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We’re Back

Sorry about the outage folks, but we were without power for 14 hours due to the blizzard yesterday. As soon as the wind kicked up, it was pretty much over. I had to get creative to keep the house and pipes from freezing up overnight:

Fortunately I have a backup sump pump that’s powered by a car battery, so I hooked that up to an old inverter I had laying about and punched its output into the junction box for the furnace. The furnace is gas, so you really only need power for the controller, the circulator pump, the flu check, zone valves, and gas valve. Fortunately all those seemed to come in under the 125W rating of the inverter.

Of course, we did manage to keep the most important piece of equipment in the house functioning as well:

Fortunately for me this piece of critical equipment requires only a CO2 bottle to operate. Sadly I can’t keep the blog going through a 14 hour power outage, so I apologize for the downtime. All this is making me think about a generator, but I know if I get one we won’t lose power for more than 20 minutes for the next 5 years.

12 Responses to “We’re Back”

  1. FatWhiteMan says:

    All the more reason. I bought a small one a couple years ago and haven’t lost power for more than 2 hours since.

    Check your NRA mags. There is a Harbor Freight ad with a 3500 watt generator for $199.

  2. Ian Argent says:

    Glad that worked for you. I think I am going to look at the house generators myself.

  3. Dannytheman says:

    I bought a 5500 watt unit back before Y2K scare. It has 2 hours on it. Although I run it every summer after I change the oil.
    It is cheap insurance that your power will never truly go out again!

  4. Pete S. says:

    I’m not a big fan of cheap generators, particularly for running electronics like computers.

    The Honda EU1000i produces 1000W peak (900W continuous), can run all night on 0.6 gallons of gas, is super-quiet, and reliable as all get out. They also make 2000W, 3000W and 6500W ones as well.

    They run a pure sine wave inverter, so they produce stable, computer-safe power. A bit more expensive than the Harbor Freight ones, but far better.

    I have a 1000W model, and it’s about the size of a briefcase, though somewhat thicker. Well worth it.

  5. Ian Argent says:

    I already run my computers through individual UPS (my previous apt power was prone to brownouts and spikes).

    But given modern appliances, “cleaner” power == better power

  6. Blackwing1 says:

    Did you throw the breaker on the furnace circuit before hooking in the inverter power? If not, I was wondering if you could be back-feeding power out through the house to the main lines?

    I’ve got a plan in place to cut into the conduit feeding the furnace, and put in a box with a double-pole, double-throw switch, and feed the other side out through a SJT cable with molded plug on it. Then it’s just a matter of which way the switch is thrown as to whether it’s on a plug-in back-up, or on the house line power.

    I can then plug it via extension cord into either the inverter (fed from my trolling motor marine deep-cycle battery) or right from the generator.

  7. Miguel says:

    Glad to have you back. What you say about buying a generator may have a smidgen of truth. After Katrina and Wilma, I bought a 5500W unit and other than running it once a year to check it, it hasn’t been used at all. I call it the Hurricane Repellent.
    Stay warm!

  8. Sebastian,

    How long did that battery with the DC/AC inverter last you, or how long do you think it would last? That’s a damn handy idea for when the power goes out and you need to just keep the heat on.

  9. Sebastian says:

    I did disconnect power from the main before hooking up the inverter. The inverter was running when the power came back and all was well.

    As for run time, I’d say probably about three hours with a full charge. I manually turned mine on for a cycle, then off, all night. So as you might imagine, I’m very tired :)

  10. Oakenheart says:

    heh I had an old UPS laying around with a dead battery. Couple connectors and bolts later, the lawn mower battery is running my computer ;)

  11. John says:

    Go for a quality generator wired thru a transfer panel.

    If you never have to use it, consider it money well spent.

    It’s like the joke: if I loan you $20 and never see you again, it was probably worth it.

  12. Andy says:

    I’ve got a 12kw natural gas fired Carrier (made by Generac). It was an investment, but next ice storm cuts the power, I can keep kids warm and entertained, for days if need be.

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