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2 Days With No Electricity

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Mo Heat, Jan 16, 2007.

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  1. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

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    Big ice storm hit here over the weekend. Freezing rain and freezing fog. Never heard of freezing fog before.

    Lost a quart of ice cream and had to move a few items across town to a working freezer, but managed to stay warm and home most of the time by burning wood.

    I just happened to have bought an inverter (after BB mentioned he had one) the week before in hopes of running the insert convection fan should we get hit hard with some weather. Didn't know how that would work but I pulled the battery from a compact, non-essential car and I was happy enough for a $30 investment. On day two, I even hooked up a 15 Watt compact fluorescent bulb (as much light as a sixty watt incandescent) lamp for a few hours so one room in the house seemed almost normal.

    It was a bit stressful with everyone in the same room so much, but at least we were warm and could read. I may consider getting a deep cycle battery for next time. The compact car battery only lasted about 8 hours of non-continuous use and I only ran the fan about half speed. Luckily I could recharge it at the sister-in-law's place over an extended supper.

    At one point, about every 20 minutes, I'd hear a limb snap out back and then a second sound of it hitting the ground. It was an eerie sound that happened over and over again at regular intervals over two days. Lots of softwood trees are down around here or have big piles of limbs all around them. Mostly Bradford Pear, River Birch, and Pine trees.

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  2. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

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    Here's how things looked for two days. That's just a 12 volt florescent camp lantern in use (not the CF). The yellow glow is a coleman gas lantern located outside the patio window.

    Attached Files:

  3. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Glad you folks are alright Mo. We know the feeling after doing seven days last year. And understand completely laying in bed listening to the world crack, pop and fall.

    Now the big question: Did ya do overnight burns?
  4. CountryGal

    CountryGal Feeling the Heat

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    My brother has been without power since Friday--he's in SW MO (Billings). Running a generator for backup power but gas is getting harder to find he said. Trees down in town and it looks like a tornado hit it. My nephew had a tree take out his power pole and trees are blocking his back door. At least he has a wood stove; brother doesn't.
  5. ourhouse

    ourhouse Minister of Fire

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    Good to hear your allright. I know the feeling lying in bed wondering if a tree is about to crash into the house.
  6. DriftWood

    DriftWood Minister of Fire

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    After the worst ice storm I ever say the trees looked like a big lawn mower cut off all the tops of all the trees at roof level. Piles of wood 6 ft hi lining the roads.

    The last big one we had lasted (no power in some ares) 7 days. I thought about a insert when l was looking at wood burnig again, But with them as you have found out, when the fan goes off so dose some heat.

    I did use bagged ice in the refrigerator during the east coast 3-day power outage. Put the ice on the top shelf in a pan this turns the thing into a ice-box.

    It is amazing how much light is given off of an oil lamp placed in front of a mirror.

    Go get that wood when things stop falling there will be a lot to choose from.

    Good Luck!!
  7. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    If ya get enough snow do what I did. Put the fridge stuff in coolers and bury them in a snow bank. Didn't lose a thing is seven days.

    Pain in the butt to go retreive the eggs and bacon to cook on the wood stove though.
  8. ljmaine

    ljmaine New Member

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    In a real pinch you can get generator gas from the schraeder valve of fuel injected cars' fuel rails.

    Harbor freight has a cheap pressure tester one can rob the fitting from if nowhere else. My tester has a bleed hose that works well for this.

    My dodge truck even has an old-school filter with rubber hose and hose clamps... no quick disconnects... jumper the relay and pump out the tank.
  9. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like your resourcefullness got you and your family through what could have been some rough times. Way to go!

    Those 12v lights come in handy, don't they? I have several since I am a boater and often fish at night. But all of us can have a 12v light for working on cars for a few bucks at a flea market or harbor freight. A little light goes a long way for maintaining some normalcy. Just imagine if you had no light all that time! Woulda sucked!
  10. PacificGuyInCNY

    PacificGuyInCNY New Member

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    Congratulations on your resourcefulness. The battery & inverter thing is a great idea, gonna have to steal a page from your book.

    We went through the same thing in this neck of the woods in 1998, not a good time.

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  11. mgambuzza

    mgambuzza Member

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    Mo

    Glad to hear that the WWL is carried you through this ordeal! I know that the few rare times that we've lost power our Winter Warm is the one that carried us through the cold spell. Losing power for greater than a couple of hours certainly gives you an appreciation for those days when people lived without electricity and other conveniences we are so used to.
  12. DriftWood

    DriftWood Minister of Fire

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    You do know what is going to happen in nine mounts every where this storm has hit don't you !!
  13. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Lots of little Mo Heats?
  14. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Good to hear your back up and running Mo. The home scene looked familiar to me, though we had the Coleman lantern inside. We got another 4" of snow today, but at least this time kept power.
  15. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Just as a comment, one of my favorite alternative light sources has become the little LED headlamps. They are still a bit pricey, but they put out as much light as a regular flashlight, and last for hundreds of hours off of a couple of batteries. FAR easier on batteries than a regular flashlight by about 10-1 or better.

    Far as I'm concerned I'll never buy another regular bulb flashlight.

    Gooserider
  16. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    My wife said she wants one of those for the next power outage. They are handy. Or maybe 'heady'?
  17. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    Just imagine not having a wood stove at times like these.

    Not that I am looking forward to it but the batteries are all fresh and the generator is ready to go ;)
    Flashlight batteries last forever with those LED bulbs.
    My kids got one each from my parents for Christmas.
    Whenever it gets dark my 2 year old daughter wants to play flashlight tag ROFL
  18. jimkelt

    jimkelt New Member

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    Lost power up here when the ice storm hit, too. The battery backup on the P68 kicked on and kept the house warm until I got home to start the generator for the boiler. We live at the "end of the line" power wise, and in dense woods, so we lose power a lot!
    I am just happy to see some seasonal temps around here! Some snow would sure help the look, though! Ice shards all over the place right now, and lost three trees in the wind storm that came after the ice. Luckily they were in the back field and not near the house!
  19. Hbbyloggr

    Hbbyloggr New Member

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    Survival of the species is a part of each and everyone of us. The mere existence of this forum points towards our ability to manage alternatives in our lives in order to survive. We all planned ahead ,to some degree, for getting through these extreme weather conditions. Wood stoves and flash lights that do not depend on the power grid to function show good planning. We should all pat ourselves on the back for planning ahead , protecting our families and determining a successful outcome to our survival.
    I teach my children to bring enough clothes with them in the car in the event they have to get out and walk . " Bring enough clothes to wear as if you were going to be outside for a full day." I teach them to start our 30kw generator, throw the transfer switch to the generator side, keep the outdoor wood furnace going, keep the wood shed full and plan ahead for the next weather event.
    We lost power from the ice storm. Now it's the "extreme" cold, [ what a normal winter used to be like ;) ] Our investment in the outdoor wood furnace, generator, wood supply, hot water "super storage" tank has paid big dividends for us. We were cooking a meatloaf dinner in the electric range, doing laundry, taking showers, watching the news on TV and yes, running the firewood kiln when the lights went out. No body cried foul, but instead , we smiled. We have backup. WE HAVE WOOD !
    So, pat yourselves on the back for this is the real reality TV " Survivor! ".

    Take good care and stay warm and be safe.

    Bill
  20. Tendencies

    Tendencies Member

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  21. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I see a lot of these contractor brands showing up on eBay, Parts America, etc. It's hard to get good information on them. Where are they made? How well are they regulated? What brand motor on them? When they break down, where do the parts come from?

    We've had a contractor's Coleman since 1995. It got more usage this winter than in the past 10 years. 4800W with a Brigs and Stratton motor. It's very noisy, but reliable, though it should be with less than 70 hrs on it. The voltage regulation is adequate, not great and is not filtered well enough to run the computer's UPS. After this winter's long outgae we are ready to upgrade to a propane unit. A few things we learned with the 7 day outage in Dec. were that gas supplies are non-existant if the region's power is down. We had 5 gallons on hand, but that was only about 10 hrs of running. The town got power back in 1.5 days, but if it had been longer, we would have had to siphon from the truck. Some folks got stuck with stale gasoline which can be a real pain, but propane will stay fresh and is easy to keep a weeks worth on hand and we happen to have a large tank left over from the ex-popane furnace. We also want it to be quieter, a presurized oil system and better regulated. So we are looking at Generacs, Kohlers, Onans and Hondas.
  22. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Champion Power Equipment is made on the Pac Rim. Parts America is Advance Auto Parts and they are pretty good about standing behind their stuff but they are mostly in the East and the Mid-West.
  23. Andre B.

    Andre B. New Member

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    Here are some pics of my generator project. It is a 6 hp diesel that is good for about 3000 watts.
    http://s73.photobucket.com/albums/i208/andre_b/Listeroid/

    I have since replace the 40 gallon tank with a radiator so the system only holds 5 gallons of coolant. Better for in the winter as then you only have 5 gallons to drain out and heat up on the wood stove. :)
    http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i208/andre_b/Auxiliary Equipment/Radiator.jpg

    And the generator head has overheated and been replaced with a 3 phase head (I wanted 3ph for running shop equipment), at 25Kw it is way over sized for the engine but it was the smallest I could get to replace the burned up generator. The oversize head does handle surge loads really well and if I need more power I just have to belt up another engine. :)
    http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i208/andre_b/Auxiliary Equipment/Gen25KW208V3PH.jpg

    I do have a 2 cylinder 12 hp version of the same engine that will be setup so the gen can be driven from either engine or both at the same time making for about 9Kw.

    Next summer I will be putting it all in its own building and it will be running on 100% vegetable oil.
    This water heater will be in the cooling system so I can preheat the engine, coolant, and vegetable oil for easy starting and to eliminate having to start and stop on dino fuel.
    http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i208/andre_b/Auxiliary Equipment/Waterheater1.jpg
    http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i208/andre_b/Auxiliary Equipment/Waterheater2.jpg

    It will be possible to dump the waste heat from the coolant into the workshop. Mainly the only time the generator runs is when I am doing something in the shop, the solar PV and wind generator handle the house most of the time.
  24. DriftWood

    DriftWood Minister of Fire

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    I second that thought. I got a LED headlamp for camping now it sits on the dresser 24/7 so I can find i when I need it. I have not replaced the AAAs in two years. And I use it often.
  25. Marty

    Marty Feeling the Heat

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    That is a real nice setup Andre. Are you tied into the grid? I'd be interested in hearing all about your whole system. Is there a thread where you lay it out?
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