This cursed icestorm and Y2K : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Well, the power has been out for 2 days now and is expected to be out for another 3 days (due to bad Icestorm).

Thanks to this forum I am the only one in the area that has power. Laugh at me now will ya, HA.

I just wanted to offer a few tips. If you really want to know how ready you are, just turn off the main breaker and your water meter (or pump as is my case). I have been preparing for the last few months and yet when the power went off there were things that I never even thought of. The following are a few of those things.

Generator. Dont do like I did and wait UNTIL a crisis happens before you try to figure out how to best use the unit. I nearly froze before I got everything hooked in. I now realize that I will really need to build a special (small) building close to the house. The generator was a real hassle to lug to the porch from the shop. The unit is also very noisy. So, if its in its own little building (close to the well house) I can just step out, start, plug in to well and extention cords and not have to listen to the noise. NOTE: Please don't wire direct to your breaker box, you will kill a lineman.

Water. I will need to build an elevated water vessel holder so that water will gravity feed when I wash my hands. A real hassle to try and pour and wash at the same time. If you are on a well and you turn your generator on to start the pump, have several 5 gallon buckets around to store water to pour into the back of the toilet.

I had purchased enough wall mount lamps to put in each room. Do not do what I did and wait UNTIL the lights go out before you mount them. (ps, the wall mounts are GREAT, they are safe with children around, light better and are very convient.) You should purchase those electro start lighters with the 8 inch flame extenders. They are very good to insert down into the globe thus you dont have to remove the globe.

I just lucky that I had gas on hand as I was putting in my irrigation system when the storm hit. Keep fuel on hand. Whats the point of having the equipement if you have no fuel.

Again, with all the talk of preparedness, we might overlook the obvious unless we actually experience outages and shortages. I recommend that you drill a day or two. It would suprise you how many things that may have been overlooked plus you dont have to "learn" skills in the heat of the battle.

Well, need to get to the card game. Warm and toasty with lotsa light and food in the midst of darkness. ww



Oh, one more thing. You should get surge protectors for your techy things when you use them with the generator. My TV was doing some real strange things. ww


Wayne - thanks very much for the practical information - glad your prep. worked out so good.

On a seperate topic - it always amazes me how folks choose to live in cold climes - one of thr reasons I left England for California was because of the cold and rain.

There again I do have to put up with gang-bangers, earthquakes, mudslides, fires, tsunamis, volcanoes and Budweiser so I'm a fine one to talk :)

Later, Andy

-- Andy (, January 02, 1999.

"There again I do have to put up with gang-bangers.... " a year or so they might be HUNGRY gang-bangers. Imagine how that will improve their charm ... Also California (the south at least) has this minor water issue to deal with. So the g.b.-er's might be strung-out, AND hungry, AND thirsty. As if they're not lovely enough people now.

That reminds me. Gotta buy more ammo.

-- scared (, January 02, 1999.


In Northern CA we've been having lots of "little" earthquakes over the past week. *Sigh*

Wayne, thanks for being the Yourdonite "non-popsicle" on the spot. Good luck!! Thanks for the insights and tips.


-- Diane J. Squire (, January 02, 1999.

Scared: There's gang bangers everywhere! Stuff like that doesn't only happen in California! And those that aren't gang bangers now will become one when they finish off the burbs. Hopefully many of them will be shot and won't make it to the countryside. And those that do will be picked off. Well, going to get my guns out and check them over again and take inventory on my ammo. I think some more 12 gauge shells will be added to my stash soon, and maybe some more 7.62 for my SKS.

-- bardou (, January 02, 1999.

Thanks Wayne for the pointers. I fully expect to get to try everything out by tomorrow. I'm surprised we still have electricity right now.

Diane, More earth quakes? Gayla said they had 10 tornado's touch town in this big storm. That's some way to start the new year huh?

-- Moore Dinty moore (, January 02, 1999.

We too are deep in ice and snow, but still have power. I had my husband come in and read your posts. One reminded him of something he needed to do.. So even though he doesn't spend any time on forums, he likes to read some occasionally. He was glad that Wayne mentioned not wring direct, which he's been afraid someone will do.

-- gilda jessie (, January 02, 1999.


If you install a double poll, double throw switch you won't kill any linemen. When we tested our generator yesterday (1-1), we completely disconnected from REA and went strictly with our generator. The 8.5 kw generator performed quite nicely.

-- Vic Parker (francisco@d', January 02, 1999.

make that double pole

-- Vic Parker (francisco@d', January 02, 1999.

There's a way linemen or troublemen can tell if a line is hot due to a generator. When they do find them, your generator is toast.

-- bardou (, January 02, 1999.

Hey, gang!

The device that solves all the home/office electrical transfer decisions is called a power "transfer switch". Yes, it is basically a double pole double throw switch - rated heavy enough to handle the generator load it will carry. It comes in several flavors: It can include several individual 120v circuits, or a 240v, or both, and you choose. It can also include a volt/amp meter with lighted LEDs. We are using only the 240v side to cut off the main electrical service and cut in the generator, or the reverse. (They cannot cannot both be on at the same time, or KABOOM!) HAVE AN ELECTRICIAN INSTALL THE SWITCH IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. They are not illegal, but simply need to be installed properly!


-- Bob Walton (, January 02, 1999.

Because my generator is a small one (5000 watts), I have not considered wiring direct into the panel box. I have it mostly to run my well (hot showers are a must) and the washing machine (I love my wife and clean cloths).

If TEOTWAWKI is only a change in my employment in the next 18 months, I will build a new house. When I do, I plan on pre wiring alternate plugs in the house for my little generator. (would love one of those big un's but low on money).

By the way, used my alladin lamps. They are fantastic. I would really recommend them if you like to read at night. ww



I've had similar thoughts to yours. About the only way I could justify a 13kw gen was that I would use it for storm power outages, etc. Though not directly related to your post, I'm not too concerned about the danger of handling gasoline because the gen is housed outside the main house. A very wise man cautioned us all with the words we must not forget: "Never fuel the blasted thing while it's running or you can turn into a living Ronson ad!"

It does gulp up the gasoline. I keep asking myself: "What the devil do we do when the gasoline is gone?" If Y2K is as severe as we might believe, we'll have to self-ration our own gas - not to mention the "attractive nuisance" we create with the gen noise.

We have done "the drill". I responded to that in Vic Parker's earlier post titled 'Just Checking'. It performed very well.

Your alladin lamp purchase(s)may indeed turn out to be very good buys.

Anyway, I guess we're damned if we do and damned if we don't.



-- Bob Walton (, January 02, 1999.


Rationing power. This is exactly what we are doing right now and is what I expect to do if Y2K, terrorist, financial or any other related power outages occur.

I started the unit only when we were washing dishes, taking showers and so on. At the same time we vacumn, recool the fridg., re- charge the Lap PC batteries and then the unit is turned off.

I can get quite abit done in the 1 1/2 hours. Takes around 1 gal. of gas. We fired up 2 times per day. ALL lighting is done by lamps. The wall lamps provide very adequate room lighting while my Alladin lamps (bright as a 60 watt bulb) provide reading light and are much cheaper than the gasoline for the gen. This schedule will conserve gas and the life of my noisy little gen.

Had a friend come over and I loaned him my electro start propane, 2mantle lantern. These units will provide very good lighting in a pinch. I dont like using them indoors due to the CO2 hazards but are very adequate in a pinch. (stock up on lots of the little propane bottles. I expect their value will be that of Gold). ww


Wayne is right, you can't go into an emergency without some practice at your preparations, or knowing what you're doing in advance. People seem to think running a genny is as simple as getting an el cheapo at Costco, gassing it up, and running a few extension cords.

Listen up - do it right or you'll kill yourself or someone else. People died in Canada last year because they ran their genny's in the basement or an attached closed garage.

I had a chance to see an advance copy of Rick Cowles video titled 'Zapped', and it's a really good introduction to all this stuff. Info is on his website at

Again, do it right or buy some friggin' candles and forget about the genny.

-- Dan Webster (, January 03, 1999.


Consider getting a solar setup and using only some appliances. Ditch the AC powered ones, and use ones that run off DC power. Preferably ones that run at the same voltage as the array or battery bank.

By the time you've bought that 10kw diesel generator, and a 2000gal tank to fuel it for awhile, you could have had a pretty nice solar setup that will last 20+ years. Ever price large inverters that will run the power pig AC appliances? Expensive.

Get the more expensive Ni-cad battery bank, and you should get 20+ years out of it, unlike lead-acid batteries.

I've setup a solar rig to run my well pump (have normal household water pressure), and run some basic appliances (LED task lights, radio, small appliances). Made up some smaller solar panels to charge the small ni-cad cells seperately, and am making a couple of adjustable voltage regulators.

A much more flexible and useful setup than the usual generator and year's worth of fuel, and much cheaper too.

-- Bill (, January 03, 1999.

Regarding Bill's post above:
Get the more expensive Ni-cad battery bank, and you should get 20+ years out of it, unlike lead-acid batteries.
Bill is referring to pocket-plate ni-cads .. a "wet-cell" nicad... and not their AA, C, D cell cousins. There's a big difference here.
Unlike the little cells, pocket-plate ni-cads don't suffer from the "memory effect" exhibited when ni-cads are repeatedly discharged only a small amound and then recharged. What he says about their longevity is also correct .. however .. they are expensive compared to the lead-acid batteries. Life expectancy of lead-acid batteries is determined by a variety of variables: their ruggedness in construction; how deeply they are discharged each time; how long they sit in a discharged state before being recharged; and more. Pocket-plate ni-cads don't seem to care about any of the above.
Suppliers for pocket-plate ni-cad batteries can be found in Home Power Magazine as well as Back Home Magazine and similar publications.
Ask lots of questions before you buy. Getting the wrong gear to depend on for your life is like shopping for a low-bid parachute. You get what you pay for (as a rule).
Incidentally .. I agree with Bill. A NEW pocket-plate battery system is the best (albeit most expen$ive) way to go. Don't let anyone sell you a "reconditioned" set of pocket-plate ni-cads. Reconditioned cells have a dismal reliability record.

-- Dan (, January 03, 1999.

Just turning off the italics .. sorry gang.

-- Dan (, January 03, 1999.


Solar would have been my first choice were it not for the many trees in my yard. One wag suggested cutting down the trees for fire wood and moving ahead with the solar.


-- Bob Walton (waltonb@kdsi.ent), January 03, 1999.

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