60

Call your local police department and inquire about a "Knox Box Key". They probably have a master already to open one. You will need to buy the one they suggest or have a locksmith get involved to match their key to the box you purchase. They might even have a system set up for your community that you don't know about.


29

ABSOLUTELY NOT!! This is NEVER an option. You MUST use some form of transfer switch or interlock, along with the proper male inlet. Also, a male-to-male cord is called a "suicide cord" for a reason.


27

The cheapest thing to do, and feasible to do at the very last minute without any supplies, is to shut off the water at an underground location outside the building (at the meter, for instance). Iced pipes, and even broken pipes, aren't what causes severe damage to a building -- it's the water that flows uncontrolled after a frozen and broken pipe thaws that ...


25

The least expensive solution here is to buy a combo lock key box. You place a key to your home inside, put the box somewhere accessible outside and, if you call 911, you simply provide them the location and code. Just be sure to reset the code between uses. Alternatively you could buy a door lock with a keypad (example) but this route is far more expensive.


24

Use the Minnesota and California building codes That's to protect you from freeze and earthquakes. (New Madrid fault, yo). There are a thousand little details in home construction that differ between warm places and cold. I come from the snow belt, and am constantly looking at sun-belt houses going "Wow, I guess you can do that here". Bare water ...


18

My mother lives alone and is in a wheelchair so she has limited mobility. She has a number code door control and local EMS has the code on file. She also has a "I've fallen and I can't get up!" service and they have a record of the code as well.


10

I live in southern New England, where we can usually see our natural disasters coming a few days in advance (snowstorms, hurricanes, etc.), so your considerations will be different, but I'll share what I do and what I've learned in three 5+ day outages over the past two years; it may give you some reference points. Fuel reserves I have a gasoline-powered ...


10

The fire department is the appropriate place to call for a carbon monoxide situation. I would call their non-emergency number and ask them to come by at their convenience. If you are in a building with other occupants it's possible the situation is caused by something elsewhere. FYI most carbon monoxide detectors have a limited life (~7 years). There should ...


10

One option is to buy a 'smart lock' that gives you the ability to unlock the door from device such as smart phone or tablet. If you carry a smartphone around, this might be a viable option. I feel obligated to note, however, that products in the 'internet of things' (IOT) space have notoriously poor software security practices. For example, a lot of ...


10

The transfer switch that MUST be used - as pointed out by Speedy - is essential that it be properly installed in conjunction with how the utility / house wiring is installed. The transfer switch and interlock mechanism is essential for the safety of both you and for the utility folks that may be working on downed utility lines. With out a proper interlock ...


10

If you accept that more weather extremes are likely, then moving to setting up the water system in a way that it's less likely to actually freeze, as we do in the (traditional) colder areas might look worthwhile. However, to your question: Your basic approach, for a more limited set of changes, in advance, make sure that you can (and know how to, and ...


7

I worked as a high voltage lineman for 30 years and have seen all kinds of squirrelly generator set ups. It is never a good idea to plug your generator into your home's wiring even if your turn your main off. NEC requires that a transfer switch be used. I have seen more than a few main breakers that had failed and were still on when they showed off. If you ...


6

Measuring the startup load is as easy as using a clamp on meter and turning the air handler on and off. The startup load will be high for a split second, then drop down to a steady load. Use Ohms Law to calculate the wattage. Watts/Voltage = Current As mentioned in my comment, the invertors peak load is a good indication of the invertors motor starting ...


5

This kind of thing comes up often in regards to security (well in my IT security experience at least). You want to make something easy to break into access for the good folks, without making it easy for the bad folks. This is hard! Some of the other answers suggested lock boxes with a master key or number combo. These are not very good. In an emergency ...


5

Here in Minnesota, it's pretty common that a house needs to be winterized. That was especially true about 10 years ago during the surge in foreclosures that left a lot of homes vacant for many months until the banks could move ahead with selling the property. The other answers hit a lot of the key points, but I'll add a few that will more or less guarantee ...


4

I was told by an electrician that the mains breaker does not disconnect the neutral line, only the two halves of the 240 volt feed. Thus you are still connected to the grid. A transfer switch will isolate everything.


4

At our home town, the Police, Fire, and EMT have a program that address this. At one's descretion, a home owner can leave a copy of the door key and/or PIN code, secured at the station, andt used in an emergency. No waiting for beaking doors or windows.


4

Get a lock with a built-in electronic keypad. Then if you ever have to call for an ambulance but can't get to the door, simply tell the dispatcher the code before the ambulance arrives. They will be able to relay it to the emergency responders, who will have no trouble opening the door. Locks like this typically have keycodes that are 4–6 digits long and ...


4

Pulling the plug is quick, easy check if you have the right socket. Should be fairly clean, with a gap. BTW, my Gen has a separate on/off switch, yours? Next up would be some carb cleaner (after pulling air cleaner) Remove and clean carb bowl, float and orifice. Would also drain gas, put in car day after fillup, refill with new gas and treatment Next time,...


4

I would replace the spark plug and remove the air filter to make sure it isn't plugged up. Then, while the air filter is still removed, spray a little starting fluid into the carb through the hole under the air filter and start it up. If it runs for just a couple seconds and dies, that means the gas in your carb was probably bad. Starting it with the ...


4

I’m a proponent of portable generators. I have a gasoline unit though I’ll consider a propane unit when this one finally croaks. Permanent generators are great – if your structure is still standing when the disaster is over. The primary disadvantage of portable generators is they are subject to theft when you need them the most. A couple of fellows ...


4

Interlock An interlock, is a device that prevents a switch (usually a breaker) from being turned on. In the context of switching between generator and utility power. An interlock is a device that prevents you from supplying a panel from both power sources at the same time. It's typically a simple, low cost device, that has to be manually operated. To ...


2

As others have said, this will vary considerably from one device to another. One way to measure the quality of electricity is "Total Harmonic Distortion" (THD), which is a measure of how much distortion from a true sine wave there is. A perfect sine wave is 0%, and a square wave (very poor) is 48%. Anything under 5% is generally considered "perfect" for ...


2

There is no code requirement for width of hallways in residences. However, the minimum width for hospitals is 6’. This is primarily so gurneys can pass. (Btw, ER gurneys are much bigger than ambulance gurneys.) The commercial code (not residential houses) require a doorway to be a minimum of 32” clear opening when the door is in the “open” position. If ...


2

Gas/Propane heat + a way to hook to a generator My in-laws had a severe ice storm a few years ago (no power for 36 hours) and my father-in-law knew how to pull the power line to the HVAC system and run the blower off his generator. Harper's interlock sounds good, but a cheaper DIY solution (provided you're comfortable with your electrical panel) is doing ...


2

When we had our last big freeze in Ireland, our house was saved by a dripping tap that I had not got around to replacing. There was a constant small flow of water so nothing froze up. We supplied four other houses for a week that winter!


1

All the answers about lock boxes and such look great. But if you don't have some kind of medical condition where you expect it's likely you'll have an emergency at some point, and if you live in the US, I wouldn't worry about it. As far as I'm aware typically the fire department responds to all medical calls, and they will get in. You'll have to pay for ...


1

In my rural fire department you either give a key to the fire chief, who tags it and locks it inside the keybox of a response vehicle, or you give the alarm company (if you have one) or the chief the location or code (or both) for your spare key, or the contact info for your choice of a local "keyholder". Of course, almost nobody here locks their doors ...


1

Depending on where you live, Smart911 can be a nice option. It is a free system where you can add medical information, access codes, pictures of your children, vehicle information, and other pertinent details that can save valuable time for first responders in emergency situations. (If the 911 answering service is set up with Smart911, they can relay this ...


1

Can you? yes it is possible, it will probably even work. Is it a really bad idea, yes. Is it criminally illegal, probably not as long as you are sure to flip the breaker. Is it against code, yes. As others have said use an interlock, or if you need to do it cheaper, buy extension chords for your 3-4 critical appliances and use them.


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