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Old 05-05-2018, 12:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
monophoto's Avatar
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Default Domestic deliberations

Wife and I built a new home - have been in it fo 15 1/2 years. It's in a quasi-rural area - fairly dense suburban developments surrounded by farmland. One of the first things we noticed after moving was that the reliability of electricity service wasn't as good as in our old neighborhood which was purely a classic suburban bedroom community.

Over time, the local utility has reinforced their system as the residential density has increased. So as a result, the frequency of service outages has diminished pretty dramatically.

Two weeks ago, we had an outage for about two hours (caused, I believe, by an accident associated with a road construction project). Not a big deal. And this was the first outage that lasted more than a few minutes in at least a year.

Last night, we had a second event caused by a line of thunderstorms that came through around 8pm. The outage lasted until noon today.

Some of our neighbors have opted to install automatic natural-gas powered emergency generators, while a few have chosen to use gasoline powered generators that have to be set up each time they are needed.

Wife is convinced that we need a generator. Her main issue is that we are at the end of the street, which is also at the bottom of a hill, so we have to have a 'grinder pump' to deal with sewage - and when there is a power outage, we are limited to flushing the toilet about 40 times before we have a serious problem. I'm not convinced - the frequency of events is diminishing as the utility improves their service, the only place to put a generator would be right outside our bedroom window (did I mention they are noisy?), and the cost is significant. And there is a McDonald's not too far away with bathrooms.

Who is going to win this debate?
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Old 05-05-2018, 01:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I learned a long time ago that the only acceptable answers to the wife are "yes, dear", "you're right, dear", and "it's all my fault, dear".
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Old 05-05-2018, 02:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Look into a gas powered welder. Some generate ac that you can power the poop pump and fridge with. You get a welder and she gets her power. Win win.
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Old 05-05-2018, 02:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by monophoto View Post
Some of our neighbors have opted to install automatic natural-gas powered emergency generators.

Originally Posted by monophoto View Post
while a few have chosen to use gasoline powered generators that have to be set up each time they are needed.
or WORK!

Sounds like those are your options, she is right and will most likely win the battle. I have a neighbor that has a Generac, it is great during a Hurricane, but otherwise is a $5k lawn ornament. I'd fight for an inexpensive portable unit, most likely will never "need" it and you might be able to use it for camping or let family/friends use it for their adventures...

EDIT: Also, i you get a portable unit get one that is designed to be quiet, the standard cheap open frame ones are about as loud as a lawnmower, which gets super annoying

Last edited by Dehn0045; 05-05-2018 at 02:59 PM.
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Old 05-05-2018, 03:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Your poopie pump might be an issue if the power is off for a long time. I have never had a generator, even when I lived on a farm. We had our power off in March, 1993 when we had a blizzard here. High winds were a problem but when the winds died down, the utilities were able to repair lines. Our power was off about 10-12 hours. The sparsely populated rural county east of us had some people w/o power for 10 days.
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Old 05-05-2018, 03:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Having worked with disaster relief efforts, there is nothing like seeing the long faces of those without, vs the few WITH.

It is LOML that has always wanted a generator. I can stand the few hours without. I hate investing in an electronic ornament. We did have one when we lived overseas, and yet with a direct hit of 6 hours of 100MPH winds, we never were without electricity. The generator just stood by on standby.

This is a decision that you, your wife and budget have to decide. She will appreciate the auto side. I am working at my daughter's house (she is not married) and I am seeing the need for fixing things in a way so that they do NOT need to be maintained regularly, and it is teaching me that I need to do the same for our house for LOML. I'm not planning on checking out soon but things need to be so that she can maintain it as simple as possible in case I do.
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Old 05-14-2018, 09:29 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Hi Louie. I live completely off the grid in the Rocky Mountains of Montana. If I had my old pitching arm I could hit the Continental Divide with a rock. Needless to say, I have my own generating system for power (the local utility wanted $250,000.00 to run a power line 8 miles). I own 3 generators a 3,000 watt one for small jobs, a Honda 6500 for somewhat bigger jobs like welding and our main back up generator is a 10KW diesel powered one. When the sun doesn't shine I can charge my batteries in about 3 hours. A normal battery charge will give me all the electricity I need for around 36 hours. I know that propane powered generators use a lot of propane compared to a diesel generator (I use about 60gls of diesel per year). My diesel generator is in an insulated shed and when it auto starts it's almost impossible to hear. The only thing special I do for my diesel generator is to make sure I use #1 diesel fuel and use a diesel treatment for the winter (the generator hardly runs during the summer months). A friend of mine has a propane generator and his biggest complaint is how much fuel it uses to charge his batteries. He uses about 800gls per year of propane compared to my 60 in diesel. and he's a very frugal person. Good luck on your project- Tom
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Old 05-20-2018, 08:54 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default What's your piece of mind worth?

It's one of those things you have to decide if you'd rather have it and not need it, or need it and not have it.

Around 12-13 years ago I was living as a divorced single in an old 2 story brick house. Needless to say there is literally no insulation in a +100 year old brick house. An ice storm came through and shut down most of the state. Some were without power for 2 weeks. Fortunately I had a wood burner and a small stash of wood for such occasions that kept things from freezing. Everything outside was covered with a thick layer of ice and It was three days before Christmas so I was able to stay home and feed the wood burner to keep it above freezing.

I was only without power for 3 days but it was an experience I swore I wouldn't go through again and I made the decision then, I would install a generator at some point in time. At the very least frozen pipes can be a nightmare.

A few years later I remarried and I retold the experience to my (new) wife and about 4 years ago we took our tax refund and bought a whole house 20kw Generac. It was delivered to our house and I did all of the work pouring the pad, running the gas line and wiring in the automatic switch. Finally it was done! I don't have to scramble to set up a generator and decide what gets turned on and what doesn't. Do I have to wire it in? Will it even run? Do I have enough gasoline? Etc, etc.

The power is our area can be spotty at times since the trees in our rural area just love to take down the lines as well as drivers taking out poles.

We are gone throughout the day as much as 12 hours because of our jobs and if we lose power lots of bad things can happen. If the power goes out I don't have to worry about the hot tub freezing, water lines freezing or our cats freezing or anything else mother nature decides to do when it gets below freezing. When it gets hotter than the dickens I don't have to worry about losing everything in the fridge or freezer.

Our 5k lawn ornament investment gives us piece of mind in knowing that when the power goes out within 10 seconds all will be well.

I'm not suggesting you buy a whole house generator but consider the possibilities and what if's. A generator can be a small price to pay for your piece of mind in knowing that you are prepared when the lights go out.
It's not what you take when you leave this world behind you, it's what you leave behind you when you go.

Last edited by ohiococonut; 05-20-2018 at 08:59 AM. Reason: Revision
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Old 05-20-2018, 01:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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All you had to ask was who would win an argument you or your wife. I’d bet 99%of the married guys would answer your wife. If your asking about going about how or should you fix the problem , we’ll thats a different topic.
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Old 05-20-2018, 02:34 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Oh, you poor man, and silly fool - she is going to win. It's a no-brainer. You either (A) get the generator and she wins, or you (B) don't get the generator, she doesn't speak to you for three days, and you go get the generator in exchange for a hot meal and she wins.

(Suggestion: Buy yourself a new compressor for the shop. She'll likely not know the difference until the electricity goes out again. You're welcome.)
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