Disasters: Power outages

Last updated 25dec22
Copyright 2005-2022 Ken Young (http://www.DinoDudes.com). All rights reserved.
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Short power outages

The problem is when the power goes off and comes back on. Power surges and brownouts can damage your expensive electronics.

Long power outages

Your refrigerator will keep things cold for a day IF NOBODY OPENS THE DOOR. You lose all the code when someone opens it. Tape the door shut so nobody forgets.

Your freezer will keep things frozen for up to 3 days IF NOBODY OPENS THE DOOR. You lose all the code when someone opens it. Tape the door shut so nobody forgets.

A chest freezer keeps things frozen for longer, and opening the lid doesn't let all the cold out.

Frozen food can be safely refrozen if it has visible ice crystals.

Cooking food just before it goes bad saves it.

A refrigerator can be turned into an icebox by putting ice on the top shelf.

A freezer can continue to keep things cold enough by putting in dry ice. Close the door on an obstruction so that the expanding carbon dioxide can escape and not push the door open. A skinny straw is a good choice.

Big power outages

Many gas stations will not be able to pump gas without electricity. The ones that can will have long lines and can run out between deliveries.

The water taps will start to lose pressure and run dry on the second day. The water company uses electricity to operate wells and pump water up into the water towers.

Natural gas will start to lose pressure and fail quickly.

Propane will sell out quickly.

Phones and computers will have no power, and charging their batteries will be a problem.

By the 10th day, most of the food will have gone to waste, and water & fuel will only be available as it gets trucked in.

The moral is to keep food, water, gasoline, and propane according to your needs.


Generators are great to have in long power outages.

Generators need at least 2 gallons of gasoline per day if operated intermittently to keep the refrigerator cold and charge batteries. You may need more gas than that.

Set up the generator outdoors and run a heavy-duty extension cord from the generator to a power-strip inside the house. You can plug the refrigerator and battery chargers into the power strip.

Generators produce "dirty" power. Do not try to run expensive electronics on generator power.

Do not drag the generator into the garage and run it there. Poisonous carbon monoxide will build up, even with an open door.

Do not use a double-ended plug to try to power your house unless an electrician did the installation. The generator will try to power up the neighborhood. This will electrocute linemen trying to restore power and possibly burn out the generator. The generator will likely be destroyed when power comes back on.

Gasoline only keeps a year, or 3 years with stabilization additives. After that you can use it in your car and buy new gas. Metal 5-gallon gas cans cost twice as much as the gas you put in them. Plastic cans cost half as much as the gas you put into them, but they smell like gas and everything they touch will smell like gas. Gas cans cannot be kept in your house or garage. Small gas spills can be deodorized by bleach or peroxide.

Liquid propane produces less power than an equal volume of gasoline.

See also

Disaster Readiness    Cleanup afterwards 
Evacuation Misc tips

This information was downloaded from http://www.FamilyReady.org