Archive for February 5th, 2021

Annex 27

Though power outages can occur anywhere, rural power grids have less redundancy and far greater distances between subscribers.  So when the power does go out, it can sometimes be a while before it’s restored.  What that means is, while having a backup generator is probably a good idea for any free-standing building, having one out in the country is a practical necessity.  In Oklahoma, we used Grace’s welder to power the house in emergencies, but she sold it as part of the process of moving to Washington, so all we had until earlier this week was the small backup generator we originally used to power the well in Oklahoma.  Unfortunately, that was only barely big enough to do the job before we added the guest cottages, and in the first major outage after the addition we discovered it was now woefully inadequate.  Furthermore, the process of switching over was rather involved:  switch off the external main; pull the shop cutoff; turn off the breakers for the water heater (which draws far too much power to use during an outage); start the generator; plug in the main standby feed line; throw the shop cutoff back on.  To test whether the power is back on:  pull the shop cutoff (thus disconnecting the house from the generator) and switch on the external main.  If there’s no power, reverse the process to return to generator power; if the outside power is back, turn off the generator, disconnect the standby cable, throw the shop cutoff and heater breakers back on.  So Chekhov offered to buy us a proper standby generator, and it arrived Tuesday.  We’ll connect it via a feed line to the propane tank and it will monitor the power; when it detects an outage it cuts off the outside line and starts automatically, then monitors the outside line and reverses the process when the power is restored.  The thing even runs an automatic test once a month!  Best of all, at 16 kw it should be strong enough to run everything other than the clothes dryer (which I won’t need during an outage anyway).  Once the electrician comes out to connect everything, power outages should be no more than a minor inconvenience in the future, and that fits into my master plan of removing al unneccesary hassle and stress from my life.

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