Preparing for Power Outages?

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Jim Yanik wrote:

I have one of the lanterns. 12 LEDs, 4 D batteries. Variable brightness. We use it on low brightness as a night light; it's been on every night for no less than 6 hours, typically 8, since about last July with no visible change in brightness, on the first set of batteries.
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| Just a coda on the power outage prep thread: | | I stopped by the Goodwill Last Chance store yesterday, and bought a | whole shopping bag full of candles for $1. If you are not familiar with | Goodwill, they have outlet stores where they keep things for 24 hours | before they are trashed or recycled. It's stuff that didn't sell in the | regular store, so it's pretty much "make an offer." | | Anyway, I bought about 35 lbs of candles for $1. About half the weight | was pillar candles, and about half was tapers. Thanks to this little | foray, I now have about 80 or 90 tapers on hand. I guess now I need to | keep my eyes open for a candelabra.
Or a grand piano and some gold lame
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For heat, we have a kerosene heater. It won't heat the whole house, but it will provide enough heat so we don't freeze. The manual says the typical home has enough air coming and going through openings so that suffication isn't an issue. Still, I usually crack the window open a little bit, just to make sure.
For electricity, we have a 7.5 kW generator. We're in an all electric house, so we need this for water to run the well pump.
We lost power for a few hours with the storm 2 weeks ago (we're in Maryland, but not down near AA/PG counties where they got hit the worst). Didn't lose it at all the other day, but the storm was not nearly as bad as forecast, we got more snow than ice.
We lost power for 6 days when Isabel hit a few years ago, I had just bought the generator earlier in the week, once the forecasts started to show it was headed this way. Glad I did.
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We had no electricity from Friday 12 to Thursday 25. Sunday the 28 one family at the churh still didn't have electricty.
Crank powered flashlights and radio. Canned food. Generator w/5 gallons of gas. We have propane heat and a 5500 watt generator kept the whole house running, though through shutting off the furnace to heat up the water (electric heater) or the dryer. I would suggest a Coleman generator with the Yamaha engine. It should be quieter than our Briggs and Straton. I just saw one on sale for $4?? somewhere. Nix the candles and gas range. We cooked on the propane grill. There was still enough power throughout the town to have safe water all that time.
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Or spend a few months in Nigeria. On a good week they have about 15 minutes to a 1/2 hour of electricity a week. My son spent over 6 months there with his wife.
Mike D.
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After reading this discussion, I have not seen anyone mention the obvious....
Once you think you are prepared, test your preparations by living without power for a few days.
All it takes is to shut the power off in your house and see if you can survive.
Better to find any omissions or problems before the real thing happens.
TMT.
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Too_Many_Tools wrote:

I do that once a year when I participate in Amateur Radio Field Day. I usually don't go out in the woods or a public park like some groups do, I operate class "1E" which means one operator using my home station on emergency power. The event lasts for 24 hours, which proves out how well the generator holds up, as well as other things.
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BR wrote:

What a fabulous idea. I like it. I'm newly licensed as a Ham so I'll begin my field day preparations now and test them under the pressure of the contest. That will give the entire family a taste of what a period of no outside help is like.
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Tom Horne, KB3OPR

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Dont forget who will be picking your nursing home.
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Jonathan, we are in the same boat. We don't have the money to go buy one of those larger generators so we have a 5500 Watt gasoline generator. It is enough to run a furnance in two houses on our property, the deep freeze in our house and some lights. You can bet on using a lot of gas though. Ours runs for around 13+ hours on a tank of gas. We are using bottled water for drinking and cooking and going to a friends house to shower. Our electricity has been out since Saturday, Feb. 24th at 1:30 so we are going on 4 days. Also, our few animals are getting bottled water too. While most of the town we live near is without power, at least the gas station and grocery store are open (running on generators). We also have lots of candles and flashlight batteries.
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Excellent question, similar to the Y2K preparations in 1999, same season. - Preparation depends partly on the season: Food, heat, lights, communications, water and sanitation. - What length of outage is anticipated: probably 2-4 days is long enough. By then, you can make other choices if it looks like the outage will extend. - Unless your normal living depends on diesel, gasoline or kerosene, I prefer propane to gasoline. Keeping a gasoline generator fed is bulky as well as hazardous, particularly in more populated areas. Few generators are truly quiet. - If you are prepared for a 2-4 day campout, you will already have most of the required equipment and resources. Realize that most grocery stores, gasoline stations and other retailers only have about 3 days of merchandise on the shelves. They will be picked clean in a day. Even 5 gallon fuel containers will be scarce from people travelling elsewhere for resupply.
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Jonathan Grobe wrote:

After the 3 day outage in August, 2003 my husband bought a gasoline powered generator, which fortunately we haven't had to use yet (probably a good thing since he never has the gas can filled anyway ;) It will at least give enough power for the refrigerator and freezer, and maybe a few lights etc. If ya get one, don't forget the gas!!!
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I wonder why they don't make propane-fueled (or natural gas from the home's pipeline) portable generators;as one can store propane with fewer problems than gasoline or diesel. And it's easier on the engine.
I wonder how long a moderate sized generator,say 3-4 KW,would run on a 20 lb tank of propane?
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Jim Yanik
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Probably about as long as it would run on 4 gallons of gasoline. The problem is a 20lb tank isn't 20lb these days.
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(Jim Yanik) says...

Any small engine can be converted to propane. You just replace the carburetor with a conversion kit. Unfortunately, the kit is pretty expensive. Normally they cost a couple hundred dollars. You have to derate the engine about 20%, so a 10 hp engine will only put out about 8 hp. As you note, that is easier on the engine, which will last a lot longer, at the expense of some power.
As you mention, the big advantage of propane as a generator fuel is that it doesn't deteriorate like gasoline or diesel. You can set up a 200 gallon propane tank, and 10 years later it will still be good fuel for the generator.
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Usually nothing. But this winter we have already had two outages. The first was due to high winds bringing down the lines. THe second was due to a car bringing down a power pole.
The first one I was ready for. When i heard the forcast for high winds I hung the camping lantern from the hook in the living room celing and made sure the camp stove was fueled up. We filled the freezer with ice packs. When the power went out, my wife transfered the ice packs and some food into the cooler. Big supprise was finding out that the gas fireplace didn't have an emergency bypass. I have now have an inverter and can run the fire place off a battery if necessary.
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On Sun, 25 Feb 2007 20:44:10 +0000 (UTC), Jonathan Grobe

I live in AZ.
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Flagstaff? <g>
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snipped-for-privacy@nowhere.net says...

Wasn't there a major outage there a couple of years ago? I seem to recall that a large and expensive component had to be trucked (with a "Wide Load" type deal) from Long Beach, California? And took days to arrive?
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In reference to an earlier branch of this thread, I looked at the sized and prices of generator/welder combinations, and came across this interesting pricing situation:
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?ItemnumberF704
4000 watt, 140A welder, 9hp engine--$999.99
and
http://cgi.ebay.com/Campbell-Hausfeld-9-HP-4000-WATT-GENARATOR-WELDER_W0QQitemZ230096113596QQcmdZViewItem
The exact same model; the text description virtually word-for-word the same as at Harbor Freight, starting bid $1299.99.
I wonder if the seller is simply placing orders at Harbor Freight for delivery to the bidders address...
Aside from looking at that one, there's a Lincoln Electric model from Home Depot:
http://www.homedepot.com/prel80/HDUS/EN_US/diy_main/pg_diy.jsp?CNTTYPE=NAVIGATION&CNTKEY=market%2fpg_zip_code.jsp
However, I've about decided that it'd be more flexible to buy a generator in the 5KW - 5.5KW range and a separate welder. I don't see any of the genwelders mention being able to use utility power for welding; with separate units, you can weld without running the generator. The price can work out to be cheaper, too.
Gary
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