But, but, you need tospend money to buy a generator and whatever switching
is required so as not to kill the electric company's linemen. And then you
have to keep purchasing gas for the generator and spend on annual
maintenance. All that for a few hours (at most) of no power? Maybe when I
need lifesaving medical equipment. Although, by that time I will have
taken a little pill ...
Perhaps. But the fact is that there has never been a single documented
case of a utility lineman being killed by an improperly connected
generator. In every single lineman fatality related to a generator, the
cause of the death has been the lineman not following procedures which
specify that every line must be tested and grounded before working on
Nope, I didn't define the cause of death differently, I defined it
accurately. Cause of death - "Electrocution due to failure to test and
ground the conductor before handling it" - that's it, period. It makes
no difference the source of the electricity.
Nope, but people who think these poor linemen were killed by some
careless person with a generator are irrational and emotional.
The procedures for working on lines in the field state that *every* line
must be tested and grounded before working on it without full protective
equipment. If that procedure is followed, it is not possible to be
electrocuted regardless of whether a power co generator is online or a
home generator is online.
Every single lineman fatality related to a home generator is the result
of their own carelessness in not following procedures.
Having worked as an electrician and having installed and maintained
high voltage equipment I can only tell you to treat electrical power
with respect. Treat it like a rattle snake and don't assume it's dead.
I work on everything as though it were hot, I've been zapped a number
of times and I've had tools vaporized but I've been lucky to not have
been seriously injured. Don't trust unlocked safety switches, put your
own lockout padlock on any dangerous higher voltage system you're
working on. If it can't be locked, disconnect the wires, tape them up
and leave a "I'll stomp you until you quit twitching!" note on the
panel. Years ago, I heard of an electrician working on one of the
industrial sites in my area who was working on the connections for a
4160 transformer, that's 4,160 volts primary. He finished hooking up
the high voltage side and when he leaned back, he heard a crackling
sound and his hair stood up. There was a dumbass walking down a line
of safety switches on a wall turning each one on/off and looking around.
The electrician climbed down, walked up to said dumbass and beat him
half to death. No one tried to stop him and no one would think about
testifying against him. A foreman called an ambulance to pickup the
dumbass saying he had been injured in a fall, dumbass never came back.
Yes, and the reason for grounding every conductor after testing is to
ensure that it *will not go live* while you are working on it, even if
another crew working down the road tries to power it up, or someone with
an improperly connected home generator tries to power it up.
Good story, presumably from the days before lock-out tag-out. When I
pulled my meter to replace my main panel, I did the full lock-out
tag-out, even though I live alone in a single family house. You have to
presume that some idiot will come by and try to fry you, even if the
probability is extremely low.
I heard the story back in the early 70's when OSHA was in its infancy
and the old, old school solder and friction tape guys were still in
great abundance in the work force. Most of the safety practices I
incorporate into my projects would be considered time wasting sissy
stuff by those guys. The crazy old electricians in the sawmills in
central Alabama would lay #6 bare copper on the sawmill floor, cover
the wires with a deep layer of sawdust and run the 3 phase 460 volt
saw motors off of it. One brain damaged old coot would check for the
presence of 460 volt power by swiping his fingertip across the bare
wire to see if he got a tingle.
I spent about $800 on a generator, about 25 years ago. Maintenance
consists of $4 worth of synthetic oil each year. It has provided power
during many days worth of outages, including a ~72hr continuous run.
Many of these outages were in the winter in the northeast where frozen
pipes would have been a threat had I not had the generator. Being
portable, the generator has also been used on a number of remote
construction projects as well. So yes, a generator is a very inexpensive
and reasonable investment.
That's relative. Until a month or so ago, we never had more than a few
hours of power outage at a time. For that an expense of $1500 today plus
the maintenance and risk of storing gasoline etc is NOT worth it.
To me <grin>.
I'm always amazed by the folks who think storing a 5gal can of gas out
back is some huge risk, and then park a car or two with 15-20gal of gas
each in their garage. Get a grip folks, storing a can of gas is not a
Not a BIG risk, no, but gas cans don't have vapor recovery canisters to
catch any fumes outgassing from the tank on a hot day when the garage
gets close to 100 degrees inside. Not to mention, gas cans are a lot
more prone to getting leaks, or getting knocked over by short people,
sometimes with less-than-tight lids. For people without backyard sheds
to keep the gas can in (along with the mower), I recommend they build a
little 3-sided box with a roof, or something, to keep the rain off the
can and the mower. IIRC, at one house my mother had, we used stacks of
concrete block, a few pavers for for a floor, and a hunk of corrugated
roofing that was laying around. Think farmer's equipment shed, just real
small. And if they want pretty, Rubbermaid has a nice line of trash can
enclosures that work well for the task.
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