We were sitting down, holding hands, and enjoying a DVD when the power quit. We did not know until the next morning how the freak storm with hurricane force winds ripping through the Mid-Atlantic States was causing a natural disaster. Will there be more disasters? Certainly. We were complacent having seen many, many power outages at this location in the Appalachian mountains, mostly in the winter with ice storms lasting as long as 3 weeks. We were secure, having installed a commercial-industrial generator 24 years ago. I started it up.
The reliable 24-year-old WINCO Generator ran for 2 hours and died.
We discussed the situation: (1) no water from the well, (2) no bedroom air-conditioning, (3) no lights, (4) no refrigeration, (5) no freezers, (6) no nothing. Our prepped rural farm setting had animal stock, pets, and of course us elderly to maintain. The first issue was to replace the generator.
I called Lowes, Home Depot, and some other sources; all were sold out. The mass selling and buying was focused on smaller 5000-watt generators, but I wanted a commercial unit. I called my good friend Mark in Floyd VA: Clark Gas and Oil: Phone (540) 745-2323. He contacted Pat Mullins, who had exactly what I wanted, in fact the last unit in stock, and as far as I was able to glean the only one in five storm ravaged states with no electric power. Eleven million people were without electricity. This was tragic.
In the mean time I dug out my spare-emergency- 7,000-watt gasoline fired generator to hook up 220V to run the well pump for water. The situation was a DEFCON 2 for us, as with no water I would have to slaughter the farm stock; there was no electricity for the freezers-now dripping.
The situation was getting more serious. APCO, our power company, was working 24 hours a day with help from other states to supply electricity. The Highway Department was cleaning trees off the road for travel. Staple business like Wal*Mart™, a major supplier in this area for food and necessities, were sold out of camping lanterns, batteries, dried foods, water and ice immediately after power was restored in the city proper.
Restaurants were also shut down; hotels jammed with people fleeing their dark homes. Gas stations were running out of fuel. Computer servers and cell phones did not work. Speaking of phones, the cordless phones did not work, but our old analog dial and touch-tone phones on the landline did work. These were sold out too. It would be good to have one on hand next time the disaster strikes.
Pat Mullins of Diamond Acres: Master Electrician of good reputation was over the next day and advised me of what would meet my goals. I had already figured out, looking ahead at worldwide projected weather conditions-more severe changing climate-storms, coupled with projected summer temperatures reaching 115 degree that I needed to upgrade to a modern automatic generator that recycled itself with no messy maintenance on my part. I like that.
Over that 24-year period we had accumulated a 1000-gallon, and a 500-gallon propane tank, (I want another big tank too). This would give us steady use of propane for the commercial gas range, the gas instant on water service, propane fireplace logs, the baby room back up heater (no longer used), and to run the new 20,000-Watt Generac Generator.
Now I am not bragging about any of this. We have been prepping for 30 years and the master plan is goals and accumulation of what we want at this location for our projected needs over the next 25 plus years.
The propane tanks are located about 160 feet from the generator. I chose to install a new 5/8th type L copper line back and forth. There is available a plastic pressure line offered but I choose the heavy-duty copper pipe. It all amortizes over the years and I have a lot of beans and rice to eat. Actually Propane gas is going down in price and a “hotter” gas than natural gas, but if you have city natural gas you are in luck, as you will not need big storage tanks.
The 200-amp service from APCO and the backup 20,000-watt Generac propane fired generator is still subject in time to maintenance needs. Contact Pat Mullin at www.diamondacresgenerators.com, Fancy Gap VA. Phone (276) 728-2882 or (571) 220- 0240 for purchase of varied size Generac Generators, also as part of the service contract he will inspect, clean and other wise provide twice a year inspections for us. Unfortunately as age creeps up, you have to remember that you are not as able to do for yourself as you used to. Set goals.
Way back in 1988 when the WINCO generator was installed there were few options, generators were not prolific as today. Hurricane HUGO started the generator necessity for homes everywhere with the changing weather patterns. You may be interested in reading my advice and experience on selecting; installing, maintenance and safety with a generator: see the archives of www.Back2theLand.com. As time rolls along your needs will increase. This current generator will run two 5-ton air conditioners as an example, and we will, as heat increases, upgrade our window air conditioners.
Just remember money is only paper fiat monopoly money. The value is in the hard goods. You might want to talk to Sarah at the Fairlawn, VA Member One Credit Union. Oh! Pat Mullin, a good old country boy, cut costs over a 1/3. He is busy at this time installing our new automatic Generac Generator while Clark Gas and Oil are connecting it up to the Propane tanks.
More on this new adventure in security, and peace of mind next week after I finish waxing my new Generac Generator. One more thought: Tell Pat the Old Timer referred you and forward this article to friends once their power is restored.
COPYRIGHT: Back2theLand.com, Mark Steel, July 2012: all rights reserved.