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Old 07-05-2012, 11:25 AM   #121
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Wow, Khan! It looks like a lot of trees fell down in your neighborhood. Good thing that (apparently) one didn't fall on your house.
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Old 07-05-2012, 12:51 PM   #122
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It's sort of bad to be without A/C, but fans and fridge?
Running a fridge from an inverter and battery would require a bank of several golf-cart batteries, as I tried to point out earlier. An average 18 cu.ft. fridge consumes 1.5KWhr a day, according to an EPA Web site. To store that energy in deep cycle golf-cart batteries so that one only runs the generator to charge them once a day, it would require 4 batteries, each storing 125Ah at 6V and discharged to 50% for longer life.

4 * 125 Amp-hr * 6V * 50% = 1500Wh.

That's probably $500 worth of battery to store 20c worth of electric energy.

Given that, a 2KW inverter/generator as I described earlier, the same as what FIRed bought, does not look too bad for $1000. And it will also run a small A/C.

I would need a 20KW genset to run the central air, but I will not spend that money. For a bit more money, one can get a used class C RV to use as an escape pod, and it also has recreation usage.

As I described, I could use the genset built into my RV in an emergency, but it is noisy if one runs it non-stop. So, the portable 2KW genny looks very tempting. I do not have a small window A/C ($150) or a portable free-standing one ($350), but should look into getting one to have a survival room. My wife will classify that as a toy rather than a necessity. Women!


PS. I researched the Volt and found that its battery has a capacity of 18KWhr or 10X that of the Prius. For a long-life of many thousands of discharge cycles, GM limits the depth of discharge to 50%. That still leaves one with a very usable capacity of 9KWhr.

Some engineers at GM have probably been busy proposing an R&D program to the management about an add-on equipment package option to the Volt.
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Old 07-05-2012, 05:44 PM   #123
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That looks really cool. In the six years, about how many times have the genrator kicked in as the power went out?
We have 225 run hours on it - that includes the weekly 12 minute maintenance runs. Our lifestyle never misses a beat when the electricity goes out. It's nice to have it in the heat of the summer because it easily runs our 3 ton air conditioner.
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:22 PM   #124
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I have a few suggestions for those of you who purchased a portable generator and I wanted to do it before this thread became stale or people put power outages on the proverbial back burner.
  • Buy several gas containers. You won't find them during or after an event.
  • Gas stabilizer is your friend. Make sure you have some on hand at all times.
  • Get a "hardened" chain from the hardware store (a chain that can't be cut with regular boltcutters). It has to be long enough to go around something that can't be cut and back again to the generator.
  • Get a lock from the local locksmith that can't be easily cut with boltcutters. The locks sold in most stores have about a one in five chance a key to a similar lock will unlock your lock. Not good. That's why you need to get one from a locksmith.
  • Secure the portable generator with the chain and lock every time you have it outside. Also, secure it when you put it in the storage area.
  • If possible, keep some of the gas containers filled at all times (this is where the gas stabilizer comes into play). You need to decide the minimum number of containers that need to be full at all times and don't go below that number. The worst thing that can happen is you get surprised with an extended outage and find all the gas containers are empty because you/daughter/son/wife/husband/neighbor needed gas in their car.
  • If you are aware of a situation where you might have to go on generator, immediately fill all gas containers as well as all vehicles. Don't wait.
  • Don't let the exhaust from the portable generator come into the house. That means you need to point the exhaust pipe away from buildings.
You can now return to your regularly scheduled program.
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Old 07-10-2012, 08:38 PM   #125
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even the police can't keep their generators (which power their mobile command center) from being stolen:
Bold thief steals law enforcement equipment during Roman Forest fireworks show - Your Houston News: News
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Old 07-10-2012, 09:43 PM   #126
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Stupid question: If I were to buy a honda inverter generator for dry camping and possible emergency use, how would I get the furnace fan to run if needed? Should I expect to find a plug extending from the furnace? We also have a woodstove that I can conceivably heat the house with in a pinch as long as I have a bit of electricity to run the blower (that thing has an obvious plug).
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Old 07-10-2012, 09:57 PM   #127
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Should I expect to find a plug extending from the furnace? We also have a woodstove that I can conceivably heat the house with in a pinch as long as I have a bit of electricity to run the blower (that thing has an obvious plug).
The central furnaces I've seen are hard-wired, no plug. I just cut into ours near the furnace, added a box with an outlet, and then put a plug on the furnace end. This let me plug in my Kill-A-Watt meter to check currents/watts on the motor, and I could plug it into my inverter. Assuming the inverter could handle the surge current, which might be a few seconds at 15~20 amps (3/4 HP motor). I never tested it.

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Old 07-10-2012, 10:24 PM   #128
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The central furnaces I've seen are hard-wired, no plug. I just cut into ours near the furnace, added a box with an outlet, and then put a plug on the furnace end. This let me plug in my Kill-A-Watt meter to check currents/watts on the motor, and I could plug it into my inverter. Assuming the inverter could handle the surge current, which might be a few seconds at 15~20 amps (3/4 HP motor). I never tested it.

-ERD50
Sounds like it would just be simpler to run the woodstove with the blower hooked up to the genset as necessary. Of course in a real pinch we could simply hook up a genset to the camper and hide out in there. Hmmm...

Looks like a Honda EU3000 would do the trick. At 78 pounds I might just be able to get it into the bed of the pickup for dry camping purposes as well. Too bad the things are north of 2 grand.

Can gasoline with Stabil be stored for a very long time (months or years)?
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Old 07-11-2012, 02:33 AM   #129
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Stupid question: If I were to buy a honda inverter generator for dry camping and possible emergency use, how would I get the furnace fan to run if needed? Should I expect to find a plug extending from the furnace? We also have a woodstove that I can conceivably heat the house with in a pinch as long as I have a bit of electricity to run the blower (that thing has an obvious plug).
Or, you could install a transfer switch or transfer panel to power more of the house. The hardware isn't expensive (this simple manual transfer switch allows you to safely energize all your home's circuits from your generator: cost is $100). With this system there's no danger you'll electrocute your neighbors or the power crews by energizing the main lines with your generator. All you'd need in addition is the receptacle for the 30 amp cord from the generator.
PROS: Flexibility- you can run your wood stove blower or gas heater blower, provide power to your fridge or freezer, turn on lights in a room just like normal, etc.
CONS: Flexibility-allows users to turn on too many things at once and overwhelm the generator. Also, this is a heavy-duty wiring project that most folks (or insurance companies/code authorities) would prefer that a licensed electrician perform.

For more bucks you can install a more sophisticated panel that has separate breakers/circuits powered by the generator. rather than powering the whole house.
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Old 07-11-2012, 06:12 AM   #130
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Looks like a Honda EU3000 would do the trick. At 78 pounds I might just be able to get it into the bed of the pickup for dry camping purposes as well. Too bad the things are north of 2 grand.

Can gasoline with Stabil be stored for a very long time (months or years)?
I wanted one of those Hondas, too, but couldn't really justify it, cost-wise. We wound up selecting a cheaper (and louder) Champion model that can be used to run a few things at the house, can run everything on the motorhome, and the AC unit on the boat. The RV has an old Onan built into it, but it won't power the roof air, hence getting the new generator and a carry rack for the trailer hitch.

It was a simple solution, but is still yet another small engine for DH to maintain around the house. With hurricanes being a reality here, I'm glad to have a way to run the well pump and enough household stuff to get us by in emergencies.
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Old 07-11-2012, 06:17 AM   #131
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Can gasoline with Stabil be stored for a very long time (months or years)?
Sta-Bil advertises it keeps gas 'fresh' for up to 12 months.
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Old 07-11-2012, 06:22 AM   #132
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Can gasoline with Stabil be stored for a very long time (months or years)?
According to the label on Stabil if you double the dose it will keep gasoline stable for two years but I think that's pushing the envelope.

For my generator and snow thrower since I don't know when the next time I'll use it is I drain the entire fuel system, including the carburetor bowl, so evaporation/gunk isn't an issue. It may be a few years before they're run again.

For the mowers and such I just empty the tanks and run them until they quit. That still leaves a bit in the carburetor bowl but since I'll be using them in six month or so that hasn't caused any problems.
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Old 07-11-2012, 08:31 AM   #133
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Recipe for a "poor man's air conditioner"

Battery operated fan and lots of spare batteries. Plan B - a lightweight piece of cardboard to use as a manual fan.
Bowl of cool water (or ice if stores have it)
Damp cloth in a small bowl of water

Put water or ice in a shallow cake pan. Arrange the pan of water so the fan blows over the water. Use books to adjust height of bowl or fan as needed.
Keep face and wrists and other body parts damp with water.
Wear lightweight cotton or nothing at all.
Get long hair off neck and shoulders.
Sit in front of fan (or use cardboard as a fan).


Hope you get power soon.

A battery operated spray bottle fan similar to this design saved my bacon at Woodstock 99. Other concert-goers were passing bottles of water to me so I could keep spraying a mist over the crowd near me.
http://ep.yimg.com/ca/I/brianswholesale_2214_209313845

Here is a list of how to keep cool in a heat wave with no power. I like the damp towel idea.
http://www.wtop.com/267/2925605/Tips...-without-power
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Old 07-11-2012, 08:39 AM   #134
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Regarding the stale gas and storage issue - does anyone make a smaller size generator like this that runs on natural gas? I would prefer that to keeping all that gasoline around and having to dump it in the cars once/year and refill the cans to keep it fresh.

The only NG units I see are the big whole-house models. I've got gas piped for the grill now, so that would be convenient, if the line is big enough.

-ERD50
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Old 07-11-2012, 09:38 AM   #135
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I have three 5-gal gas containers that I "rotate" during the summer months when cutting/trimming the lawn, where the equipment averages a bit over a gal. per week. I don't use StaBil in those containers during the summer.

I'll add it in late fall since my usage will be limited to my snowthrower and generator (5500 normal/8250 peak), if needed at all.

It's enough gas to keep the generator (12-gal tank) to run a bit over 24-hours at a full load, which would cover the majority of our outages over the last few decades, for emergency use.

We're looking at installing a whole-house generator (Generac) over the next few years (due to the changes due to global warming and strain on the existing grid) and just using the current portable generator to get by at this time. Besides, we're old pharts and don't want to put up with the BS of being without power ...

It's like the lines from the movie "Fried Green Tomatoes":

[Evelyn is cut off in a parking lot]
Evelyn Couch:Hey! I was waiting for that spot!
Girl #1:Face it, lady, we're younger and faster!
[Evelyn rear-ends the other car six times]
Girl #1:What are you *doing*?
Girl #2:Are you *crazy*?
Evelyn Couch:Face it, girls, I'm older and I have more insurance.
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Old 07-11-2012, 09:39 AM   #136
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Got home Monday from vacation to a refrigerator that had been out of power for 4 days in 100 degree heat.

Tossed everything and scrubbed with baking soda. We have pans of baking soda on the shelves with the new food. Any other great suggestions for suppressing the smell? Fridge doesn't appear to have condensate pans like the old days.
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Old 07-11-2012, 09:43 AM   #137
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Got home Monday from vacation to a refrigerator that had been out of power for 4 days in 100 degree heat.

Tossed everything and scrubbed with baking soda. We have pans of baking soda on the shelves with the new food. Any other great suggestions for suppressing the smell? Fridge doesn't appear to have condensate pans like the old days.
Welcome back

Here's an article that may be useful.
Removing Spoiled Food Odors from Refrigerator | ThriftyFun
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Old 07-11-2012, 10:32 AM   #138
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Got home Monday from vacation to a refrigerator that had been out of power for 4 days in 100 degree heat.

Tossed everything and scrubbed with baking soda. We have pans of baking soda on the shelves with the new food. Any other great suggestions for suppressing the smell? Fridge doesn't appear to have condensate pans like the old days.
After Hurricane Katrina, residents down here learned a LOT about removing spoiled food smells. Although refrigerators here sat in similar heat for longer periods before evacuees could empty them, still I would imagine the problems would be about the same.

In general, there are a lot of home remedies: charcoal, baking soda, bleach, cleaning, recleaning, recleaning again... even gelatin as is suggested in Freebird's link. I guess I tried about a dozen suggested home remedies, personally; all the remedies that I have ever heard of before or since. Plus, F. helped me by applying real muscle to the cleaning efforts beyond what a woman could provide (and I cleaned after he did, a number of times, as well).

But overall, what we found down here is that these remedies will only work for maybe 20% of refrigerators if they are sitting for weeks in 95-100 degree weather. The reason? You can remove every detectable trace of spoiled food smell from the exposed surfaces inside the refrigerator, until they sparkle and do not themselves smell, but after an extended period of time, the smell gets into the insulation inside the refrigerator walls and door and you cannot even begin to remove that type of smell. Even the "Martha Stewart" type women down here failed if/when that happened, though some refrigerators never had that happen and women owning them had great results after essentially minimal effort, and by that I mean just a couple of cleanings, baking soda, and charcoal. When the smell has penetrated the refrigerator walls, one can get rid of MOST of it but there will always be some faint, lingering smell. Even after months it will remain and it never leaves. You may never want to put food in it again unless it is sealed tightly in Tupperware or equivalents.

In that case, what many down here did was to sell to someone for use as an extra "beer refrigerator", since canned beer will not suffer from the faint, remaining smell. People are often glad to get a bargain beer refrigerator.
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Old 07-11-2012, 11:28 AM   #139
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Looks like a Honda EU3000 would do the trick. At 78 pounds I might just be able to get it into the bed of the pickup for dry camping purposes as well. Too bad the things are north of 2 grand.
I bought my Honda from here: Yamaha & Honda Generators, Power Equipment, and Toro Zero-Turns WiseSales.com

Quite a bit cheaper than the local shops, they have the EU3000 for $1899, with free shipping; ( $500 off of retail price)

(You need to register to see pricing).
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Old 07-11-2012, 11:32 AM   #140
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I bought my Honda from here: Yamaha & Honda Generators, Power Equipment, and Toro Zero-Turns WiseSales.com

Quite a bit cheaper than the local shops, they have the EU3000 for $1899, with free shipping; ( $500 off of retail price)

(You need to register to see pricing).

Thanks, ed, just what I need: a temptation to drop 1899...

I will keep it in mind if I decide to buy one.
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