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Computing & Technology > Science > Electrical Me
 

Electrical Me

*If you don't like reading about electricity, you can skip or skim all this!

Just had my first electrical outage of the season, which always helps remind me to prepare for the next ones. But this one was weird, I was sure it was an electrical problem with my house.

Last night at almost 1am the power in my front room shut off, and the backup battery to the main computer started beeping (two others are silent). But as I checked other rooms, it was just the kitchen, the front room, and a few other outlets that weren’t working. I unplugged a lot of stuff so when the power returned it wouldn’t be such a big load.

So I went downstairs and reset the circuit breakers, and it all came back on. For a few minutes.

Then the same circuits shut off again. I tried several times but nothing came back on. I resigned to being on partial blackout until the next day, and went to bed. No internet, computer or TV, no refrigerator/stove/microwave, and lots of darkness. Today I called the landlord and told him, asking for an electrician. He couldn't get one until this evening.

It was almost afternoon when I noticed an electric company truck across the street, with men working on stuff that comes up into a junction box. And then the power was suddenly back on.

This is a very old house, and it has an original older part and then an added-on section. The part that lost power was mostly the newer section of the house. It must be connected in the street a different way from the older part. That’s what fooled me; I never thought it was an outside problem.

Anyway, I was chided by my friend Mike for not having gas for my generator. I really need to go get that. And some heavy duty outdoor power cords. I am trying to scope out how I could restore internet next time, with it.

I also have a little solar battery that should have helped somewhat, but I didn’t see that it has tiny on-off buttons to each section. So I thought it didn’t work. But now I’m testing it to see how long it can run a small electric fan.

Usually I enjoy emergency prep like this, but I was kind of upset because I thought maybe the electrical problem was my fault... because up until a little while ago, I was using extension cords with my big backup batteries — and I found out you’re not supposed to. Or maybe I was overloading the front room. Or maybe it was related to the old problem this old house had two years ago, when the owner put in a defective sump pump and it burned out 5 of my surge protectors and my world band radio. He had to pay me for those.

I can get upset when things seem to be breaking down around me, even more so if it’s plumbing. Chalk it up to my childhood house, where my father didn’t like to have anything repaired because it meant money, or effort.

But at least the crisis is over and I took the time to clean house while waiting.

posted on May 20, 2022 10:48 AM ()

Comments:

I wish someone had taught me 50 years ago to unplug things when I lose power. We lose power entirely too frequently, and the reboot burned out the brain on my television one time, and a new computer another time. I’m 72 now, and grateful to learn this. It’s NEVER too late to learn. Thank you!
comment by stella on June 18, 2022 8:36 AM ()
After our ten day power out, I was grateful for the generator which is not big enough and the gas stove. Plus of course the fire place. I did get some lanterns for light because we missed that a lot and one of my friends husbands dropped a candle and started a big fire. .
comment by elderjane on May 21, 2022 4:12 AM ()
After our ten day power out, I was grateful for the generator which is not big enough and the gas stove. Plus of course the fire place. I did get some lanterns for light because we missed that a lot and one of my friends husbands dropped a candle and started a big fire. They just now got their house back.
comment by elderjane on May 21, 2022 4:10 AM ()
How dreadful, losing your house from a candle. I'll have to remember about that. Lanterns, check. What helped me immediately when the power went out were these tiny little stick-on button LED lamps I bought from Amazon. They're very bright, so I stuck one on the refrigerator, one on the back of a fan in the living room, and so on. They have tiny on/off buttons.
reply by drmaus on May 22, 2022 1:54 PM ()
I always learn a lot when things go wrong and I discover the loopholes in my planning. A few years ago we had a big May snowstorm (similar to what's going on here right now) and there were major power outages. Our generator ran for a couple of days and then quit and wouldn't restart. I discovered we needed a camp stove and a few other survival things I'd forgotten about. And we found out we need to check the generator's oil levels frequently during extended usage.
comment by traveltales on May 20, 2022 9:53 PM ()
A camp stove -- or maybe a woodgas stove, I should get one of those too. I don't know about oil in generators... maybe I'd better find out.
reply by drmaus on May 22, 2022 1:50 PM ()
"Anyway, I was chided by my friend Mike for not having gas for my generator" Sure he is your friend??? If he was he would have waited a day or two!!!
That's why I am so glad I rent--let the maintenance company worry about it!
comment by greatmartin on May 20, 2022 2:06 PM ()
He's been nagging me to buy gas for it for a good while. I just don't like doing some things.No maintenance company here, but it sounds like a good thing.
reply by drmaus on May 20, 2022 6:12 PM ()

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