In no particular order, and some repeated from Thursday’s post, here are 10 quick and easy things to do this weekend which hopefully will get your brain ready to prepare for a power outage. It’s all about thinking ahead.
1. Unplug your refrigerator
How long does your fridge stay cold and your freezer frozen when the lights go out? Recommendations for safe temperatures are all over the internet but I’m not going to link b/c you can decide for yourself who to trust. The idea, especially if you have a fridge that gives a temperature reading on the door, is to unplug the thing. Don’t open it up. Plug it back in every hour and see what the temperature is.
When the lights go out, you’ll have some general idea of how long you have before things go south. Keep in mind that things do not spoil at the same rates. Carrots last longer than milk at 50 degrees.
2. Go to your basement
If you have one, go down there and find the coolest corner. If you have a thermometer record the temperature. That corner could be home to your carrots when the power is out.
3. Shine a light on it
After dark, go into each room of your house or apartment with an LED flashlight. Point it at the ceiling. Could you navigate that room in that amount of light? Take it one step further and determine the number of lumens of that flashlight. (Use that infallible source to look up the brand and model.) Rooms that are unnavigable will need more or stronger flashlights.
4. Go on a treasure hunt
Here’s your list:
- AAA, AA, C, D batteries; 4 each
- Handheld and lantern flashlight for every member of your household
- Rubbing alcohol, gauze pads, Neosporin, bandaids, icepack
- Kitchen lighter, box of matches
- Full bottle of dish detergent
- Unopened bag or can of ground coffee (The lights are out! You cannot grind beans.)
- Manual can opener
- Canned fruit
- A book you want to read, or read again
- At least one 10,000mAh battery bank
5. AC only
Most devices and other electronics these days have multiple ways to charge, with options to plug the cord into either an AC outlet, or a USB outlet. As long time readers of this blog know well, there are any number of poorly designed modern electronic things out there. Your best efforts to keep your normal life up and running by having lots of Watt hours (Wh) stored in battery banks will be thwarted by these poorly designed things when the lights go out.
Neither my Atlas Weather Station monitor nor our AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet receiver and wifi modem run on anything but AC power. Same can be said for the entire television experience (TV, satellite receivers, BluRay players, etc.). These aren’t too important to us (and we can always connect them to our generator network). Laptops are in a fuzzy area. Walk around your house looking for electronics that you need or want to be able to run if power is out, but require AC. If you’re in the South where it’s still summer, include a box fan in this list.
6. Bank on it
If you already have a battery bank(s), when was the last time it was discharged to about 25% and then recharged? I do this around the first of the month. All the things get run down and then plugged into the banks. Somethings that never run down are plugged into and run directly from the banks. The banks then get plugged into one of the two power stations, and it in turn is recharged either with AC or a solar panel.
7-10. A threefer for coffee lovers (tea lovers, too)
This may be the most challenging. (1) List all of the ways you have to make coffee. Drip, pour over, K-cup, press pot, espresso machine– everything but cold press unless that’s your only gig. Which of those requires electricity? If “all of them” is the answer and you have a gas range, a pot to boil water in, and a pour over, you’re fine. If not… .
More to the point of making coffee is boiling water. How many ways can you boil water without electricity? If you’ve an electric hot water heater, without a way to boil water, you’ll have no way to wash dishes. (2) Spend some time this weekend thinking about boiling water and making coffee & tea when the lights go out. Dig way back in the way back and find that old Coleman propane stove. Do you have propane? Remember how the stove works?
(3) Can you make a pot of coffee without using electricity?