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Our new whole house generator

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1 Our new whole house generator on Wed Sep 14, 2016 9:39 am

Crybaby

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Today is the final day of the installation of our Generac whole house generator.  The guys will finish up and then one of them, Dave, will give us a training lesson on it.  Not that we will have to do much to it, as the installation company will provide remote monitoring of it, as does Generac.  They'll set it up to do a test run periodically (we'll probably choose once a week -- you can choose the day and the time that it will kick on for 5 or 10 minutes to show that it's working properly), and though we won't have to worry about it, he'll probably show us how to change the oil and replace the battery, too.  

Brian is like a kid in a candy store and he cannot WAIT until we lose power to see it kick in and begin working about 10 seconds after the outage.  It definitely wasn't inexpensive but it's something we've been wanting for years -- it's just too much to put up with a prolonged outage after a storm, tropical storm or hurricane comes roaring through our area.  Now that we've gotten older, it would be all the more oppressive, especially with my being on IV medicine 24/7 -- the medicine itself is not supposed to get too warm either, so that's another thing we won't have to worry about if we lose power.  

I keep thinking now that we have it, we'll probably never have a power outage again!  One good thing that happened was right after we signed on the dotted line, Generac offered a free 10-year warranty for those purchasing the generator prior to 9.16.16, which extended warranty we were already purchasing for $1200 so we lucked out there!  We had to re-do the contract to remove the $1200 fee -- THAT sure felt good!

2 Re: Our new whole house generator on Wed Sep 14, 2016 2:45 pm

bethk

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And now you know what to get Brian for Christmas.........a bunch of 100' heavy duty extension cords so he can somehow run power from your house to the neighbors to keep THEIR refrigerators running if there is a storm. Wouldn't he love being the "HERO" of the neighborhood?

LOL

3 Re: Our new whole house generator on Wed Sep 14, 2016 2:47 pm

bethk

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I remember during Katrina there was a news story about someone having a generator and they ran a cord out to the sidewalk with power strips so people could charge their cell phones. I thought that was just the most wonderful idea.

4 Re: Our new whole house generator on Wed Sep 14, 2016 5:49 pm

Crybaby

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bethk wrote:And now you know what to get Brian for Christmas.........a bunch of 100' heavy duty extension cords so he can somehow run power from your house to the neighbors to keep THEIR refrigerators running if there is a storm.  Wouldn't he love being the "HERO" of the neighborhood?

LOL

Am laughing, as there are two places to plug in extension cords but the man warned us, as he said one of his clients allowed a neighbor to plug in an extension cord to power her fridge so her food wouldn't spoil and she used a power strip and powered lots of stuff to it, which her family was using.  Well, not only are you paying for that heavy gas use, but she caused the machine to shut down because she overused its capacity!  

To tell you the truth, I didn't know it had plugs in it until today.  I made Brian's eyes light up when I reminded him that our tree trimmer plugs in.  We have a Sun-Joe extendable pole chainsaw that's electric and cuts limbs up to 9-1/2" diameter; it's all we need to trim our blood orange tree (I bought it last season after a tree guy gave us a price of $600 (ridiculous!) to trim it.  

A neighbor on one side of us (he's on the corner) also has a type of palm (I think it's a palm; it's a nice tree but he just planted it in the wrong place and, of course, hasn't trimmed it in the 18 years we've lived here) that is coming over into our yard, base and top; he says we can cut it down if we want but that is his problem, as it's big and would need a professional to cut the whole thing down and lug it away.  But Brian has used the chainsaw to cut a couple of branches that were in our yard and casting too much shade on some of our gardens.  He also used it to cut up those big branches so he could put the pieces in our huge garbage can issued by the garbage company per the city.  I reminded him that after a storm, he could use the chainsaw to cut up any branches or part of the tree that fell in our yard, and that he wouldn't have to wait until power was restored.  He was like a kid in a candy store just thinking about that (guys and a chainsaw).

The same neighbor uses a gasoline generator after a storm, or leaves it for his house sitters to use.  We would certainly offer his downstairs tenant the option of plugging in her fridge if her landlord didn't, and I think he has in the past.  He even allowed us to plug into his gasoline generator last storm to save our fridge.  We were so grateful!  The only cheat we did was plug in the coffeemaker to make coffee in the morning and then unplugged it 30 minutes later. Embarassed   We also gave him a nice check the following week that would more than cover our usage.  The neighbor on the other side of us, who only lives in N.O. for six months of the year, already has a whole house generator.  I doubt anyone near us will even know we have the generator.

And I've got to tell you, Beth, that usually the neighborhood is a ghost town when a storm is coming.  Most people leave town a day or two prior to be safe (most offices will accommodate you but, of course, you're using vacation or your pay to do so) and after Katrina, it will be only the stalwarts who remain.  I'm almost 63 and I have never left the city for a storm, even as a kid.  Never.  Wouldn't start now.  Wouldn't call to be rescued either, as the French Quarter and our neighborhood are the highest in the city -- that's why they were settled first so many years ago and, of course, their proximity to the river, which meant commerce (still does but for the entire U.S. now).  If we ever flooded here, there would be no one left to call, as the city would be underwater by A LOT more than it even was in Katrina, as we're talking the Mississippi River right next to our street!  

But our house has withstood a lot of hurricanes over the +100 years of its existence so that's reassuring, too.  Plus we were here during Katrina and our house only sustained minimal damage (it's wood in front but wrapped in siding on the other three sides and some of the siding came off of one side and we lost a few roof shingles, though we had no leaks in the roof).  We also dealt with some other minor damage but we're very confident in our house's ability to weather a good size storm with people in it.  

The real drag about staying is losing power -- the inconvenience and it's usually hot, too, considering when hurricane season is.  Since we've solved those problems, it will be interesting to see it from this new perspective if, God forbid, we do encounter another storm in our future.  But you know, we've lost power in regular storms, too, so we'll be protected from those short power outages as well.  Hopefully, those outages will be the only times the generator is needed!

5 Re: Our new whole house generator on Wed Sep 14, 2016 5:58 pm

Crybaby

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bethk wrote:I remember during Katrina there was a news story about someone having a generator and they ran a cord out to the sidewalk with power strips so people could charge their cell phones.  I thought that was just the most wonderful idea.

It might have been if it would've helped!  All the cell towers were out so you couldn't call out even if you had power in your phone (which we did).  After two days, Brian's co-worker was able to call INTO Brian's phone as we drove out of town, but anyone who had a 504 area code cell phone was unable to call anyone or receive a call, though texts sometimes were able to get through -- sometimes!  Once you got into another city and your phone was able to roam a bit (he got through the first time when we were about 90 miles away from N.O), it would start working again!

That was probably a month or two after the storm, when people started coming back to work on their homes, when it would've been very handy, I'm sure.

6 Re: Our new whole house generator on Thu Sep 15, 2016 10:10 am

Bugster2

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Haven't had anything that bad happen even with the earthquakes, and I have been through them all. A few years back there was a fire nearby that had us concerned that we might have to evacuate. We could see the flames from our house. It was about a mile and a half away. A few years back we had a tornado of sorts that crossed our home and blew my appliance shed apart. Been very lucky. I have a friend who got snowed in for a week without power and she a had a new baby. Fortunately her father was living with her (her husband was out of town for work) and he made sure the fires were burning and she was safe.

7 Re: Our new whole house generator on Thu Sep 15, 2016 11:28 am

Crybaby

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Bugster2 wrote:Haven't had anything that bad happen even with the earthquakes, and I have been through them all. A few years back there was a fire nearby that had us concerned that we might have to evacuate. We could see the flames from our house. It was about a mile and a half away. A few years back we had a tornado of sorts that crossed our home and blew my appliance shed apart. Been very lucky. I have a friend who got snowed in for a week without power and she a had a new baby. Fortunately her father was living with her (her husband was out of town for work) and he made sure the fires were burning and she was safe.

Those fires out in CA are terrifying to me -- and I cry when I watch the news and see these poor people going back and finding just ashes.  Especially the elderly, as getting back on your feet after something like that (even WITH insurance) is daunting at any age.  It must've been so awful thinking you might have to evacuate -- as you never know when, or what, you'll be coming back to.

That's one reason we don't evacuate; we know that the first thing we'll want to do after the storm is get back to check on our house.  And, of course, that's not always possible.  Katrina was on a Sunday and we left town late Tuesday, just prior to the 7 p.m. curfew.  We knew the condition of our house and the neighborhood but things were getting dicey and the info we got on the radio was very distressing, e.g., power might not be restored for 6 months due to the extensive damage to EVERYTHING!  But Brian had gotten out the hose and cleaned up all the broken leaves off of our house as soon as he could (the house looked almost polka dot with leaf pieces all over the front!), as he wanted to get them off before the weather got really hot again and they stuck.  This was good, as it looked as if our house was occupied:  the shutters were open and lights were on, and the outside was cleaned up of any and all debris (broken things, pieces of branches, and all the detritus associated with a storm).  We hoped this would discourage looters.

When the city started letting people back in, our zip code was the first being allowed back in; of course, this was because of no flooding and much less damage than most areas.  They called THAT off after 24 hours because of the next storm, Rita, which was already in the Gulf.  One of our neighbors, who evacuated with a bus full of residents from the nursing home at which she worked, got back in town in that short window of time; I felt terrible 'cause she kept emailing me asking when we were coming home, as she was creeped out at night being one of the few people around.  Luckily, Brian had co-workers who were sleeping on one of the cruise ships brought in to house people needed to get the city back in action, Brian's steamship industry being at the top of the list.  N.O. goes back and forth from the second or third busiest port in the nation so national and international commerce was affected if ships couldn't get in and out of our ports.  The guys periodically had to come on this side of the river and would pass our house, give it a once over and occasionally look in the windows; they'd call Brian and let him know that all seemed okay with our house, which was a big relief.  

Your poor friend being snowed in for a week with a new baby!  Thank God her father was there.  I cannot imagine anything more frightening than to go through some catastrophic weather event BY YOURSELF!  I remember seeing a picture after one of the many blizzards in New England a couple years ago -- the year of SNOWMAGEDDON.  The homeowner's front door was open and all you could see from top to bottom of the doorway was snow packed against the door.  What made me laugh is that he had stuck about a dozen beer bottles into the snow -- it looked polka dotted, as you could just see the cap and a bit of the neck of each beer bottle!  We howled with laughter!  People are so clever and seem to rely on their sense of humor in a situation such as that -- sometimes all you can do is laugh!

8 Re: Our new whole house generator on Thu Sep 15, 2016 11:50 am

Bugster2

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My friend was living in Connecticut at the time and I think it was one of the worse snow storms they had ever had.

I lost my home in a fire in 1980. It was no fun. My father almost didn't make it out in time. He went out on to the balcony which was about 3 stories high and there were a couple of men in the yard who caught him when jumped. Just as he got onto the balcony the windows blew out and burned his face in spots. My mother got out downstairs. My sisters and I were at a party at the time. Christmas Eve. And no, it wasn't the tree. The fire department said it started in the attic which was huge and full of stuff. Most likely old wiring was the cause. We never did rebuild. Dad sold the property as is and someone else rebuilt it. It was for the best because my father knew nothing about having a house built. Plus he was woefully underinsured and it would have cost a lot out of pocket to do it. My father could squeeze a dollar till the eagle screamed and being parsimonious actually cost him more in the long run.

9 Re: Our new whole house generator on Thu Sep 15, 2016 12:40 pm

Crybaby

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I can't even begin to imagine what losing your home to a fire is like -- everything just GONE in an instant! I'm glad your father ended up getting out, as it sure seems like it was a close call, Bug. And on Christmas Eve, no less. How sad is that!

When I was in legal, I worked for a defense firm that handled a lot of cases for insurance companies. One attorney specialized in fire cases and the insurance company adjuster who specialized in fires was a regular at the firm and a very nice and funny man, as was the attorney. It always amazed me how many people thought they could easily get away with arson. Many, many, many of them moved things out of their home prior to setting a fire. They don't think about neighbors seeing them moving items, U-Haul type places that have records of them renting trucks, storage units rented, and many other stupid things you shouldn't do if you're planning on committing this type of crime. And if you could've seen the list of items they "lost" in the fire, it would boggle your mind. People of modest means claimed the man lost 25 leather jackets in the fire, more fur coats that anyone could possibly use in our climate, etc. One thing a lot of people don't know is that if an insurance company can prove you lied about ONE SINGLE THING you lost during a fire, they no longer have to pay you any part of your contents claim! A very expensive lesson to learn.

One case went on for more than 4 years in federal court. The plaintiff/arsonist was suing the insurance company for underpayment of his claim. If I remember correctly, they were unable to prove arson but they were able to prove that he had lied over and over about his losses in the fire. They had the plaintiff's picture taped under the reception desk in the front office. You couldn't see it unless you were behind the desk. I found out why after a while. The same day the man lost his case in court, he went to the home of the attorney and using a rifle, shot up the entire front of the attorney's home. He wasn't home but his wife and young children were and, of course, had been terrified beyond belief. The police didn't take long discerning who'd done it, as when the plaintiff finished shooting up the attorney's house, he headed to the insurance adjuster's house and did the same thing. Thankfully, no one was physically hurt there either! He went to jail but it wasn't for long. So the firm wanted everyone to know what this man looked like so they could speak up if they even saw him outside the building.

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