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Ohio Wind Storm September 2008

If you haven’t herd, our house was one of the many casualties of the Wind Storm that blew through Ohio this past Sunday. No one was hurt, but the roof on the house got a pretty good beating. Our power was out from about 5pm that Sunday and was restored at about 9pm Monday evening. We were without power for about 28 hours. Just about everything but the pop and water in the frig is marked for the trash.

The storm also damaged a fence gate and blew off one of the rails to our deck. Many other homes in the neighborhood have similar or worse damage.

Sunday night was very interesting, before the sun went down Heather and gathered all of our flash lights and candles, got our small gas grill out of the garage and figured out how to open the garage while the power was out.

On Monday, Heather navigated through the city of broken stop lights and got to work. I spent the first half of the day fixing the fence gate and putting together the baby change table. Once I ran out of things I could do without power, I took the laptop to my Brother-n-law’s office and got myself caught up on email. When Heather and I got home around 6pm, there was still no power so we went out for dinner. Finally at about 9pm, the power was restored!

Our neighbor had to get a gas generator in order to keep their sump pump powered. Though we don’t have a water issue under our home, our dependence on electricity from the grid hit home pretty hard. We’ve decided that we don’t want this to happen to us again. Over the next 3 months, we’re going to make an investment into purchasing solar panels and battery packs for both situations like these and they can be used for camping/traveling.

I did some math and discovered that our cable modem uses roughly 2 Watts and my laptop uses roughly 75 Watts. In a pinch, it would not take much in order to power just these two items. I did some research, it looks like I can get a battery pack and some solar panels to charge the battery for less than $500. It’s a start, though not a complete power replacement for all of the electronics and lights in the house. I’m also ordering a Kill A Watt device to monitor the Watts used by certain devices in the home so in the future we have a good idea what we can and cannot power through a solar system.

Another item I’m going to be ordering soon is a solar USB charger. You can find these on Ebay. Anything that you own that can be charged plugged into a USB port of a computer can use a solar USB charger. Both heather and I have a USB charging cable for our cell phones, which would have been very useful for us this past weekend.

How did the wind storm impact your home? Were you prepared for the power outage? Are you taking steps like I am to be less dependant on electricity from the grid?

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