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Decisions: 2021 Household Projects

As we come to the end of the year, I’m looking back across a range of substantial household projects. We rather famously lost power for a few days back in February 2021 during an unusually cold snap. This lead to some additional thinking about household projects, including the new air conditioner. Specifically, how best to adapt our home to operation without utility power? After all, the Great Texas Freeze of 2021 was not the first time we lost power for days. We were without power for several weeks after Hurricane Ike in 2008.

Generac Standby Generator Beauty Shot copy

The most common approach that we see around the neighborhood is the installation of a standby generator. These are permanently installed systems that startup and take over when utility power fails. Generac, Kohler and Cummins are the most common brands. They typically run on natural gas and I’ve seen systems from 14 kW to 32 kW hereabouts.

Standby Generator vs Air Conditioner

Given the position of our home on the lot, and the location of the gas meter and breaker panel, it’s not really practical for us to install a standby generator. It would be prohibitively expensive given the required location of the generator. We’d need to run buried pipe for natural gas, and conduit for electrical cable, a considerable distance. The cost of the installation is much more than the generator itself. The entire project cost is as much as a new air conditioner, for a benefit that that would only occasionally be realized.

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Revisiting The Merits Of Battery Backup

According to a FierceTelecom article by Sean Buckley, “Verizon says fewer customers are purchasing battery backup for fiber home voice services.” The article describes how Verizon’s FiOS FTTH customers are tending to rely upon their mobile phones to stay on touch during a power outage.

This assertion comes right as the FCC is concerned about CPE remaining powered during an outage, something that cannot be done over fiber as it was over copper. Since customers were not buying traditional battery backup units Verizon has come up with its own solution called PowerReserve.

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Power To The People: Without Interuption!

Earlier this evening Leo Laporte of TWiT fame tweeted the following:

Power is out in Petaluma. TWiT Live is down until it returns but no ETA. Thank goodness for the iPad 3G. http://j.mp/dt8Oii

I must admit that I am surprised and a little shocked that such an incident would take TWiT Cottage off-line. Leo Laporte is unusual amongst the online media community. His TWiT related endeavors are an unparalleled success. His transformation from traditional to online media is the stuff of future textbooks.

An enterprise such as TWiT should not be taken down by something so simple as a power outage when standby generators are sold at every Lowe’s and Home Depot across the country.

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