Author Topic: 24-hour power outage hysteria  (Read 20456 times)

Kitsunegari

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #50 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.  :)



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...
« Last Edit: September 09, 2015, 12:29:56 PM by Kitsunegari »

Spork

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #51 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. 

FunkyStickman

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #52 on: September 10, 2015, 08:12:28 AM »

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



I'm officially jealous.

Shinplaster

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #53 on: September 10, 2015, 12:58:43 PM »

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



I'm officially jealous.

That is a thing of beauty!

MsPeacock

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #54 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.

Welshrabbit

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #55 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.

Torgo

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #56 on: September 11, 2015, 07:41:11 PM »
A long power outage is just a perfect opportunity to bust out the telescope.

PhotoBrandon

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #57 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.

Making Cookies

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #58 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.

tallen

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #59 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 :)

MoonShadow

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #60 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.

regulator

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #61 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. 

MoonShadow

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #62 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.

regulator

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #63 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.

tallen

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #64 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.

MoonShadow

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #65 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.

Spork

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #66 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.

RetiredAt63

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #67 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 :)

tardis

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #68 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.

Spork

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #69 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.

pancakes

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #70 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.

MoonShadow

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #71 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.

FLA

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #72 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

Making Cookies

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #73 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.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #74 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.

MoonShadow

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #75 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.

Spork

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #76 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.

MoonShadow

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #77 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.

Making Cookies

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Re: 24-hour power outage hysteria
« Reply #78 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.