Like being in the city there are few occasions when the power will go out. I have noticed a difference between a city power outage and a country power outage. For one, the power stays out much longer than in the city. The city tends to get power back on within an hour or two at the most. My experiences with country power loss can be anywhere from 4-5 hours to 1-2 days or more depending on the issue. Perhaps there are more city workers and businesses that depend on the use of power that causes them to put the city as high priority. Either way when moving to the country, make sure you come prepared for those unplanned power outages. It can happen in the summer months due to storms or car accidents or in the middle of winter due to accumulation of ice and snow on the lines and trees or car accidents due to hazardous road conditions. Either way there are many things to consider.
One thing everyone knows is make sure you have enough candles to last you for a few days, as well as lighters or matches. Candles are a great source of light, as well as they provide a bit of warmth to a room. Never leave your candles unattended, or in an area where small children or animals make knock them over. I like to purchase candles in glass jars with lids. This way they have a solid base and are less likely to tip over. The fire is easily extinguished by placing the lid back on the jar too. I believe they are safer and you can usually purchase these on sale or on clearance after Christmas. They usually come in all sizes and scents. I’m not partial to having scents, however when they are regular $16 and I can by them for $3-$4 on clearance, it’s a no brainer. I also recommend having a few flashlights on hand. Purchase a few small ones to have at your bedside so when the power goes out you can easily find your way around the house. I also recommend having a couple larger flashlights on hand to give off more light for longer periods of time. There are some neat ones you can purchase now from the hardware store than can last up to 2 days, or 18 hours on one battery life or charge. These larger flashlights give off more light so during those winter months when the power may go out around 6pm you are still able to read or do a family activity. Another way to add light to your home is using oil lamps. I don’t personally have experience with oil lamps. We have purchased a few at second hand ones from thrift shops and garage sales. The nice thing about oil lamps is that they last so much longer than a regular candle. It is a good idea to have a dedicated area to store your candles, flashlights and lighters so they are easily accessible in the dark. We keep ours in the living room where we spend most of our time.
Another thing to consider when the power is out for hours during the winter months is how will you keep warm? We have an electric oil furnace, so when the power goes out we have no heat. Think about ways to prepare your home in case this was to happen. As much as I do not like fleece or using man made fabrics this is the one time I would recommend having a nice thick warm blanket. It will definitely keep you warm when you need it. During the winter months it would be good to keep extra blankets in an accessible area. We also have thick socks and sweaters that we layer up on those nights when the power goes out. We had been without power for 11 hours over night in November once. It was crisp when we woke up that morning but we managed to keep warm throughout the night. We wore double socks, and a sweater to bed with extra blankets, one being a thick fleece blanket, and we decided to all cuddled up in the same bed to provide more body heat. It worked well. I’m thankful it wasn’t the middle of February. This would be a good time to think of an alternative heat source. We are planning to put a woodstove in our home even though we do not have a lot of acreage to provide firewood. You can always purchase firewood. It is cheaper to buy the logs and to cut the wood yourself, if you wish to do so.
When considering a woodstove think about what is most practical? I absolutely love the idea of a cook woodstove! I think it is so practical! On those days when you have no power, not only do you need a heat source but this works great if you want to cook a meal, heat up some water or make soup. I think if you have the room to do so, this is one thing I would not pass up. Our place is tiny and I am unsure if one would fit well, so the next thing I would look for is a woodstove that I can put a pot on top of, to be able to heat water on. When purchasing a woodstove look at the square footage of your home. If you only have 1200 square feet you don’t need a woodstove that does 3,000 square feet, it will be unbearable! Consider getting one with a fan to circulate the heat and one with a large storage area to hold more wood. We will be adding a link to our website on the best woodstoves to purchase and where to purchase them. We will add YouTube links for information on using and maintaining woodstoves. Woodstoves can also be used to heat your water and heat your floors. We will have more information regarding this in a future post.
Once more I will bring up the importance of having an outhouse on your property. Again, if the power is out the water is not working because you have an electric water pump. This is also a great time to mention alternative energy sources. While on the topic of water, you can purchase a hand pump that can be hooked up to your well, in your basement that you can use on a power outage. This will allow you to wash your hands, have drinking water, flush your toilet as well as take a shower. You can also hook your pump up to solar and use sunlight to run your water pump. If you like the idea of solar you can also hook up your whole house to solar panels and you wouldn’t need to worry about losing electricity. You would have lights, heat, water and power from simply using solar panels, batteries and a transmitter. There is also the option to purchase solar lights online that you could place within your home, perhaps the bathroom, living or kitchen area or bedroom. These little solar lights will give off some light if attached to your ceiling or molding. They will light the room up enough so you do not need to use a lot of candles. Our friends do this and it’s brilliant. Most of these solar lights last about 6-8 hours per charge. There is also the option to have a hook up for a generator to your home. This way you could flip a switch on your electrical panel and use your generator if your power goes out. There are many options to look into and we will provide you with as much information as we can on each of these topics. Check out our website often or subscribe and be updated on our latest posts as we add more information and links.
When the power goes out the phone sometimes goes out too. This is when having a relationship with your neighbors is important. Most often, in the country, your neighbor will be your biggest help. Some may come by and check on you to make sure everything is fine. This would be a good opportunity for you to check on your neighbor and show kindness, offering help in any way. They can often update you on information using a radio or television, which you may not have in your home. The best decision is to consider alternative plans for your country home.
If you can remember anything from this post remember to have candles and lighters on hand, consider an alternative heating source, possibility of solar, hand pump or generator for your home, always have extra water on hand for drinking, consider an outhouse, and show kindness to your neighbors. In the country we often depend on our neighbors for help. Get to know the people around you, offer your help, be a light in your neighborhood. Most importantly however, trust in God. “He is your only hope, He is your righteousness, your Substitute and Surety, your all in all” FW 76.3 “The more you trust your Redeemer the more you will love Him. He is your friend in life or in death. He is the crown of your rejoicing. He is worthy of your fullest faith. All the sorrows and afflictions we suffer here only constitutes our discipline for a higher life, for through the appropriated grace of Christ trials will be the means whereby we shall be purified and fitted for heaven” 10MR 176.2