OT: How Cold?
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OT: How Cold? (by razorback_tim [AR]) Feb 15, 2021 4:52 PM
       OT: How Cold? (by NE [PA]) Feb 15, 2021 5:15 PM
       OT: How Cold? (by Still Learning [NH]) Feb 15, 2021 5:25 PM
       OT: How Cold? (by NE [PA]) Feb 15, 2021 5:28 PM
       OT: How Cold? (by Barbara [VA]) Feb 15, 2021 5:40 PM
       OT: How Cold? (by plenty [MO]) Feb 15, 2021 5:43 PM
       OT: How Cold? (by WMH [NC]) Feb 15, 2021 6:03 PM
       OT: How Cold? (by Richard [MI]) Feb 15, 2021 6:11 PM
       OT: How Cold? (by MikeA [TX]) Feb 15, 2021 6:36 PM
       OT: How Cold? (by Ken [NY]) Feb 15, 2021 6:46 PM
       OT: How Cold? (by Deanna [TX]) Feb 15, 2021 6:54 PM
       OT: How Cold? (by #22 [MO]) Feb 15, 2021 7:00 PM
       OT: How Cold? (by DJ [VA]) Feb 15, 2021 7:15 PM
       OT: How Cold? (by Roy [AL]) Feb 15, 2021 7:43 PM
       OT: How Cold? (by NE [PA]) Feb 15, 2021 7:48 PM
       OT: How Cold? (by John... [MI]) Feb 15, 2021 7:53 PM
       OT: How Cold? (by Dee Ann [WI]) Feb 15, 2021 8:31 PM
       OT: How Cold? (by Johnny B. [MA]) Feb 15, 2021 11:20 PM
       OT: How Cold? (by Lana [IN]) Feb 16, 2021 12:04 AM
       OT: How Cold? (by Robert J [CA]) Feb 16, 2021 4:53 AM
       OT: How Cold? (by Allym [NJ]) Feb 16, 2021 7:59 AM
       OT: How Cold? (by S i d [MO]) Feb 16, 2021 8:41 AM
       OT: How Cold? (by MMIT [VA]) Feb 16, 2021 8:45 AM
       OT: How Cold? (by NE [PA]) Feb 16, 2021 9:10 AM
       OT: How Cold? (by razorback_tim [AR]) Feb 16, 2021 10:10 AM
       OT: How Cold? (by NE [PA]) Feb 16, 2021 11:05 AM
       OT: How Cold? (by don [PA]) Feb 16, 2021 11:09 AM
       OT: How Cold? (by Robert,OntarioCanada [ON]) Feb 16, 2021 1:17 PM
       OT: How Cold? (by Wilma [PA]) Feb 16, 2021 2:41 PM
       OT: How Cold? (by Allym [NJ]) Feb 17, 2021 10:47 AM
       OT: How Cold? (by Nellie [ME]) Feb 17, 2021 11:07 PM

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OT: How Cold? (by razorback_tim [AR]) Posted on: Feb 15, 2021 4:52 PM

If your furnace quit at your personal home with no other source of heat, how cold would it have to get inside before you and your family rented a motel for the night?

I frequently hear people saying that they have to stay in a motel because something is wrong at their house, but I've never done it in my entire life. Maybe I've just been fortunate that I haven't had any "real emergencies."


OT: How Cold? (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Feb 15, 2021 5:15 PM

I have a sleeping bag that's good for down to -40. Plenty of warm clothes and wool socks. However, I also have a wife and 4 kids, so I don't think we can go that low. If we did, my wife might have to spend the night with me in that sleeping bag and we might end with 5 kids. Hahahaha --70.44.xxx.xx

OT: How Cold? (by Still Learning [NH]) Posted on: Feb 15, 2021 5:25 PM

The year of the ice storm it wasnít the heat as much as no electricity thus no running water. I had 1 room quite warm with a gas fireplace the rest was 50 degrees. I had a gas cooktop so I could heat water and cook sparingly since dishes could only be done with gallon water jugs. Toilets were flushed with gallon water jugs as needed. I shipped my kids to houses that had heat and electricity and I stayed with the dogs. After several days I left work at the elementary school (pre-Landlording) couldnít find my paycheck, had no cash on me to buy a bottle of water and was so thirsty I hit my breaking point and burst into tears on the phone with my sister. She told me to retrieve my kids and dogs and move in with my inlaws. As I was almost ready to go the power trucks came down the road. I met a few neighbors outside and we made sure they had everything they needed from snacks to someoneís osha approved tall ladder and all but blocked the road to make sure power was restored before they left. Think it was 3-4 days. --73.17.xx.xxx

OT: How Cold? (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Feb 15, 2021 5:28 PM

Tim, for a more serious answer, guys like you and I are a little slower to determine what's a true "emergency". 97% of the population freaks out over nothing most of the time. Most people treble when the power flickers and very few people look forward to a weekend of camping with no electricity and running water. --70.44.xxx.xx

OT: How Cold? (by Barbara [VA]) Posted on: Feb 15, 2021 5:40 PM

Given where I live it is highly unlikely for it to get cold enough for me to spend the money on a hotel when I have blankets and long sleeve shirts.


OT: How Cold? (by plenty [MO]) Posted on: Feb 15, 2021 5:43 PM

Our garage is heated and cooled. But we'd bring in space heaters into the house to help keep pipes warm. --172.56.xx.xxx

OT: How Cold? (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Feb 15, 2021 6:03 PM

We live in Hurricane Country so we have a generator, battery-powered lights and even the internet is hooked in to the generator when it's plugged in.

BUT I must say back in the day when I lived in Northern Maine, it got dmn cold (-15, -20+) and we lived in a trailer. I had young babies. So IF the HEAT had gone out for an extended length of time we would have gone to stay with family. But heat was propane so as long as we kept the tank full, we had heat. And you can always heat water on the propane stove and nothing in the fridge will spoil at those temps! --50.82.xxx.xxx

OT: How Cold? (by Richard [MI]) Posted on: Feb 15, 2021 6:11 PM

The thing is to be tough and be prepared. If you are, you will get by or find a way.

If not, ----You won't. --24.180.xx.xx

OT: How Cold? (by MikeA [TX]) Posted on: Feb 15, 2021 6:36 PM

A few years ago we lost power for 3 days during a frigid winter. We were able to keep the house from going below 51 by using a small propane heater, white gas camping stove and lantern, and candles. That was about my limit for longer than a few hours. --64.130.xx.xx

OT: How Cold? (by Ken [NY]) Posted on: Feb 15, 2021 6:46 PM

I wouldnt leave,i burn wood so not a problem but i am thinking no heat i would be more concerned with saving pipes etc so i would have to stay to run my generator and kerosene blast heater.I think a lack of water would be worse and harder to deal with than no heat --72.231.xxx.xxx

OT: How Cold? (by Deanna [TX]) Posted on: Feb 15, 2021 6:54 PM

It was 2* at 11 am over here. When I zapped a screenshot to my tenant during our conversation, he countered with one that showed -2* at 8:30 am. Now, at almost-6pm, we're holding steady at 12*.

A tenant in one of my garage apartments texted me around 1, and said they had gotten a room at the local motel for the next day or two. His unit is all-electric, and we've been having rolling blackouts. He said his place was about 30* inside when they gave up... I don't know how he came to that number, because he also said it was 25* in the house, but he did say the water they had kept trickling in the bathroom had frozen in a little stream, and he could see his breath inside.

He didn't ask to be reimbursed for his hotel stay. I didn't offer. (He owes significant dinero.) I did let him know I'd put down the deposit on a new roof for him, so he should be expecting a new roof in the next month or so, and I also told him that I'd be coming by with the handyguy to brainstorm better insulation for the garage ceiling/apartment floor, to see if that improves things. --137.118.xx.xxx

OT: How Cold? (by #22 [MO]) Posted on: Feb 15, 2021 7:00 PM

I'd go out and pick up a space heater or just bundle up... an extra blanket goes such a long way..... an extra layer or two goes such a long way.... we could just go into one small room and crank up the space heater... so... for me, it would have to be probably high 30's (at lowest) in said room for the hotel to become a thought... --23.126.xx.xxx

OT: How Cold? (by DJ [VA]) Posted on: Feb 15, 2021 7:15 PM

If my (gas) furnace quit, I would still have electricity and would use space heaters.

One in the laundry room, 1 in the bath blowing under the open vanity onto the one wet wall between the bath & kitchen, and one in my bedroom or living room - depending on the time of day.

That would probably work fine until the furnace could be fixed. However, to answer the question: Probably about 55 would make me unhappy. But, probably wouldn't go to a motel unless it got to about 50.

Yes, we probably all tend to tolerate more than tenants. --68.229.xxx.xxx

OT: How Cold? (by Roy [AL]) Posted on: Feb 15, 2021 7:43 PM

Down here if the power goes out, it goes out for the motels too! During a city wide power failure, the only place that can manage to stay open is Waffle House, which stays open 24/7 anyway. At least you won't starve to death.

Tonight low temps will be 17. The coldest night this winter. --68.63.xxx.xxx

OT: How Cold? (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Feb 15, 2021 7:48 PM

I also burn wood and have a kerosene heater with 15 gallons of fuel ready to go. 2 large water tanks from water prepared D O T C O M giving us about 400 gallons of emergency water. You can melt snow to fill toilets and we also have emergency water filtration to filter water if needed. An unused 3 gallon pump sprayer rigged to a kitchen faucet dish sprayer to fill with warm water if we need an emergency shower.

Months worth of regular food. Month and a half of mountain house dehydrated foot and a few weeks of life raft food.

Told my wife if we're ever eating that garbage its apocalypse time.

Next move is permanent back up power. I'm thinking wind turbine. My idea is to not have to leave home if I can help it in an emergency. Let the world go nuts. --70.44.xxx.xx

OT: How Cold? (by John... [MI]) Posted on: Feb 15, 2021 7:53 PM

Our furnace is gas, but still requires electric for the motor and electronics, of course. So, when we've been without heat, it's always been because the power was out for an extended period.

We have a generator so I can fire that up and bring the furnace back on in most cases.

Like NE, we also have weeks/months worth of "food storage" (dehydrated) in the basement -- so we could live on that for quite a while if we really couldn't go anywhere.

And, of course, piles of my Boy Scout stuff as far as other equipment goes (sleeping bags and so on).

- John...


OT: How Cold? (by Dee Ann [WI]) Posted on: Feb 15, 2021 8:31 PM

In our late twenties we went 5 years without a working furnace to fund new furnaces for our rentals, and it got -25 cold at times. It was so cold I remember some of my husband's coworkers quitting for good mid-day; the UPS package cars had no heat at that time. We did have space heaters that we used in the morning to get ready for work.

We live in the same duplex we've lived in since then. We didn't have to worry about the pipes because they are heavily insulated.

We now have heated blankets, not so in our 20's. But Razorback said "no other source of heat" so we'd try to tough it out. We have sleeping bags and can still fit in one together or zip them together with loads of blankets inside and on top.

If we got too cold we could still sleep at our house but in the car with the heat on in it. Or is that disqualified Razorback? --186.233.xxx.xx

OT: How Cold? (by Johnny B. [MA]) Posted on: Feb 15, 2021 11:20 PM

I have a wood stove, plenty of firewood, and my house is wired for a backup generator. Between the gas tanks on our vehicles we can store about 75 gallons of gas, not including portable gas cans. Be prepared! --73.186.xxx.xxx

OT: How Cold? (by Lana [IN]) Posted on: Feb 16, 2021 12:04 AM

Where I live there was a big blizzard/ice storm in a nearby county and many had no electricity for nearly 3 weeks. Life went primitive fast and people were hiking to nearby ponds and streams with axes and buckets to get enough water to flush toilets. They could not cook food.

This story shook me up and the year before I had moved onto the farm I bought at auction in 2003. The wind on my farm is horrible, nothing stays put and I got so mad about it that one day I decided to put up a wind turbine and turn a lemon into lemonade. That led to me sizing and designing a hybrid solar-wind energy system with the goal of electric independence. The system went online in 2006, and I am now on my third battery bank. I also put in a LP cook stove with no electricity and installed a wood stove and wall furnaces. In 2011, I had a new LP central furnace put in, but it never worked right. I do not use a dish washer or a dryer and I have really slimmed my energy use.

Last winter we got real cold for about a week, my wall furnace gave out, my central furnace could not keep up, and I was left with just the wood stove working all out. I got my living room up to 52F and lived near the stove with an electric blanket. It was ugly, but I never considered leaving. --216.23.xxx.xx

OT: How Cold? (by Robert J [CA]) Posted on: Feb 16, 2021 4:53 AM

1. In case of an emergency, I have made up a tri-fuel generator that operates on either gasoline, propane or natural gas. I have 30 pound tanks of propane that will fuel the generator at half load for 20 hours. I can use space heaters, heating blankets or power my furnace.

I also have a fireplace with a heat exchanger.

Finally I have a Mr. Big Buddy propane indoors propane heater...with an oxygen cut off sensor.

I also have solar with many 100ah lithium batteries. A heating blanket does wonders. --47.155.xx.xxx

OT: How Cold? (by Allym [NJ]) Posted on: Feb 16, 2021 7:59 AM

I got a Generac whole house generator when mom was alive but very old. I am on the second one now. It does not get much use. Maybe an hour in summer after a thunderstorm, but the first one ran for 4 days straight after Hurricane Sandy came ashore 40 miles direct east of here. Problem is there are not enough trained people to maintain them and repair them. If it gets as cold as what you folks have it would probably not even start. NJ is a bad state to live in but the weather won't kill anyone. My slogan for the state is: New Jersey: You will never die in a tornado. --108.24.xx.xx

OT: How Cold? (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Feb 16, 2021 8:41 AM

As others have said, I would most likely tough it out until things got dangerous....and having been a Boy Scout camping outside in a tent when it was 10 degrees, "dangerous" is very much in the eye of the beholder.

All of us have "mummy" style sleeping bags rates to zero degrees at least. Mine goes down to -25. I also have an arctic zone coat rated to 0 degrees, and when I was shoveling the driveway yesterday I was sweating profusely and got so warm I had to stop for awhile to cool down. All this to say, I am accustom to dealing with cold and am personally well-prepared.

So to protect my home and pipes, I would likely stay put until it got below 10 degrees inside, which would take a very long time of prolonged arctic weather. Might get a hotel room for the wife and kids since they aren't as accustomed to dealing with cold as I am.

I had a tenant text me this morning that the furnace had something wrong with it because it was only getting up to 67 degrees in their unit even though they had it set on 77. They were going to go sit in their car with the heater running. Um, dear tenant, it's -10 outside. Not only is the furnace keeping up VERY well considering the conditions, but you're going to risk running low on gas and getting condensation in your fuel tank and lines which will then freeze and crack. But I cannot explain these things in a way they will listen.

"Put on a sweater" is what my grandma would've said and it's what I do. --107.216.xxx.xxx

OT: How Cold? (by MMIT [VA]) Posted on: Feb 16, 2021 8:45 AM

We lost power several times when the kids were still at home. Sometimes the power was out for as long as a week.

We were an active Boy Scout family and did a lot of winter hiking and camping.

When the power went out, the kids slept in their sleeping bags.

We are on city water and the kids kept the fireplace going. Even though the fireplace is designed for looks and not heat, it did keep the pipes from freezing.

The kids cooked on the fireplace, camp stoves, and backpacking stoves. We also had plenty of coleman lanterns.

The power outage was a big adventure for the kids!

Now that the kids have left, we have a portable generator that will run most of the house.


OT: How Cold? (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Feb 16, 2021 9:10 AM

Sid, makes you wonder what your tenant and so many others like her will do if something really bad actually happens.

Anyone want an exhilarating experience, hike 3 hours up a mountain just after a big snowstorm to view frozen waterfalls and fall through ice you didn't know you were standing on!!! 3 hours hike up, 45 minutes back down to the heat of the vehicle and the other hikers had the keys! --70.44.xxx.xx

OT: How Cold? (by razorback_tim [AR]) Posted on: Feb 16, 2021 10:10 AM

Sid's story of the tenant expecting the house to be 77 degrees is a perfect example of what prompted my post.

In the immediate town that I live in, there is no natural gas. I'm guessing that the houses are pretty close to a 50/50 split of heat pumps and propane, although I could be off. There are a couple of community Facebook groups I'm in and I could not believe the number of people who are freaking out that their heat pump can't keep their house at 72-77 degrees in weather with high temps below 10. My only thought is what will these people do if we do wind up with rolling blackouts?

The common theme through everyone's response was be prepared and adapt. I guess thinking ahead is outside the realm of possibility for many.


OT: How Cold? (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Feb 16, 2021 11:05 AM

Oh Tim, those heat pumps are why you're seeing the freak outs. When we have them installed here, the installation guys ALWAYS tell us that they good down to a certain temp, after that they simply don't work to maintain temps. I think it had to do with the way the machine pulls heat out of the air. (Think AC working in reverse).

I would imagine down south that these systems work well almost all the time but since you all (y'all) aren't used to this cold, that's why there's the issue. --70.44.xxx.xx

OT: How Cold? (by don [PA]) Posted on: Feb 16, 2021 11:09 AM

Ten degrees. One benefit of a brick rowhouse is that if you are between 2 heated houses it will never get that cold. Unfortunately, my house is an end. Still, as long as the windows are good a few electric space heaters will keep it tolerable. In my house, we also ran the gas burners on the stove for half an hour to kill the chill, but I would never advise a tenant to do that because they would just leave them burning and kill themselves with CO. --73.141.xxx.xx

OT: How Cold? (by Robert,OntarioCanada [ON]) Posted on: Feb 16, 2021 1:17 PM

If insulation and windows on a building was upgraded then the heat loss or heat gain would be at a minimum where the heat would stay in building a very long time. There are net zero houses out there which are super insulated where solar panels can supply power for a heat pump. To convert a existing building spray foam ceiling and walls then add more insulation in ceiling to bring up to R 70 then add insulation with stucco on outside along triple glass windows with low E. In the province of Alberta winters are very harsh where net zero houses where it can down to -40 degrees where the temperature is the same in Celsius or Fahrenheit. --99.236.xxx.xxx

OT: How Cold? (by Wilma [PA]) Posted on: Feb 16, 2021 2:41 PM

Good topic, Tim! Most of our power outages here in SE Pennsylvania happen during hurricane season, when heat is not much of an issue.

We did have a four-day outage after an ice storm about 7 years ago. Our wood-burning insert kept radiating out heat, and hubby was well-prepared with wood. We used a generator (again, hubby had plenty of gas) to run the wood stove's fan, the refrigerator, the freezer, and the well pump. I think we even were able to run our propane furnace a bit during the last two days - but never at night, as we won't run a portable generator unattended. We're campers, so we have plenty of sleeping bags to pile on (learned to do that after being in Yellowstone one July when the temps dipped to 36F!). Our less-prepared neighbors did have to leave for hotels in the next county, and several had pipes freeze. They all suddenly began purchasing Generacs and portable generators.

We never left - the temps outside were around 25F, but the upstairs bedrooms only got down to 52F on the day that the power was restored. If the power hadn't been restored, we would have all piled into the room with the wood stove for an overnight camp-in. (We went out that morning to church, and returned to find our youngest daughter, who had entered the house first, hugging a lit electric lamp.)

We've never had a tenant go to a hotel, but then we landlord in a neighborhood that is a priority for the local power company because everyone has a heat pump with radiant backup. So our tenants often get their power back in a few hours, versus often a day or so for us out in the boonies. --96.245.xx.xx

OT: How Cold? (by Allym [NJ]) Posted on: Feb 17, 2021 10:47 AM

If you get a chance google NASA Solar Minimum Solar Maximum. There are comparison photos of the sun under each condition and it even shocked me how little activity there is now and the past five years. I wonder why our weather providers or Homeland Security or something does not tell the general public. We have a lot of work to do to beef up our homes. Scientists report the sun will be cooler for 3 more cycles or about 30 years. This could happen again and anywhere. --108.24.xx.xx

OT: How Cold? (by Nellie [ME]) Posted on: Feb 17, 2021 11:07 PM

No electric (so no heat) for 3 days during the ice storm of Ď98. We went to my in-laws for 2 days. Our house didnít get excessively cold, so if we hadnít had the offer and no kids I could see us toughing it out (I think). --70.20.xx.xx

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