Thursday, November 30, 2006

Back in Business, Finally!

At last the series of storms have blown through, and the power company has restored electricity to just about everyone in the area. The lights went out again last night for a while, but they are now back.

Although this series of storms have been a nuisance, we were prepared enough with propane heating and cooking, kerosene lanterns, water, and food that we got along just fine. The biggest irritation was not being able to blog very much. That was because a big marine deep cycle battery I had on hand that I thought was fully charged was getting near it's end of life and didn't have much capacity. It's true I could have charged it up from one of the vehicles, but I just decided that I would rather leave the gas in the tank instead of burning it to charge batteries.

To put this series of power outages in perspective, I can't remember ever having the power out for more than ten or twelve hours. I remember an outage on Thanksgiving day in 1985, I think, when it was out for ten or twelve, and it was a real pain for everyone as the power went out just about the time everyone had started to cook their Thanksgiving turkeys. The only other big outage I can remember was in 1953 or thereabouts, when the storm blew down the Tacoma Narrows bridge. Even then, the power was only out for a number of hours.

Those power outages were all wind storms. The power outages this time were caused by heavy wet snow overloading tree limbs causing them to break and fall across power lines. In short, this was a really unusual storm for our area, almost a once in a lifetime event. We may have another storm just like it next week, or it may not happen again for another forty years, no one knows!

Even so, I now have a portable generator in the garage, just in case, along with an extra five gallons of gas. A couple of squirts of STA-BIL into the gas will keep it from going bad in storage.

Last night I started to set up the oil furnace so I could easily connect it to the generator, but the furnace wiring is kinda odd the way they did it, so I'm checking with an electrician friend before making any changes.

Now I gotta get some work done that got put aside while the lights were out!


At Thursday, November 30, 2006 3:29:00 PM, Blogger Rivrdog said...

If the furnace is actually run with 110 AC (some run on 220), all you have to do is take a large enough lead wire and hook the three legs in proper polarity to the control unit that distributes the power (you have to have the ignition circuit and the oil pump energized as well), that wire having a proper 3-prong male plug at it's end. Buy a matching female to put on there as a "keeper", so that there is no danger of a short.

This solution is NOT, repeat NOT code, don't let an electrical inspector anywhere near it, but it WILL run your furnace.

Just make sure that when you are using the patch cord system, the furnace is isolated from mains by pulling circuit breakers.

At Friday, December 01, 2006 9:22:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two years ago I sat in the dark for 10-1/2 days, thanks to Hurricane Isabel. It sure revised my thinking about the type & quantity of supplies required!

At Friday, December 01, 2006 11:36:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought the Narrows Bridge - aka Galloping Gertie - went down in 1941?


At Friday, December 01, 2006 11:48:00 AM, Blogger Mr. Completely said...


You are correct, Galloping Gertie went down November 7, 1940, at approximately 11:00 AM.

Hmmmm, I wonder what I was thinking of?

..... Mr. C.


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