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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all!

Woke up at 7:20 Saturday AM to find out we had no power. My lady, in her sleepy stupor, mentioned she noticed around 4:30, but somehow it didn't register to her that this might be a problem.

My first thought was, "the Sump Pump!!!". So I sat up, reached in the night stand, grabbed my mini mag light and headed to the basement. Ran to the sump well and it appears it was exactly ready to overflow. Grabed a plastic pitcher and bailed it down a bit. 10 minutes later, full again, bailed it down some more.

Eventually realized the lights across the street were on, so this was fairly localized. Lady checked the internets for anything on the news or National Grid websites. (As an FYI to National Grid - your website sucks when viewing on a phone, which, btw, is when folks need it most. It took forever to get to information which, of course sucks up valuable phone battery.)

Cranked up my brand new crank radio from my NYF secret santa - but nothing on the news about the outage. Eventually called N. Grid and they said, "a manhole blew up". OK, eta 4:30.

I looked out the back window at my 2 car, detached garage and realized that the automatic door opener wouldn't work. I then realized that I never changed the lock on the man door from when we moved in, and therefore, didn't likely have a way to get in the door. Yep. Stranded.

6 year old gets up and wants a flashlight to play with. Gave him a couple of glow sticks on a piece of paracord and a wind up light.

Before this gets too long - turns out the man door in the garage was unlocked, so I was able to get in the garage, flip the manual release on the opener and get to the cars.

Power came back on around 1 PM, internets and cable out til about 9:30.

The pluses:
1. Flashlight was handy and batteries worked. Had to change after about an hour, but had plenty of extra batteries.
2. Plenty of food and drink.
3. 6 year olds are easily amused with glow sticks and crank lights.
4. Access to communications to the outside world.
5. Lots of great discussion during and after with my lady about our level of preparedness.
6. Sump well never overflowed, but we do have water alarms down there due to a previous sewer issue that was fixed this summer.

The needs improvements:
1. Need backup system for sump pump.
2. CHANGE LOCK ON GARAGE MAN DOOR!!!!! (done already)
3. Battery backup for garage door opener would be helpful as well.
4. Stay out of the refrigerator!!!!

Anyways, thought I'd share my experiences. Systems need to be tested.
 

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We weathered the October suprise storm quite well.

1) Sump pump was the highest priority. We ran the generator 4 hours on, 12 hours off to conserve gasoline. Refrigerator was cooled off during that time and we kept out of the refrigerator during the off generator period. Generator was rated at 4000 watts; two 15amp 120volt circuits. We did not burn a lot of gas. 10 gallons lasted 8 days w/on-off operation plan. We only ran the generator when we were awake to keep an eye on it. Many generator thefts were reported. During the day I ran to a few other houses and pumped them out w/the generator.

1A) Cover your refrigerator-freezer w/a sleeping bag when power is out to extend insulation/non-electric time. Plenty of boxed and canned meals were prepared on the stove. If you need something out of the refrigerator, put it into a cooler w/ice and stay out of the refrigerator. Put all your refrigerated needs into that external cooler. If it's cool enough, put outside. Don't be afraid to buy ice from an outside source if you find it when traveling.

2) A totally non-electric wood burner and 12 cords of firewood are priceless. House was heated 24/7. We maybe used 1 cord, the other 11 were peace of mind.

3) Learn how to manually light your gas stove.

4) Water heater is non-electric. Hot shower feels really good.

5) White gas Coleman lantern throws off a lot of heat and light. Slightly smelly. We cracked the back door for air.

6) Battery powered carbon monoxide detector and smoke detector; priceless.

7) Board games are great, my wife kicked my ass in Scrabble 9 out of 10 games.

8) Power is out at the traffic light intersections. Assume people won't use common sense or die. Lines will be long at gas stations, tempers will be short and people will be angry. Consider driving 5-10 miles away from the blackout zone to find underutilized gas stations.

9) Glow sticks amuse both me and the cats. The dogs didn't care. It was like inside camping for a week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Come on Ray, it's more than beer.... there's cheese, which is delicious, and the lady's Bailey's (for medicinal purposes only, of course), and the little crumb snatcher's juice boxes, then there's the frozen waffles in the freezer...

And besides, there wasn't a flake of snow at my place by that time.
 

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A true prepper would have started hording ice in his ice shed once the temp allowed for the creation of ice at night.
 

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Guess I got lucky my sump pump was dead, and my basement never flooded. I have no idea how long it's been dead but probably a hell of a long time as the pump I replaced was from the 50s and weighed a ton. I am no plumber and don't want to sound stupid here but my sump basin has an in and out. I see the water running in one side and will run out the other side when it reaches a certain level, the pitch has to be great as I have never once flooded with no sump pump for probably 15 years. Now since I replaced the pump it ran almost constantly over the last few days of the very heavy rain. Are all basins designed this way? I know they all have an inlet for the water but do they all have an outlet?
 

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Dry ice blocks will keep your fridge and freezer cold enough to keep food from spoiling.
Generator to power up your fridge or freezer, maybe?
 

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Cranked up my brand new crank radio from my NYF secret santa - but nothing on the news about the outage.
You used it already! See, I knew it was a good idea. ;)

Our power didn't go out at all. I was kinda hoping it would. I'm always up for a good challenge.
 

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a generator comes in handy in situations such as this. power company's tend to respond a bit slow if it's only one or a few houses
 

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Last spring our sump pump kicked on for the 1st time ever due to the high amount of rain. After considering a backup/ battery pump, I went with a whole house generator (I have natural gas). I now find out that I have a passive drain in the sump which will direct water outside if the pump fails. Its a 4" pipe sloped downward out to the backyard into a gully. Anyway, whole house automatic generator is nice, no worries, no heat, pipe freezing, sump or a/c problems.
 

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whole house generator's are a great addition to a home, if on a budget a small 800-1000w gas powered can easily by implemented by backfeeding your electrical panel through a empty breaker space but i strongly recommend having an electrician do the panel wiring
 

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I have a decent little story...

I was working 3rd shift this week and got out around 7am on Saturday. The wife called as I was leaving the shop and said we had no power and that it was almost like the October storm with ice, broken trees and flooding. "Perfect" I do believe was my response. I told her I had to stop at Depot on the way home to fetch a few plumbing parts (bathroom sink had a vent issue) and that I would look at generators. "We don't need a GENERATOR...you spend too much money". Well...being the money spender I am I marched into Depot to find a line of people ahead of me buying gen's. I got in line and after some waiting wound up standing behind an older lady who wanted the "big one" up on the shelf. She wanted to run her whole house. The guy working the lift along with a few comments from me convinced her to go with the smaller one that she could actually move around. What does this mean for me? I end up with the last one they had, this after they had brought some from another store as soon as they opened. This last one happens to be the biggest, badest, Yamaha engine'd, pneumatic tire'd, 4.5 gallon fuel tank'd, electric freakin start unit they sell....portable anyways. I didn't even want to know how much it was....lets just get it on the cart, get my plumbing stuff and boot. I get to the counter and find out the price....stomach ache sets in and I now have to decide how much the food in the fridge is worth....lol. I said F*$# it, we lost food last time and this time its pretty cold and really wet. The transaction goes smooth and now its time to muscle this thing into my work truck. The cart guy is now nowhere to be found...of course. I got it in the truck and then with the help of a nice fella walking by....got it all situated in the bed. I get home, ask my oldest to get dressed and come out and help me put our new gen together. No lie here....I got it all put together, oil in the engine, fuel in the tank, drag it outside....and wala....the lights come on in the garage...power is back on! WTF...they were waiting for me to spend $1k on a generator! So, I took it out, fired it up, plugged a drill in to make sure it worked and then shut it down after running for about ten mins.

The way I look at it...I have it for next time and will be getting the electrician back over to install a plug outside and get the panel situated so I can just plug in and run what I need....no spaghetti cords. Thats all I have....Merry Xmas. Thanks for listening.
 

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Calling yourself stranded is a stretch, and a bit over dramatic. It's not that hard to break into a garage, and you can open up an automatic garage door manually, that's what the little red pull cord is for.
 

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Calling yourself stranded is a stretch, and a bit over dramatic. It's not that hard to break into a garage, and you can open up an automatic garage door manually, that's what the little red pull cord is for.
Nice post! Really lent itself to this thread.
 

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Get a small generator I have a 1000 watt gen that will run 12 hours easily on a gallon. Maybe a mini fridge to keep the food from spoiling . Propane fridges out there too.
Wood stove for heat and cooking but only if you are able to put one in your home .
You have natural gas/ propane get a genny that runs on it. Oil heat get a diesel genny and you can run it in heating fuel.
 

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Our power went out exactly at 0305am...I know this because I was up feeding my 4mo son staring at the clock in a sleepy haze. I have flashlights in all rooms of my house, so I passed the boy off to my wife and tended to my sump pump. Our backyard was already pretty flooded from run off the whole day, and we have flooded out a few times downstairs when we were not home and lost power. My next door neighbor is promptly banging on my door just like he has done before whenever we lose power. He is a good dude, so I don't mind helping him out. I fired up my generator on my deck and got the sump pumps for both our houses back up and running just as the water was at the top. We didn't get power until around noon in N.Tonawanda. I keep my house stocked with about 20 flashlights, 2 lanterns, all sizes of batteries, stored water, canned food, 20 gallons of gas, and watt/load rated extension cords. What I lacked and will work on, is I didn't have any firewood or other source of heat. I plugged in portable heaters, but they didn't do the trick after a few hours. I am also looking into getting my furnace pigtailed so I can plug it in during a storm power outage. Not perfect at riding these out, but learning each and everytime on being more prepared.
 

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I now find out that I have a passive drain in the sump which will direct water outside if the pump fails. Its a 4" pipe sloped downward out to the backyard into a gully. Anyway, whole house automatic generator is nice, no worries, no heat, pipe freezing, sump or a/c problems.
Thanks that is what I must have and they do work well
 
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