Lessons Learned from a Three Day Power Outage


  • When two packages containing dry ice pellets arrive days before a hurricane, save the dry ice rather than letting your teenage boys play with it and shoot plastic bottles from the middle of the yard onto the roof.
  • When using your refrigerator freezer as a cooler, don’t place items in there that might make a mess when frozen after the power comes back on. (I did actually avoid that one, but had to get up in the middle of the night.)
  • A blow torch and a candle that has burned down only in the center can keep your husband and son occupied for quite some time.  In this case it resulted in a shorter, but nicer looking candle and a second candle made from the wax that was removed.
  • A gas grill with a side burner can be used to cook just about anything.
  • Putting your cell phone in airplane mode is less drain on the battery than shutting down and turning on, and it still allows you to check the time and use the alarm clock.
  • The battery backup for FiOS telephone service lasts less than a day.
  • Having blog posts written and scheduled in advance is really nice.
  • Old habits are hard to break, such as turning on lights, thinking about turning on lights, putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher which is being used to drain clean dishes, etc.
  • Put ice into zip top bags before putting it in coolers so it doesn’t make everything wet when it melts.  I knew this but had forgotten.
  • Regular weight store brand bags don’t hold water from melting ice as well as name brand freezer weight bags.
  • Drain the water from the bottom of the chest freezer before power comes back on and it refreezes.  Otherwise, everything is frozen to the bottom. I might have thought of this if it hadn’t been the middle of the night when power came on.
  • I have wonderful blog readers, but I already knew that.

A post about what we ate during the outage will be coming next week.

question markWhat are your power outage tips?

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    • says

      Carrie, it was actually nice in some ways. It got us away from our electronic devices and we spent more family time together. Glad you got through it okay. Hugs!

  1. Donna says

    When we had the Loma Prieta earthquake in the late 80’s while living in Northern California, my husband used the water from the hot water tank for sponge baths. It lasted quite awhile. Then we used the water to flush the toilet. We had no electricity, heat or water for 4 days. A battery radio also came in handy, so we could hear what was going on. One neighbor had a generator, and brought his TV outside and hooked it up so all the neighbors around him could see what was happening. The earthquake was a 7.2, and was 18 years ago. We lived 10 miles from the epicenter, which was in Aptos, CA. We were living in Watsonville, during that time. Of course they said it was a San Francisco earthquake which it wasn’t. The bad part about earthquakes are the after shocks, which happened every 15 minutes all night, and most were a 5 or 6, so it felt like another big earthquake every time one hit.

  2. says

    These tips are a reminder for those of us that live in the middle of nowhere and have frequent power outages. During ice storms we don’t have power for days at a time. i think about these things more now that I am GF/CF, I am not real sure what I would eat, before we just opened cans and heated them over the kerosene heater, but now I have to watch what I eat. So I am looking forward to your post next week on what you ate. We always have so much fun when the power is out! We play games, read by candle light, talk about what it was like for Abraham Linclon and people from the old days.

    • says

      Hi Moe. A lot of people go out to eat, but besides being expensive, it’s harder when you are GF/CF. We had fun too. I wouldn’t want to depend on candles all the time, but they add a special element to the night. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Margaret says

    Another reminder – use your grill outside, please. Maybe in a designated room with windows open if you can’t get outside. ~ Margaret

  4. says

    Those are good tips about managing the freezer with the melting ice, and which plastic bags work better for holding liquids. I actually like to keep a decorative hurricane lamp on hand to use during outages — candles are nice, but a puff of breeze, or a frisky cat, can sometimes be a problem. One hurricane lamp in a large room with several candles also lit makes for quite a bit of light.

  5. says

    It’s amazing how we take flipping a switch for granted until it’s gone. We lost power for 10 days in Dec ’07 and I bought a generator a couple of days into it. It wouldn’t run the whole house but did fine with freezers and the essentials. Good post.

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