Monday, April 28, 2014

Power Outage Plan

I bought a used, 5000W generator last week.  I am pulling together my "Power Outage Plan".

Frankly, I am OK with "camping out" in my house....even in the winter time.  There are other members of my family, some who have higher standards of personal hygiene and others who are fearful of members who do not consider electricity to be a luxury. 

One of my tasks is to develop and communicate the plan to everybody in the house.  It will cause much grief if somebody decides that they need to use their blow-drier.  Or worse yet, I am not home and one of the kids decides they need to switch on the generator and do not drop the power at the utility pole.

While it may seem a little bit hokey, the reasons are listed as symbols.  Crosses are safety.  "Nuts" are functional, as in "the nuts-and-bolts" of making it work.   Boxes are for initials of who actually dropped the breaker or pulled and taped the power cord.


  1. Sounds like an electric water heater. If so you *can* have hot water with your generator by running just 110volts (instead of the normal 220) directly to just one of the two heating elements. This *will* fully heat the water in about 45minutes. YMMV. The generator can handle that load. Modern heater tanks are insulated well enough to keep the water hot for almost day. So it becomes a once a day task in the event of an extended outage. Not a bad price to pay for hot water and happy campers. Obviously care is required to assure the heating elements are isolated before tinkering with the wires to them (and your plan shows you will be doing this anyway). One can overheat the water if not careful (if left plugged in too long) so you have to babysit the process. It works great for me with my 3500(3000 continuous) watt generator.


  2. Hello Doug:

    Thanks for commenting. We still have teenagers at home and we can go through a lot of hot water in a hurry. I think we will stick with the 220V set-up for now.

    During the last power outage, the one that affected some people for over a week, the local hospital/gyms/churches opened up shower facilities to the public.

    Your comment did jog one more thought for me, the dishwasher. The dishwasher heats the water and also uses resistance heat to dry the dishes. We can hand wash dishes with water heated on the gas stove for-the-duration.

    Using electricity to create heat via resistance is not very efficient.

    Again, thanks for reading and thanks for commenting.