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How Will Power Blackout Affect My House? - Page 2

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Posted by Jay Chan on October 1, 2003, 3:46 pm

No, I don't worry about this. I am not in the usual hurricanes path,
and my area is not prone to flooding (kind of a high ground). Besides,
I doubt there is much I can do if a strong hurricanes comes directly
at my area because the old house was not built to withstand this. In
the worst case, I will drive my family away before the hurricanes

Jay Chan

Posted by Ron Rosenfeld on October 1, 2003, 1:54 am
On 30 Sep 2003 17:59:48 -0700, jaykchan@hotmail.com (Jay Chan) wrote:

There are too many variables.  You are correct that a gas-fired furnace
will not function during an electrical blackout.

If the house gets cold enough, the water in the traps will freeze.  If you
have hydronic heat, there may be traps between rooms, in the walls, that
are not possible to drain without using special techniques.

And, of course, if you are away from home, you won't be able to do any of
those things anyway.

If you are on a public water supply, and that remains functional, you
should have water.

You can use a gas stove for cooking --  a camp stove.

If it's cold enough, you might not have to worry about food in the
refrigerator going bad (but then you'll have to worry about the pipes

From experience I can tell you that Day 1 is bearable, Day 2 is a pain, and
by Day 3 you'll wish you had backup.  We experienced a five day blackout in
December when we were living in NH.  We were on the grid then but had a
well pump, so no water, heat, light or cooking other than a camp stove.  We
had two dogs who decided, just before the power went out, to play with a
skunk <ng>.  So we couldn't wash them; there was no where to go; we
couldn't leave then in a kennel, etc.

Fortunately, temps were in the low 30's and the house was well insulated.
WE built a fire in the fireplace and used a camp stove.  Afterwards we
thought about backup power and got as far as installing a whole house
manual transfer switch, and generator connection in the garage.  But we
moved before adding the actual generator.

-- ron  (off the grid in Downeast Maine)

Posted by Steve Stone on October 1, 2003, 2:24 am
 I'm just north of you in Orange Cty, NY. 15 year old house, well pump, oil
heat, propane for cooking, septic system. So far over 15 years worst power
outage has been 5 or 6 hours. I got tired of blackouts without water or
ability to flush a toilet. When hurricane Floyd was ready to pass thru these
parts I bought a 5kw generator. It is a cheapie Coleman but it works fine
for those 5 or 6 hour outages. Allows us to have light run the well, and
share power depending on requirements between the well pump, freezer /
fridge, oil heat, and TV and computers.

I'd say twice a year we get a good 3 or more hour long power outage. During
Floyd a friend in Warwick was out for two weeks. He was glad his generator
worked well.


Posted by Jay Chan on October 1, 2003, 3:57 pm
I feel the same way as you are. I cannot stand a toilet without water.
If I was like you (need a well pump), I would definitely get backup
power generator to make sure I can flush the toilet. Luckily for me,
my house gets water from the municipal. Therefore, I don't need to
worry about this.

Warwick county (NJ) is quite rural (relatively speaking). I guess the
utility company might have placed that area in low priority in term of
repairing the power grid. Anyway, two weeks without power is VERY
excessive. I don't know how I could live with that regardless if that
happened in a cold winter or not. I am glad that your friend has a
backup generator.

May be I should look for a backup generator if there is a hurricane
heading my way. May be that will be too late for that. I will have to
decide this myself.

Jay Chan

Posted by Jay Chan on October 1, 2003, 3:42 pm
We use hot water baseboard heating in my house. Does this mean that
the water trapped in the baseboard may become frozen and may crack the
baseboard (especially those installed along the exterior window)? Will
they really crack after 2 days without power in a cold winter? I am
not aware of this. Thanks for pointing out.

Good point. I will give a spare key to my "key-buddy". Then he can
come to my house to drain water or something like that in a power
black out just in case we go to sunny Florida for a winter vacation.

Yes, this is the case. Without water in a toilet is something that I
cannot bear. Luckily, I don't need to deal with this.

Not a problem. We have a BBQ grill.

Thanks for sharing your experience. This seems to confirm my
assumption that one day blackout is not a real problem, and 2-days
blackout may become a problem. 5-day blackout seems to be a bit
excessive. I doubt this will ever happen to my area (near New York
City). Obviously nothing can be so sure.

This is very funny :)  I guess you didn't think that this was funny
back then.

Jay Chan

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