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Eeeeelec-tricity

As a result of the power outage fiasco in December, I'm looking to buy a generator and an electrical switch so that we can power as much of the house as possible. Throwing out an entire refrigerator and freezer worth of food, plus worrying about the fish tanks and living with my parents for a week just makes this a logical move.

So as a first step, we invited out an electrician to see how much wattage we'd need and how much it would cost for them to put in a transfer switch. I'd just like to say that if I could earn $500 an hour as an electrician, I think I'm wasting my time working in IT. That is insane. And that cost is including a ridiculous markup on the 2 tiny parts they'd be supplying (not the box or the generator, those have to be purchased separately). At least he gave us a decent estimate on what kind of wattage we're looking at.

After asking around a bit, it seems that the electrical work is almost as easy as adding a new light. We'll need to poke a hole in the siding for a plug for the generator, but that's pretty easy and a much better option than leaving the window open for the cord. So we're going to attempt this ourselves. And with all that money saved, we'll, um, have less debt.

But this is going to be an interesting process. The electrical box arrived yesterday, and I'm hoping to order the generator today. The one I'd originally ordered is back-ordered 10-12 weeks. Which doesn't really do a lot of good, seeing as the instance of power outages over the summer is pretty light.

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Did you look at any of the solar solutions? Intro level packages, from my vague recollection, weren't that much more than a decent generator and failover system.

I didn't, actually. We're talking less than $5k for the whole deal though.

Ah ok - we looked at a natural gas powered generator with automatic cutover when the main power line went out; it was circa 8K and solar ended up being 11ish, with the added benefit that we could feed power back to the city and theoretically recoup some of our investment... though not in any sort of reasonable time frame :)

Interesting. We decided against the automatic cutover because we'll get short outages (less than an hour) occasionally. Just not worth worrying about switching back at that point...

How long will your generator run on a tank of gas? I tried to get the lowest output generator so that it would run longer, and really I don't need anything beyond the fridge, freezer, heater ignition (gas heater with electric ignition), and sump pump. I got a "cheap" generator for $500, but it won't run 24 hours on a tank of gas. It's the non sophisticated solution.

We went a little higher than that because we've got 2 freezers and the fish tanks. It's probably overkill, but we figured better safe than sorry.

Yeah, nicer set up. Then again you live in the boonies, so you'll use it more.
So, how long will it run on a tank?

13 hours at half load. I love that measure. Such a load of crock. But at least it's a reliable brand.

We were discussing measures of keeping it from walking away on its own last night. Those stories about people stealing generators - crazy stuff. I figure a chain and lock will do it. The husband said "not if they have bolt cutters." So I said that if we don't notice someone coming up to the house with bolt cutters we deserve to lose the thing.

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