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Honored Advisor

Power out!

Woke up to the genset kicking on Friday morning outside the house in NC. Nasty cold, fortunately the house is on automatic, but Mike had to dlip on a jacket and some shoes, to flip a manual transfer in the garage. The boiler is on that separate service there.
That was around five, and I was worried that the employee's family would be getting cold. Thie kids have gas logs, so could stay warm, at least.

That outage only lasted 2.5 hours...long enough to get pretty chilly when it says " zero wind chill", given the generally thin insulation codes call for in our region. Mike keeps asking me, " How do your friends in the Midwest stand their winters?"

It is roughly 6:30 in Va, and we wome up an hour ago to total darkness and a " too quiet" house. The alarm sysyem's emergency battery light was blinking on its cellular signal base, but it was otherwise pitch black back here over the hill at the end of the lane.

The house had cooled off a couple of degrees...fortunately, the bitter cold is broken here for a day or so, hoping for good this winter. I just realized, intrying to reach the power co-op, that our emergency number associated with the accounts here need to be updated, since I dropped the landline last month when switching to the Simplisafe cellular alarms.

Encourage all of you to look at your emergency contact info everywhere, too, and update where necessary. It is so easy to set somethung up and firget that you have made changes over the years. This is especially important when the reporting system is dependent upon automated entries and you being able to access the sysyem by an associatedphin or account number.

Luckily, when I finally remembered to try the defunct landline number for REA this morning, it got us reported. The status info said that linemen were already on the job. We actually git restored before I coukd conplete the call. As I was resetting the clock on the stove just now, I did the math, and we had been out for about 1.5 hours.

My " declutter challenge" calendar fir March starts with updating contact and emergency info. For us, this will mean putting several names and numbers into both cell phones, for starters.

We have been talking about the genset purchase for this house, too. Once our electrician gets heating emergency calls behind him, we plan to get him here to size it, then will put that out for bids. I guess we could bring up the PTO unit from NC now that we have a modern tractor on this place...hmmm, hadn't thought sbout that!

Would still need a transfer switch wired though, which is most of the install cost of a genset. Gotta think and discuss this with the fuzzy man.

Dammit! Just went dark again!

Hope all of you are staying warm, and do nkt spend too much time sitting in the dark!
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4 Replies
Senior Contributor

Re: Power out!

It is amazing what a few degrees warmer feels like after the past few days. We have about ten inches of snow and I think some melted in the sun yesterday. School was in session on Friday with a two hour delay but that was the only day of the week. More cold for this week.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Power out!

Schools in both counties in both states missed the whole week, I think. Big areas, bad roads, so cold the dirsel buses mightnot have cranked so well. Some parents were screaming bloody murder by Thursday, but smart ones knew it wasn't safe, even if most riads were clear.

We even saw closings for many churches for today...icy parking lots and sidewalks is my guess on that!
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Senior Contributor

Re: Power out!

Crazy weather for sure. Had some cold, snow,& sleet.  Then got just warm enough yesterday to melt a lot of the snow..   Now its frigid again.   Thankfully we haven't lost power thru any of this.   All of our farms have the off/switch that allow either the existing generator to go or to allow us to plug in a portable one.  I was shocked to hear a friend of ours with a fairly new farmstead did not have this put on when they were building.  I thought it was a necessity not a luxery.  

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Honored Advisor

Re: Power out!

I think most new construction here now requires a disconnect in the panel box.  The hwile idea with that is that it A) protects your generator from taking a backfeed of grid power, which will fry it deader than a doornail, and B) MOST importantly, keeps generator power from entering the grid, where in can electrocute linemen working to restore power. 

 

The transfer is what we usd to call a "summer-winter switch".  It can be manual, which ours in the garage and office service is, or automatic, like the house and farm ones are.  In our situation, we wired the boiler from the closer office service panel.  This means that the furnace blower on the ducts in the house will continue to blow (because it's on a thermostat and runs off house power), but no hot water comes to the exchanger, unless we manually transfer power to the office, which controls the boiler's circulator pumps.  Minor inconvenience, but one we didn't think through as well as possible when making the install. 

 

Don't ask me where the swmming pool power comes from....that is a horse of another color!  I think a lot of this kind of stuff happens oer the years, when you do not do a turnkey setup from Day One. 

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