The weather had been raining most of the day and the temperature was near freezing, and the sun hadn't set yet. The forecast had called for snow, and we were well stocked with food, and all of the new entertainment that Santa brought. I was napping in my recliner when Sweetheart mentioned that the lights were flickering, and we might lose power. I nodded back off to sleep, and an hour later the lights went out.
No problem, we had a generator set up on the second story balcony, next to the living room. I had had an all weather outlet installed and directly wired into a new outlet inside the house. That way, I could run the generator and have power into the house without letting heat in or out. In theory, a good plan. In reality, I hadn't run the generator and tested the circuit. I added the oil into the generator, as this was the first time to use it. I pulled the gas cans from under the house, of which we have two 5 gallon all metal military Jerry cans and a 3 gallon Jerry can. I also had another 8 gallons in fuel set aside for lawn mowers and emergency car refills. They were filled last winter, this blend stores better, and I had planned on refilling the cars with them soon. The rotation of the backup gasoline was on my to-do list.
I got the generator started and plugged it into the outdoor outlet. Inside, I had a power strip with a 20-25 foot extension cord to power the entertainment system. The entertainment system power was "cleaned up" by using a backup battery power supply pack. This helps to massage,or smooth out the power spikes, and help protect my delicate electronics.
A problem quickly came up, when the lights inside the house didn't light up. I had let the generator run for a few minutes to get up to speed before putting a load on it. I rechecked the extension cords and the GFC on the outlet. Still no power to the house. I started from the generator and bypassed the outlet, running the extension cord in through the side door. The lights came on, so it was the outlet that was interrupting the circuit.
I threw the extension cord over the balcony and ran into the doggy door and up the stairway. The generator was louder than expected and slightly shook the living room. I had Sweetheart help me move the genny onto the carport next to the baclony, and was able to plug it into the extension cord that ran downstairs in through the doggy door. It only took about 20 minutes to get things situated, but I am still thankful that the sun was still shining.
Around 6:30pm, my next door neighbor had just gotten home and he asked about the how long the power had been out. I asked if he was able to keep his saltwater fish okay with the power being out, and he said that they were good for a few hours without power. I offered for him to bring an extension cord and power strip over and he could plug into the generator. He did.
We watched new DVDs from Santa, while Sweetheart and I read new books. A battery powered lantern was positioned in the bathroom, and flashlights were readily accessible if the generator ran out of fuel. We snacked for dinner, and made it a pleasant time for ourselves.
The power came back on around 10:00pm, and I let the generator run for another 15 minutes before shutting it down for the night.
I have added a few items onto my to-do list.
- Making a concrete platform under the balcony for the generator. The generator can be stored under the house, and hauled out when needed. It will be more secure from neighbors, and reduce the noise towards the street. The generator will need to be wrapped up to prevent dirt and dust from accumulating on it.
- We need to purchase a few more extension cords. The refrigerator needs to be plugged into a power strip where the cord is easily accessible for prolonged outages. It makes more sense to have it prepped for an extension cord than trying to move the refrigerator while the power is out.
- Another power strip to run the router would have been nice to find out information about weather or natural disaster. We don't have cable, and our main means of information is the internet.
- Rotate the fuel reserves.