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Observations on having no electric

Electric going out briefly is not new; going out for several days is fairly rare. Here are some observations:

A generator is the ticket. It makes life relatively easy. You power the fridge, power some heat, and some hot water, and you are on easy street.

We were lucky. We have a gas stove, and a Rennai water heating system that runs on gas, and uses 115/60 hz 75 amps for the sensors. I ran that off an inverter hooked to a 12 volt battery.

Electricity also controls estrogen. I had no idea…

A fireplace doesn’t produce that much heat. An electric heater, the oil heating type, produces a little more. Your HDTV and TIVO system produces a lot, for not much electricity draw. You want to heat up a room? Watch TV.

Propane also makes life easy. A dual head propane heater atop a grill’s propane tank, and you are pretty comfortable.

A 400 watt power inverter will run several things, but has a hard time charging anything above a cellphone. If your cars charging system is unstable you may toast the inverter.

Cell phones go down for a while at the outset. Everyone jams the airwaves asking if electricity is out. The cell company adjust the network to only service emergency and police and fire users. You become cutoff.

The toughest part, is the time right after power fails. This is the assessment phase. If you are not ready to ride this out until places like Home Depot and Lowes come back to life, you join the scrambling masses.



  1. Greg

    We were out for 2 days last year or so…. If you add up all the time you were out of electricity your entire life it doesn’t add up to a new generator… but you can’t tell your wife that. And when you finally need them it won’t start or the gas is flat or something…. So far I’m for just draining the water pipes and searching for a warm hotel room….

  2. Greg

    …and how do you vent that propane heater?

  3. Bill

    We used them in the Army everywhere. They burn about 99.9% fume less. I only run one for a few hours to warm up a room. I never run them at night after everyone goes to sleep. Also have a battery powered carbon monoxide monitor.

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