The week of Feb 15th was extraordinarily tough here in Houston. As you probably know, we had an unusual cold spell that took the area into single digit temperatures. This caught the state’s electric industry entirely by surprise, taking about 35% of electrical generation offline. So vast tracts of Texas were both cold and without power for several days. Eventually, also without water.
We certainly felt the cold. Our 100 year old Craftsman Cottage was simply not built for this kind of weather. We were fortunate to have gas appliances, including a natural gas-fired fireplace in our living room. We closed off portions of the house to minimize the area we needed to heat. Put an air bed in the living room and did the best we could.
After Hurricane Ike (2008) we were without utility power for about three weeks. This motivated the eventual purchase of a portable generator. We bought it used from a neighbor who was tired of it taking up space in his garage. For several years, it sat idle, occupying a corner in our garage. They’re like that.
This one recent week in February we got to know Genny really well. We came to admire some of her capabilities and a few of her quirks. These lessons are worth sharing.
As you can see, Genny is a Predator (in a nice way) which is a brand sold by Harbor Freight. She’s pretty beefy, rated for 8,750 watts starting load, and 7,000 watts continuous load. That’s not that 14 KW that I had calculated necessary to run our entire household, including central air conditioner, but it’s still quite a lot of power.