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much more country living than I imagined, ???'s

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
or maybe wanted, still not sure yet. We just moved to a house in the woods in August in Vermont. I actually really love it but on Tues we got 6-9 inches of snow, heavy, wet snow on trees that still have leaves and our power has been out since then.

We have a well, septic tank, oil furnace and propane stove and dryer. No wood stove and no generator. After this experience I find myself wondering if we should consider one or both of them. I've been wanting to buy a deep freeze since we're joining a CSA in the spring that has organic produce and meat. But I almost cry at the thought of it now when I think about what would have been wasted had we already had one. I did put our freezer stuff into a cooler and put it out on the back deck. So far so good. Won't be though if we don't get power back by tomorrow.

So my questions - tell me about generators, esp if you have one for power outages and what sort of things I'd need to look for to run maybe the well, deep freeze and well maybe the furnace. We have on-demand hot water but also have an electric water heater that's basically used for water storage (which was nice so we could flush the toilet more than once).

Would it be better to get a generator that might be able to run than furnace than a wood stove?

What is in your emergency power outage kit? I think I have a pretty good handle on what we needed but I'm always looking for ideas.

TIA
post #2 of 11
about 8 months after we moved to the country we had a four day power outage. we had to go stay with my mom in the city since my son was sick and the house was freezing.


we bought a generator, had it hardwired to the service entrance and have only used it once since then, but it sure was worth it!!

i highly recommend one!
post #3 of 11
My DH is an electrician, and he's a dealer for Guardian generators. I can't tell you how many generators we've installed in the past year.

You have a few options when looking at a generator. You could get a whole house genny, or one that you plug a few things into. Also, you could get one that has an automatic transfer switch, or one that you need to physically turn on when the power goes out.

Honestly, if I were going to spend the money anyway, I'd get a whole house genny with an automatic transfer switch. When the power goes out, you wouldn't even necessarily know that it had happened, unless your genny is somewhere that you can hear it running.

You do need to get it serviced every six months, BUT, it's basically an oil change, and I'm SURE that you could do it yourself.

HTH and if you have any questions, PM me, and I can ask DH for you.
post #4 of 11
This is an old thread, but the OP basically voices my situation and I was curious about generator tips. I haven't begun to research generator options, or to compare or price anything yet. I guess I'm looking for where to start.

We live in the country, and have had several power outages in the 1.5 years we've been here. We've had a few too many blippy ones that were basically just annoyances, and a fair share of longer ones, too. A couple were lengthy (multiple days), and during extreme cold weather. During the last (and lengthiest) one, we had to go to a motel over the state line, as my mom was with us and she has nebulizer medications. We do have a small woodstove in the kitchen (doesn't heat other areas very effectively and we haven't yet figured out how/where to place a fan to move the air out and around....the doorway is an arch and so a little upper corner fan won't work there.)

We were able to put our freezer items out on the enclosed porch, since it was dead winter, but I doubt we'd always be that "lucky" with the timing of an outage. This morning, I was looking over paperwork from a local farm that sells naturally raised beef by the half increments (you buy half a cow at the time of slaughter.) This would further help me toward my goal of getting away from supermarket dependency, but it would mean we'd need to run our deep freeze (we've got it unplugged at the moment.) Thinking of that made me think of the potential for power outage, which made me think of the generator again. (Likewise, the freezing of soups and sauces with all the late-summer produce....I'd like to be able to depend on it staying frozen!)

If we got one to power just some appliances (our neighbor has one of these), would the appliances have to be next to each other? We have our regular fridge/freezer in the kitchen, and the deep freeze is on the other side of the house, in the laundry room (off the garage.) Would we have to choose? We also have a well and pump, which means we only get water if the pump is powered. And the main heat is an oil furnace. Pump and furnace are in the basement.

Are there any common dangers or risks with generators? (My husband seems to be leery of the whole thing, maybe out of knowing zilch like me, though he recognizes it's important. Maybe he's just afraid of the cost!)
post #5 of 11
We ran a borrowed generator when we had a power outage a few years ago. We put it outside. I'm pretty sure you don't want to run them inside. Carbon monoxide, and all.
You have to keep a supply of gas, so the usual dangers of storing large amounts of gasoline.
Not sure about overloading or positioning, I would definitely have several 50 foot extension cords if you need to run things in different parts of the house.
post #6 of 11
If you get a kerosene or diesel generator you can convert it to veggie oil. Very earth friendly alternative. We don't have a veggie generator but we have to veggie cars and it is not only great for the earth but also great for the pockets. Good luck.... btw where in vt are you?
post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by sahmof2girls
If you get a kerosene or diesel generator you can convert it to veggie oil. Very earth friendly alternative. We don't have a veggie generator but we have to veggie cars and it is not only great for the earth but also great for the pockets. Good luck.... btw where in vt are you?
Wow, that's intriguing. How do you go about converting it? And do you mean veggie oil as in vegetable oil? Nifty.

I'm not sure where in VT the original poster is, but I am actually in upstate New York, near the VT border. At our last big outage, we stayed a couple of nights in Bennington, VT (they had power.)


Thanks for the replies! I sent info to DH and he said it was funny that I should bring it up; he'd just been pricing generators online and figured that a good portable would be about $700, while the whole-house system would be more like $2,000+
post #8 of 11
My brother converts cars tractors generators etc...... I will have to have him post all the specifics. I live in Cambridge NY right on the vt border also. If you are really interested let me know, and I will have my bro post or possible come teach dh how to convert....Good luck
Yes like veggie fry oil you can get it free from fast food chains....but i recomend chinease resturaunts because they change thier oil daily..
post #9 of 11
For those of you who live in a cold climate, would digging a cellar of some sort be an option? I saw a guy on a PBS show once who had done that to keep his meat frozen...Also, there's lots of mention of stuff like that in the Clan of the Cavebear series. Just wonderin'!
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicky2
For those of you who live in a cold climate, would digging a cellar of some sort be an option? I saw a guy on a PBS show once who had done that to keep his meat frozen...Also, there's lots of mention of stuff like that in the Clan of the Cavebear series. Just wonderin'!
Haven't thought of that book in awhile. I read it when I was 13 or 14 - bet you know which passages I remember!

Cellars are really good for keeping things cold that you don't want to freeze, since the deeper you go, the more constant the temp. becomes. Hence the term "root cellar" - you keep your roots in there - carrots, potatoes,etc.

You know, I buy every last bit of our meat as either a quarter of beef or a whole lamb or pig. I have an upright freezer, and the meat comes frozen solid & stays that way. Storebought meat is usually in some sort of salt solution, and doesn't freeze as solidly as the homegrown stuff. I've even had the door left open for two days and come home to dripping icecream out the door but meat in the back still frozen solid. A chest freezer, if not opened once the power outage occurred, ought to keep things frozen for a _really_ long time, like almost a week, if it's not the dead of summer. (A chest freezer would also avoid that whole pesky door-left-open thing.)

Generators, now, I know nothing about.
post #11 of 11
Dh wants to run a generator on veggie oil too! He is an electrician so it will be a fun project for him...
We have a wood stove for heating. I am a little nervous for winter just because I have had central air my whole life. Now I will have to work to stay warm! The cool thing is that the stove blows air out vents upstairs! The elevation only gets a little snow so we will survive....Jen
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