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GloPro's avatar

What do you do in a power outage?

Asked by GloPro (8213 points ) 2 months ago from iPhone

The power is out for an extended period of time all over town right now due to a big fire that took out transformers and stuff.

How would you entertain yourself? I had to come to work at my bartending gig. Cash is king… We’re open, without the kitchen, but come on in!

What would you do if the power might be out all night?

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64 Answers

talljasperman's avatar

I play diablo 2… and drink water.

johnpowell's avatar

Candles, books, and booze.. Pass out and hope it is back on by the time I wake up.

GloPro's avatar

@talljasperman Doesn’t diablo 2 take power?

talljasperman's avatar

@GloPro I use the laptop…. 9 hours of battery life… Also I have a 9-volt battery in my clock / radio and I listen to the radio.

GloPro's avatar

And if that dies???

hearkat's avatar

After Hurricane Sandy, we lost power for a couple days, and the cell towers were out. We played a lot of cards. We had gas, so we cooked some stuff on the stove. We drove up the road to Starbucks, where they let us charge our devices and use the WiFi, so we could check in on family.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

If it’s night time, we light candles, oil lamps and talk or read on our Kindles, play games or go to bed.

If it’s day, we do what we can with no power, or as we would in the evening or we go out.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I have a Coleman stove and a gas grill, and plenty of propane, So I can cook. Second thing is water. I have a crank radio too. It can recharge cell phones. Candles are okay, but they make me nervous.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

Look for Victoria’s Secret catalogs and paper towels

LuckyGuy's avatar

That is a call to action for me. I pull out the generator and gasoline and flip the breakers to the backup position. The sump pump must continue to work So do the freezer and refrigerator.
In the winter I feed the wood burning stove.

See those houses in the distance? Mine is the one with lights. .

jaytkay's avatar

I drove to New York (Westchester County) after hurricane Sandy with a truckload of generators and gasoline.

We thought we would make a lot of money. Ha ha! We barely covered our costs.

Got arrested and released without any charges. Slept in a park because every hotel was filled with storm refugees and utility workers. Helped out a veterinarian who was helping animals while the power was down. Met a lot of nice people.

Good times. It was a great adventure.

tedibear's avatar

I wait 12 seconds, at which point the whole house generator switches on. Then I resume normal life.

Mimishu1995's avatar

Put on candles and perform ghost channeling.

filmfann's avatar

Read on the Kindle, then sex.

Haleth's avatar

Drinking and reading.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I have a small bank of marine batteries on trickle charge,a 2500 watt inverter and a portable solar array I can put out if I need to. I have only had to use it a couple of times and I was able to keep some lights on, make coffee and keep my devices charged. I can run the TV if I want to but I usually love having it off for a change. I have a gas grill, camping stoves and enough fuel for a couple of months. I would not miss the power too much.

Adagio's avatar

Funny you should ask, I’ve just this very day got a 1000w generator, enough power to run my alternating air mattress, bed and computer and when things are unplugged, boil a kettle. Other than those items I would use candles. For cooking I’m not sure but I have one neighbour with a gas stove and other neighbours with fireplaces, definitely more thought needs to be spent thinking about that.

jonsblond's avatar

Find the candles I have stored somewhere in the house, then find the nearest store that is selling ice.

Lucinda's avatar

I wait patiently and watch other people go haywire.

Some act as If the power will never come back and call the company every 15 minutes.

Some say ridiculous things. We have a country lane with old-fashioned phone polls near our house. A car crashed into a phone pole once and caused an outage. My neighbor asked what I’d heard about the accident, sat patiently as I told her about a totaled car and a fatality, and then asked, “So they’ll get the electricity on again when?”.

They’ll get it back on. No drama can speed up the process.

Symbeline's avatar

Sacrifice goats.

ragingloli's avatar

Take a nap.
And liquefy the one responsible.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

My friend has a device in his truck which actually converts battery DC to AC and he can power half of his house with it. I will go visit there for a week!

UnholyThirst's avatar

@LuckyGuy If yours is the only one with lights, everyone will know where to run to in order to take over…unless you also have an arsenal.

What do I do without lights? Live happily ever after…

ucme's avatar

Purge

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Dan_Lyons I have a Vector Maxx 1200W continuous, 2400 W peak power inverter on my Tahoe. I made zip cord so it can back feed into an outlet in the garage. I put the sump pump refrigerator and freezer on that same phase as well as some lights and fans.
IF I lose power, AND my generator stops working, AND my backup batteries run down and stop working, my Tahoe can power half the house and all the important functions.

I cannot use the dryer, electric stove, welder, nor the toaster oven and the electric hot pot at the same time. Those are small sacrifices.

Mastema's avatar

Usually I’m the reason for the outage. During an outage I would group myself with others, living or not.

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LuckyGuy's avatar

Heads up @UnholyThirst and @Mastema! My house is only one circuit breaker away from backfeeding 220 Volts into the grid. If you’re messing with my wires make sure you’re wearing non-conductive gloves and shoes. Hemoglobin is conductive. ;-)

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Pachy's avatar

Power through it by using flashlights and candles, playing games, taking naps, camping out in the back yard, star gazing, reading an e-book, working on a hobby, exercising, watching movies on a laptop or tablet, and just enjoying the peace and quiet that can come from being off the grid for a while.

These suggestions are fine if one lives alone like me. But of course I know jellies with families (especially those with small children) can have to deal with serious challenges that call for serious pre-planning.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Funny you ask this question – we had a power outage not too long ago and I rather enjoyed it.

If it happens during the day: I go out onto the porch and read a book. My electronics are all down and it’s rather a nice respite. So I’ll enjoy the silence and read a book.

If it happens in the evening or at night – I find a couple of candles, and go out to the porch and read a book. Or sometimes not light the candles, and simply watch the fireflies. No matter…

Last time we lost power at night it was because of a strong thunderstorm and wind—there, the trick was that when the power came on, middle of the night – all my lights came on because they had been on before the power went out.

For me, the bottom line is – I sort of welcome the quiet and enforced self-sufficiency for a little while.

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Dan_Lyons's avatar

@LuckyGuy An Inverter, that’s what he had. And he had just got his too, when they were hit with an ice storm that shut the electricity off for 3 weeks!

GloPro's avatar

Woah, 3 weeks! How did that not cause an economic crash?Not making $ for 3 weeks is a death sentence to people in the service industry!

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Dan_Lyons's avatar

@GloPro There’s little or no service industry to speak of in Muncie where this occurred.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Dan_Lyons Inverters are great. They also make it easy to help other people I just put a 100 ft, 14 ga extension cord in my truck and I can power a neighbor’s refrigerator and sump pump for a while to keep food from spoiling and their basement from flooding. It only needs to run for a few minutes every hour or so. The neighbors can just take it when they need it.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

@LuckyGuy During the ice storm and subsequent 3 week power outage my friend helped and sheltered and fed several family members and multiple neighbors.
It is a great toy and helps to have a big pick up truck with extra batteries.

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ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I keep a couple inverters ready basically all the time. It’s really important to test your equipment with it. Some devices don’t like modified sine waves. That’s what most people have and the most widely available.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Dan_Lyons That does not include my generator which made the rounds to 6 homes! It moved from house to house as needed. It is an 1100 W Continuous and Peak, using a 2 cycle engine. Only 15 inches on a side and weighs only 22 pounds. That is a lot of power for such a small package. We all used it during an ice storm that took down wires several years ago.

Yes. If you are going to use the inverter you must keep the truck running or you will run down the battery. Then you are screwed unless you have a dual battery system or a spare. (I have a spare.)

@Are_you_kidding_me I agree. The really cheap units can damage electronics. They work fine on motors and old refrigerators. I use a surge protector power strip. It gives me the mistaken confidence that the generated AC is being filtered somewhat.
For computers I have a separate high quality 400W inverter. I just counted. I have 4 inverter ranging from 150W to 400 watts in my cars. In the basement I have two 400 Watt units and a 1200 W Cont, 2400 Peak attached to a 12V Delco marine battery on a trickle charger for the sump pump. Plus a similar one in the Tahoe.
I am ready.

(Some might say I am also a mental case.)

GloPro's avatar

Does a generator running off of an inverter produce fumes?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Yes, but no need to run an inverter. Generators are already AC unless it’s your car acting like a generator. A cars electrical system is DC

LuckyGuy's avatar

An inverter running off a battery does not produce fumes. Maybe a little hydrogen. It is also silent.
Two of my inverters have cooling fans similar to laptop fans. They make a little noise.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@LuckyGuy it’s not a bad idea to ventilate your battery storage though. Some battery types can still vent hydrogen.

GloPro's avatar

I was thinking of powering an air conditioning in my (hopefully) new crap van. I didn’t want to accidentally off myself with carbon monoxide as I icebox the interior and sleep.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

You can get DC models that don’t require an inverter. You’ll need to run fused cable directly from the battery. Your cigarette plug can’t handle it. An old clunky alternator may not handle it either. Two things people screw up is they’ll try to plug in a 1200w hairdryer into a 100w inverter or they’ll get that right but blow out the diodes in an alternator that can’t handle a large electrical load. If you need more than like 50 amps look at a small generator. You would have to keep the van running anyway and you would want a new strong battery. For that price a cheap generator from your local horrible freight can be had.

LuckyGuy's avatar

The $300 generators from Horrible freight are as loud as freight trains. Hondas are the quiet ones but they are pricey.
A car A/C unit draws a lot of current. They are typically 20000 BTU! Almost 2 ton – the size of a house air conditioning system. Why? Because they are designed to cool your car in 120F heat in full sun with 5 people (500 Watts) breathing in a closed space.
And cool it down within a few minutes.
My 5000 BTU window a/c unit for my home draws about 1000 watts. so figure a car would draw about 4000 watts. That is huge. At 12 volts you would need wires that handle 350 Amps – think car jumper cables.

You can buy a 4000 Watt cont, 5000 Watt surge generator at H.F. but after the first night your neighbors at Burning man would use it for fire setting practice.

You are better off having the car idle and power the a/c.

@ARE_you_kidding_me My basement is open and the batteries are on an open rack. I figure that is enough ventilation.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Yeah, i love those little red honda generators. Just a quiet hum.

Araphel's avatar

Make myself at home.

hearkat's avatar

[Mod Says] Please keep comments relative to the discussion about the OP’s Question. Off-topic casual conversation belongs in the chat rooms or PMs, please.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I usually sleep. By the time I wake up, the lights are on. If the blackout lasts longer than 8 or 10 hours, I have camping equipment and books to get me through. I eat a lot of stuff before it spoils, throw the rest out, and go with the flow. I was in an outage in Krakov, Poland once, in the middle of the winter. 4 days, not unusual under the Soviet regime. The walls of the apartment were iced, but layers of clothing and bed clothes got us through. Not having electricity is not a big deal to me.

Americans panic like little children at the least disruption of their spoiled little lives. It’s their greatest weakness.

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Jonesn4burgers's avatar

Unless the weather is crazy cold and windy, I’m fine. It is the water going off that drives me crazy.
Hot cold weather changes cause a lot of ground shift and such. We had pipes burst all over town last year. My block had to be shut off twice so pipes could be rapaired. That interferes with cooking and flushing, two things I care about deeply.
Two or three weeks would be a problem for me. A day and night I can handle.

Pazza's avatar

I was going to say masturbate.
But what with the power outage my laptop probably won’t be wor…....

Pazza's avatar

Cool, internets back on.
I think before the next one hits, I’ll just gouge my eyes out.
Then I wont notice the lights have gone out and carry on as normal.

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