Woke up this morning to a power outage; not hard to wake up with those since I wear a CPAP mask. Heard some sirens from the local fire department shortly thereafter, so figured the news wasn’t good. I figured it wasn’t weather related, since it was cold (about 30F) but not windy. (All the trees around here can sometimes irritate the power poles and wiring.)
Took a shower while the hot water heater (insulated, but in a cold garage) still had hot water. Then popped on FB to check the local Public Utility District (PUD) status; they usually have fairly quick updates. They said a transformer failure at the local distribution place.
So, the morning was quieter than usual; no music via Pandora. No interwebs to wander around. Although I hadn’t charged my phone and tablet last night, there was still enough to use it. (Hence the ability to check FB.) And I do have one of those external USB batteries to recharge.
It was a nice sunny day (well, some high clouds), so there was enough outside light through our big windows to see things. The windows are all double-pane, but still can let in some coldness.
Fired up the propane fireplace. It doesn’t’ really put out much heat, even with the powered fans. Might have to think about replacing that.
The PUD was saying that power might take 12-24 hours depending on location. So at about 130pm, decided to fire up the generator. Went out to the garage, did the ‘release’ thing on the garage door opener, but couldn’t get the door (double-wide metal sectional thing) up. Turned out that the garage door spring had broken, so no assist on getting the door up.
But the generator is just inside the garage. Hooked up the extension cord to the door opener, and started the generator (after figuring out the generator battery was out of charge, so had to use the pull-rope). Got it started after about 8 pulls, quickly opened the garage door (because gas engines inside a garage are not really healthy) and moved the generator out on the driveway. (It has a heavy-duty cable to secure it from wandering away.).
Then ran a long heavy-duty extension cord to the den, and hooked it up to the LCD TV and DirecTV box. The generator was able to easily power the TV, so that is good news – I did want to test that on the next power outage. I also used generator power to charge up the phone and tablet. (The battery pack did a good job on the phone, getting it from about 15% to 90%.)
I already had lots of flashlights (you can never have too many). The outside chest freezer only got up to 10F, so it was OK. The inside refrigerator was OK for the moment, but would probably need to connect it to the generator in the evening.
So I spent most of the day reading (paper and electronic books), and checking FB via the phone and tablet.
The PUD guys were rearranging the power switching, so were able to get some areas near us powered up. We got power at about 430pm, although it was a ‘brown-out’ level; the bathroom lights were a bit dim, so I measured the voltage at about 90VAC. It took until about 600pm to get full voltage back.
So, the results of this power outage
- It’s time to get a generator bypass panel wired into the house. I figure the generator can run the TV/den, the bedroom, and the refrigerator and freezer. The generator is a 6000-7000W unit, so should handle that load OK. That will eliminate the hassle of running those orange extension cords around. Looks like the cost will be around $250-300, plus an hours’ worth of electrician time. (Although I could do it myself, I also need to get a whole-house power conditioner thing installed, so might as well let the electrician do it.
- I also need to get the garage door spring replaced. Not a job for the do-it-yourselfer, though, since those springs can be a bit deadly.
- I used to have several of those USB power ‘banks’, but they are hiding at the moment. So will need to find those this week. I ordered two more from the Daily Steals site at $10 apiece, which is a good price.
Other preps were OK. I’ve got a couple of LED camping lights that put out a lot of light at minimal battery cost. And I have lots of other flashlights around, including those that plug into the wall and light up on when power fails.
Food and water preps are good for short-term.
And, I figured out that although toilets still flush, the bathroom fan won’t work during a power outage. So a purchase of some air freshener might be a good idea.