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View Full Version : 23 hour power outage makes you apprecriate AC electric service!



Ron Czapala
08-15-2011, 12:31 AM
A freak storm came through Louisville yesterday, toppling trees, billboards, etc and leaving 120,000 homes with no power.

Luckily I have several generators and keep 25 gallons of gas (with Stabil additive) on hand, but it is still a royal pain. I don't like to run the generator continously (sure my neighbors appreciate that) - but at 3 a.m. I fired it up to make sure the refrigerator didn't get to warm.

Can't tell you how many times I flipped a wall switch expecting the lights to come on!

There are still about 40,000 homes with no power and it may take days. Electrical workers from other states are arriving to help restore power.

We had a bad ice storm years ago and a remnants of a hurricane another year that created even more outages. I went about four days on the generator in one of those incidents.

So happy to have power and air conditioning!!!!!

piguy101
08-15-2011, 12:42 AM
Yeah, our power grid is too unstable and we rely too heavily upon it.

tobdec
08-15-2011, 01:29 AM
Here in ohio a few years ago we had a nasty ice storm that jacked up all our power grids for the better part of a month. It got soo bad people were stealing generators outa yards.

Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)
08-15-2011, 01:33 AM
Where I live, power outages are not uncommon, especially in the winter when we have high winds. Fortunately, they tend to be rather short; I can't ever remember one lasting as much as 23 hours. So I keep UPSes on my critical computers and an inverter in the car that I can run an extension cord from so I have light to read by.

I'm actually surprised we didn't have an outage a couple days ago. I was sitting in my shop when I a saw a flash of light followed by an explosion that was so loud I could feel the concussion. The lights blinked momentarily, so I surmised it was something electrical. Turns out a fuse blew on one of the transformers at the nearby substation.

-Phil

erco
08-15-2011, 02:08 AM
In similar fashion, it took a kitchen remodel to make me appreciate my kitchen sink. You don't realize how many times a day you wash your hands or pour something down the sink until it's not there!

xanatos
08-15-2011, 02:20 AM
I finally installed a small solar system (100W panel w/ a deep cycle marine battery and 800W inverter) and we have lost power twice during storms (one storm was a tornado only a mile away). It's a good feeling to still have power, internet and TV when you know you would otherwise not! Of course, it's just sheer luck that the cable & phone weren't knocked out, but you get my meaning! :-)

Gadgetman
08-15-2011, 08:47 AM
That's weird...
I live in Norway, just a few hundred Km from the polar circle, and well... lines do break, especially during winter storms, but...
Still haven't bought a generator.

Sure, it sucks not to be able to read email or webcomics for a little while, but the rest is no problem.
I never keep that much in the fridge. It's really a bit too large for daily use(good for when I cook up large batches of potato dumplings, fish au gratin or something and need to let it cool properly before freezing) so eating up the most easily spoiled isn't a problem.
(Or store it outside, in the snow... )
My freezer is a 'top loader' so holds the temp pretty well for a couple of days.
For heating I have a modern woodburning oven in the livingroom(cleanburning, wich means it produces only 1/10 the soot as older), and if desperate, I can probably heat water for a cup of tea on it. (or noodles... )
For cooking I have my camping equipment(A Trangia alcohol-based cooker, and an MSR 'Pocket Rocket' gas burner. I'd need to open a window to use those, though.)

I figure that I can 'hold out' for at least 4 or 5 days that way, so I don't really need a generator.
Never had a blackout that lasted that long here, not even during the 'new years hurricane of 89' which really thrashed the area.
(A nearby town hooked a couple of large fishing boats up to the grid to provide emergency power for their hospital. I think they got a proper generator afterwards. and hopefully, check it more often than the old one... )
An 800W inverter sounds like a good idea, though.

Loopy Byteloose
08-15-2011, 09:02 AM
We - the whole planent - seem to be going through a period of increased solar activity (sunspots) and that managed to zap the Canadian grid quite heavily some years ago. So it helps to have alternatives regardless of location. I imagine that Norway might be more susceptible to such. But Taiwan has about 3 typhoons per year on the average that send me into staying home and waiting for the winds and rains to pass. Often the winds and the water shut down the electrical, so I am left with reading a good book by candlelight (far cheaper than batteries). The main thing is to have drinking water and something to nibble on (packaged noodles?).

I did have propane tank with a hot plate (quite common in Taiwan), but it was retired after it did something weird due to a leak and nearly lit the room on fire.

I lived solely with wood burning heat in Oregon for about 7 years and miss it. A good modern stove will burn wood all night and is one of the nicest simple pleasures of the modern world. But I don't need heat in Taiwan, I need A/C and fan.

Beau Schwabe
08-15-2011, 09:44 AM
We've had intermittent power since Wednesday morning (1:00am) after a storm blew through Edmond, Oklahoma with 65mph winds. As a result (I happened to see it), our big maple tree ( about 4.5 stories tall) in the front yard just melted for lack of a better word… all… ahem, many of the branches just fell all at once. Anyway one of the branches decapitated the gas meter, creating a huge natural gas leak... ONG (Oklahoma Natural Gas) finally showed up at about 3:30am to turn off the gas... It was finally restored (with a new gas meter) yesterday.... sorta got used to cold showers. The street in front of our house was impassable because of the fallen tree debris. Power has been stable for the last couple of days, but prior to that it's been intermittent. Mostly due to people needing access to remove/prune a tree that may have been damaged near a power line. The City of Edmond has a clean up tomorrow, but their requirement is that an individual piece of debris can be no longer than 6 feet, and you can't stack a debris pile no higher than 4 feet... I have a debris pile about 25 feet long (about 600 cubic feet of debris) , and I've pulled about 3 cords of firewood out of the mess.

Ron Czapala
08-15-2011, 01:50 PM
We've had intermittent power since Wednesday morning (1:00am) after a storm blew through Edmond, Oklahoma with 65mph winds.

Anyway one of the branches decapitated the gas meter, creating a huge natural gas leak... ONG (Oklahoma Natural Gas) finally showed up at about 3:30am to turn off the gas...

You were lucky with the gas meter incident! That could have been especially dangerous - one spark and POOF!

The storm that hit here might have been the same one - winds clocked at 69mph.

Here is a billboard that collapsed onto a gas station

http://forums.parallax.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=84062


That's weird...
I live in Norway, just a few hundred Km from the polar circle, and well... lines do break, especially during winter storms, but...
Still haven't bought a generator.


I bought my first generator 24 years ago but didn't really need for most of that time - but during the last four years we've had several extended outages due to weather events. Tornadoes are relatively common here.
I have separate circuits run to the refridgerator and a manual power transfer switch on the furnace.
I just plug the generator into an inlet box on the back of the house and flip the switch on the transfer box. Can't run the air conditioner though - I do have a small one room window air conditioner I can quickly install.

84062

PJ Allen
08-15-2011, 02:01 PM
Sometimes we all need to stop and count our blessings.

ctwardell
08-15-2011, 02:10 PM
Sometimes we all need to stop and count our blessings.

True that!

On Wheel of Fortune, probably ten years ago or more, the puzzle was "Count you're blessings". The "nt" from count and almost all of blessings was visible, a contestent eager to solve the puzzle blurted out "Plant you're blessings".

C.W.

Spiral_72
08-15-2011, 03:47 PM
Ah, I rather enjoy the challenges during a power outage. It allows me to be creative :) Knowing there is 33gal of water in my system + 1 gal emergency water from the spigot outside (the lowest point in the system) then drawing water from the pond to flush the commode. Brush your teeth and wash your face for a week on 1gal of water. It's knowing an 650CCA automotive battery on an inverter lasts 2:20min running a TV and DVD player,..... a pot of water on top of a kerosene heater makes it feel MUCH warmer than it actually is, and fish in an aquarium get along just fine in 45degree water. It's peaceful really, relaxing with the wife when there is absolutely NOTHING you can be doing.

Ice is the biggest contributor to power outages here in SC. I don't know that we've ever lost power for an extended period of time in the warmer months at my house.


EDIT: I guess winters in SC are pretty mild though aren't they??? :)

tonyp12
08-15-2011, 03:48 PM
20 days without power after Hurricane Wilma in 2005
No internet/computer access and no A/C (Florida)
And no way to heat up food as my propane grill decided to stop working too.

Ravenkallen
08-15-2011, 04:29 PM
Well, we get some pretty bad ice storms up here... Back in 2008, we got a dozy.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/December_2008_New_England_and_Upstate_New_York_ice _storm

We lost power for a few days and the house got so cold we were thinking about leaving for the last night.. Plus, i didn't get to take a shower or anything and i HAD to go to work(That was back when i could walk to it) ... Now, after we moved to the new place, we have a generator power by 2 huge LP gas tanks and a wood stove(With six cords of wood, that took all summer to process:)). Wood stoves may not be efficient compared to other heating sources, but they are amazing in a pinch and they don't require any electricity to operate. Plus, wood is relatively cheap compared to oil(Especially if you process it yourself). We actually save a ton of money by using the wood stove. It will have payed it self off in a couple of years... Sorry, i sound like a commercial:)

Gadgetman
08-15-2011, 05:12 PM
Is that a 'cleanburning' stove?

An open fireplace is about 30% efficient, but has the disadvantage that it actually cools the rest of the house.
A conventional stove is about 50% efficient, but withot the cooling effect.
A Cleanburning stove can hit 80% if you know how to proplerly operate it.
(Add the 1/10 soot particles, less tar and fewer chimneyfires, and there's just no reason not to get one.)

It's assumed that most of the pollution in the winter in Bergen(a coastal city with mountains on three sides here in Norway) is caused by the multitude of older stoves used for 'extra' heating in older homes.
The difference between conventional and cleanburning is so big that it's now no longer legal to set up older stoves here.
You can't even move it from one side of the chimney to another, or to another floor, if you have one.
(New hole in the chimney = new install = not legal for old stove. You want to use a vintage stove you have to get a special permit.)

Some here have bought central heating that uses a pellets-burner, to save money. And it seems, in case of power outages... What a pity they all have electric feeding mechanisms...
(Alternative heating isn't just a good idea here, some places it's actually required by the local building code... )

My stove is only used when the temperature drops below -10(celsius) or during power outages. The rest of the time my heating needs is supplied by an air-to-air heat-pump. (basically an AC running in reverse.Yo get abot 3.7:1 back in heat from the electricity you pump in, but when it drops below -10 it struggles, and at -15 it''s just a very expensive fan... )

Water isn't any problem, either. It's gravity-fed from a lake up in the mountains...
sure, the treatment plant may stop treating the water, but as I often drink directly from the lake or rivers when I'm out hiking... Not a big deal. (I think the plant is there mostly to filter out twigs, leaves, small fish... )

Beau Schwabe
08-15-2011, 05:18 PM
Ravenkallen,

"Wood stoves may not be efficient compared to other heating sources, but they are amazing in a pinch...Sorry, i sound like a commercial" ... No, I hear you loud and clear, and couldn't agree more. When we were in Atlanta, we had a large wood stove, and it was my first real experience with one. There is an art to keeping it stoked, and it works best if once you get it going you 'pinch' the oxygen to it so that it's just at a constant smoulder. This provides the most heat especially if you have a a re-flow converter that circulates the heated air to other parts of the house. We could heat the entire house with ours, but it required electricity for the blower fan... not much though compared to a condenser unit.

Ron Czapala
08-15-2011, 07:38 PM
In similar fashion, it took a kitchen remodel to make me appreciate my kitchen sink. You don't realize how many times a day you wash your hands or pour something down the sink until it's not there!

erco,
I appreciate good plumbing as well. A few years ago, all of my copper pipe was developing pin-hole leaks. I ripped out all the copper back to the main cutoff valve and replaced it with PEX.

It took me over a week but doing it myself cost me around $900. I had to cut holes in plaster in one closet to get to the shower fixture and removed on toilet to cut a hole behind the tub. I used plastic access panels rather than plasterboard.

It was a lot of work but relatively simple...

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