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How to Prepare for a Power Outage or Rolling Blackout

Very little thought goes into how valuable electricity is. Daily functions in a modern house are nearly impossible without it. You do not really realize how convienient electricity is, until you are left without. In recent years we have seen a demand for electricity that exceeds the supply, and there’s no end in sight. Rolling blackouts are a common news story and will continue to be. The power grid itself is pretty fragile. A bad storm can do such severe damage that homes are out of power for days. In our area of the country, we seemingly even lose power with the slightest breeze.


Without any sort of plan in place if the power goes offline, you could be left in a pretty sucky situation. You will be unable to wash up, be nearly blind after sunset, and without a means to charge your phone or use medical devices. Not to mention, you may lose hundreds of dollars of refrigerated and frozen goods. During winter, the potential for frozen and bursted water pipes exists if your house becomes too cold. Being prepared saves you from all these potential headaches.

What are the basics that need to be covered?

  1. Water

  2. Heat

  3. Power for Vital Devices and Appliances

  4. Lighting

  5. Food, Cooking, and Cleaning

The rest of this article dives into the specifics on how I make sure my family is always prepared for a power outage.


The most basic need may become unavailable on tap during a power outage. If your home runs on a private well, it will cease to work without any backup power. While there is a good chance your city water pressure will remain, nothing is guaranteed as you are at the mercy of your local water municipality’s ability to keep backup power.

I always keep several days worth of water bottles and gallons of water stored for drinking. I purchased, filled, and store full 5 gallon jugs of water for washing hands and dishes. I also use this water for flushing toilets. I have one with a spout that can easily be positioned next to my kitchen sink for a convenient flow of water for washing.


You may be fine for a few hours without a heat source, but in freezing temperatures, it does not take long for a home to become very chilly. Without heat you run the risk of water pipes freezing and cracking, causing costly damage to your home.

We keep two non-electric kerosene heaters and plenty of fuel to ensure that our home would last days without our electric heat in the middle of winter. We are also installing a new wood burning stove and stocking firewood for a sustainable heating source in the event we need it.

Power for Vital Devices and Appliances

Our short term power solution utilizes the power tool batteries we already own. We found that we could purchase adaptors for these batteries (Milwaukee and Ryobi). We experimented, and found an 18V Milwaukee battery powered our sizeable refrigerator for 4 hours. You can also use these adaptors like a normal outlet. Plugging in a lamp and charging phones is easy. As long as you keep your batteries fully charged at all times, you are ready for an outage.

Our more solid source of power in the event of a longer lasting power outage is delivered by our generator. We keep this smaller dual fuel one ready to go. In addition to the generator, we keep several cans of gas and plenty of propane on hand as well as extension cords to reach from where the generator sits outside to the appliances inside. This is used to keep our refrigerator and chest freezer running, as well as recharge batteries that we will then use to run smaller electronics and lamps. 


We had a known spot for candles in my childhood home, and rarely lit one outside of a power outage. While candles do provide light, they are a dim and more dangerous option for lighting a home in an emergency.

My favorite and more sustainable method for lighting our home when the grid is down are these solar powered lamps. They are bright, easy to use, and require nothing more than the sun to keep them running.

Other lighting sources I have include quality kerosene lamps + fuel, rechargeable flashlights, and battery powered lanterns/flashlights. I like having a variety of resources for redundancy.

Food, Cooking, and Cleaning

Incase of any emergency, you should have at least a few days worth of non-perishable foods that do not require cooking. This is as simple as keeping granola bars, trail mix, crackers, etc. on hand.  

As far as cooking goes, I have a gas stove and am always able to light it manually. We also have a propane camp stove. If a power outage occurs over winter, I can cook on top of my wood stove as well. Between all these, I am covered. Boiling water on top of my cooktop surfaces is my way for procuring hot water for washing dishes and bathing.

As you can see, It is not hard to be well-prepared for an outage of any length. I find it relieving to have a solid plan. Anytime the power goes out, I am able to keep my household running smoothly. I hope this article gave you an idea of how you can do the same.


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