Sunday, January 5, 2014

Not Dull Here

At about 7 PM the power went off. We knew it would be completely off after two short losses. Out came the propane lantern. Out came the flashlights. After deciding it would stay off, we knew the generator would be the only way to save the exposed water pipes from breaking.

The layout of the water supply here is as follows:  The well is deep and a good one and it is near the carport. The underground supply pipe goes to a storage tank that is in a small shed at the back of the carport. The supply pipe from the storage tank goes out and up and is attached on a beam from its source, across the open carport into the log wall of the cabin bedroom. It is then split into a second pipe that goes into the water heater in the kitchen, back out with a hot pipe which is is run to the kitchen sink and also is routed along the bedroom top wall into the bathroom with the cold water pipe. After reading this I guess I'm not doing a great job of describing the plumbing but it's my best effort.

The problem here is the possibility of a freeze up of the pipes outdoors. As a preventative, several years ago a trench was dug from the well to the storage shed. The shed was rebuilt and lined with half inch styrofoam throughout. The underground pipes were wound with heat tape before being covered over. The pipes in the storage tank shed were wound with heat tape and a 90 watt halogen flood light is aimed at the pressure switch, which turns the pump on and off. The pipes going across the open carport are wrapped first with heat tape and are covered with foam pipe insulation. There is a lever operated switch box which turns on all tape and heating elements electrically. This is flipped on in October and stays on through March.

This is the well and the shed is at the back.

Ed's Shed (water shed)

The exit pipe going across the beam.

The pipe enters the cabin through the log.

The red box is the flip switch for the heat tape and lamp.

This is the cold water pipe entering the cabin and split with a "T."
The top pipe is the hot water return pipe heading to the bathroom. 

When the power goes out the generator is put into action. It isn't automatic. There is a specific procedure to follow. This generator is plugged in to a special charger that keeps the battery up to par so the push button starter will work. Every year since 2006 when we bought it, updating the style to easy start, it has been diligently and thoroughly serviced by the in-house super mechanic. Who was to know that the battery didn't take its charge during the past year and was dead - DEAD!

It was a serious dilemma for a bit. The truck was parked heading out - it doesn't fit under the carport. The engine is in front, which meant no jump starting unless turning the truck around. Then the thought occurred…there is a battery that is used for the boat out in the larger storage shed in the yard. It is always being charged and is ready to use.

Hey! the generator was started and running smoothly. We had power. After waiting from 7 PM to 10 PM we finally went to bed in complete darkness and to the comforting hum outside.  The mister left the small TV on and muted, and when he got up in the middle of the night there was a picture so he got dressed, turned off the generator, flipped the house power back on and all was well. Today was another trip to town to replenish gasoline in the cans.

Now the next mission will be to order and replace the generator battery. We have the model and serial number and a place to order it but the problem will be installation. After checking everything out, Mr. Mechanic has discovered that the fuel tank has to be removed in order to withdraw and replace the battery! Do you believe it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The fuel tank is full!


  1. I hope you find a way to replace the battery. Stay warm!

  2. You and I are both lucky to have a MacGyver in our household. As Joe always says " You only have a problem if you don't have a solution". I have no doubt that Ed will find that solution. Remember, we are only a phone call away if you need anything at all.

  3. OH my gosh....
    I hope that everything will be in tip top order in no time!!
    What a weekend you had!!

  4. Your rural lifestyle appeals to me despite some of the problems that can arise. We city folk have our own set of problems. I have a heating system that doesn't always work. Today is mild in the mid 50's but tomorrow will be 14 degrees. Hopefully this problem can be rectified today.

    Ed's Shed. Cool name for a restaurant.