Remember the massive Kidde fire extinguisher recall a few years ago? I had three units affected. It took over a year to get them replaced, and I was late to the party. One of the three, manufactured in 2019 according to the stamp on the bottom, now shows EMPTY on the gauge. They advertise these as having a six-year warranty. This one is at most half of that age. I’ve reached out to Kidde, but I don’t have high hopes. I ordered one from First Alert to replace it.
I have an old heating oil tank, approximate capacity of 125 gallons, that I removed from a former residence when I replaced an inoperable oil furnace and mounted onto a 4’x6′ trailer kit that I got from Northern Tool. I mounted a manual pump on it and use it to store diesel for the tractor. It doesn’t meet DOT standards, but it only ever sees about five miles per year. I decided to fill it today, since it’s been about a year since I last topped it off, and the price ain’t coming down any time soon. I used sixty-five gallons since the last fill. I paid $3.44 per gallon today. Last January, the price was $2.34. Let’s Go Brandon!
I finally got around to load testing my PTO-driven generator yesterday. I say finally, because despite my intent to do so every three to six months, the date on the board where I track such things said that the last test was done in March 2020. I ran it for an hour, and it performed as expected. The lights dimmed when the heat pump kicked on, as they always do when on genny power, but once it spun up, the lights were happy once again.
It’s a small unit, 7.2kW, but it was the best balance of price, tractor compatibility, electrical output connections matching my needs, and ease/cost of connecting to the house that I could find. It isn’t designed to be a whole-house backup, but it will serve as one if the user is selective as to which high-apmerage loads are active at any one time. In other words, don’t expect to be able to run the clothes dryer at the same time you’re taking a shower (hot water heater) and someone else is cooking on the stove. And diety forbid that the heat pump/air conditioning needs to run during all that. It will handle any one of those four while keeping the lights on and all the other bits and pieces running, maybe two if the second one is the dryer on low heat or only one burner on the stove. Don’t expect more than that, and you’ll be happy. If you need all that, buy a 20kW Generac for six grand, another $800 for the transfer switch, and a few grand for an electrician to hook it all up.
I paid $950 for the genny (now $1250 – FJB) mounted it to a three-point Carry All from Tractor Supply and bought a light-duty PTO shaft from AgriSupply. There’s no need to spend $400 for the “recommended” shaft from NT. It’s rated for 60 horsepower – an absolutely unnecessary level of strength for a generator that only requires 14HP at full load. Then I added a 30A circuit breaker to the outside box (left in the off position except when the generator is needed, at which time the main breaker must be turned off before turning on said 30A breaker, unless you want to blow up the generator when the power comes back on) ran wire through flex conduit “borrowed” from work to an outdoor outlet designed for generator use, and picked up a ten-foot cord to connect the two. No it doesn’t meet code. Yes it works, and is safe unless you’re a fucking idiot. Total cost in 2019 was within fifty FRNs of what the genny itself costs today.
It’s cold today. I mean, not really. It’s 41 degrees and sunny at the moment, which is tolerable. It was 19 last night and didn’t break freezing until almost noon. I’ve done the stuff I have to do, and am not all that motivated to do anything else.