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Old 12-16-2007, 12:21 PM
 
Location: Durham NC-for now
303 posts, read 1,289,861 times
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I was wondering if back up generators are common in Maine. Or is having an alternate heat source enough to get you through? Are there long enough outtages that you worry about food spoilage or do you put food outside. We had a week freezing half to death in a North Carolina ice storm. But in general I think we just aren't prepared down here.
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Old 12-16-2007, 12:33 PM
 
Location: God's Country, Maine
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Only if you anticipate along outage and have a moose in the freezer.
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Old 12-16-2007, 01:15 PM
 
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I would say half the homeowners I know have a small generator to keep the freezer frozen during outages. We have one, and even though we've used it only once in the last ten years, it was crucial to saving perhaps $500 worth of our food and even more for the neighbors. Paid for itself and more right there. We live in town, so we don't often see lengthy outages. I have relatives who live "beyond the sidewalks" who use their generators at least once or twice a year.

Speaking of which, one of them mentioned just today that he has had six or more power outages in each of the past two years, when before that one a year was unusual. Are folks here having more outages than they've had in the past, and if so, why do you think that is?
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Old 12-16-2007, 03:15 PM
 
Location: West Michigan
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Not a necessity, but they sure are nice if you need them. For me I bought one when the kids were really small. That way I could fire it up if the power was out for a bit and it was getting cool in the house. I got one big enough that I just put in a transfer switch and powered up the entire house panel. I'm an Electrician so I know enough to turn off the breakers to the real big draw items and that way we still have all the lights, the microwave, furnace, etc.
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Old 12-16-2007, 05:09 PM
 
Location: Northern Maine
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I have two. The 5,000 watt Coleman is 10 horsepower and the noisest generator I ever saw. I have a 2,000 watt Honda that is so quiet you have to put your hand in front of the exhaust to be sure it's running.

Your furnace runs on 120 volts. You could have an electrician put a regular 3 pole plug in line. That way during a power outage you could power your furnace with the generator. When the power comes back on, uplug the generator and plug the furnace back into line power. This way you'll never create a problem with feedback into the circuit breaker entrance box.

Your second extension cord can feed into your freezer, some lights and the microwave. You could also do what most Mainers do in winter when the power fails; Put the refrigerator out on the porch. ;-)
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Old 12-16-2007, 05:21 PM
 
Location: West Michigan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Maine Land Man View Post

Your furnace runs on 120 volts. You could have an electrician put a regular 3 pole plug in line. That way during a power outage you could power your furnace with the generator.
While this is a good way to do it, it is against the National Electrical Code and an Electrician is opening himself up to trouble if anything else goes wrong and that is discovered. You can get a small transfer switch that goes right into a regular box and looks just like a switch, from there you can either add a short cord to hook to an extension cord from the generator, or there is a box mounted male end that you can mount either right next to the furnace or outside where you put your generator when you run it. With an in-use cover it remains water/snow resistant even with a cord plugged into it.
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Old 12-16-2007, 10:33 PM
 
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The issue becomes trickier depending on your water supply. If you have a well, no power = no water.
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Old 12-17-2007, 04:15 AM
 
Location: Durham NC-for now
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Default What about freezing pipes?

That brings up another question...what about pipes freezing. Does that happen if you only are heating one room from a wood stove?
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Old 12-17-2007, 06:24 AM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
41,505 posts, read 49,557,510 times
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There are a whole lot of things to consider when planning for a power outage.

How frequently does the power die?
How long do the outages last?
What time of year?

How much power do you require?
Maximum?
Minimum?
For how long for each load?
What do you want to save?
How much do you want to save?
How much can you afford to pay?
Where would you put the generator?
What fuel?

In any case have a licensed electrician (I once saw a sign that said “Electricity is not a hobby” Very true) install a proper transfer switch and never use the “I’ll only plug in the appliance I need approach because THAT CAN KILL A POWER COMPANY LINEMAN TRYING TO RESTORE POWER! Yeah, I was shouting.

I know there are some guidelines about this topic. I suggest calling the power company to see if they have anything published or check their website. Or check with your town building department. I know this can add to the fuss, bother and cost but can save you from a dangers situation.
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Old 12-17-2007, 08:03 AM
 
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I saved this link for the day I need a generator. Very good web site with lots of options for generators. Company is in Bangor, ME

http://www.generatorsales.com/
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