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Old 03-11-2011, 12:01 AM   #1
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Default When Thursday becomes a mild SHTF situation!

So the PNW has got somewhere in the range of 30 to 40 inches of rainfall in the last 2 days and last night we had wind gusts reaching a peak of 30 miles an hour.

Suffice to say the power customers in the Puget Sound Region have had sporatic outages all day long, peaking around 8,000 customers before I left work.

I came home to find that an entire portion of the wooded area to the East of my place had been logged today. This was a mild shock, not because we didn't know it was going to happen, the signs have been up for awhile, I just didn't think that many trees could be fell in one day...LOL

Home about 30 minutes and the wind is now whipping 60 miles an hour plus across the region, my work (power company) is already reporting (3) bases open with outages and my place is without power.

Luckily I have a generator installed, so my place is warm and well lit, but what if I didn't have a generator like all of my neighbors??

It's in the 40's outside, the wind is blowing like hell, the rain is coming in sideways and I know for a fact that crews will be working on power outages based on amount of customers per fix.

As we live on a radial spur, with probably 800-1000 customers total, we aren't going to be real high on the priority list.

So I ask you, what kind of preparations do you have in place for such a situation in your house?

You come home from a hard day at work, the lights are out in your neighborhood, and your house. You had planned on cooking dinner from the stuff you had in the fridge and the cabinet. And now?

Where are your flashlights or your candles? Can you even see to stumble through the house and let the dog(s) out?

You think you are calling Pizza Hut for dinner? Your wait is probably going to be a couple of hours. Better hope they have power and are running drivers in this weather.

What about the house? You had the wood stove or the heat going all day? Probably not.

Just some stuff to think about for you folks. I know my neighbors are thinking about some of these very things as they roll down the street to their dark and cold homes.

JD

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Old 03-11-2011, 12:26 AM   #2
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I need to buy a propane heater. Other than that, I think we're good. We have gas heat and a gas fireplace. So unless the S really HTF, we're okay.

We'll be looking at these and other eventualities when we consider the next place

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Old 03-11-2011, 12:36 AM   #3
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I have a 2KW generator on the RV which is in the driveway. That will drive the pellet stove. Oil lamps for light, and butane cook tops for heating food. If it gets really bad the RV has propane heat, stove top and oven and a microwave. The frige is gas/electric and will be operable.

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Old 03-11-2011, 01:32 AM   #4
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Built into my F550 bucket truck is a high output generator. For my house I have a switch that isolates the utility line to the main and if the power goes out too long I go get the bucket truck, back it into the driveway, and plug it onto the hub by the main panel on the house. I have the referigerator, micro wave, stove, gas section of central heat and air (runs blower and furnace only but no A/C) (1) lighting circut, and (2) wall outlet circuts wired through the isolator on the house. This generator will run for about 15 hours without refueling. Pretty much gets me all the lights I need, kitchen,Theater room, office, and heat. Not energizing the whole house mind you, but what I need for comfort.

My dads house, when I had it built, I had it set up for total power cut over and I have a large stationary Cummins West generator that runs off natural gas and kicks in automatically when power goes out and disengages when power comes back on. Dad is 98 Y.O. and keeping it lit up when it's dark keeps dad and us from dealing with a broken hip. Not to mention that everything on that 400 Amp main panel runs off that generator when the power does go out.

In Lake Tahoe we have a fairly large home in Incline Village that is vacant most of the time as it is a vacation and or weekend get away place for our family. This last December we had quite a bit of snowfall and the power did go out for several days. No one was there at the time. The snow was melting during the day and freezing back up at night. The gutters are heated and the decks and driveway are hydronically heated as well. On the roof there is a hidden cricket (transition from slope area to flat a area on the roof with a drain that goes down through a pipe to a scupper and to the ground) which froze up in the drain and the water level in this area got under the flashing and leaked into the entry and great room of this house. Usually the alarm that phones out that the power is out or certian systems are down didn't function this time or the house would have called out and we would have gotten an automated phone call letting us know to get up there and check it out.

To make a long story short now, we ended up having near $80,000.00 in interioir damage to this house. It's all repaired now and my brother and I are going to get and install another stationary generator to power up the entire house up there if power ever fails again. Too costly not to as were more than sure the insurance is going to go through the roof. (No pun intended)

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Old 03-11-2011, 02:03 AM   #5
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I currently live in a condo so I am subjugated to what the utility companies provide. When I finally get some land the plan is to be totally self sufficient - no utilities. Through efficient design, lot layout and proper planning I should be able to generate all I need.

As for now regardless of the temperature I can keep warm with the gear I have. Food would be the biggest problem as I have no place for ration storage. No real sense in getting a backup generator because I wouldn't have anyplace to put it.

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Old 03-11-2011, 02:59 AM   #6
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These are very good points but I would like to bring up another view....what if you rent? I currently rent a house and I'm not going to wire a generator into my rented home.

We are lucky enough to be on a well so we've got at least a tank full of water and I keep a couple of cases of bottles in the house at minimum. There is also a clean stream that is roughly 75 yards behind the house which even during the drought continued to flow.
I also keep dried and split wood on hand at all times for the wood stove that can be fired up and used to heat or cook with if need be. I'm also well stocked with canned foods and keep roughly 15-20 MREs around.
Flashlights are kept in the same place which is known to be me and my wife and they have a glow strip wrapped around them. Batteries are also stored in only one place.

When we buy a house I will definately set up a generator but until then I think we have our bases covered.

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Old 03-11-2011, 03:35 AM   #7
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My youngest brother, when he lived in Seabrook Texas, had the power go out for 3 weeks after the last hurricane that hit Galveston. He picked up a 7500 Watt portable generator with (3) 20 amp 110 v outlets with 20 amp breakers and (1) 220 v outlet with a 50 amp breaker. They kept their fridge and freezer full of food from spoiling. They also had the microwave plugged in and a few lamps around their house plugged in as well. For cooking they bbq'd almost every day.

They didn't tie the generator into the house wireing but used 12 ga. (20 amp rated wire) extension cords.

The main thing in this scenero is that you have enough amperage output from the generator to supply the devices you want to run. (line) If you use extension cords, make sure they are of large enough guage wire to carry the amperage load of your devices. (load)

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Old 03-11-2011, 03:59 AM   #8
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I recently bought a Mr. Buddy propane INDOOR heater. I also have 160 pounds of propane. That will keep at least one area of our house toasty for many days, even in sub-freezing temps. Lack of electricity is tough, though.

-Candles and batteries for light
-manual can-opener and cooking materials for outdoor cooking, but not for more than a month
-4 weeks of bottled water

I think lack of electricity is the part that gets really old really fast. We should all be prepared for at least 2 weeks w/o power, and a month is much better.

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Old 03-11-2011, 01:06 PM   #9
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Five or so years ago we had an ice storm that knocked out the power for us for 7 days and 7 hours. We are dependant on juice to run our water well. I was lucky in finding a generator on the 2nd day when a truckload of them came in at a farm supply store. I used that for the first couple of days with cords to run the fridge, freezer and furnace, the furnace I had to re-wire with a three prong cord coming out instead of the hard wire it had.
It took a couple more days to locate the heavy gauge wire and plugs necessary to make a cable to wire to the house to get 220 into the system. I had to drive 120 miles for the components. They were that scarce with so many people in the same situation. I have an external disconnect on my service and just backwired into the house through the air conditioner compressor unit. I know that was not up to code, but I was isolated from the grid and it was only temporary. Most in my area pulled the meters and wired in from there, since they did not have a disconnect.

We had an electric stove then and we weren't able to cook, I didn't want to pull as much juice as the burners would take to make a meal. Since then we changed out to natural gas. I also spent around $20/day minimum on gas. We didn't run it every night, but when it got down into single digits at night we ran it.

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Old 03-11-2011, 02:30 PM   #10
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Here in the middle of the city we have candles in the draws and on the tables, and a propane cook stove in the closet. For the farm we have two very large generators 2 propane cookstoves, gas heat and granny yelling at me to go cook something.

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