Some of the boards on the wrap around porch, which are exposed to the weather, have not held up so well. They were already pretty old, and although they were pressure treated the boards had started to split from so much moisture. I pulled several of them today and replaced them with new decking boards. There are several types of lumber I keep stored on hand to facilitate repairs. If you use a certain size of board frequently, it's good to keep a supply up in the barn rafters or where ever you have some space. I also keep standard pine studs and other handy lumber for emergency repairs. When you need to do repairs after a storm, you need to do them right then, not when the county gets the roads cleared so you can get to the lumber yard.
It took me about an hour outside to get that done, and by the time I was finished I was worn out. Nothing is as innervating as high heat and high humidity. It sucks the life out of you. Now I'm inside and the temperature in here is a comfortable 74.4 degrees, with 56 % humidity. I use window units in my house, my shop, the apartment over the shop, and the enclosed spaces of my barn. There's a good reason for that.
Lots of the summer homes here in the mountains use heat pumps for their cooling system. They have central air, just like the owners have in their homes back in Florida. That's convenient, and you don't have to have window units mounted in some of the windows of your house. You just throw a thermostat switch and all is well.
As long as the power stays on......
Some years back, we had a terrific storm come through here. It was the remnants of a gulf hurricane. Trees went down, there was a lot of flooding, and it happened in the middle of the summer when all the "summer people" were up here. The first things to go were the phones and electricity.
Most of them had generators. They may only have had a 5 gallon can of fuel for it, but they had a generator
Our power grid dates to the 1930's, and Roosevelt's Rural Electrification Program. Power failures are fairly routine, and they can last anywhere from half an hour to days. So most of the people who can afford one have a generator hooked into an inverter or to a transfer switch. When the power goes out, you kick on your generator. You can't run a washer or dryer, or any other big load with a 3 to 5 KW generator but you can run lights, the well pump, the television, radios, and a 5000 BTU window unit or two. Within a day of the storm passing, people with heat pumps had gone into town to stay at a motel. They couldn't run the heat pump system on the generator, so the house was not livable. Because air conditioning not only cools the air but dries it out, many of those people had serious mildew or mold damage when they came back to their places a week or so later after power was restored.
I ran two window units and a dehumidifier, and managed to stay fairly comfortable. I didn't have any mildew or mold, and I didn't have to go stay in a motel. So although window units may not look very modern, they have advantages over central air. Even if I lived in a place where the power was rock solid, I'd keep a couple of small wall units in the box, stored somewhere around the place for contingencies. You can buy a very good 3000 BTU window unit at Walmart (or somewhere else if you don't like Walmart) for around $125.00.
If you are stiff with blunt, as the Brits say, you can buy a propane generator that will run your whole house. It comes with an integral inverter and switches itself on and off depending on the status of your grid power. My brother has one on his cabin in the Sierra's , and he likes it. Of course, it cost $10,000 so he ought to. For those of us with more plebeian finances, wall units and a good transfer switch will work.
Another nice thing about wall units is they don't have electronic controls. They're all manual. The best piece of gear in the world is useless if the device that operates it is damaged during an electrical storm. Everything in my house is self contained. Even without power I can run my propane heaters, my wood burning stove, my fireplace, and the like. I've been in houses where people proudly showed me their new wood stoves that needed electrical power for the blowers, or their great propane heating system that needed electrical power for the control unit. If you are going to live way out , when you design your place identify your critical systems and then ask yourself if they would still work without power. If the anwer is no, you have some more planning to do.
Every time I talk about generators, I like to mention that "back loading" is a really bad thing to do. "Back loading" is where you just plug your generator into a wall socket and power your house that way. First, you don't really know what loads the wires in your wall were set up for, so back loading is a great way to start a fire in your wall or melt your electrical wires. But far worse, when you back load some of that power can "leak" back out onto the grid. Then an electric co-op repair crew comes along, they think the line is "dead" and somebody gets electrocuted. That happened here two years ago, and killed a 32 year old lineman with a wife and two kids. I can't think of any circumstances where I would ever back load. A transfer switch will cut you off the grid completely , and you can leave your generator hooked up to the switch so you aren't out in the snow or rain dragging it around and hooking it up. The switch runs about $45.00 at any good hardware store and having an electrician come hook it up costs about $140.00. You only have to do it once.
|The best generator in the world is useless without fuel.|