Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Prep Test

So today we had a little test of some of our preps. The utility company cut power in the neighborhood for maintenance between 8AM and 3PM. We learned a lot about what we had done right, and also what we had not done right. Here is a rundown of what we were able to test.

Water - without power, we have no running water from the well. We have a generator that can run the well pump, but we also have plenty of water stored. This proved to be a non issue. Water for toilet flushing was taken from the rain barrel, and the mellow yellow rule was applied.

Campstove - we only used our one burner butane model which boiled water (coffee) in just a couple of minutes. This stove is safe to use indoors, and we have several cans of fuel in reserve.

Radio - two battery powered radios were tested. The first is a small one powered by 4 rechargeable AA batteries. The sound quality was not great, but we were able to get FM stations for entertainment as well as local AM stations for news. The second unit was a larger radio powered by 6 C alkaline batteries. The sound was more clear and we were able to pick up more stations on both FM and AM.

Refrigerators/ freezers - were full and kept cold for the entire 8 hours. We took an ice pack, some canned drinks, and sandwiches out this morning and put them in a cooler so we didn't have to keep opening the doors. If the power had not come back soon, I would have had to get them on the generator to cool down for a while.

Entertainment - We have small children that get bored easily. An inexpensive, but new toy solved that problem in short order. The older kids found things to do outdoors (for a change).

Back up 120v - I failed on this booster pack had not been charged and would not power the inverter I planned on using to power my laptop and DSL modem. I will have to be more careful about keeping the batteries charged.

Curtains were kept drawn to keep the sun from heating up the house. In winter, the reverse would be employed to help heat along with the wood stove.

All in all it was not that great of a deal. If I were so inclined, I could have powered the inverter from a spare car battery, or even the car itself, so it pays to have a backup. I was really interested to find out just how long the 2 fridges and the deep freeze could last without power, and am glad to find out that my plan to use the generator for only a couple hours 3 times a day to cool down the fridges and pump fresh well water into containers seems to be a sound idea.

Maybe you should get your electric company to do some maintenance , so you can test your plans also...we learned a lot about what we were good on, and where we needed improvement.


  1. Nice!
    I especially liked the idea of loading the cooler with the daily portion of refrigerated products, to minimize the number of times the fridge is opened (all the rest was kind of obvious, but I haven't thought about this one :-)).

    One note about the inverter: if the power is down in the whole area, it's likely your DSL modem will be useless, since your nearest phone switching station may be down as well.

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