Sunday, February 24, 2013

Back-up Power At Last

During our nearly 20 years of living down in the country, we’ve been without power a lot, once for 5 days following a 30” snow storm and we’ve just suffered through it.  I bought a small portable back-up generator at one point but it didn’t last very long and I think it’s still setting in the garage.

Then several weeks ago, Marjie, at Modern Day Ozzie and Harriet, posted about getting a back-up generator and it inspired me to take action.  I shopped around and found that a local electrical contractor that I was familiar with was the dealer for Kohler Generators and we bought one.  It is 20kw (85 amps) at full load and while it won’t run the entire house all at one time, it will run the things we really want power to – water well, refrigeration, HVAC, main TV, portable telepnones, alarm system, water well, water well – it’s the pits to be without water in addition to power.

The circuits that the generator will supply run through an automatic transfer switch which senses when power is lost, disconnects from the power grid, starts the generator, and furnishes power to the circuits wired into it.  When the power comes back on, it reverses the process plus it starts up and runs by itself on a regular basis to be sure it is working.

This is the area where it is to go - under the deck.

As it turned out, a new larger line needed to be run from the propane tank to the generator requiring a ditch thru Bev’s flowers and damage to 3/5 buried water lines for the sprinkler system.  Cute little shovel they had to dig it with.

All finished and ready to keep us powered up.

We may never lose grid power again but at least now we can travel with more confidence that we won’t come home to a frozen up house and freezers full of spoiled food.

Photos best if enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


2/18/13 event date


  1. 30 inches???? That's a lot of snow for you. The most we've ever had on our back deck was 39 inches. Looks like you'll be set with this piece of equipment. Now if it will kick in in time to save you from resetting clocks, I'll be impressed. We don't have much trouble with power outages. Everything is underground. 14 inches of snow predicted for us today.

  2. That's a great generator... I've thought about us getting one --but we seldom lose our power (and when we do it's usually just for a few hours)... SO--so far, we haven't invested the money.

    Of course, none of us know when a problem could happen.. SO--you are smart to be SAFE, rather than sorry!!!! Congrats.

  3. Larry, Now that was a major project! I certainly can understand the value of your peace of mind when away from home... 30" of snow is amazing, especially considering that I doubt that we've had even 1" this year and only 9" all of last year! Laurie would freak out if we had 30" of snow! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  4. Wende, The Littlest DudeFebruary 24, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    That's a heck of a generator! Too bad about Beverly's flowers. I have complete confidence, though, that she'll have that area looking better than ever in no time. It's a chance to try a few new things!

    Love you!

  5. Congratulations! I know that generator will come in handy and you'll be so happy that you won't have to do anything at all because they come right on when the electric goes off. We love ours but we have a Generac I think. My husband bought it for me for y anniversary present a few years ago. It's the gift that keeps on giving!

  6. It will probably be the best investment you'll ever make for your house. Being without water is the worst thing of all. So glad it will run your HVAC too. You must have gotten a big one. We would love to have one and have seriously talked about the propane one.

    Congratulations on a great purchase.

  7. I would say that you've made a very wise investment.

  8. Awesome! Having no power for 5 days would be horrible. You won't ever have to worry about that again.

  9. Larry, it will be the best investment you ever made. We have a Kohler whole house generator with a 500 gallon underground propane tank. During an ice storm a couple of years ago, the area was without powder for 10 days but we had our generator. I can't tell you how many times the generator has come on...both winter and summer.

  10. Mine's been in for 2 weeks. I also have a 20KW, and an electrical engineer I know sized it for me. He says it will run my whole house provided I'm not trying to run more than one central air unit or the dryer. He also claims I can cook and bake to my heart's content with it. But, most importantly, like you said, it will power the well. I filled bathtubs with water for "flushing" and hand washing, but it was very cumbersome. I'm never going to be without water or heat again, like you!

    Ours is a Briggs and Stratton, and we're powered by the natural gas line from the street. It's the ultimate in convenience. The electrician had never put in a B&S generator before, but we insisted, because it included the transfer switches in the price, and he was very impressed with the B&S customer service. I'm not even afraid of the ice storm that might or might not attack us tonight!

  11. This is the most powerful post you have ever written, Larry ;)

    It was cool getting to see it in person before reading about it. At my previous employer we had one the size of a semi trailer but it was also $750,000 or so. A BIT out of my price range these days :)

  12. We need to look at a generator. I have so much meat in my freezers, I would hate to think about losing all that in a power failure!


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