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 Post subject: Is a generator still needed
Post Posted: Jan 25, 2019 10:22 am 
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I live in the lower end of Burland. From what I understand, with all of the work that IREA has done, power outages have decreased quite a bit. From those of you that have been here a while, do you think a generator is still a good investment?

If you do still use one, what appliances do you use it for? What size? Anything else? If I were to get one it would be on the lower end of power and cost.


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 Post subject: Re: Is a generator still needed
Post Posted: Jan 25, 2019 10:51 am 
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I still have a generator and still think it is necessary for outages. Only needed about once every 5-10 years but when needed it is nice to be able to have drinking and toilet flush water and keep refrig and heater running plus run a microwave.
Mine is portable 5000 watts, on wheels stored in garage. I test run it on the first of every month. When needed, I wheel it to the deck and hook it up to a transfer panel. In order to hook up generator the connection to IREA is severed to protect linemen. It does not have to run continuously. Longest outage was only a couple of days - as you say, the IREA system is improved. No system is perfect. If you can easily go for a few days without power then you don't need a backup.


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 Post subject: Re: Is a generator still needed
Post Posted: Jan 25, 2019 11:17 am 
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Needed? No. Recommended? Yes. Most of us are on wells up here and without power we have no readily available water. It's a convenience thing, being able to flush toilets, wash dishes, take a shower, drink it, etc. Assuming you stashed a few gallons in the basement, it's not like life will stop without a well for a few days. At a minimum, my recommendation is to size the generator to be able to handle the well plus a few other small items. Remember Volts x Amps = Watts. Then take into account altitude. Depends on the engine/generator type, but figure 2-4% decrease in output for every 1000' above sea level. So altitude of 8000' could degrade a generator almost 24%. A 6000-9000 watt generator will handle most household requirements with careful use.


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 Post subject: Re: Is a generator still needed
Post Posted: Jan 25, 2019 11:22 am 
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I'm at 8700 feet and the 5000 watt generator will handle our submersible 220 V pump But everything else should be off when it kicks in because of the surge current needed to start it. Since we do have a pressure tank with limited storage this procedure works fine.


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 Post subject: Re: Is a generator still needed
Post Posted: Jan 25, 2019 12:51 pm 
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I have a full house generator, primarily because of necessity to run business computers. I lose power a couple of times a year, and typically it is a couple or hours. 10 years ago, power could be lost for 12 or more hours; now it typically restored within three to four hours.


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 Post subject: Re: Is a generator still needed
Post Posted: Jan 25, 2019 2:51 pm 
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Sod's Law dictates that if you have a generator you won't need it, and if you don't you'll wish you did ....

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 Post subject: Re: Is a generator still needed
Post Posted: Jan 25, 2019 6:04 pm 
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We heat with wood & natural gas. We need electricity to control the natgas boiler. We have a well, need electricity. My work requires computers and internet service. The list goes on.

We need a generator. Fortunately we don't need to use it often.

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 Post subject: Re: Is a generator still needed
Post Posted: Jan 25, 2019 7:33 pm 
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smonson wrote:
I live in the lower end of Burland. From what I understand, with all of the work that IREA has done, power outages have decreased quite a bit. From those of you that have been here a while, do you think a generator is still a good investment?

If you do still use one, what appliances do you use it for? What size? Anything else? If I were to get one it would be on the lower end of power and cost.



the short answer YES

We have whole house propane generator that we bought on eBay and had shipped here from FL. We have a propane tank for the heating system in our detached shop (garage) and that is where the generator sits, so it is not so loud down at the house. We take ourselves off the grid (flip the switch) and turn on the generator. We keep a multimeter on the power box to see when the power is back on so we know when to turn off the generator and come back onto the grid. We've had to use it 3 times this year.

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 Post subject: Re: Is a generator still needed
Post Posted: Jan 25, 2019 10:22 pm 
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I wouldn't be without a generator up here. Yes, IREA has gotten much better over the years - but imagine this... (Dreamy, harp music) You are watching the college football national championship game. Clemson is pounding Alabama. Nick Saban is scowling and cussing on the sideline. You are ecstatic. The beer is flowing. The chicken wings and chips and salsa are heaping on your plate. All is right with the world! Then the power goes out. No light. No water. No refrigerator. NO FOOTBALL GAME!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

Hopefully I've put everything into perspective for you. Get a generator.

I have a 9000 watt Champion "Duel fuel" generator. It can be run on gas or propane. I bought it at Costco for less than a grand. It has electric start, and pull start. It's a beast. It starts super easy, even in cold weather. It will run my whole house, including my well pump. I've had it for a few years and need it less than 5 times a year - But it's sure nice to have power when it's freezing cold and dark and the power goes out. I fire it up for 15-20 minutes every month just to keep it operational. I change the oil once a year. Works like a dream. It's on wheels, but it is heavy. Also, keep in mind that a generator is not water proof. Get a proper cover for it, for those times when you inevitably have to run it in a snow storm.

Take care!


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 Post subject: Re: Is a generator still needed
Post Posted: Jan 26, 2019 8:59 am 
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Well that depends on your lifestyle and your tolerance to inconvenience.
Getting through a power outage is easier than camping.

Yeah missing a fun football game is a total bummer indeed but hey in the larger scheme of things, no big deal.

I've lived up here for over 12 years without one and only once was it a problem (because in the beginning, I was not prepared for a 2 day outage). You can bet I am now. But since then the longest outage has been ~8-10 hours. However most are less than an hour or two.

But yes, they are still a common occurrence. Probably 6-8 outages per year.

For me, the cost and maintenance is not worth it. But if you have some extra cash and enjoy tinkering with equipment then go for it.


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 Post subject: Re: Is a generator still needed
Post Posted: Jan 26, 2019 9:08 am 
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Worthwhile comments CooknThyme. Duration of outages also depends on your general location. Burland with it's population density would be likely to have power restored quicker than a home a couple of miles outside of "downtown" Buffalo Creek. It's a matter of necessary priorities by IREA.


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 Post subject: Re: Is a generator still needed
Post Posted: Jan 26, 2019 12:56 pm 
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We have one because my husband is 02 dependent, as well as addicted to the TV :) Before it became a necessity, I'd fill the tub when a storm started and break out the candles and hurricane lamps and it was camping in the house. A few years ago, pre-generator, the power was out for a week and we lost everything in the 2 freezers & both fridges. It has gotten much better but the memory of the storm of 2003, and its 11 FEET of snow lingers and I will always have a generator.

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