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#2052607 - 09/30/23 12:15 AM Are you preparing for when the lights go out?
ktyhawk Offline
General Nuisance

Registered: 11/20/08
Posts: 3645
Loc: New Kent
City or County: New Kent County
What are you and your family doing to prepare for when the grid takes a dirt nap or society in general goes tits up? When the shocky stuff stops coming into your house, what do you plan to do?

It may not be tomorrow, but at some point the shocky stuff isn't going to keep your fridge and AC on. You are going to have to live without electricity. Hopefully it is a very short term situation. But if it isn't, what are you going to do? How have you prepared? When Isabel hit SEVA, we lived without electricity for 15 days. That meant no water from our well also. We lived okay because we had made some previous plans. What have you and yours done for when the grid craps the bed and no one is coming to save you?

What are your plans for the big three? Water, Food and Shelter? I hope all of my fellow Virginians have made some sort of plan for when things go dark. Lets discuss how and what could be helpful in this situation........ GO:
FJB & C0.

#2054536 - 10/06/23 04:39 PM Re: Are you preparing for when the lights go out? [Re: ktyhawk]
jr45 Offline
Full Auto

Registered: 11/30/08
Posts: 1236
Loc: VA
City or County: Stafford
Always a good idea to have nonperishable food and water on hand. Clean drinking water is king in my view for many emergencies, you will not last long without it. As a rule, you will need one gallon of water per person per day (could need more dependent on activity level, whether, etc.). Problem with water, it is difficult to store due to its size and weight which is about 8lbs per gallon. You could use the stack-able water containers that may help with some space savings.

For food, cannot go wrong with canned goods. Problems with canned food is also size and weight, though not as bad as storing water in my option. I like canned chicken breasts which has a lot of protein. Dried foods such as rice, pasta, etc. is also good to have. Nothing against the freeze-dried food, just they are expensive as compared to canned food. Also, you will need to carefully read the nutritional value of freeze-dried foods as many of the bulk ones for sale are mainly made up of carbohydrates and lacking protein.

As for electricity, for short term, you can always use a generator. You could run extension cords to the house or have an electrician to install a port that will back feed your electrical panel (that is the route I went). You will need to buy the generator before any storm or power outage. It is sad to see so many folks trying to buy generators after the power goes out and they will certainly over pay if they can find one. The problems with generators they are very loud (unless you buy the very expensive inverter types), they use gas, and they can be very dangerous, even deadly, if care is not taken. NEVER run a generator in an enclosed space, EVER! Carbon monoxide kills. There are lot of good resources online that can help with generator information and don't forget to perform the required maintenance on them.

Another short-term electrical trick is to get several Marine/RV batteries and run them in parallel. These, with an inverter, can be used to run your refrigerator, charge phones, etc. for short periods. As for long term electrical access, not sureÖcould be solar, wind, etc? Unfortunately where Iím at, my options would be limited amount of solar panels and the cost appears to be prohibitive for me at this time but would warrant some further research.

#2056056 - 10/11/23 07:09 PM Re: Are you preparing for when the lights go out? [Re: ktyhawk]
Otislee Offline
Gun fool

Registered: 03/31/16
Posts: 823
Loc: Virginia
City or County: Yorktown
Make sure you got plenty of toilet paper.

#2056095 - 10/11/23 09:56 PM Re: Are you preparing for when the lights go out? [Re: ktyhawk]
High Ryder Offline

Registered: 09/26/12
Posts: 1137
Loc: Louisa
City or County: Louisa
Epp well solutions really does work on artisan wells. And battery back up light bulbs are awesome
Stand tall before man, Bow low before God

#2063291 - 11/04/23 07:54 AM Re: Are you preparing for when the lights go out? [Re: ktyhawk]
Mark S Offline
Mark S

Registered: 04/29/10
Posts: 4030
Loc: Rappahannock County, VA
City or County: Front Royal
I'm looking beyond the week or so power outage to the point when the 'smartgrid' allows the govt to decide who gets power and who doesn't...

We've got a food and medicine supply for ~45 days we could expand. We have enough land to grow food and have chickens, goats, sheep or a few cattle, but we have numerous neighbors with cattle and another with sheep a few miles down the road.

We've got a whole house generator and 2 very large propane tanks giving us continuous use for 5 days or so, I could shut it down at night and maybe get to 8-9 days. I'm looking at solar with a battery that would allow complete offgrid use, but having a hard time pulling the trigger at $57k - which is enough to operate everything and using the generator as backup charger. It also leads to the idea that an EV might not be the worse thing if the gas stations can't pump with no or spotty electricity...I try to keep the vehicles well fueled and have a few cans on hand that I rotate, but storing gas and diesel tends to be more difficult.

Our fireplace, stove, and oven are gas and one of the 2 tanks goes to them with the other to the generator, though I can 'combine' them for use by either, it helps me keep one full all the time. We have an older wood pellet stove setup in the basement that was used as a backup, I will eventually get to that and get it tuneup up and get some bags of pellets as another backup. When we 'remodeled' we went with high efficiency heating and cooling systems, the furnace is electric until 37* then it cuts over to gas, but I can push that up 42* and not lose too much efficiency as well.

Edited by Mark S (11/04/23 07:55 AM)

#2063732 - 11/05/23 01:22 PM Re: Are you preparing for when the lights go out? [Re: ktyhawk]
jr45 Offline
Full Auto

Registered: 11/30/08
Posts: 1236
Loc: VA
City or County: Stafford
During the snow storm two years ago, we lost power for about 5 days if memory serves me correctly. I used a 7kw generator (8.5kw peek capacity) to run most things in my home including the heater blower and thermostat (our house is natural gas heat). I had an electrician install a back feeder inlet and box. I ran the generator off and on through out the day for about 4-5hrs which was enough to keep the house warm and refrigerator and freezer going. I probably could have met most of my power needs with a 5kw generator but it is wise to have a little more capacity than required. At night, we used the fireplace for heat and deep cell batteries with inverters to run the refrigerator and freezer which were recharged the next day when running the generator.

Unfortunately, our neighbors on both sides did not prepare and I found myself running extension cords to their homes during the day so they could run their fridge or space heater. Running power for others did cause more fuel consumption and I had to carefully watch the breakers on the generator in case too much power was demanded upon it. You will not be able to hide the use of a generator from your neighbors when the power goes out. This is why I offered them an extension cord to their homes for short periods during the day.

After the power was restored, I explained to both neighbors the importance of having back up source of power or heat for such events. I also explained that these resources need to be acquired before the next storm. As of today, they still have not acquired those resources that Iím aware of. Though I did prep and got through the event without much problem, our complete dependency on power (me included) was painfully evident during this event.

Have others had a similar experience? Did you provide power to your neighbors? Any lessons learned?

#2068361 - 11/20/23 07:48 PM Re: Are you preparing for when the lights go out? [Re: jr45]
doc holiday Offline
Gun fool

Registered: 01/01/09
Posts: 926
Loc: Richmond
City or County: Doswell
You guys have made excellent points. High tech, low tech, and no tech all have advantages and disadvantages. Water, heat, food and lights are key. I encourage folks around me all the time to be prepared. Most people just ignor me, even after a small crisis. Most of them dont have 2 days worth of food or more than 1 flashlight. 2 is 1, and 1 is none.