Power Not-ages, Coffee Pots and Generators

   Written by on January 12, 2017 at 12:23 pm
The stories in this column are true. Averett lives a dull life in rural Southside Virginia with his wife Management, two children and a rotating assortment of goats, dogs, cats, snakes and other local fauna.

The stories in this column are true. Averett lives a dull life in rural Southside Virginia with his wife Management, two children and a rotating assortment of goats, dogs, cats, snakes and other local fauna.

There are several terms frequently used by Television and Newspaper people that annoy me.  When this article is proofed, I will be asked, “Is it the terms or the people that annoy you?”  So to clarify, I am annoyed by the terms AND by the people who use them.

“Went missing” is the most annoying.  “The man went missing yesterday,” they will say.  Even if “missing” is somewhere he could have gone, shouldn’t he have “gone missing?”

Another is power outage. I didn’t use it all up, I am not out of it until I buy some more. The line broke somewhere and the electricity can’t get to me.  If my power is off shouldn’t it be a not-age? Do I have phone outages?  If the bridge washes out is it a highway outage?  If I drive my car until all of the gas in the tank is consumed, is it a fuel outage?   If we forget to buy groceries, are we experiencing a food outage?     And is the opposite true; if there is a power surge is it an in-age?

A while back we had a pretty impressive windstorm. The wind blew over trees, which in turn fell on power lines, which broke and interrupted the flow of electrical power to our home.

This is not a problem.  The majority of people in the world live without electrical power.  Not only that, unlimited household electrical power in rural areas is less than 50 years old.  That is half the age of the automobile.

I once had a conversation with a man who remembers when his family farm was electrified by the Rural Electric Authority.  Their home was fully electrified with two receptacles and six lights, and there was room on the panel for a water pump for running water if they ever could afford to install plumbing.  This was modern convenience at its best.

The family was delighted and promptly started putting the oil lamps away.  The technician put things back in perspective.  “Don’t get rid of those oil lamps,” he said.  “We don’t guarantee this stuff.”

On the other hand, lack of electricity IS an inconvenience.  No running water means no water for the coffee pot.  However, we have a spring down the hill and a whole pond full of water that just needs a little filtering. For that matter, I always keep five gallons of dehydrated H2O in the pantry for just such an emergency.  I just add water and it is fine.

Even though my commercial coffee pot doesn’t work without electricity I have several percolators that work just fine on the gas stove.  There WILL be coffee even if I have to burn the coffee table in the back yard to make it.

So, even without electricity I have food, heat, water and coffee AND I have Management. Where Management is, is Eden.  Who needs electricity in Eden?

However there is that issue of hot showers and flush toilets.  Out of all of the thousands of modern conveniences, those rate near the top. Immediately following are wash-dishers, wash-clothers both of which need hot water. Speaking of which the cold water heater is important also.

I reluctantly decided to pull out the generator.  Keep in mind that in one of my past lives I was a pretty good electrician.  I installed hundreds of generators and transfer switches.  When we built our home I installed the best system available.

As every Electrician knows, the biggest problem with generators is that homeowners NEVER follow advice and simply will not run the generator monthly to keep it working properly.  Then when the power is out, the generator doesn’t run.  Why would anyone spend hundreds or thousands of dollars and then not follow instructions?

In any case I pulled out our generator and it cranked right up within an hour or so.  There was a small issue with the three-year-old gas that had gone stale since I last used the generator and another small issue with the missing cord and plug I had removed several years ago for another project but in short order we were back in business.  The only problem was the lack of a homeowner to blame for not following instructions.

Leave a Reply