Sunday, December 10, 2017

Well, that didn't work out like it was supposed to.

The snow storm turned out to be a little bit more than we figured on. About six inches here on the mountain, and temperatures in the mid teens at night. So it's all frozen solid, no way down the mountain. The power went out at 1:00 in the afternoon on Friday, and came back on at 10:00 this morning (Sunday).

I have a few things to do to get back up and running normally. I took some pictures I'll post here in a little bit when I am caught up, and I'll go back and answer the comments. Sorry they stacked up, I had no phones, no internet, pretty much nothing.  The diesel generator quit, which has not happened before, but all in all things went ok considering.

24 comments:

  1. Glad you are fine. I think you got an inch or two more than I did here in the frozen north. There is another storm moving in here tonight. I hear maybe 6+ inches. Hope you get some mild days and thaw out.

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    1. Sixbears, I don't really know what to expect. This storm that came in Friday, half the weather sources said it would be a non-event here in North Georgia, and half said it would be "significant." After midnight, Friday before dawn, it snowed like hell. Then there was a let up, then it snowed again all day Saturday.

      Today (Monday) we have the same weather forecast problem. Some are saying we will have more snow on Tuesday, others are saying cold and clear.

      There's no hope of getting out of here today, the roads are impassable unless they have been plowed, and that isn't happening in this quadrant of the county.

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  2. it was frustrating...that darn rain/snow line was just to our north and all we got was torrential rain. : (

    Glad you are all okay though, our friends over in Blairsville, GA posted some really nice pics on their facebook page. Can't wait to see your pics too. Stay Warm!

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    1. I would rather have had the rain, the way things have turned out. It's Monday morning here, and we are snowed in solid. No hope of getting out before tomorrow at the earliest. At least the power is back on. My generator quit and I haven't spent days without power in a long time. We had everything we needed but it was just not fun.

      Sorry you didn't get any snow, a little bit for the Christmas holidays would have been ok. ;-)

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  3. I very much look forward to hearing the after-action report. Also, when you get the dog sled hooked up, head down to your mailbox and see if there's a box there from me.

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    1. Zero, I got the box on Thursday, right before the storm came in. Many thanks, I do indeed have a Mas 49/56, and even if I didn't, I have a Mas 36 so the contents of the box were very useful and welcome. Also, the coming of the books was very timely indeed. My wife spent most of the two days without power reading the book on T.R., she has a little headlamp so she can read when the power goes.

      Email me your mailing address, like you I don't keep them once I use them, to protect other's privacy. I would like to reimburse you for the postage costs.

      Everything in the box was useful and welcome.
      Thanks again.

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  4. Sounds like you got a mini trial run of the affects of an emp blast. No power or generator. That must have been tough. Thankfully, you have a fireplace and were well prepared. Glad to hear that you and M are safe. Jana

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    1. Jana, my generator was purchased new in 1999. It's a 5 kW diesel. I am pretty sure the fuel I put in it was too old. One of the problems I have with storing a lot of fuel long term, is that even with additives you might not use it all up in a timely manner. I think this particular batch had gone bad. Now I will have to drain the fuel tank and clean out the fuel lines, and doubtless recharge the battery.

      We have plenty of electric lanterns, kerosene lamps, candles, etc. And as you point out, we had the fireplace but we didn't use it this time, we kept the blue closed on the chimney and used our normal propane heat system. The biggest thing was just pure boredom. Without the internet, phones, satellite tv and other powered systems it was a long two days of dark.

      We are still frozen in but I am hopeful we will be able to get out and off the mountain some time tomorrow afternoon.

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  5. We only got a heavy dusting here, and that suits me fine. It's gone now.

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    1. We got a lot more than we expected, and I wasn't really ready for it like I usually am because the weather forecasts really didn't give any indication of that bad snow storm actually reaching here. May be able to get off the mountain tomorrow, I'm tired of being up here stranded.

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  6. Hi Harry :) Just stopping by to say hello, life has been crazy busy lately but we're doing fine! I'm glad to hear your power is back on. I think we're getting those 6 inches + of snow on Tuesday. Luckily we don't have anywhere to go so we can take our time shoveling out. The dogs are all doing fine, having a blast playing in the snow outside!

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    1. Rain, I usually do a lot better than I did on this one. But I have always put too much faith in the weather forecasts and they were really off base on this one.

      The worst thing I did was put old diesel fuel in the generator because I was playing catch up. That shut the generator down and now I have a lot of fixing to do on the generator, have to empty out the bad fuel and get the fuel lines clear, and recharge the battery.

      I hope you don't get snowed in up there. Our dogs are outside dogs, except for Rufus the Ancient Pomeranian. They weren't much trouble. But my wife brought in a bunch of the barn cats, because the temps were so low and the part of the barn they live in isn't heated. That was like one of those old cartoon prints with cats all over the place.

      We are doing ok right now, with the power on life is pretty normal, except we can't get off the mountain. Maybe by tomorrow....

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  7. Sir Harry, glad to know everything's good despite the weather. Thanks, too, because you've made me decide tomorrow evening would be a good time to check out my generator. We've had a succession of mild winters here in northern Tennessee. I've been expecting a rougher one & been wrong every year, not that that's been a bad thing, but we're way overdue.
    The fireplace will keep us from freezing, & if it's that cold everything from the freezer will keep fine in a shed, but it would be nice to have electricity available should I decide I want to use it for something.
    I was already going to put some Sta-Bil in whatever amount is in the gas cans, but it'd be a good time to inspect them more closely & make sure they're all topped up. I have, I admit, been negligent. Thanks for the reminder, even if unintended!
    --Tennessee Budd

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    1. Tennessee Bud, I got caught by surprise on this one. The weather forecasts were all over the place, but the Atlanta station I usually rely on said it was going to be a non-event. Then I woke up Friday and we were already snowed in. I keep a lot of diesel, so I filled up the tank on the generator, but I am pretty sure the generator quit because the fuel was bad. I had the diesel stabilizer in it, but it was getting pretty old. This may be one time that my being so cheap and trying to stretch every dime bit me in the butt. I'll empty the tank, put fresh diesel in it, clean out the lines, and recharge the battery. Then if it fires up, great. If not, I'll have to winch it into the back of the truck and take it to a small engine repair shop, that's a lot of work!

      We wound up putting most of the things in our refrigerator in big coolers, packing them with snow, and leaving them on the porch so we didn't lose anything. The freezer has a big bag of ice in it, and we didn't open the freezer at all, so I think we are good there. Still, I felt like I was playing catch up the whole time.

      The biggest thing was the generator going out. Without it, I lost my scanners, my satellite tv, just about everything except satellite radio and the weather radios. But the static on the weather radios was so bad, I could barely hear them most of the time. This was one of the most aggravating storms we've had in awhile. Even the hurricane remnants that shut us down power wise for several days this past year weren't this bad, because at last we could get out. But we are snowed in now, the earliest I think we might could get out would be tomorrow if there is some melting today.

      Hope you got through it ok up there.

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  8. Good to hear you got through it fine.

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    1. Well, Dr. J, we got through it, but it was pretty annoying. Without the generator, it was like living in a cave.

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    2. The house we bought is "all electric", so if the juice goes out here, we're back in the Stone Age.

      My little Honda 2kW generator can run a few things, but I only have a couple of gallons of fuel. Actually I don't have *any* stored fuel. I'll have to buy a couple of 5 gallon cans and keep a little stored.

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    3. Dr. J, unless the power goes out fairly often there you will be ok. My problem is that our power system dates back to the rural electrification program of the 1930's. Since then, most of the money that should have been spent on improvements has been "payolla'd" away. Sweet heart deals, kick backs, outright corruption, and just sorry management to blame.

      So we have lots of power outages every time something out of the way happens, and it takes a long time to repair the outages. When they do, they just fix it will enough to make it work again, but it's no better in terms of durability.

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    4. And I'm sure your terrain, and the roads you have through it, make repairs difficult.

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  9. Been snowing all day here. Rather have that than the rain, ice, and slush mix downstate. I'd not even going to bother shoveling until they are done plowing. Don't have to be anywhere today.

    You might be able to salvage your diesel by "polishing" it. They do that on boats all the time. Basically, the fuel is pumped through a couple of large capacity filters until all the crud is cleaned out of it.

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    1. It's not snowing here now, but everything is so icy we are essentially still housebound. We got the jeep out Monday afternoon, after much trial and travail, and left it down by the hard surface road. Then this cold front came through and froze everything, and now we can't walk down the mountain to the jeep.

      Once it gets back to normal I'll put new fuel in the generator, and clean out the fuel lines, then recharge the battery and see if it will start with some ether.

      I think the diesel out in the tank is just shot. It's been out there a long time, I bought too much of it and then didn't use enough of it. But I'll ask at the small engine repair shop I use about the procedure you mentioned.It would be nice to salvage the fuel.

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    2. We had a fuel service come in once a year and "polish" the Jet A fuel we kept on the ship for the shuttle helicopter.

      Diesel has a problem that gasoline doesn't; it supports the growth of bacteria in the fuel, and besides moisture, it's the little critters living *in* the fuel and eating it that causes it to go bad faster than you'd expect.

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  10. Diesel, except for contamination, really doesn't "go bad" or "Get Old". IT is an oil. What ususaly happens is that there is water contamination, often due to condensation, which lets mold and/or bacteria grow on it.

    Using Howes or Pri-D will keep the water separated so you can get it to filter out (or sump the tank, if you have a drain at a low point with a valve).

    Using Bio-Kleen will keep the microbes from growing, or will kill 'em if they are already there, allowing them to be filtered out.

    I'n betting on contamination (most likely water) and/or a bad fuel filter.

    Did the genset just not start, or did it die after running?

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    1. B, I use this British Petroleum publication as a guide line on diesel longevity. It basically says what you say:

      https://www.bp.com/content/dam/bp-country/en_au/media/fuel-news/long-term-storage-diesel.pdf

      The generator would turn over, but just wouldn't fire up. I put ether into the air intake, always a sure fire ignition in cold weather previously, but it just coughed.

      Given the extremes of the weather here, so brutally hot and humid in summer, so bitterly cold in winter, water condensing out in the big above ground tanks, and not being caught in the filter, is probably the answer. I will take some pictures of the tank and the filter and post them so you can see my set up.

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