I recently heard a saying that I am sure to butcher but it goes something like “the two best times to plant a tree are 20 years ago and today”. Similarly the best times to prepare for the winter is before the winter and today. With cold weather upon us, the best time to prepare for it has passed. So if you’re not prepared, prepare today. If you are prepared do a little more today.
Last summer I had the opportunity to purchase some fitness equipment. I had been researching equipment and different workouts and my research lead me to buying used as the most economical for what I wanted. I had saved some money specifically for purchasing fitness gear and was just waiting for the best deal to come along. While purchasing the equipment I found out that the reason for the sale was that the owner needed to move in a hurry and whatever didn’t sell they would have to transport or throw out. I asked about anything else that they were interested in selling and the owner listed a few things and a 6000 watt generator was one of them. I was able to obtain the generator at a steal because I had the cash in hand to make the purchase and the seller was motivated in not having to move it across the country.
This winter has already seen rapid temperature swings and plenty of rain. Recently after days of wer weather the temperature dropped below freezing. In my area several trees couldn’t bear the weight of the ice and toppled over, split, or had large limbs break off. Several powerlines were effected and some homes had trees go through their roofs. Many people went 2 or 3 days without power. The ice formed overnight and was gone the next day but by that time the damage was done. From Thursday to Saturday the main power was out to my house and several hundred around me.
Having a generator appears to be somewhat uncommon in my area. I didn’t do a neighborhood poll but I did get out early one morning while the power was out and listened for the sound of other generators, I heard 1. My Generator was the second one so a total of 2 in the general vicinity. Having previously obtained the generator, I decided to also purchase several gas cans in good condition at an auction. Truthfully a friend of mine’s house lost power a day before my house lost power and I had been sitting on 4 empty gas cans. It was his power loss that got me thinking, what if that had been my house? If I had lost power I would have a generator but nothing to run it. Having the generator but no fuel would be awfully vexsome. So that night when I got home from my day job I took the cans and bought gas. The next day my power was out. As I have previously stated elsewhere luck is when opportunity meets preparation. I had the opportunity to acquire gas cans, a generator, and several extension cords prior to actually needing them. When the opportunity came for me to put them to use I was prepared.
A word of caution, never connect a generator directly to your house without the proper connection. You can burn down your house, send electricity into the main line and kill a lineman trying to restore power, or kill yourself if you don’t know what you are doing. Even if you do know what you are doing the person there are several risks involved that far outweigh the benefit. Get the proper transfer switch or interconnect. That is one of my next projects and I will try to take photos during the process to allow me to write it up and post it as a follow up article. Additionally be sure that your generator is outside and well away from any open windows or you could die due to the exhaust they produce.
Keeping some money saved and put back for great deals can be very beneficial. Ice covered trees are heavy and can break power lines or homes. Generators are great to have but caution needs to be used as they can be dangerous.