The thing about generators…

…is that when you need one, you need it right f***ing NOW. But when you don’t need one, you don’t give it any thought at all. Which greatly increases the likelihood that it won’t be ready to use when you need it.

This comes to mind as I check the contents of the cistern, and find that they can most accurately be described as “lacking.” The well pump pulls a massive amount of juice, more than our solar electric system used to be able to provide and probably more than it could happily provide even after the upgrade (though someday very soon I’m going to test that.) Consequently, to fill the cistern I still need the generator.

But during the house build we took the generator down off the ridge, which means disconnecting the battery and the ground rod and a few other things, and it never really got put back together again. Also, it was about due for an oil change before the house build and most definitely needed one now. (Hint for people who want to be happy with their one-lung, air-cooled generator engine – change the oil. Change it more often than the manual says you should. Just take my word for it.)

But then I remembered that I never did empty the drain pan from the last time I changed the oil and ATF in W’s car. Which reminded me that the only container I have suitable for used oil is an old water jug which went down the slope in the last windstorm. Which reminded me that the reason the water jug was retired was because a rat drowned in it, said rat now being dessicated and impossible to get out of the jug. Yuck, but it’s not like the dirty oil cares.

So…to fill the cistern, I need to get the jug, deal with the rat, empty the drain pan, jack up the generator, change the oil, let down the generator, connect the battery, connect the ground rod, find the heavy-duty power cord (still at the build site), then …


During the several days of the house build we ran the generator almost continuously, to service several power saws and a nailgun compressor. I knew we used a lot of gas, but didn’t notice how damn much. I’ve got eight fuel cans here, and they’re almost all empty. And for reasons outside the purview of this or any other post, I just lost access to my transport to town.

Grumble. I may be finding out if the solar electric will run the pump sooner rather than later.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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One Response to The thing about generators…

  1. Anonymous says:

    If you have enough gas to start the generator and the well pump, on a sunny afternoon the upgraded solar panels may be enough to keep the pump going. Electric motors draw a big surge of current when they start, much less once they are running.

    Good luck.


To the stake with the heretic!