Update: Good news, bad news. Thanks to reader DM, I was able to locate a plumbing supply store that is selling generators. They are making a trip to another state to pick them up on Monday. So, I reserved one. The guy was nice enough to tell me how to check my sump pump so I should be prepared for Sandy.
The bad news is that the generator is going to cost me about $900 ($840.00 + 7% Sales tax) and will probably only be single use, not to say that I am not extremely grateful for a generator at all. I am. And since all of the smaller generators in NJ are sold out, this is my next best option. But it’s a lot of money for me at a time when I can least afford it. So, I’m tempted to put a donate button up for this and gently nudge people for a small contribution. Recommended donation would be $10.30 for the date of Sandy’s landfall. Does this sound unreasonable or greedy?
Here is the donation button for my “Save the Basement” fund:
Thank you for helping me weather Sandy!
So, it looks like I am right in Hurricane Sandy’s strike zone. See picture below:
See where that first “S” is on shore? (Since I first posted this, the S has moved and now my sister is going to get slammed. Now that I look at the new map, I’m even more concerned because it looks like we’ll still have hurricane strength conditions well past landfall.) I live slightly to the right of that “S”, conveniently located between Philadelphia and New York. Isn’t that cool?
No, it is not cool. I lived through Irene last year. Or, should I say, the basement lived through Irene last year. The power went out and I was ankle deep in water at 6am. Not fun, not fun at all. It’s the only time in 12 years that I have ever had water in my basement. Stupidly, I thought, it could never happen again. What are the chances that there will be another Irene type storm two years in a row? The basement is normally bone dry, I have two sump pumps. I laughed at nature and, put off by the price gouging on generators and battery back up sump pumps and my own unemployment, I did not buy any additional prophylactic water removal systems.
More after the jump…
Yesterday, as it became clear that there were not one but two storm fronts about to combine over my head to become the storm of the century, aka “Frankenstorm”, I headed out to scour the local Lowes, Home Depot and Walmarts for a battery backup sump pump. But New Jersey is the densest state in the union, in more ways than one, so all 20 zillion of us had the same thought but most of them had the same thought 8 hours earlier. All the battery backup sump pumps were gone as soon as the doors opened yesterday. There are lines, dear readers, for people who want to put their names on a waiting list for a generator. Yes, you need to join a queue to get on a waiting list. AND, the service people will tell you that when the truck comes in, you have to be physically in the store when your name is called. If you’re not, the generator goes to some other poor schlub.
Why don’t you order online, you ask? Because the battery backup sump pumps will be stuck in weekend limbo if you order them online. None of them are guaranteed to get here before Tuesday. Yes, I have already called to make sure. That’s just the way these stores operate. It doesn’t matter if there is a storm bearing down on 1/5th of the US population, this is not an emergency that requires Lowes, Home Depot or USPS to suspend their “partying for the weekend” rules.
Is there any way you can help? Mebbe. Do me a favor and check your local Lowes or Home Depot. If there is a battery backup sump pump in your area, let me know immediately. There may be a slight chance that I can pay for it and have Fed Ex ship it to me to get here on Monday.
Otherwise, I will take any suggestions you may have. Like, has anyone used a manual pump? Do bilge pumps work the same way? How do you retrofit a battery backup bilge pump to act as a sump pump? What else do I need to make my sump pump operate when the power goes out? I have a backup battery that I use to jump my car but it’s DC. That means I need a converter. Does anyone have any suggestions on which converter I need for a sump pump?
The good news is that it’s relatively warm here and I have gas heat so I don’t think we’ll freeze. But in the event that it does get cold, we have a fireplace. And although there is no bottled water left, we can fill up containers, so that’s not a tragedy. Plus, I have a bajillion boxes of UHT milk and propane stove/grills. (Note to self: grind some coffee beans today.) But the basement? Yeah, that’s going to be a problem. We are expecting a foot of rain. I will be emptying my basement tomorrow afternoon. There’s a ton of crap down there that has to come up. What can’t come up will go on concrete blocks and we’ll just have to hope for the best.