Emergency Preparation

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CenlaReefer

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This seems like the best place to start this thread. Especially since we all live near the Gulf of Mexico, we need more emergency preparation than other regions of the USA. If anyone has questions, please post them in this thread.

I will start with my emergency setup and a question. We have a generator that can run the essentials in my home in addition to all my smaller reef tanks. Our last freeze got me thinking about something lacking in my setup. My generator has to be started manually along with switching power manually. Let's say freezing rain causes an outage at 2 AM. My family and I could remain asleep under our warm covers for hours while my tanks get too cold and livestock dies. I hate to wake up and get out of a warm bed during an outage at that time, yet I don't really have a choice. I love my coral and fish too much. I need an alarm that notifies me when we have a power outage. I rather not use the Apex notification from my cell. I need something loud that repeats until I get up to turn it off. My small battery backup that supplies my cable modem and home WiFi beeps once during an outage yet that is about it. I cannot depend on that. What do you all recommend?
 
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CenlaReefer

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That is cheaper and better than my other plan. I was thinking about switching-out my backup power supply to a larger APC unit that has a better alarm. This is so much cheaper!
 

CenlaReefer

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I appreciate this thread being placed on the home page of the forum. The picture used reminds me of a few key points of preparation:

(1) In case of equipment failure (i.e. heaters burning-up), we should always have essential backups. Sometimes with a power surge, equipment can get fried/destroyed. I have a backup dual bulb t5 light fixture set aside as a backup. I have an extra return pump yet need to have some additional plumbing to ensure it will work for my needs. Extra powerheads would be nice. This reminds me that a whole house surge protector would be a great advantage yet expensive.

(2) If you have the resources, keep pre-made saltwater or at least have RO or RODI water made ahead of time. This may be a good idea especially when a storm is expected.

Please post other points of preparation you all hold as important.
 
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BluewaterLa

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Frozen half gallon and whole gallon jugs of RODI water in the freezer for power outages in the summer time to help cool the tank if needed.
This has saved my tank more times than I can count.
House starts getting hot from no AC, just float a jug or two in the tank with power heads going and the temperature stays below 81 to 82 degrees which is far better than 86 or above
 

clsanchez77

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For the power outage part: My alarm system will regularly beep on a power outage until acknowledged. I recognize not everyone has an alarm system. My second notification is I have about a half-dozen objects in my house that are Internet-of-Things (IoT) and all of these items will send a notification to my phone if they lose power or internet connection. The Neptune Apex system (while I no longe use it), also has this feature.

From here, I have a 6500 kW generator and I rotate out about 20 gallons of gasoline on standby. I hope to upgrade to a dual fuel system with a. 100-lb tank of propane one day. I have a generator port on my house that is tied directly to my house using an interlocking double-throw switch. This is from the HomeLine circuit breakers and is UL listed. My AC, oven and microwave is NOT connected to this system, but everything else inside the walls is, including the aquariums. The microwave is powered by my oven and was an obvious short-sighted decision made by the previous home-owner lol. From experimentation, I have determined my tank only needs about 6 hours of power a day when using my old MP40's on battery backup to get another 12 hours. My tanks were fine 6 hours with nothing. Mileage will vary for your setups.

On my tank setups, I am huge on redundancy and I always have two lights, two pumps, two heaters, etc. I do not run two skimmers. My wife would kill me LOL. When I reset my layout...one day....I will split the load on two breakers.

On the water side, I have the ability to store 130-gallons of RODI water. This is not setup yet, but I have the tanks and the shed. I need to build the shelving.

Finally for temperature, since foam spraying my house, temps inside are very well modulated. I do keep two window AC units to run off my generator when required and one goes in near the tank, where the other is in our office. I plan to one day switch these out with the portable AC units.

A whole home generator that runs our AC system is out of the question for the time being. I would need to run a gas line from the east side of my house to the backyard, navigating around my three maples. I would also need to run the power lines from the west side the house. This would require a transfer switch between the meter and main panel, which were installed back-to-back. I'm sure it's $$,$$$$ doable LOL. Just not worth it to me. The sacrifices we make with the current setup just do not justify that cost...not by a long shot. I'm in Jefferson Parish and there is no way to pull this off without a permit, at least not in my neighborhood. With all the set back requirements they enforce, there is only one place to put the generator in my backyard and my wife and I do not want to give up that green space for a generator needed only once a few years. So generator on wheels is what we will continue to use.

FWIW, on a 6500-kW generator, I am running all interior lighting and outlets on a 2400-SF home, two refrigerators, one freezer, two window AC units, a small dehumidifier (upstairs). All our interior lighting is now LED and makes a difference. The "trick" is I have to balance the loads sometimes. I sometimes have to move the AC plugs around for this. With this setup, I can keep my downstairs around 80F and upstairs around 90F with "controlled" humidity. I only run the generator around 12 hours a day, with 6 hours in the morning and 6 hours in the afternoon and a few hour break mid-day. Generator is off from around 11pm to 7am so we (and neighbors) can sleep. I do plan to upgrade this to an inverter setup, but am happy with the size and would like dual fuel with propane. There is no cost effective way to get natural gas to this.
 
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Kirk_M

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This seems like the best place to start this thread. Especially since we all live near the Gulf of Mexico, we need more emergency preparation than other regions of the USA. If anyone has questions, please post them in this thread.

I will start with my emergency setup and a question. We have a generator that can run the essentials in my home in addition to all my smaller reef tanks. Our last freeze got me thinking about something lacking in my setup. My generator has to be started manually along with switching power manually. Let's say freezing rain causes an outage at 2 AM. My family and I could remain asleep under our warm covers for hours while my tanks get too cold and livestock dies. I hate to wake up and get out of a warm bed during an outage at that time, yet I don't really have a choice. I love my coral and fish too much. I need an alarm that notifies me when we have a power outage. I rather not use the Apex notification from my cell. I need something loud that repeats until I get up to turn it off. My small battery backup that supplies my cable modem and home WiFi beeps once during an outage yet that is about it. I cannot depend on that. What do you all recommend?

Your water temp on any large volume of water (think anything more than 5 gallons) isn't going to drop that rapidly in that short amount of time, due to its capacity to hold heat. Heck, your home won't get that cold that quickly, if it's insulated. By the time you wake up, say, at 8AM, six hours after power out, your house won't have dropped to that low of a temp to have killed your tank.
 

CenlaReefer

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Your water temp on any large volume of water (think anything more than 5 gallons) isn't going to drop that rapidly in that short amount of time, due to its capacity to hold heat. Heck, your home won't get that cold that quickly, if it's insulated. By the time you wake up, say, at 8AM, six hours after power out, your house won't have dropped to that low of a temp to have killed your tank.
My tanks that I am concerned about are in my sunroom connected to my garage. It is a 34 gallon frag tank and 30 gallon cube that both share a common 40 breeder sump. I only keep the sunroom at 60 degrees and have 2 heaters in the sump. I have been using window coverings to help insulate.

My big concern is during those nights when it gets down below 20 degrees. We had a freezing rain causing falling branches and were without power for at least 24+ hours one winter not too far back.
 
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CenlaReefer

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There is a whole lot of money, time, and love put into my corals. I rather not take a chance. I got my cheap power outage alarm in from Amazon. I was thinking of not hooking it up until another severe winter storm rolls in; however, I will test it soon.
 
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