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Winter blackout

  1. Jan 22, 2005 #1
    I live in Great Lakes area and lately weather is just attrociuos snow, verrry cold etc.
    If electricity failed like back in Summer blackout, how long till people would start to die from cold ? I guess much faster than in summer, but food on the other hand would last longer in the supermarkets :rolleyes:


    I'm thinking of buying small electric generator just in case and couple of heavy duty sleeping bugs.How is the weather in your area?
     
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  3. Jan 22, 2005 #2

    Evo

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    The area I live in is prone to ice storms and we usually get the power knocked out at least once each winter, the worst a couple of years ago left me without power for almost a week. Several of my neighbors have purchased generators. I plan ahead for the outages since I have an all electric house, I have a supply of firewood, tons of candles and oil lamps, (these all give off heat), sterno for the chafing dishes to cook, I also have a setup to cook in the fireplace if necessary, and lots of warm clothes and blankets. The main concern is the pipes freezing, which has happened a couple of times.
     
  4. Jan 22, 2005 #3

    Moonbear

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    Even in a house with a gas supply, the furnace pilot is electric start and the blowers (forced hot air) are also electric. I've been told to keep pipes from freezing, leave the faucets on a slow trickle. Wastes water, but is supposed to prevent freezing, or maybe just prevents the pipes from bursting if they do freeze? I've never had to test this. I'm sure it would also be heavily dependent on how well insulated the house is and how often you come and go from it.
     
  5. Jan 22, 2005 #4

    Moonbear

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    Sleeping bugs? :rofl: (Sorry, I found that typo really funny.)
     
  6. Jan 22, 2005 #5

    Evo

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    But the stove and oven could be gas and still work.

    Leaving the water running depends on just how cold it is, it gets below zero here and even a trickle of water will freeze up.

    Luckily the only pipes that freeze are near the kitchen sink, it's against an outside wall and directly under a large window. Probably the coldest indoor part of the house for pipes. :frown:
     
  7. Jan 22, 2005 #6

    Moonbear

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    Oh, I still have an electric stove and oven, just gas heat and hot water. Given the current prices of gas, I'm glad of that (I never thought electric would start to look cheaper than gas!)

    Good to know.

    I know a lot of older houses designed that way. It makes no sense at all. I remember my step-father kept wanting to remodel the kitchen in their previous house so the sink would be under the window! My mom had fits over that dumb idea. (He wanted to be able to look out the window when washing dishes, as if anyone washed dishes considering we had a dishwasher. :rolleyes:) I know of some houses where they actually have to keep the cabinet doors open all winter or else enough heat doesn't get under the sink to keep the pipes from freezing against a cold outside wall, even when the heat is on.
     
  8. Jan 22, 2005 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    We are prone to power outages and I bought a 5KW generator. We have only needed it once but I'm glad we have it.

    In a pinch, one can remove the power meter - so as not to backfeed the power lines and electrocute a lineman - and pipe the 220 right into the breaker box. You need to call the power company and tell them if you do this. It is illegal except in emergencies [in Oregon].
     
  9. Jan 22, 2005 #8
    It is incredible how we living in cities are dependable on technology.With no power we are toast :frown:
     
  10. Jan 22, 2005 #9

    Moonbear

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    This reminds me of all the fuss that was made for the whole Y2K thing! I was doing my post-doc on a farm that had a generator driven by our tractor engine. The usual rule was that nobody but the farm manager was allowed to touch the tractor or generator, but a few of the senior faculty got so worked up about Y2K and the enormous number of precious samples stored in freezers there (mind you, this was MI...you could have shut off the freezers and tossed the samples on the ground outside and they'd have stayed perfectly well frozen in January), along with concerns about maintaining the lighting controls for the sheep housed there (that was a legitimate issue, but the lights only needed to be on during the day, when the farm manager would have been on-site anyway) that they insisted we all be trained on how to use the generator and keep it running. We were reminded many times during the training that the big red switch HAD to be flipped before starting the generator so we didn't send the power back through the supply lines and zap some power company employee off the pole! That's when I decided I wanted nothing to do with starting up the generator (not to mention I'd probably take out half the fences trying to drive the tractor from the garage to the barn where the hook-up for the generator was).
     
  11. Jan 22, 2005 #10

    Ivan Seeking

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    yep, risky stuff if you're not sure what you're doing. I once tried to swap a failed breaker with the box hot. This was one of six mains with no main main. Normally this wouldn't be too tough but the breaker was stuck in the rails. It was getting dark and Thanksgiving dinner was getting cold in the oven, so I was getting careless and, ZAAAAAPPPPPPPP! Burned a nice big hole in the box with the screwdriver and nearly blinded myself. I put down the screwdriver and told my sister that her dinner was a lost cause. That was enough for one night.
     
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