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What are y’all buying for the next grid failure?


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22 minutes ago, fattyflattie said:

Understood.  Just a recommendation, find someone who can deliver water in mass quantities in case we ever do get in that type of drought again.  I know there are companies that haul in pool water and whatnot.   Hauling it in 325g at a time sucked major balls. FWIW, we filled completely with the first real rain that came.  That was with two college students in the house, not a full family or anything.  Low volume shower heads etc.  I'm sure yall have done a ton of thought on it, just my experience with it. 

50% of the time it’s just us two.  I think paying $2000 for a fill up once a decade because of extreme drought may just be the cost of doing business. No effing way I’m drinking water from a for profit company that could be an Erin brochovich movie story line.

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Maybe it’s already been mentioned but inverter generator are the way to go. They sip gas compared to non-inverter generators, are much quieter and the electricity they produce is safer for sensitive electronics like laptops etc.

Fuel has been a concern for me because we can’t get ethanol free gasoline in my area, I don’t want to store 20 gallons of gasoline or have to wait in lines at the gas station or not be able to get gas. So like others I bought a tri-fuel kit for my Honda Eu2000i.
Propane is a great option but I happen to have a natural gas hookup by my gas grill that can power the generator indefinitely unless NG goes out. I should probably keep a couple of 20# bottles of propane on hand too.
I live in California so not worried about cold much but earthquakes are a concern and Newsomes rolling blackouts are a thing. In-laws just got a whole house back up generator at a cost of nearly 20k (they’ve got a big house). So we can go there if needed.

Really need to be able to store more water, filter water and have more emergency food on hand.
Also need ammo. Can’t find shit out here.

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10 hours ago, Okie State said:

I'll have to see if DeWalt has anything worth a shit since I'm invested in their 20v system.

What should I get to store water? Nothing crazy, just 5 gallon jugs that I can actually use. Just the regular transparent blue bottles for water coolers?

I posted the Dewalt USB battery adapter earlier in the thread. It’s slow, but you can get multiple phones and iPads out of one 5aH battery.  

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On 2/18/2021 at 8:11 PM, dcbc said:

One of those propane griddles.  I've been needing a reason.

I used mine every meal for four days. 

We're not fucking around any more.  We're going the whole home generator route.  We've kicked it around for a couple of years (mainly for hurricanes) but this last experience put us over the top. Kohler guy is coming over today to do a site survey.

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Gasoline storage for my generator used to be a problem for me when I drove a car that “required” premium. Now that I drive a car that accepts lower octane, I can just pour in the slightly older gas into the vehicle and refill the containers.

great idea on previous page about a ryobi lantern. I have the battery already for yard equipment.

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14 hours ago, CHIEF said:

We've talked about rainwater harvesting, we have 5200 sqft. of barn roof, but cisterns are outrageous, like a dollar per gallon outrageous. Our neighbor that owns the other 6 acres that is not in our HOA has a really good Second Trinity well. It is right at 400 feet and the water comes up the pipe to 170 feet. I can get a well like that one drilled for under $10k. They make a 48 volt submersible pump system that can pump from depths as deep as 300 feet that I've looked into. We also have the Brazos, we are riverfront on about a 15 foot deep hole. You can get a permit from the BRA to pump out of the river for $35/year, as much as you want. I've looked at purification and RO units as well. We have a pretty good spring on a draw that runs through the property, I'm thinking about damming it up, and running the rainwater into a submerged pipe into that. We shouldn't have any water issues, but power could be a problem.

CHIEF

$1/gal ?  Admittedly we are using a liner. But it’s not $1/gal. 

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You could use the dryer vent to tether to a gen set idea; IF there is a disconnect/isolation switch between the meter and the breaker box.  It would have to be switched to stop commercial power before turning on the gen set.  I would not recommend this for a homeowner who is hoping his skills are good enough.  In order to install a disconnect switch one would need a licensed electrician and the power would need to be off to your home for a little bit.  The electrician should everything needed before doing this and it should take easily less than a day. 

Carbon monoxide detectors are available for tent camping and probably should added to the cold weather survival stock.

70% IPA can be used to make a localized heater source.  I can remember when my grandpa used a steel can(stuffed w TP) in the deer blind filled with IPA.

Good sleeping bags need to be stored somewhere other than the attic.

Sleeping mats offer another layer of insulation and "some" comfort.

Coleman propane stoves and lanterns.  Adaptors to refill.  Maybe consider dual fuel units.

 

Edited by Bevo&Pevo
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15 hours ago, CHIEF said:

I think I put this on another thread. But I had a neighbor, in Austin, that grew up in Biloxi, MS. When hurricanes came through, you might be without power for up to 30 days (things get rebuilt slowly in MS.), but the natural gas lines stayed intact underground. He said a lot of people had whole home generators that would run off of natural gas. I wouldn't make a big investment, but if I had natural gas, where I live, that is exactly what I would have. Something strong enough to keep the lights on and run the appliances (but not a/c units). Hopefully, those of you that have access to natural gas, already run your furnaces, water heater, and cooktop on it. This would keep you from having to go hunting around for fuel, or propane. He said they were small, and just looked like another a/c unit beside the house.

CHIEF

If you are going through the expense and hassle to get one installed, you might as well spend a couple extra thousand and get one that will power your entire house.  If you ever need it, you are going to be kicking yourself when it's 95 degrees in your house and you could have been chilling in the ac.

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1 hour ago, kevwun said:

If you are going through the expense and hassle to get one installed, you might as well spend a couple extra thousand and get one that will power your entire house.  If you ever need it, you are going to be kicking yourself when it's 95 degrees in your house and you could have been chilling in the ac.

Probably depends on the size of the house. I have eight tons of a/c. It would probably triple the price of the unit needed.

CHIEF

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22 minutes ago, GringoSalado said:

How so? I had decided it was a good idea, but am open to other opinions.

It's called backfeeding and it's dangerous for a multitude of reasons.  It's also probably illegal in your area.

I'm not saying people don't ever do it, it's common enough that you can read all sorts of stories of people doing it, on the internet.  You can also find stories of the the things that went horribly wrong.

So I'll just list one reason not to do it-- the idea is to cut off the main circuit breaker into the house and disconnect from the grid, and then feed the whole house electrical panel by backfeeding through the dryer circuit breaker.  Seems like it should be okay, right?  If you overcurrent the local dryer breaker, it will trip.  If you overcurrent any of the other circuits in the panel, they'll trip.

But there are many, many stories of electrical workers who have cut main circuit breakers into houses, and it didn't actually cut the supply into the house.  When they tested the voltage inside the house, it was still live.  Faulty circuit breakers exist, and even good ones can deteriorate over time.  So imagine the scenario where you've lost power, and you've decided to backfeed generator power into the house.  But your main house circuit breaker is faulty, and allows power through to the grid-- where there's a line worker actively trying to repair your current power outage.  Now they're working on hot wires that they thought were dead.

If you want to equip your house with backup generation capability, that's a great idea.  But it should be done with proper modifications/additions to your home's electrical service panels.

 

Edited by utee94
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5 minutes ago, utee94 said:

But there are many, many stories of electrical workers who have cut main circuit breakers into houses, and it didn't actually cut the supply into the house. 

 

I hadn't considered the backfeed tripping the breaker. I'm not very smart. But I would for sure lock out the main w/ a padlock, or at  least I would have before you talked me out of this idea.

 

eta: ran my dad's ranch for about a week w/ generator, posted that csb upthread, we padlocked the main open, we weren't so much thinking about lineman safety as our generator blowing up when power was restored. Rednecks, not EE.

Edited by GringoSalado
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Just now, GringoSalado said:

I hadn't considered the backfeed tripping the breaker. I'm not very smart. But I would for sure lock out the main w/ a padlock, or at  least I would have before you talked me out of this idea.

Heh... like I said people do it.  And probably, most of the time, nothing bad happens.

But people also try to trim their hedges by picking up lawnmowers and other weird and dangerous stuff, so...  :)

 

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On 2/18/2021 at 5:31 PM, gsoda3 said:

A generator. Anyone have recommendations? And are they ok to sit with gas inside for years at a time?

Haven't read the whole thread, but I'd recommend a Honda.  Very portable, very reliable, and very quiet.  We have a Honda EU2000i that we use just about every day to run the Nespresso machine and charge things up (My wife and I live off the grid in Alaska).  I don't think they make the 2000 anymore, I believe it is now a 2200. About a $1000 dollars or so.

It's best for long term storage to empty the fuel tank, but if you put some type of fuel stabilizer (like HEET) in the tank the fuel should be good for a year or so.

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3 hours ago, The University said:

what are the legal ramifications of stocking up on non-perishable cbd gummies for the kids when they freak out over no internet access during the next pseudo-apocalypse?

Teach them to play Monopoly by candlelight.

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So this thread has convinced me to clean out and sell my standard Briggs and Stratton generator and buy a smaller more portable inverter model. Probably a Honda EU2200 even though they're pricey. Also want a tri-fuel conversion so I can run it off propane tanks or my natural gas hook-up on my back patio.

I think that should run what we need in a pinch and will be easier to move around and maintain.

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So we were pretty well prepared, but the one thing I did order was a small camping stove which uses multiple fuel sources. 30 bucks and I wanted one anyways. I have a good MSA stove, but of course only had half a canister of fuel. Here is the list of things we had ready. I set up everything a few days in advance on a hunch it was going to be bad. 

  • 2, 25 Gal jugs of water. 
  • Portable battery packs for laptops and phones. Both will charge laptops twice
  • Both grills ready to go and plenty of charcoal. Augmented with some oak wood from a friend the day before. 
  • Cooked stew in the instapot the day before to go with plenty of cans of food. 
  • Small MSA Camping stove (yeah, should have secured more fuel.) This was used for coffee and boiling water. Always had a thermos of these ready to go. 
  • Plenty of blankets and sleeping bags ready to go. 
  • 1000 piece puzzle for GF and a few books for me. 
  • two dogs well trained to sit on the couch under blankets. 

I would love to get a generator, but hard to justify it with what I need. If the kids were still at home I would definitely reconsider. 

 

 

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if you're planning on buying emergency supplies, hold off til april 24-26 if you can.  there's a state sales tax holiday on emergency prep items for both in-store and online purchases (although there are a few qualifies for online purchases, see link below).  here's a quick list of what qualifies.

 

Quote

These emergency preparation supplies qualify for tax exemption if purchased for a sales price:

  • Less than $3000
    • Portable generators
  • Less than $300
    • Emergency ladders
    • Hurricane shutters
  • Less than $75
    • Axes
    • Batteries, single or multipack (AAA cell, AA cell, C cell, D cell, 6 volt or 9 volt)
    • Can openers - nonelectric
    • Carbon monoxide detectors
    • Coolers and ice chests for food storage – nonelectric
    • Fire extinguishers
    • First aid kits
    • Fuel containers
    • Ground anchor systems and tie-down kits
    • Hatchets
    • Ice products - reusable and artificial
    • Light sources - portable self-powered (including battery operated)
      • Examples of items include: candles, flashlights and lanterns
    • Mobile telephone batteries and mobile telephone chargers
    • Radios - portable self-powered (including battery operated) - includes two-way and weather band radios
    • Smoke detectors
    • Tarps and other plastic sheeting

Note: Several over-the-counter self-care items, such as antibacterial hand sanitizer, soap, spray and wipes, are always exempt from sales tax if they are labeled with a “Drug Facts” panel in accordance with federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations.

These supplies do not qualify for tax exemption:

  • Medical masks and face masks
  • Cleaning supplies, such as disinfectants and bleach wipes
  • Gloves, including leather, fabric, latex and types used in healthcare
  • Toilet paper
  • Batteries for automobiles, boats and other motorized vehicles
  • Camping stoves
  • Camping supplies
  • Chainsaws
  • Plywood
  • Extension ladders
  • Stepladders
  • Tents
  • Repair or replacement parts for emergency preparation supplies
  • Services performed on, or related to, emergency preparation supplies

 

 

https://comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/publications/98-1017.php?fbclid=IwAR3_AeIPCO4tnXxlooO7S0K4bMr97h84_TZ1NXXCgslbkKxJ8-98vD8gQoA

Edited by gsoda3
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35 minutes ago, Okie State said:

So this thread has convinced me to clean out and sell my standard Briggs and Stratton generator and buy a smaller more portable inverter model. Probably a Honda EU2200 even though they're pricey. Also want a tri-fuel conversion so I can run it off propane tanks or my natural gas hook-up on my back patio.

I think that should run what we need in a pinch and will be easier to move around and maintain.

A buddy of mine just gave me one of his WEN brand generators. I have been loaning it out this last week. I've ran a Honda before, but this thing is just as quite and reliable. They only run $431 on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/WEN-56200i-2000-Watt-Generator-Compliant/dp/B00SMNLF4M

WEN2.png

WEN1.png

You can set them up parallel with an additional unit, and you have 4k worth of power.

CHIEF

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I haven't had the courage to uncover my pool equipment yet (inside the house has thus far thankfully been spared), but if somehow I get away with minimal damage, I am seriously considering putting the money I have already mentally committed to repairs toward a big Generac system.  I plan to be in this house for the long haul, and I figure if it saved me a couple of insurance deductibles over its lifetime it would have gone a long way toward paying for itself.  And having PTSD from a previous water remediation, the peace of mind would go a long way, particularly if something like this happened while I was out of town or not able to prepare.

I'll tag @C-Man yet again and wonder if any insurance carriers give a discount for having these systems?  

A couple other things that came in handy that I missed or haven't seen yet:

-- Rock salt.  I bought 4 bags of salt crystals, used 3, and gave one away.  Probably prevented a wrist fracture or two and helped getting into and out of the driveway.  I don't know how long it would keep with any moisture around, but I can just use it in the water softener and replace.

--Heat lamp with 250W bulbs:
Ace  250 watts Brooder and Heat Lamp
When I had power, this was great for thawing outdoor faucets, and I put one in the cabinet under my outdoor sink.  Hanging the cage over a frozen faucet and walking away for a while was way more effective and pleasant than standing in the ice and snow with a hair dryer (I may also get a heat gun to have on hand).

--Disposable bathing cloth packs:
Medline MSC095100 ReadyBath LUXE Antibacterial Body Cleansing Cloth Wipes, Scented, Extra Thick Wipes (8 Count Pack, 24 Pa...
Mostly a creature comfort, but I got stuck at work a couple days without linens, and this at least helped, especially if you can warm them up.  Not very expensive, and it doesn't sound like anybody around here got lucky once power and water went out.  Let's do better next time, Surly.

Lots of great ideas in this thread, thank you to everyone.  Especially the ones keeping me from making stupid mistakes.

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A buddy of mine just gave me one of his WEN brand generators. I have been loaning it out this last week. I've ran a Honda before, but this thing is just as quite and reliable. They only run $431 on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/WEN-56200i-2000-Watt-Generator-Compliant/dp/B00SMNLF4M
WEN2.png
WEN1.png
You can set them up parallel with an additional unit, and you have 4k worth of power.
CHIEF
Yeah I was looking at other similar options like a Generac and DeWalt. They all look pretty similar although not sure on the internals. I just want something portable and reliable.
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How so? I had decided it was a good idea, but am open to other opinions.

It's called backfeeding and it's dangerous for a multitude of reasons.


Back feeding is a separate issue that you have to be aware of. The other issue with a double-ended male cord is that you have a live male plug if you unplug the end feeding your house before you turn your generator off or unplug it from the running generator. It isn’t too far fetched for your wife or kid or whoever to unplug an extension cord.
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4 minutes ago, luke duke said:

 

 


Back feeding is a separate issue that you have to be aware of. The other issue with a double-ended male cord is that you have a live male plug if you unplug the end feeding your house before you turn your generator off or unplug it from the running generator. It isn’t too far fetched for your wife or kid or whoever to unplug an extension cord.

 

 

Yeah in the field they call that a "suicide cord" for a reason.  Any time you're using a male-male cord in a power application, you're likely trying to circumvent safety in some way.

But honestly I'm a lot less worried about something like that, which I would control exclusively.  If I'm plugging my generator into the the wall of the house, my wife and kids aren't coming anywhere near it.

I'm much more worried about the far-reaching implications of breakers, switches, etc. in the event they enter undetectable failure modes.

 

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In the future let's hear back from folks got estimates for the gen sets.  If you don't have NG to your house let's hear that price quote.  It would be interesting to see the differences between regions.  


The people I know who have done it in the ATL spent about 10K to have partial power wired in. Furnace, fridge, and enough outlets to power some lamps and TVs and what have you.

I don’t know anyone who sprang for full power replacement. Seems like it would be very expensive.
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26 minutes ago, Buzzrock said:

 


The people I know who have done it in the ATL spent about 10K to have partial power wired in. Furnace, fridge, and enough outlets to power some lamps and TVs and what have you.

I don’t know anyone who sprang for full power replacement. Seems like it would be very expensive.

 

A 10k Generac or equivalent just to keep appliances running and lights on can be bout as little as $3200 and some change. Then whatever the installation cost would be. A 45kw unit (which is what it would require to run my HVAC) starts at around $13,500. I wouldn't think the installation cost would be much more. I'm not sure what the pressure is in residential lines before the regulators. Would you be able to get a big enough flow to run a generator that big? I can't imagine my 500 gal. propane tank would last more than a 2-3 days. Both would probably be a no go for me.

CHIEF

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On 2/19/2021 at 12:15 AM, dcar00 said:

if you start the honda Eu 1K or 2K a couple of times a year(I do it on the first and last mow of the year) and run it for 20-30 min my experience is they run like a top.  there is some oil change required but its very easy.

Hondas & some of the other good power units have a gas shutoff. Be sure to shut off the valve and leave the unit running til it runs out of gas, esp if it's not going to be used for a while. SIAP. 

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5 hours ago, mooseoutfront said:

We have a Honda EU2000i that we use just about every day to run the Nespresso machine and charge things up (My wife and I live off the grid in Alaska). 

Serious street cred for this thread.

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I bought 200 paper plates, plastic cups, and utensils.  Bought an extra 7 gallon water jug to add the two I already had.  Also having a chord of firewood delivered.  That completes my apocalypse prep.  Some serious fuck-money around here powering up entire houses.  

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Have a dumb question. I live in Pennsylvania and have an all-NG house (stove, water heater, furnace, dryer) and the gas main runs into the house back by the kitchen on a corner. Is it possible to have someone come and tap a line into that gas feed so I can hook up a portable NG generator safely and easily run a hose into?

I’ve only lost power once for 13 hours here due to a flood (yay a state that has utilities as a public good) but it’s always good to be prepared.

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3 minutes ago, The Ace of Aces said:

Have a dumb question. I live in Pennsylvania and have an all-NG house (stove, water heater, furnace, dryer) and the gas main runs into the house back by the kitchen on a corner. Is it possible to have someone come and tap a line into that gas feed so I can hook up a portable NG generator safely and easily run a hose into?

I’ve only lost power once for 13 hours here due to a flood (yay a state that has utilities as a public good) but it’s always good to be prepared.

Sure.

Plumbers tap into existing NG lines all the time for pool/spa heater installations.

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3 hours ago, utee94 said:

 

I'm much more worried about the far-reaching implications of breakers, switches, etc. in the event they enter undetectable failure modes.

 

I posted a couple of times in this thread about my plans for connecting a power inlet and using a breaker interlock device.  I will probably still do it but am thinking about making measurements upstream of the main, after being switched, checking for voltage feed though.  I expect any breaker failure stay open to happen on the switch transition.

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40 minutes ago, Your Mom said:

I bought 200 paper plates, plastic cups, and utensils.

This is a good one.  Had two paper plates at my Dads when it hit and was wishing I had bought some during a store run the Saturday before. It sucked trying to conserve water and cook meals at the same time.

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How so? I had decided it was a good idea, but am open to other opinions.

He’s under the impression that no one will turn the main off and will let it back feed to the main line. Even though there are no telling how many times a year this same thing is done and no one is injured.
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so doesn’t anyone know what all is involved with the $2k number generac says is the typical installation cost?  How much could a handy owner cut out of that with a little work?  Things I think it would include would be a concrete pad, fuel lines/hookup (tank and installation not included I wouldn’t think), electrical lines/hookup, transfer switch hookup (switch not included in that $2k). Doesn’t seem like that’s $2k worth of work, but maybe there’s something I’m not thinking about.  

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A lot of people on my Nextdoor looking into whole home Generac systems. Prices seem to be in the $9-12K range, but I'm sure it varies a lot depending on the house and how far the natural gas line has to be trenched. Also, wait times are apparently 6-12 months in normal times. I'd assume those will be even longer for a while.

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Hondas & some of the other good power units have a gas shutoff. Be sure to shut off the valve and leave the unit running til it runs out of gas, esp if it's not going to be used for a while. SIAP. 
The wen generators have a carb cut off switch also.
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16 hours ago, Lat22 said:

I used mine every meal for four days. 

We're not fucking around any more.  We're going the whole home generator route.  We've kicked it around for a couple of years (mainly for hurricanes) but this last experience put us over the top. Kohler guy is coming over today to do a site survey.

Blackstone 22 is the best damn cooking surface ever created.

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A lot of people on my Nextdoor looking into whole home Generac systems. Prices seem to be in the $9-12K range, but I'm sure it varies a lot depending on the house and how far the natural gas line has to be trenched. Also, wait times are apparently 6-12 months in normal times. I'd assume those will be even longer for a while.


Seems like Tri-fuel generator that runs on gasoline, LNG propane, and natural gas is a good alternative. Researching those right now since we have a NG hookup line outside and would be a nice, portable alternative to a Generac-type setup that can run on more than one fuel.
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10 minutes ago, dingleberryswitzer said:

I saw that they went up significantly in the last few days and I get pissed at myself for not seeing this angle.  

They’ve been up for awhile. I posted a screenshot of their chart on first couple pages of the thread. 

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Another WEN generator recommendation here. Honda and Yamaha might be slightly better (quieter, better fuel efficiency) but I like saving over 50%. If the WEN starts to fail, then I won’t have any issue buying a second/replacement.

the other bonus of the inverter generators is that you realize how you can take power on the go: tailgates, camping, etc. I wouldn’t want to stand next to it for long but they’re surprising quiet for a small engine.

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