping in about 6 to 8 months.  At which time, I will be able to choose a GE (or Electrolux, if we are finally bought out) fridge model to convert myself at the micro-factory.  It would seem that GE Appliances has already begun to convert at least one of their domestic refrigerator lines to a worldwide 'universal' voltage setup, so that they can sell it anywhere in the world; whether 220 volts 50 hertz or 120 volts 60 hertz, low power quality, whatever.  Basicly it's all DC internally, with a bridge rectifier & wide-spectrum, pulse-width-modulated power conditioner feeding the DC components.  So it should be as happy with 48 volts DC from a solar array or battery bank as on alternating current.  These should be on the market within a year in the US.  The off-grid (or grid hybrid) versions are going to be sold as a FirstBuild product, and simply include a second power input connector, a controllable transfer switch, and different microcontroller programming to decide which power input to use under given circumstances.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Spork on September 30, 2015, 03:36:29 PM

OMG is that an original Chambers gas stove?! I'm salivating!
Where I live the city asks for hundreds of dollars to be connected to the gas network :( Not that I can have a Chambers anyway...

Chambers 90C circa 1951 (and 1950...  I built it from 2 stoves).   http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/how-your-kitchen-can-be-hip-cool-retro-and-still-have-lip-hair/

We're on propane ($$$).  Gas doesn't come down our road.
Cool stove and somewhat like mine. I have a 1950's house that's pretty much original (yes, with that mint green tile in the kitchen!) and the gas stove (and heat and hot water) are great for power outage time.

Around here, in SoCal, we have rolling blackouts during hot summer days to save the electric grid from collapsing but are given notice in advance so can plan for it. Probably a problem for people in hot areas where it can be in the 110 range but not a problem where I am close to the coast though. I've lived in some places where long power outages were common (Alaska, New England, Gulf coast) due to storms and was usually prepared to go without power for many weeks so no problems and I always enjoyed them.

I had an original Chambers in an apartment above a garage I once owned.  Sure didn't look that good though.  Considered selling the stove separate from the property, but it was too heavy to move.  I never did figure out how they got the thing up there.

They're in the 350-400lb range (assuming we're not talking about some of the BIG Chambers.)  You can really lighten them up if you start taking off heavy bits -- burners, oven bottom, panels, etc.  But with that said: when I moved mine from my shop to our new house, I used a front end loader.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: MoonShadow on September 30, 2015, 06:53:54 PM

OMG is that an original Chambers gas stove?! I'm salivating!
Where I live the city asks for hundreds of dollars to be connected to the gas network :( Not that I can have a Chambers anyway...

Chambers 90C circa 1951 (and 1950...  I built it from 2 stoves).   http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/how-your-kitchen-can-be-hip-cool-retro-and-still-have-lip-hair/

We're on propane ($$$).  Gas doesn't come down our road.
Cool stove and somewhat like mine. I have a 1950's house that's pretty much original (yes, with that mint green tile in the kitchen!) and the gas stove (and heat and hot water) are great for power outage time.

Around here, in SoCal, we have rolling blackouts during hot summer days to save the electric grid from collapsing but are given notice in advance so can plan for it. Probably a problem for people in hot areas where it can be in the 110 range but not a problem where I am close to the coast though. I've lived in some places where long power outages were common (Alaska, New England, Gulf coast) due to storms and was usually prepared to go without power for many weeks so no problems and I always enjoyed them.

I had an original Chambers in an apartment above a garage I once owned.  Sure didn't look that good though.  Considered selling the stove separate from the property, but it was too heavy to move.  I never did figure out how they got the thing up there.

They're in the 350-400lb range (assuming we're not talking about some of the BIG Chambers.)  You can really lighten them up if you start taking off heavy bits -- burners, oven bottom, panels, etc.  But with that said: when I moved mine from my shop to our new house, I used a front end loader.

I don't know if it was the really big ones or not, but it was too large to go down the steps from the second floor.  It would have had to have been picked off the balcony with a crane, but manhandled to that point first.  I'm sure it could have been done, but I doubt for less then the actual value of the stove.  It still worked quite well, so there was no driving need to replace it.
Title: Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
Post by: Making Cookies on October 05, 2015, 01:19:11 PM
I attended a presentation at my employer, a major appliance manufacturer, concerning their makerspace-like small run micro-factory, FirstBuild. (www.firstbuild.com)  Mostly they talked about their current ( http://www.nuggetice.com/) and near-market (https://firstbuild.com/mylescaley/chillhub/activity/) products.  But when it was time for Q&A, I asked about my own idea of a full sized refrigerator that can run directly (without batteries) from a solar panel during daylight but automaticly switch to AC grid power at night.  I was told that they have been developing that exact idea for some time now, and that project will be ready for early prototyping in about 6 to 8 months.  At which time, I will be able to choose a GE (or Electrolux, if we are finally bought out) fridge model to convert myself at the micro-factory.  It would seem that GE Appliances has already begun to convert at least one of their domestic refrigerator lines to a worldwide 'universal' voltage setup, so that they can sell it anywhere in the world; whether 220 volts 50 hertz or 120 volts 60 hertz, low power quality, whatever.  Basicly it's all DC internally, with a bridge rectifier & wide-spectrum, pulse-width-modulated power conditioner feeding the DC components.  So it should be as happy with 48 volts DC from a solar array or battery bank as on alternating current.  These should be on the market within a year in the US.  The off-grid (or grid hybrid) versions are going to be sold as a FirstBuild product, and simply include a second power input connector, a controllable transfer switch, and different microcontroller programming to decide which power input to use under given circumstances.

That's VERY interesting and I'll be watching for them. I get a catalog from a "boutique" (IMHO) rural/farm catalog from up north that carries kitchen devices supposedly favored by Mennonite or other traditional religious groups. Among the things they sell are old school stoves that run on wood and/or coal. They also sell super high-efficiency refrigerators that come with super-high pricetags as well. ;) With enough budget a person could outfit their kitchen and home with all the low energy consumption devices and disconnect from the grid. Of course some of the electrical demand is replaced by muscle power. 

Its interesting to put a KillAWatt meter on different devices in your home and to realize what each one consumes over the course of a week or so.