Planned power outage - any 'must-do's' or 'don'ts'?

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doctorfaust
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Planned power outage - any 'must-do's' or 'don'ts'?

Post by doctorfaust »

My apartment is shutting off the power this weekend (midnight to 8 AM, just one day) apparently for electrical company things.

I'm planning on basics like 'don't open the refrigerator or freezer' and 'put the computer/game consoles in complete shut down (not sleep mode)'. Are there other things I should be doing and am perhaps forgetting? Or am I overreacting for an 8 hour span? Forgive me if this is a silly question, but this is the first time I've experienced a planned outage (as opposed to the multiple unplanneds I've had in my life.)
Starfish
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Re: Planned power outage - any 'must-do's' or 'don'ts'?

Post by Starfish »

I would turn off/unplug as much as I could before the shut down. Especially expensive equipment and appliances.
livesoft
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Re: Planned power outage - any 'must-do's' or 'don'ts'?

Post by livesoft »

Charge up your charge-able devices to be fully charged beforehand. I think I could run my cable modem and router off of the sealed lead-acid battery in my portable car battery jump starter since that thing has an inverter and a 115 VAC socket if I wanted to, but I'd be sleeping from midnight to 8 am probably.

Also expect the power not to come back on at 8 am. LOL!
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squirm
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Re: Planned power outage - any 'must-do's' or 'don'ts'?

Post by squirm »

freeze some 2 liter water bottles, put in freezer and fridge before lights go out.
BogleTaxPro
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Re: Planned power outage - any 'must-do's' or 'don'ts'?

Post by BogleTaxPro »

...don't forget unplug the TV or anything else that has a remote (since they're just normally sleeping).

And if you have smart home devices...you can leave them on, but they may have to be re-booted after the power comes back on. And if you have smart routines that turn things on and off, those can also get confused and may have to be reset.
Jack FFR1846
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Re: Planned power outage - any 'must-do's' or 'don'ts'?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Turn refrigerator and freezer temp to full coldest setting.
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Figuring_it_out
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Re: Planned power outage - any 'must-do's' or 'don'ts'?

Post by Figuring_it_out »

In the pre covid world I would turn off everything then leave for at least 6 hours. Fishing, Visiting, Shopping, work out, bike ride. anything to not sit in a dark and possibly stuffy apartment for 8 hours.

It was also a good time to meet the neighbors.

Your food will survive 8 hours no problem. You can open the fridge just do it quickly and infrequently. Open, grab, close. Dont open all the way if possible to let out as little cold air as possible.
Last edited by Figuring_it_out on Wed Sep 23, 2020 7:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
livesoft
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Re: Planned power outage - any 'must-do's' or 'don'ts'?

Post by livesoft »

Figuring_it_out wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 7:06 pm In the pre covid world I would turn off everything then leave for at least 6 hours. Fishing, Visiting, Shopping, work out, bike ride. anything to not sit in a dark and possibly stuffy apartment for 8 hours.

It was also a good time to meet the neighbors.
You and your neighbors must be night owls. :)
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Figuring_it_out
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Re: Planned power outage - any 'must-do's' or 'don'ts'?

Post by Figuring_it_out »

Oh I missed the midnight to 8 am part. :)

Yup, charge up the phone and sleep in. done.
000
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Re: Planned power outage - any 'must-do's' or 'don'ts'?

Post by 000 »

Flashlight in bedroom to assist in any nighttime trips, e.g. to the bathroom.
Lantern in bathroom so you don't have to hold the flashlight.
Consider leaving window shades/curtains slightly open (other than in bedrooms) for moonlight/streetlight.
The idea about freezing water bottles or using ice packs in freezer/fridge is a good one.
iamlucky13
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Re: Planned power outage - any 'must-do's' or 'don'ts'?

Post by iamlucky13 »

doctorfaust wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 6:19 pm My apartment is shutting off the power this weekend (midnight to 8 AM, just one day) apparently for electrical company things.

I'm planning on basics like 'don't open the refrigerator or freezer' and 'put the computer/game consoles in complete shut down (not sleep mode)'. Are there other things I should be doing and am perhaps forgetting? Or am I overreacting for an 8 hour span? Forgive me if this is a silly question, but this is the first time I've experienced a planned outage (as opposed to the multiple unplanneds I've had in my life.)
Complete shutdown for sure, and turn off the power switch on your surge suppressor (or unplug if for some reason you don't have a surge suppressor). The electric company damaged a motherboard once for me when they turned my power off for 10 minutes to install a new meter.

It was unscheduled, so when they knocked on the door to tell me they were about to do it, I didn't have much time to think. I just put the computer to sleep rather than close out of my work. I knew enough I should have recognized the loss of power was going to cause the RAM contents to be lost, and give me errors for Windows not being properly shut down.

However, I'm not aware of a reason being asleep would have damaged the hardware. It should have just meant losing any unsaved work. The really cheap surge suppressor I had at the time also likely provided minimal protection.

Regardless, when they turned the power back on, I could not boot. It turned out the SATA controller was dead.

I filed a claim for reimbursement for a replacement motherboard, but they rejected it for "lack of evidence the failure was caused by their work." I let it go at that point, since I probably wasn't going to be able to get anywhere on a correlation suggests causation argument.

Do the same for your TV if you have one.

If you want to be extra cautious, also unplug or switch of the breakers for any appliances with electronic control boards. Personally, I haven't bothered to do this last one, but I have heard stories of appliance control boards being damaged by presumed power surges.
BuddyJet
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Re: Planned power outage - any 'must-do's' or 'don'ts'?

Post by BuddyJet »

+1 on unplugging as much electronics as possible. Being without power overnight is not a big deal but the power supplied in the disconnect and reconnect can be very dirty and damaging.
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OldSport
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Re: Planned power outage - any 'must-do's' or 'don'ts'?

Post by OldSport »

doctorfaust wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 6:19 pm My apartment is shutting off the power this weekend (midnight to 8 AM, just one day) apparently for electrical company things.

I'm planning on basics like 'don't open the refrigerator or freezer' and 'put the computer/game consoles in complete shut down (not sleep mode)'. Are there other things I should be doing and am perhaps forgetting? Or am I overreacting for an 8 hour span? Forgive me if this is a silly question, but this is the first time I've experienced a planned outage (as opposed to the multiple unplanneds I've had in my life.)
Set refrigerator, freezer, and A/C (depending on weather) to low settings hours ahead and don't open them. Get a UPS if you want to use internet/laptop, although its midnight to 8.
Yooper
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Re: Planned power outage - any 'must-do's' or 'don'ts'?

Post by Yooper »

If you like your morning showers, take one the night of the outage before you go to bed. If your water heater is electric.
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whodidntante
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Re: Planned power outage - any 'must-do's' or 'don'ts'?

Post by whodidntante »

Yooper wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 9:14 pm If you like your morning showers, take one the night of the outage before you go to bed. If your water heater is electric.
A 50+ gallon tub of insulated hot water sort of just stays hot.
I've gone on vacations with the hot water shut off (gas in my case) and I came back to hot water.
Of course, it's not go to be enough for the Brady Bunch to each have a 30 minute shower.
Starfish
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Re: Planned power outage - any 'must-do's' or 'don'ts'?

Post by Starfish »

The topic becomes ridiculous. You don't need anything. No flashlights, no water in the fridge, nothing. In case you don't want to go to bed early have a kindle around.
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Re: Planned power outage - any 'must-do's' or 'don'ts'?

Post by Strayshot »

squirm wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 6:55 pm freeze some 2 liter water bottles, put in freezer and fridge before lights go out.
This. The less volume in the freezer the better off you are, will also keep the fridge cold.

Charge up a portable usb power supply for the cellphone just in case.

Never trust that the power will come back on when they say it will...............
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Voltaire2.0
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Re: Planned power outage - any 'must-do's' or 'don'ts'?

Post by Voltaire2.0 »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 7:06 pm Turn refrigerator and freezer temp to full coldest setting.
+1
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jabberwockOG
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Re: Planned power outage - any 'must-do's' or 'don'ts'?

Post by jabberwockOG »

Always plan on the power being out longer than specified. Make sure your smoke detectors work with no AC power. I personally would not sleep in a house/building that does not have at least one functioning smoke detector. Don't open frig door or freezer door and you will be fine for min of 48 hours - maybe longer for the freezer section. Perhaps put some basics and ice cubes in a cooler so you don;t have to open frig doors, just in the case the power shut off runs longer. If you have frig water dispenser be aware it will not dispense water with no AC. Take the ice cubes out of the ice dispenser and put them in a zip lock, and turn the frig ice maker switch to off. Make a pot of hot coffee and put in a thermos before going to bed. If you have a security system plan on it honking and beeping along with perhaps smoke detectors and anything else electronic that is plugged in/hardwired that has battery back up and alert capability. We had a long power outage recently and had to take the back up batteries of of the security alarm because it was going crazy. If you have a dvr like a tivo, power it down before the AC shuts off, and power back on only when you are certain the AC is on and 100% stable again - do the same for any other sensitive or expensive electronics.
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jabberwockOG
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Re: Planned power outage - any 'must-do's' or 'don'ts'?

Post by jabberwockOG »

BuddyJet wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 7:22 pm +1 on unplugging as much electronics as possible. Being without power overnight is not a big deal but the power supplied in the disconnect and reconnect can be very dirty and damaging.
100% this.
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Re: Planned power outage - any 'must-do's' or 'don'ts'?

Post by AlohaJoe »

doctorfaust wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 6:19 pm Or am I overreacting for an 8 hour span? Forgive me if this is a silly question, but this is the first time I've experienced a planned outage (as opposed to the multiple unplanneds I've had in my life.)
Yes, you are overreacting, especially since it is happening overnight. I live in a developing country where power gets cut multiple times a year. Nobody does any of the things discussed in this thread.
Starfish wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 9:29 pm The topic becomes ridiculous. You don't need anything. No flashlights, no water in the fridge, nothing. In case you don't want to go to bed early have a kindle around.
I agree with this. But now it helps put into context some of the Boglehead anxieties about finances. If some people are this worried about the power going out for a few hours while they're asleep, no wonder they lose sleep worrying about whether they should split their holdings across 8 different brokerages to stay under SIPC insurance limits....
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Watty
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Re: Planned power outage - any 'must-do's' or 'don'ts'?

Post by Watty »

One thing that may not have been mentioned is that it would be good to have a battery operated alarm clock or cell phone set to wake you up in the morning if you need to get up at a specific time.

Also consider that the power might come on at three in the morning and any lights or devices that are left on might wake you up.
mega317
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Re: Planned power outage - any 'must-do's' or 'don'ts'?

Post by mega317 »

It's not a silly question, but you're overreacting. How is this different from your prior multiple unplanned outages?

If this isn't the most important thing in the thread:
Watty wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:03 pm Also consider that the power might come on at three in the morning and any lights or devices that are left on might wake you up.
Then this is:
000 wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 7:13 pm Flashlight in bedroom to assist in any nighttime trips, e.g. to the bathroom.
Your biggest risks are being woken up and falling on the way to the bathroom. Do you have kids? When we had our recent planned outage we had a plan for the lack of nightlight--but what we didn't know was the battery powered light we used turned itself off after an hour. Oops!

Now if your outage goes from 8 hours to 48 hours and involves everything within hundreds of miles then you should fill the gas tank, also the bathtub or else you won't be flushing the toilet for a while. That was a fun one.
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Re: Planned power outage - any 'must-do's' or 'don'ts'?

Post by user5027 »

whodidntante wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 9:23 pm
Yooper wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 9:14 pm If you like your morning showers, take one the night of the outage before you go to bed. If your water heater is electric.
A 50+ gallon tub of insulated hot water sort of just stays hot.
I've gone on vacations with the hot water shut off (gas in my case) and I came back to hot water.
Of course, it's not go to be enough for the Brady Bunch to each have a 30 minute shower.
A few years ago we lost power for several days during the summer. I found the hot water tank would last me for 4 showers taken over 4 days before getting too cold. These were "Navy Showers." The water is only on to wet and rinse and off while soaping and shampooing.

Would not have been possible with a tank-less hot water heater.
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Re: Planned power outage - any 'must-do's' or 'don'ts'?

Post by wfrobinette »

It's more likely the power is coming back on earlier than 8 AM. 99.9% of the time these things are planned to last much shorter but worst case scenario is communicated to ensure anyone that can't deal with worst case is warned.
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doctorfaust
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Re: Planned power outage - any 'must-do's' or 'don'ts'?

Post by doctorfaust »

Glad to hear I'm mostly overthinking this - but also glad to receive the reminder to unplug (not just shut down) everything electronic. Thanks all!
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Re: Planned power outage - any 'must-do's' or 'don'ts'?

Post by mmmodem »

My power company plans shutdowns almost twice every year for maintenance. I do...... drum roll..... absolutely nothing.

We open the fridge and get food out as needed. We flush the toilet the usual. The game consoles are always fully shutdown. We have a well pump and the residual pressure has been plenty to handle the bathroom and cleansing duties of a family of six.

About the only thing we do is plan our shower before or after the outage. Everything always comes back up working fine after the outage map. No need to knock on wood. That's how the electronics are designed to work.
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Re: Planned power outage - any 'must-do's' or 'don'ts'?

Post by iamlucky13 »

AlohaJoe wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 10:43 pm
doctorfaust wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 6:19 pm Or am I overreacting for an 8 hour span? Forgive me if this is a silly question, but this is the first time I've experienced a planned outage (as opposed to the multiple unplanneds I've had in my life.)
Yes, you are overreacting, especially since it is happening overnight. I live in a developing country where power gets cut multiple times a year. Nobody does any of the things discussed in this thread.
I think he's worrying about it too much, but that doesn't mean nothing should be done. The anecdote I mentioned cost me $125, several days without a computer, and several hours of my personal time troubleshooting and fixing it.

Even now that I have good quality surge suppressors, I still isolate my computer and TV by flipping the power switches on the suppressors when a power outage seems likely (announced, storms, etc). It will take several centuries of continuing this habit before the time spent on it equals the inconvenience of it happening once.

And a flashlight seems like it would be appreciated by most people if they might need to get up for anything in the night.
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willthrill81
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Re: Planned power outage - any 'must-do's' or 'don'ts'?

Post by willthrill81 »

You've gotten a lot of good advice already. I'll repeat what I believe to be most pertinent.

Turn down your refrigerator and freezer as low as they go. Don't open them if you can avoid doing so while you don't have power.

Get a flashlight with good batteries handy in case you need light in the night.

Unplug all expensive electronics.
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