We Love Our 12KW Kohler Generator Tonight

kohlerIt’s 9:41 PM, about 5 hours into the latest power outage, and we are sitting here in our fully lit house, working on our laptops, surfing the net, watching a little news on the telly. The 12 KW Kohler generator, tied directly into our buried 250 gal. propane tank, took over about 3 seconds into the outage, thanks to the transfer switch in our garage.

Of all the improvements we made when we moved here a couple of years ago, this is my favorite. It’s not that we need it that often. Mostly it’s the peace of mind. We’ll switch it off when we go to bed, and on again in the morning if necessary.

I feel almost guilty — but not quite — for being so unaffected by the widespread outage that hit my brother and his wife in Lake Wildwood, and most of this part of the county,  judging by our dark drive back from dinner at Cirino’s Main Street tonight.

The folks at Gray Electric did a terrific job sizing and installing this system. It’s never missed a beat.

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3 Responses to “We Love Our 12KW Kohler Generator Tonight”
  1. My wife thought I was nuts to buy into a $1300 transfer switch system to tie into a generator when we first moved here 10 years ago. That was enough then to pay for it all, permits included. We now have a generator that is an attachment for the DR mower, which has an electric start, so it is no problem when crisis strikes. One big switch goes from PG&E to OFF and then to Generator. Tons of firewood completes the cozy picture, and a chimney that is checked once a year by a sweep, to keep the insurance covered. I’ve even thought of photographing the interior during mid season as a double check cheapo backup.

    BTW, wife now believes…especially after 4 days no power last winter. All it takes is one idiot hitting a power pole, or one tree across the lines, or one overheated aging transformer. Looks like fire worries are nearly over. I much prefer fire to earthquakes of my native Bay Area. At least you get some warning.

  2. Don Pelton says:

    Interesting! Coming from the Bay Area too (Palo Alto) I agree about preferring fire risk over earthquake risk (the Big One is on its way). But I do have to admit, I spend way more time thinking about and preparing for fire than I ever did for earthquakes (a few jugs of water was about it).

    The generator also serves as a part of our fire protection system: we’ve installed shrub nozzles under our eaves about every six feet all the way around the house, and a couple of sprinklers opposite our deck, aimed at our deck. We added a second pressure tank, and a couple of 2600 gal water storage tanks tied together in a single 5200 gal/system. We have about 40 shrub nozzles drawing about 1/2 gal/min each, for an aggregate draw on the system of about 20+ gal/min, which — fortunately — is less than our pump rate of about 27 gal/min. So, with our generator tied into the 250 gal propane tank, we could keep our house under constant spray for as long as the propane lasts. The generator burns about 2 gal/HOUR, so we could theoretically keep the house under spray for days.

    I hope we never have to find out.

    This was all according to the specifications of a system called WEEDS (Wind-Enabled Ember Dousing System), designed by a guy down in Southern California. It saved his house from a wildfire a year or so after he installed it.

    See http://www.mbartek.com/

  3. depelton says:

    Part of our fire planning also includes the option of running like hell to save our butts.

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