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What I have Learned from Hurricane Irma.... - Page 2

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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by harsas View Post
    Been hearing that Sebring will be without power for a while yet.




    I can tell you that up here, diesel is in high demand, both for vehicles and farm equipment. It is in just as short supply as gas. Fortunately, while we were in a badly hit area, it is not too long a drive to a slightly less hit area, where gas is still available without long lines. I also have learned by experience to stockpile gas. I used to keep 40 gallons, but am down to 30 because when I moved up here I was informed it is not a hurricane prone area. So far, in the 3 years I have been here, we had Hermine last year and Irma this year. I am now on the hunt for more cans...
    Sounds about right. I have family all over Florida lol. Father's sister in West Palm Beach, Mom's uncle in St Pete - everyone got it no matter where in FL you went. The canal I use to live on in Key Largo's gone - was a string of mobile homes there and their all gone. I was seeing pictures of homes on stilts that were designed to withstand cat5 hurricanes be obliterated. I'd think if diesel became that much in demand biodiesel would come to mind.

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  3. #22
    t00nces2 started this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hills View Post
    First post on a new acct. ( skipped the intro )

    I've been doing the back up generator thing for awhile. It's been a learning experience. There's been a growth and evolution over the years. It's been a process of trial and error to see what works and figure out some kind of long term sustainability.

    We're on an island off the coast of Maine. It's pretty common for us to lose our power during fall & winter. Storms rip through. Trees fall into the wires & block the roads. Sometimes they get it all put back together in a few hours. Other times it's a few days or even a week before the repairs can be completed. In a SHTF scenario it could be months. You gotta figure out what your needs are.

    For us it's:

    1: Heat in the winter. We've got a wood stove with about 3 years supply of firewood on the property. It keeps the house warm & we can cook on it if we have to.

    2:Water: We have a drilled well w/ a submersible pump. I added a large extrol pressure tank that has about a 30 gallon draw down.If we're careful about our water usage we have running water for about a day after the power goes out.Once it runs out we fire up the generator and refill the pressure tank. It takes about five or ten minutes of runtime.

    3: Refrigeration: You need a generator for that. We can get by with running the Jenny about 10 hours a day. The fridge keeps itself reasonably cool if we don't open the doors too much.We don't really need a fridge in the winter anyway. We can store stuff outside.

    4: For cooking we have a regular stove & oven that runs on propane. Two 100# propane bottles ( the standard here ) will easily last us for six months.

    5: Lights: I shifted over to 120 volt LED light bulbs last year. It cut our monthly electric bill by 25%. It's taken quite a load off our generator when we are on backup power.

    It gets pretty tedious to keep the generator running 24/7 so we only run ours 10 hours a day at most. I've got a large truck battery that i bought on sale at Wal Mart years ago. We have some 12 volt DC LED's that we use for lighting when the generator isn't running. The battery has enough capacity to keep the low voltage lights on for a couple of days between recharging cycles.

    Twenty five years ago it started out simple for us. I had a cart with 12 volt batteries and a power inverter.

    From there we went to a 5000 watt gasoline generator. We had the electrician install a transfer switch at the time. It was good, but it went through a lot of fuel. It would average about a gallon of gas per hour during peak demand. Figure maybe 20 gallons per day at 2.50$ per gallon running full time ? That comes out to 50.00$/day or 1,500.00$ a month for electricity.

    From there we converted the 5kw generator to run on dual fuel. ( Gasoline or propane ) Upgraded gasoline storage to 275 gallons and had a total of six 100 # propane bottles. That gave us plenty of storage but we ran into a couple of problems.

    a: It's still expensive to run.

    b: You don't get as much "oomph" out of a gallon of propane. It reduced the peak generator output by maybe 10% ? We had to use propane in the non peak demand times.

    c: You needed either hardened valves to run on propane -or- an ashless motor oil. Hardened valves weren't available. I tried going to straight 30 weight oil but the engine wouldn't crank in the cold because the oil was so thick.

    * The solution was to go to Redline full synthetic racing oil. It has a very high vaporization point. If it doesn't vaporize then it doesn't go up through the crankcase breather into the carb and form ash on the valves.

    * Just about any generator these days runs hard because it's at peak RPM all the time. Use a full synthetic quality motor oil. You won't have the oil consumption problems. The other thing with air cooled small engines is that regular motor oil should be changed out every 30 hours of runtime. That means an oil change every other day if you're running 24/7. Synthetics have much longer oil change intervals and you don't have to top them off very often. This is much better during an emergency situation.

    Anyway, to continue on with the saga. What we had worked okay up until about 2006 then we started running into problems. Local laws changed and they really didn't like you storing any more than ten gallons of gasoline on the property at any time. To make things more difficult they switched over to blended gas/ethanol fuel. It was the only thing available to buy. It only has a reliable shelf life of 30 days. It was a lot more corrosive and started attacking the rubber parts in the small engine carb.

    We finally decided that gasoline wasn't a reliable SHTF motor fuel any more. Propane has it's pro's and con's but diesel is looking like the best choice.

    We went to a 6.5 kw diesel. Most homes here have oil fired central heat. We have two -275 gallon storage tanks in the basement. Heating oil is very similar to diesel. It costs a few cents more but off road diesel burns very cleanly in an oil furnace.

    That gave us a rugged diesel generator that burns 3.5 gallons every six hours of runtime. We've got 500 gallons of diesel in storage. The generator is loud and the exhaust has a pretty heavy smell but it was reliable and economical. I figured that if we only ran the generator for three hours a day we could go for almost a year before having to refill our storage tanks. The fuel keeps in storage better than gasoline and it's much safer.

    Last year one of the small bolts holding the terminal block in place ( inside the generator head) vibrated loose and tore up the windings. No more diesel Jenny !

    You know what they say about the best laid plans ?

    Every situation is different but i'm leaning more toward solar these days. Use that to run the fridge and a few lights. Fix the diesel and only use it for a couple of hours a day for when we want to run the water pump and do the washing.

    Figured i'd pass it all along in the hopes that some part of it might be helpful to someone. I had to learn the hard way.
    My wife is from Maine. Near Calias down east on the border. I think I would actually have the issue be heat, you warm it up and it stays warm for a while. The AC went off with the gen and the heat was insufferable 30 minutes later. You really have to run the AC (particularly a small one) continuously to keep ahead of the heat and humidity. Thank you for the info on using the gen for extended periods.

  4. #23
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    The one thing I am considering gong forward is solar hot water. If you lose power, all you have to do is power a small pump and you can have a warm shower. I mean, it is not that I don't love cold showers, but...
    Have Fun,
    Harold

    I hate rules, but I love junk.

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  6. #24
    t00nces2 started this thread.
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    Well, still no elec. There has been some movement on the road, but I am pretty sure coiling up the downed wires and wrapping them in caution tape does little to toast my muffin. I guess I could hack off a couple limbs from the downed trees to build a fire to toast my bun...

    Another item I think I would try to do better at is food stocks. We have some, but I think I would like to have a bit deeper cabinet. Debs was a bit concerned about the lack of food in the stores, so I might be able to talk to her a bit about copy canning. She may listen. She and her family have been a bit impressed about how well we are able to keep on despite the lack of elec. I think I will suggest some canned meats and dried potato packages and try to build up a stock of at least 6 or so and a half dozen cans of meat.

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  8. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by t00nces2 View Post


    My wife is from Maine. Near Calias down east on the border. I think I would actually have the issue be heat, you warm it up and it stays warm for a while. The AC went off with the gen and the heat was insufferable 30 minutes later. You really have to run the AC (particularly a small one) continuously to keep ahead of the heat and humidity. Thank you for the info on using the gen for extended periods.
    I completely understand. The southern heat can be just as deadly as the winter cold here in Maine. That's especially so for somebody that might have breathing problems.

    Our AC is 5,000 btu and uses 515 watts. An oxygenator probably doesn't use much juice ?

    Honda has got a nice little 1000 watt generator. The darn thing gets up to 7 hours of runtime on 6/10ths of a gallon of gas. You could go for a very long time with the gas you've got on hand. Hardly makes any sound at all so it won't bug the neighbors.

    Honda model eu1000i

    They're too expensive to buy new. The thing is that you can sometimes find them second hand at a pretty reasonable price. The carbs tend to go after awhile. Somebody's got a generator that won't start and they don't know how to fix it. They sell em' cheap at a yard sale or on CL. Throw on a new carb and you're good to go ?

    It's got a 12 volt battery charger on it too ?

    I know i'm keeping my eye open for one myself. Lotsa rich summer people use them on their boats here.

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  10. #26
    t00nces2 started this thread.
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    Well, we have finally got the elec back on. This has been a hard two weeks. The worry about what needed to be done to prepare. The questioning of decisions. The anxiety during the storm. The uncertainty of the damage and how to keep living life in a kinda normal manner. The making it over multiple days. Trusting the generator to run continuously. We Won.

    Power back on. AC kicking butt. Gonna have a nice, quiet, worry free night for the first time in a week. Not gonna be too late tonight.

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  12. #27
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    Keep us informed on when things are back to normal in your area.

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  14. #28
    t00nces2 started this thread.
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    Having gone through hurricane Irma and being without power for five days I have learned that being prepared and survival is a more difficult problem than I had considered.

    Gas was and was not a problem. I keep gas and I had enough gas to last for a considerable period. I was able to sit and wait for the gas stations to be restocked to fill up again. I was able to run my generator to keep the niceties of life going, for the most part. The problem...

    I had my plan to run my small generator to keep my small things going and then to run my larger gen to get my water and shower and other things that may have required more power. It was and is a good plan. It would have extended the gas considerably, but not indefinitely. I wound up lending the smaller generator to the neighbor across the street to keep their fridge running. I think that in a survival mode, I would have too much heart to really be good at "survival". That may be a strength also, but I think in the short term, it would be a weakness that may compromise the goal of long term survival.

    Of course, we knew that the difficulties would be short term and the preparations I had made would tide us over until things got back to normal, but had this been a EMT that was going to take out the power for months, we were going to be out of gas in about a month or two (under the best of circumstances). I would not have been able to help the neighbor with keeping his fridge going.

    I am not sure I would ba hard hearted and callous enough to be a long term survivalist. I would do my best, but I am not sure I would be able to turn away people who needed my help.
    Last edited by t00nces2; 09-19-2017 at 07:21 AM.

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  16. #29
    t00nces2 started this thread.
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    Here is a question to ask yourself ahead of a problem: The power is off over an extended area. You have a generator that you are going to run to keep yourself comfortable. You are going to run it at night. You have no good spot to run the gen where it will be protected from notice and theft. Do you run the lights to light the gen or do you run the gen without the lights on?

  17. #30
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    I would think you would need to make sure you are not noticed, so little to no extra lights may help. But then again someone could here the generator running

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  19. #31
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    First off...

    Glad you an yours are safe TO2. An second...thanks for sharing your experience.

    @hobo....I can't speak for TO2 far as neighbors go, but here on the sandbar when we go through similar stuff with our Hurricanes, the neighbors that stay(locals) tend to either be prepared like we are, or they tend to evacuate. Unlike FL tho, only 2 ways on an off my sandbar. An the cops shut down the bridges to anyone but locals with re-entry permits, which cuts down on the folks who are up to no good. The ones that stay like me, tend to be prepared to go awhile without. As that's life on our sandbar. We look out for each other but most folks who live here know the deal an plan accordingly when a storm is coming. We get nailed often enough that Dominion Power(Power company for my part of NC an most of Va) have begun replacing power poles an lines with sturdier ones. Here it's mainly the wind that will take the power out an not trees. I'm on a sandbar...tree's are limited.

    Last big storm we had, we lost power after. My neighbors an the whole neighborhood had a big ol' block party that lasted a week. Hungry? Come get some food. Thirsty? Come get a drink. Folks that live in hurricane prone areas generally look out of each other in my experience. The whole "walking dead" thought process of someone trying to kill you for your stuff should probably be left in hollywood as it doesn't mirror my real world experience with hurricanes an the aftermath. The big issues isn't your neighbors, it's the outsiders. They tend to move in on a area after a natural disaster to loot, cause trouble, etc. Locals an folks responding to the emergency usually see through their bull****. This is why folks like me will ride out storms at home instead of fleeing. To stop the folks up to no good. Break into my home there will consequences, break into my neighbors...same.

    Anyhow...glad to see ya made it through safely there TO2. Hurricanes ain't no joke an good you took precautions to be prepared. Boggles my mind people will hear a storm coming then do nothing to prep for it. An on the subject of gas...I was in PA when Irma hit FL an gas was higher there then down south here on my sandbar or even SC, GA and FL. Diesel up til today was cheaper then regular gas. Actually might still be. LOL. We're at 2.63 to 2.56 for regular gas. I don't use premium or the mid grade, but premium was at 3.05 I think an mid at 2.85. Slowly going down as Texas gets back up an running.

    An this was way longer then I intended.

    Sirscrapalot - No quote.

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  21. #32
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    Most places may have emergency power for backup and many houses have their own back up power. That is the reason why portable generator is so popular as it is small and convenient.

    Backup Power Solutions is family owned and operated. A Generac home backup generator senses a power outage, turns on automatically, and delivers backup power to your home.
    I do have a generator, but it’s unreliable - it’s stored in the dry, but as I never use it the fuel system is probably gummed up with varnish. The amount of fuel I have on hand to run it is what I keep for my lawnmower, plus whatever I could drain from my car - hardly a long-term solution. On the other hand my car runs and I can use an inverter to get 120V AC, which I have done in the past during a power outage of a few hours. Generally, there have been no large-scale disasters where I live, and the utility company replaces failed transformers or downed power lines fairly quickly. It’s not been worth looking for alternative power for my freezer, and running the TV or DVD player from the car is more to prove I can do it, or perhaps to keep my kids amused. Basically, I don’t worry about an extended outage.
    On the other hand, on my boat or travel trailer I do have solar power, to keep phones and other equipment running. Currently, I don’t have enough capacity to run indefinitely without charging batteries from a gasoline-powered motor occasionally, but that’s easily addressed by buying more panels. I probably do have enough capacity to keep just a phone and VHF radio running forever.

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  23. #33
    t00nces2 started this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShelleyWeals View Post
    Most places may have emergency power for backup and many houses have their own back up power. That is the reason why portable generator is so popular as it is small and convenient.

    Backup Power Solutions is family owned and operated. A Generac home backup generator senses a power outage, turns on automatically, and delivers backup power to your home.
    I do have a generator, but it’s unreliable - it’s stored in the dry, but as I never use it the fuel system is probably gummed up with varnish. The amount of fuel I have on hand to run it is what I keep for my lawnmower, plus whatever I could drain from my car - hardly a long-term solution. On the other hand my car runs and I can use an inverter to get 120V AC, which I have done in the past during a power outage of a few hours. Generally, there have been no large-scale disasters where I live, and the utility company replaces failed transformers or downed power lines fairly quickly. It’s not been worth looking for alternative power for my freezer, and running the TV or DVD player from the car is more to prove I can do it, or perhaps to keep my kids amused. Basically, I don’t worry about an extended outage.
    On the other hand, on my boat or travel trailer I do have solar power, to keep phones and other equipment running. Currently, I don’t have enough capacity to run indefinitely without charging batteries from a gasoline-powered motor occasionally, but that’s easily addressed by buying more panels. I probably do have enough capacity to keep just a phone and VHF radio running forever.
    Run the gen dry of fuel, then put it away in storage. The small gen I had had sat in my garage unrun for 10 years or so. It started on the 9th pull (or the first pull after I opened the fuel petcock!).

  24. #34
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    "It started on the 9th pull (or the first pull after I opened the fuel petcock!)"

    That one statement makes reading the entire thread fun. It also reminds us we are all human and make mistakes. 73, Mike
    "Profit begins when you buy NOT when you sell." {quote passed down to me from a wise man}

    Now go beat the copper out of something, Miked

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  26. #35
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    Look at what this guy did to get hot water with no power. Sure you could heat up a pot on the fire but this is much cooler with stuff from scrap that we probably all have or could find!

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