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Pete 07-01-2012 14:46

Derecho could knock out power for a week or more
 
Derecho could knock out power for a week or more

First off WTF is a Derecho? PC correctness invading weather now? Why not just stick with "powerfull line of thinderstorms"?

http://wtop.com/41/2925313/Electrici...ly-coming-back

".............................Verizon says their crews are working around the clock to fix the problem.

In addition, many Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile customers say they are having issues with phone service.

AT&T technicians are "mobilized and currently working to resolve the issues," according to a company release.

"Due to damaging storms that have knocked out power across the Midwest and Northeast regions of the country, some AT&T customers in impacted areas in Virginia and Washington D.C. may be experiencing issues with wireless service," the company says. ........................................."

While this story mostly deals with power outages and land line phone service notice the cell coverage was also disrupted. This was fairly minor as events go and still problems with cell service. Folks, a real bad something hits - better not count on just your cell phone to rally your "troops".

JJ_BPK 07-01-2012 15:03

Our kids live in West Springfield, just outside the loop. They lost power yesterday and it was restored around noon today. Lost everything in the fridge, but the freezer stuff is OK..

They were lucky. They have a yard full of oaks. Lost some branches, but no damage to the house. I got on them after a storm last yr and they had an outfit come in and do a major trim job.

They still need to get a good gen set. :mad:

I understand there were deaths in their area. Don't have the story yet, but I bet it has to do with downed trees and power lines. Dominion Power does very little in the way of preventative trimming... :mad:

You can not stick your head in the sand and think "it can't happen to me"..

JJ_BPK 07-01-2012 15:06

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pete (Post 456581)

First off WTF is a Derecho?

I think that's what NOAA called the storm..

Pete 07-01-2012 15:10

Derecho - Spanish - figures
 
Derecho - Spanish - figures

Gotta' be hip, cool - and PC to be a weather person these days.

The Reaper 07-01-2012 15:56

Life without electricity is not kind to us in our modern hedonistic lifestyles.

That is why I recommend that everyone who can safely operate one get a generator. A basic unit which can run a few lights, fans, and maybe a fridge off an extension cord will run you $500-$1,000. Unfortunately, gasoline is dangerous to store in the home, and has a very limited shelf life. Even if you use fuel stabilizer, you need to rotate it at least annually. And, even if you store 25 gallons, that is only a couple of days of constant running for the 5KW gas powered generator.

If you have $5,000 or more, you can get a whole house model with an automatic transfer switch and hook it up to your NG or LP line. Note that if the power is out for an extended time, the Natural Gas lines will lose pressure when their generators run out of fuel and stop the genset. The LP is IMHO, the way to go, but it is more expensive.

Burning LP to power a 14KW genset at moderate load will use roughly 1.5 GPH of LP, or 36 GPD. That means it will cost about $100 per day to make electricity full time on about half my house (no dryer, range, ovens, water heaters, and only one of the HVAC units). The 14KW genset can, if used continuously, run about seven to ten days on a full 500 gallon tank under normal loads. The power company will provide electricity to everything for about $10 per day, so this is not something you want to do full time for an extended period. There are about 350 gallons of usable LP in a 500 gallon tank, and running it empty will currently cost roughly $1000 to fill.

You can use it for a couple of hours in the morning, and a couple of hours in the evening, and stretch it for almost two months, if it is full when you start. If we are without electricity for more than two months, we have bigger problems to worry about.

You can also use deep cycle batteries and an inverter to run small appliances like lights, fans, TVs, radios, etc. in the down cycle and recharge the battery bank when the generator is running. Or just use DC powered devices directly off the battery. You can buy most items in a DC version, if they are using a wall wart, or batteries, though some may be specialty items for camping, boats, or RVs.

I had a two tall pines less than 50 ft. from the house hit by a couple of lightning strikes recently. Ran in on the cable line and fried a lot of electronics. I recommend enhanced grounding, whole house surge protection, cable and phone line surge protectors, and point of service surge protection.

Still waiting to see if the trees die and have to be dropped. Hoping that I get to make the call, and they don't come down on their own.

Best of luck to those stuck in the dark and in this heat. Prayers out.

TR

Airbornelawyer 07-01-2012 17:10

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pete (Post 456581)
Derecho could knock out power for a week or more

First off WTF is a Derecho? PC correctness invading weather now? Why not just stick with "powerfull line of thinderstorms"?

http://wtop.com/41/2925313/Electrici...ly-coming-back

".............................Verizon says their crews are working around the clock to fix the problem.

In addition, many Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile customers say they are having issues with phone service.

AT&T technicians are "mobilized and currently working to resolve the issues," according to a company release.

"Due to damaging storms that have knocked out power across the Midwest and Northeast regions of the country, some AT&T customers in impacted areas in Virginia and Washington D.C. may be experiencing issues with wireless service," the company says. ........................................."

While this story mostly deals with power outages and land line phone service notice the cell coverage was also disrupted. This was fairly minor as events go and still problems with cell service. Folks, a real bad something hits - better not count on just your cell phone to rally your "troops".

I am in Fairfax right now. For what it's worth, my Verizon service is about the only thing that didn't go out. I understand other areas had problems, including a loss of 911 service in Manassas. Where I am, power was restored after 17 hours.

The latest news is that PEPCO isn't expecting to restore service for some customers in DC until Friday. Dominion Power says as of 7PM Sunday that 347,643 of 2,458,276 mainly Virginia customers remain without power. They expect to restore power to 80-85% of these by Tuesday. The others may have wait through the end of the week.

Attached is a photo of a downed utility pole down the street from me.

booker 07-01-2012 17:49

Most of the area around me was without power yesterday. We are on the same loop as one of the DoD facilities, so we had power up much quicker that those further out. From what I understand Verizon cell phones were out all through here as well. I got a ham license for this very reason. My mother lives in WV still, and she made the rounds to all her elderly neighbors to recharge their refrigerators with her generator. They don't expect power for at least a few more days. There are more than a few granola head types out here who are pretty smug about having solar panels and the such right now.

On the topic of solar panels, has anyone looked at the solar generators that are out there (example http://www.thousandsuns.com/solarpod...FV4AodWnccEw)?

We were fine with our store of water and such, but it really got me thinking about a generator.

abc_123 07-01-2012 19:00

I'm no longer in fairfax, but durning smowmageddon we were without power for 4 days but had the gas grills, gas water heater and a kerosene heater to keep us above freezing as we hibernated in the basement listening to the superbowl on the batter powered radio.

Being without power in 100deg heat would be worse. I'd think.

The Reaper 07-01-2012 19:16

Quote:

Originally Posted by booker (Post 456618)
Most of the area around me was without power yesterday. We are on the same loop as one of the DoD facilities, so we had power up much quicker that those further out. From what I understand Verizon cell phones were out all through here as well. I got a ham license for this very reason. My mother lives in WV still, and she made the rounds to all her elderly neighbors to recharge their refrigerators with her generator. They don't expect power for at least a few more days. There are more than a few granola head types out here who are pretty smug about having solar panels and the such right now.

On the topic of solar panels, has anyone looked at the solar generators that are out there (example http://www.thousandsuns.com/solarpod...FV4AodWnccEw)?

We were fine with our store of water and such, but it really got me thinking about a generator.

Solar's price per KWH make generators look cheap.

The panels themselves are incredibly expensive and have a life span of 20-25 years. The batteries you need to store the power for cloudy days and nighttime are only good for a few years too. Good for emergency charging or occasional small items, not ready for prime time if there is a utility line within a mile.

I hope they eventually come down in price and improve in efficiency enough to be practical. You would still need a battery bank, charge controller, inverter, etc. and a genset. Right now, a community nuclear reactor is about as practical.

TR

JJ_BPK 07-01-2012 20:49

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Reaper (Post 456631)
Solar's price per KWH make generators look cheap.



TR

That's the problem with GREEN,, you pay 2,3 times as much..

We have friends on No Name Key, about a mile away. They have 40t'y some homes that never had power. Most gave up and sold. The ones that are still there are in the process of paying to have the island powered up. I think they chipped in 25K each to get the poles and will still get to pay to have their homes re-wired from DC to AC.

They think it will be cheaper in the long run..

Our friends were all solar, then switched to a 20KW Diesel gen set 5 yrs ago, and are now the chairpersons to push for power company to light them up..

Some people take longer than others...

Flagg 07-02-2012 02:33

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Reaper (Post 456597)
Life without electricity is not kind to us in our modern hedonistic lifestyles.

That is why I recommend that everyone who can safely operate one get a generator. A basic unit which can run a few lights, fans, and maybe a fridge off an extension cord will run you $500-$1,000. Unfortunately, gasoline is dangerous to store in the home, and has a very limited shelf life. Even if you use fuel stabilizer, you need to rotate it at least annually. And, even if you store 25 gallons, that is only a couple of days of constant running for the 5KW gas powered generator.

If you have $5,000 or more, you can get a whole house model with an automatic transfer switch and hook it up to your NG or LP line. Note that if the power is out for an extended time, the Natural Gas lines will lose pressure when their generators run out of fuel and stop the genset. The LP is IMHO, the way to go, but it is more expensive.

Burning LP to power a 14KW genset at moderate load will use roughly 1.5 GPH of LP, or 36 GPD. That means it will cost about $100 per day to make electricity full time on about half my house (no dryer, range, ovens, water heaters, and only one of the HVAC units). The 14KW genset can, if used continuously, run about seven to ten days on a full 500 gallon tank under normal loads. The power company will provide power to everything for about $10 per day, so this is not something you want to do full time for an extended period. There are about 350 gallons of usable LP in a 500 gallon tank, and running it empty will currently cost roughly $1000 to fill.

You can use it for a couple of hours in the morning, and a couple of hours in the evening, and stretch it for almost two months, if it is full when you start. If we are without electricity for more than two months, we have bigger problems to worry about.

You can also use deep cycle batteries and an inverter to run small appliances like lights, fans, TVs, radios, etc. in the down cycle and recharge the battery bank when the generator is running. Or just use DC powered devices directly off the battery. You can buy most items in a DC version, if they are using a wall wart, or batteries, though some may be specialty items for camping, boats, or RVs.

I had a two tall pines less than 50 ft. from the house hit by a couple of lightning strikes recently. Ran in on the cable line and fried a lot of electronics. I recommend enhanced grounding, whole house surge protection, cable and phone line surge protectors, and point of service surge protection.

Still waiting to see if the trees die and have to be dropped. Hoping that I get to make the call, and they don't come down on their own.

Best of luck to those stuck in the dark and in this heat. Prayers out.

TR

We went months without power in my patch after a 2nd bad quake last year.

Here's some best practices that worked for us:

While PV may not be very cost effective, we have solar water heating and wetback woodstove heating that we installed quite inexpensively.

Stick N Click LED battery lights like these:

http://www.amazon.com/Ontel-SCN-MC12.../dp/B000J0NL8O

While it may not allow for the greatest illumination in the home, it does the job quite well when the alternative is a flashlight or nothing.

Diesel generators are typically more expensive, but pretty energy efficient compared with petrol.

When it comes to petrol and to a slightly lesser extent diesel, check insurance policies on quantities and conditions for home/garage storage of petrol/diesel. Depending on property layout and location a small external shed away from the house/garage can mitigate a possible insurance fire claim denial risk.

Energy draw on new appliance purchases such as deep freezer, fridge/freezer, and microwave may be worth taking into account to help manage a disaster plan with a gennie to reduce demand for limited petrol/diesel supply.

We mostly used click lights for light(recycling the rechargeable batteries with solar battery chargers) , woodburner/solar water heater for hot water, genset for keeping the freezer frozen(the bottom layer of the freezer containing ice filled containers for efficiency, extra freezer down time, and spare water in a worst case scenario), small lower draw microwave for cooking as well as a single burner LPG camp stove for cooking off of our LPG BBQ bottles.

It was a lousy period made much more comfortable than it would have been without a decent plan.

Destrier 07-02-2012 04:19

also
 
http://www.vulcangasifier.com/

Check this out as well. It works, mine is in the garage. Runs a camp stove-BBQ and runs my gasoline generator with a converter on the carb.

JJ_BPK 07-02-2012 04:50

Quote:

Originally Posted by Destrier (Post 456666)
Check this out as well.

Interesting,, Looks like a viable solution for someone in the boonies with access to FREE fuel in the woods??

What is the wood pellet/chip consumption rate??
What is the costs for the chips?
Can an inexpensive yard chipper provide what's needed??

:munchin

Diablo Blanco 07-02-2012 23:08

Quote:

Originally Posted by JJ_BPK (Post 456672)
Interesting,, Looks like a viable solution for someone in the boonies with access to FREE fuel in the woods??

What is the wood pellet/chip consumption rate??
What is the costs for the chips?
Can an inexpensive yard chipper provide what's needed??

:munchin

I'd be interested to know this as well and
o which type/brand of generator this setup works best with
o what additional maintenance would need to be performed, how often
o are there plans to make one online somewhere?

Destrier 07-03-2012 05:01

A small wood chipper should would work well.

Some use pellets, not something I would do since there is a cost involved.

I am using hand cut small wood blocks, and pieces from the limbs of trees I log from the property. A full hopper is about a ten gallon pail and lasts about 4-5 hours based on wood type.

Which for me is going to be plenty of time to run my major appliances for the day and recharge Batts. However that is not tested yet and is still only my best estimate.

I am using soft maple primarily. Wood consumption also depends on what your fueling, I am fueling a small 5kw generator. It starts best with crushed charcoal and the wood on top of it in the hopper. I am currently testing using charcoal lumps from my wood burner and crushing them, that I get from the ash daily during the winter.

This system does require some labor, but when the alternative is zero gasoline or diesel available, time may be more available. The generator can still be run on gasoline by switching the valve. It can also be run on propane so I have a friend altering our intake to allow us to switch between, biofuel, a propane tank from my grill and the gasoline tank.

I am still in the testing stage but so far all is looking good. I plan on getting a dump truck of wood chips from a local logger that I worked with awhile ago briefly.

Gasifiers are not new technology. They were utilized in World War 2 and many homemade styles are out there. The United States sent about a million units to post WW@ Europe and they were thrown on tractors and trucks to keep the farms going etc.

The one I have acquired is from MAtt in Michigan and the unit is well built and the cost was reasonable. If your online looking there are some over the top expensive ones out there as well.

I will do more testing but mine is working out fairly well. The interesting thing to me is that the smoke from the gasifier is also turned into the biofuel-gas and enters the carb, so the only smoke is the exhaust of the generator.

A friend and I are also working on my inverter-batts etc to run the house. That will be another month probably even though I have all the equipment on hand.

Time is my limited resource at present.

Doing more horse fencing this week, I will try to post a few pictures of mine working next time I run it.

Apologies for the rambled post, am running out the door to feed horses and get fencing done.


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