September is National Preparedness Month each year, but October is where the action is. As we’re living through the first tropical storm remnants to hit the east coast, I thought I’d share with you my basement’s new best friend, my Ryobi generator.
Is Your Basement Storm-Ready?
I know a generator isn’t sexy or pretty (or so you think), but you might want to read on anyway. It could save you money and headaches.
First, a bit of background. Our house is a whisker shy of one hundred years old. The basement has had some previous upgrades, including a french drain water management system and a sump pump. During Hurricane Irene, my family hid out in the basement from tornadoes in the area. It sounded like underground rapids coursing through our french drains, being efficiently evacuated from the house by our sump pump. So far, so good.
The big problem is the power. We’ve lost power before, but luckily never during a rain storm. But when we lose power during a storm someday, because odds are that it will happen, the sump pump won’t work. I’m not one of those doomsday-ers, but I do try to mitigate risks, like when I set up my family’s Go Bag for emergencies, which I’m pretty sure we’ll never, ever have to use.
I’ve spent the last two years researching how to be prepared for a power outage during a rain storm. This is what happens nearly every time it rains in my neighborhood, where cars regularly destroyed. Water is not a theoretical problem here.
Sump Pump Backup Options
My local hardware store has a Battery Back Up Sump Pump System solution that’s easy enough for any plumber to install (not in my personal category of DIY projects.) It’s affordable at around $300 plus installation. But those backup solutions are only good for 4-6 hours, when the battery is drained, and good luck getting a replacement in the middle of a storm or prolonged outage. Our power outages are usually longer than that, and my husband’s office was recently out for 3 whole days!
I looked into a battery backup that a pump could just plug into, like this Duracell 852-1807 1,800 Watt Five Outlet Rechargeable Power Source. Looks good, and still affordable, but it’s not safe to use in a wet environment…like a flooding basement.
I researched a Water Powered Back-Up Pump, which is an even better price at under $200 plus installation, but I had a hard time getting a plumber to even talk with me about them. The downside is that if it does run, it uses your home’s water supply to siphon out the water from your sump pump pit. It must be professionally installed with a check valve, for between $800-$1,000. And in my area (every area is different), recent code changes require that this be installed with a testable back-flow device that must be tested on a yearly basis, for another $100 or so each year. So not only would it “waste” clean water in the event that we needed to use it, the lifetime cost could get pretty high.
My Sump Pump Backup Solution
By now, you know that I have a new crush on Ryobi tools. I was on their site after meeting them at Haven Conference and saw their generator that might solve my problems. I know a few people who have generators, but I never wanted to own a personal generator. And this is why:
I read all of the reviews on this little unit. Every. Single. One.
It is basically the size of a carry-on suitcase.
It only needs a gallon of gas and a small bit of (included) oil installed through the front panel to get going. (You can get the front panel off with a regular old screwdriver. I’m just showing off my new drill here.)
It is made to operate a sump pump (or other major appliance) by itself, or several smaller items at the same time.
It’s pretty quiet. Here’s my maiden run with this baby.
And the Ryobi 2200 is $550, available at The Home Depot. No plumber, electrician or special installation needed!
Now, for all my DIY and professional prowess, I’m going to admit something that I’m very proud of. I do not mow lawns. Ever. Our family’s division of labor is very clearly marked at the threshold. He mows the lawn. I take care of the inside.
Except now. This solution is all me and my Ryobi.
After about 15 pulls on the cord (takes more the first time; future starts should only take about 6 pulls), my little generator is up and running.
Should we lose our power, a long, heavy duty extension cord will string through a basement window and to the partially-covered front porch, where this baby will sit, powered for up to 8 hours on just ONE gallon of gas. I’m not worried about anything else in the house being out, but if my basement floods, that’s real damage we’ll have to recover from.
And- bonus- it has another outlet, so I can charge my cell phone, too!
The one review that sticks with me, someone wrote that it seems like a generator designed for a girl. Yep, that’s me, and lots of my friends. Oh, and I also think it would be great for just about any not-particularly-DIY urban or suburbanite family who just wanted to be more prepared without having a lot of resources and space tied up the 364 days a year that they aren’t needed.
I think this is just the right size and power to let me sleep better at night during this storm season.
Please tell me, and comment here. What do you think of my Ryobi readiness solution or your own basement situation?
Just in case you were wondering, this post is neither sponsored or paid. This generator was a good investment for us, and I was happy to spend my own money for this generator.