Idaho to Home
When you live in the country
you're eventually going to need to work with electricity. It's a very close
second to plumbing in required skills. I'm not a trained electrician but
with the help of my neighbors, I've attained at least a handyman's level of
knowledge. Rural neighbors are the friendliest people in the world and if
you have a problem, you can bet that one of them has already learned how
to cope with it.
During our first year on the
ranch, we learned that the power goes off quit regularly. Lightening,
wind, rain and snow have all killed our power at one time or another. Our
worst case was when the fire of 2003 came through and burned every power pole
within a 50 mile radius. They had to bring in crews from all over the
united states to get the job done but we were still without electricity and
phone for almost two months.
- I'll start with
generators and because the subject can get quite complex I'll just stick to
what I use. As I said above, I'm a novice so I kept it simple with a
run-of-the-mill gas powered Briggs & Stratton 5500 watt Wheelhouse generator. I even
bought it from home Depot and it's your generic "contractors generator".
A jack of all trades, it comes on a stand with wheels and it is good for
those emergencies that won't go over a day or two. At that size it can run
several lights, microwave and television for 12 hours. Though
not at the same time as the house appliances, I also used it to power our
well which uses a 5 horsepower 220 volt pump.
There are different methods
for supplying power to the house from the generator. If you know that
the power will be off for some time, some people will wire the generator
right up to the service entrance of the house (the box with all the circuit
breakers in it). I would consider that "advanced" wiring and there are
too many precautions to be covered here. I did it during our long
stretch after the fire but for most purposes, just run an extension chord
into the house. Baring major disasters, the power usually isn't off
that long and the extension chord is more convenient and expedient.
Solar Power -
For solar power enthusiasts, this subject can
take on the feel of a discussion on philosophy. For them it's an alternate
way of life that says something about their values and beliefs. For
me, solar power is the last resort when you can't afford to have the power
company run expensive wires to a remote area. I've found that when
going solar, there are so many "gotch-ya's" and little hidden snags
and complications that it isn't worth it if you have conventional power
available. The price of the equipment is very high and the time required for
it to "pay for itself" is lengthily.
On the other hand, I am a gadget person and
I have run into some of the equipment in the RV world. I like the "idea" and
I'm experimenting with some of the gear.
Journal Entry about Solar Power)