Lessons from Harvey- Prepping your DIY home automation system for disaster

A natural disaster always brings major disruptions to life. In decades past, they were an inconvenience and deadly. In this new century, a disruption of electricity and possibly other utilities can be a major disruption to 21st-century lives.

There are ways to integrate emergency systems into a DIY home automation system. Prepping your home can put you on the road to recovery when many of your neighbors wait for electricity to be restored.

However, these prep suggestions should never be taken as a replacement for evacuating in the face of deadly storms or conditions. This should be taken as a way to prepare your home to remain livable in the face of nature’s wrath. No prep system can replace common sense in the face of danger

disaster prepping
Home generators can keep your home automation system going when the grid is down

Electrical Prep

Let’s put this out there, to begin with: water and electricity do not mix. These preparations will only work if your home does not take flooding damage to the home. Remember, when in doubt, seek the advice of an electrician. Now, the disaster has hit and in many circumstances, the electrical grid will be down for at least a few days.

You look at your refrigerator and see food that will spoil because it cannot keep those perishables cold. Then there is the intense summer heat where temperatures will exceed 100 degrees or the opposite where the temperature will fall below freezing.

You have several options in prepping for the restoration of electrical services. One is the portable generator, the other is the home house generator. Both have pros and cons.

The portable generator is the perfect product for a person that only seeks to keep certain vital services online till the power is restored. If you are expecting a loss of power for a few hours or a few days.  Most of these systems are not designed to handle a heavy electrical load. Many are not economical, in some cases, 10 gallons will only provide 5 hours of electrical service.

If you are after a power supply that can provide for a few days or do not want to see a loss of power to their home may want to look at a whole house generator. These systems provide enough kilowatts to keep a home going. They are usually hard wired into the homes electrical systems and automatically turn on when the electric feed from the grid stops.

When you are looking for which system you are after for disaster prep, decide if you want a system that will provide some electricity for a while, or replace all your electrical needs.

water disaster
A water well may help in an emergency

Water needs

When Harvey hit, the city of Beaumont faced a crisis that nearly killed the city. In many cases, a disaster will knock out electricity for a day, two days even a few weeks. People can adapt to that. Residents can adjust to that.

But what do you do when a disaster takes the water system offline?

Imagine living in a city that has electricity but no water.

Beaumont Texas faced that issue with Harvey. With the Neches river rising, it flooded the city’s water plant and the city had no water. What do you do when this disaster hit’s you?

The first thing would be to consider leaving the area until water is restored.

IF that is not an option, then you might want to consider having an emergency water well installed. THis will provide long term water in an emergency, or could even serve as a replacement for a city or municipal water services.

disaster prep
Maybe a disaster can be a wake-up call

Long term Solutions

Perhaps a disaster can be the wake-up call you can take advantage of to turn your home automation system into true independence. When IKE, KATRINA, and RITA hit the Gulf of Mexico, many electrical customers were without power for weeks.

After a disaster, it may be the perfect time to look at retrofitting your home to ensure that when a disaster hits the grid, you are back online quickly. It might be the time to look at options for the long term.

Hybrid electrical systems are a mix of the grid, solar, and wind. This could not only provide a reliable source of electrical services when the grid is down but could offer electrical cost savings year long.

Final Thoughts

Never use preparation for keeping power or water as a replacement to true disaster prep. If a dangerous storm or emergency exists, listen to local authorities when an evacuation is called. Choose to do the right thing.

However, in a disaster situation that you are able to stay without danger means that you will have to look at a loss of vital services for a period a time. This does not mean that you must do without.

Take your home automation system to the next level and prepare for every eventuality.


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