Power outage duration: 13.5 hrs.
External temperatures: Below freezing.
Got up this morning, went down the basement and moved the generator outside the basement door. Ran power cord upstairs and switched pellet stove over. Closed off the door leading to the library and bedrooms and the rest of the house warmed up to comfy level in in no time. Pellet stoves are great, but their only downside is that they need electricity.
Ran second line into the kitchen and restored the refrigerator/freezer, microwave and coffee maker. Made coffee and had cereal with milk for breakfast. Retired to living room to read books until power came back.
1. Keeping the generator maintained, with periodic test runs and starting fluid handy pays off. Because I have been starting it periodically and keeping the fuel lines and carburetor dry in between usages, it fired first pull of the cord, with one shot of starting fluid used to assist.
2. Paper plates and bowls. This outage caught me at the worst time kitchen-wise in that ALL of my dishware was dirty and sitting in the dishwasher, which I'd planned to run when I turned in for the night. Needless to say, they didn't get washed and I would have had jack to eat off of this morning except for the fact that I'd just re-stocked on paper plates and bowls about a month back after re-reading through one of Peter's excellent posts on Emergency Preparation and realizing that I was a bit short in this department. Thanks, Peter!
Note to self: run dishwasher more, especially if weather looks like it could knock power out.
3. Power strips. Generators are great, but if you can't get the power to the devices that need it, they're not much more than noisemakers. Today I intend to set up core power groups in each room so that the essential equipment runs through multiple-outlet power strips and the next time I need to run a generator line, I can simply route the power to those strips in each room and put most or all of the essential devices back on-line with a minimum effort.
4. Light. That propane Coleman lantern with the quartz piezoelectric ignitor that I keep sitting in the bedroom ready to go just paid for itself again. Use one emergency light to find all the other emergency lights, and I keep plenty of flashlights around the lair so I wasn't hurting at all in this department. One light in particular--a favorite of mine--uses AAA batteries and I have no spares for it. Likewise, my alarm clock's battery for the battery back-up needs to be replaced and I have no spare 9v batteries in the house. I'll remedy that today, and replace the smoke detector batteries as well, since we just had a daylight savings switchover.
5. Water. I have plenty of reserve drinking water stored, but I don't want to waste it for toilet flushing. For that purpose, I've kept ten gallons set aside in empty gallon jugs and that's enough to re-fill the toilet tank multiple times without cutting into my drinking water.
6. Know your equipment! I have a relatively new neighbor down the street just a bit who missed a day of work today because she has an electric garage door opener and she could not figure out how to get her car out this morning. (Yeah, she's another one of those people who move here from MD/NOVA because our cost of living is so much lower and then complains constantly about the state of the roads, snow plowing, police/fire response and other things that she had where she lived before because of the higher taxes that she came here to get away from.) And despite the fact that she'd been pretty standoffish and borderline rude to everyone else since she moved in here, I was nice and showed her how to disconnect the garage door from the opener so that she could get out. She also had no heat and her only light source was a few candles. She's hopeless and come the day that the power goes out for good, she'll likely never make it. Had this been an emergency requiring immediate evacuation, like a fire raging through our dry woods fanned by these high winds (started by someone using candles, no doubt), she'd have been stuck because she had no idea that the garage door could be disconnected from the power opener and opened manually.
7. Upgrade! One of these days I will have a power bus box wired to provide full house power to everything, including the well pump and hot water heater, from that generator. My "normal neighbor" down the street the other way has one set up with a propane generator that comes on automatically when the power goes out and it's sufficient to run his whole house for 2-3 weeks. Freaking nice. And sure enough, last night, his was the only house in the vicinity that was fully lit when the rest of us were blacked out. I need to set up something similar here, even if it's only a junction box that I can hook my generator into manually.
But now we're all back to normal here and I've got to take a shower once the water's hot again then go to the store for a few things. This little outage was only a minor inconvenience due to it's duration and prior planning on my part, but, as usual, it could have gone a touch better in a few areas and this one served as a good training situation for outages to come so I'm not complaining. How's you day going? Got snow? If so...Muahahahahahaha!