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Old 11-08-2012, 12:16 AM   #1
long island, NY
 
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basic gas heating question


hi
NY'er here. We've obviously gotten smacked with now 2 storms... I lost power miraculously only for a few hours. Most friends are freezing for over 10 days now... with another 10 days before the lights will return (and they didn't even have flooding in the area!!!)

I will freely admit I know nothing about our heating system. We have gas heat / baseboards. Is it at all possible to have our heat run w/o electricity? Or is there an electrical water pump or other electrical components that would require a generator? I'm thinking about the next time we're stuck in freezing temps w/o power. LIPA (our power company) is obviously not very reliable. No hotel room available for miles, and no one else with room for an extra family... well no one with power and heat!

thanks and stay warm everyone

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Old 11-08-2012, 06:58 AM   #2
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You are going to need electricity. Boilers/baseboards have a pump to circulate the hot water while forced air furnaces some of your neighbors probably own have a blower that needs to be powered. And both types have transformers and circuit boards that need power. Best bet for backup is to get a generator.

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Old 11-08-2012, 07:27 AM   #3
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I don't recommend generators UNLESS you buy a power conditioner/voltage and frequency filter to put between the generator and the equipment. generators are meant for lights and power tools/saws etc. the frequency in Hertz of a generator can vary from 58 to 62 or more and modern furnaces need PERFECT 60 Hz power or the circuit board will get damaged. I have a generator and a $200 power conditioner I ordered from an electronics shop.
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:49 AM   #4
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I have a Yamaha generator that uses a built-in inverter to produce nice clean power. No issues with frequency variation and supposedly a nice clean sine wave. It works great for powering all sorts of electronic devices like TVs, PCs, and network gear, including the furnace. Of course these generators are kind of pricey. Definitely a good idea to use the add-on conditioner if you have one of those more basic generators.
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Old 11-08-2012, 10:51 AM   #5
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thanks so much for your input I'm definitely going to make arrangements like that. Found out my prius can be made into a high quality generator like your yamaha with a $800-$1200 conversion kit... and is apparently much more fuel efficient, and less noisy, fumy, and lower maintenance than a regular generator. http://www.converdant.biz/plug-out/

It truly scared me to think that we'd be stuck in the NE cold with no place to go for a few weeks.

thanks again!!!!
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:29 AM   #6
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Don't be so quick to claim LIPA is unreliable. Im sure their technicians are working around the clock, and they've probably brought in others from out of state. Massive storms like this put a huge strain on resources. Can you imagine how expensive your electricity would be if they had the man power to get everyone back on in a short time frame? I'm sure you think your electricity is already too expensive.
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:40 AM   #7
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Agree with Benny. Have been through hurricanes in FL and LA and recovery from such widespread damage just takes a long time. They basically have to rebuild the entire distribution system and sometimes even substations. The big difference this time is the cold. Usually after a 'cane when the power is out you sweat, not freeze.

Love the idea of adding the kit to the Prius to use it to supply power to your house. Definitley will be quieter than pretty much any generator and you won't have an extra piece of equipment to store and maintain.
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:42 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvac benny View Post
Don't be so quick to claim LIPA is unreliable. Im sure their technicians are working around the clock, and they've probably brought in others from out of state. Massive storms like this put a huge strain on resources. Can you imagine how expensive your electricity would be if they had the man power to get everyone back on in a short time frame? I'm sure you think your electricity is already too expensive.
If you had a millivolt system there are some techniques the OP could employ.
If I may digress from the topic at hand momentarily: With this new Katrina-strength storm Sandy that hit the East coast, the shoe is now on the other foot. And the same politicos who bashed the previous administration must not take the blame they so lavishly dished out to their counterparts for the length of time it took to get the clean up under way.
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Old 11-08-2012, 02:30 PM   #9
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If you had a millivolt system there are some techniques the OP could employ.
If I may digress from the topic at hand momentarily: With this new Katrina-strength storm Sandy that hit the East coast, the shoe is now on the other foot. And the same politicos who bashed the previous administration must not take the blame they so lavishly dished out to their counterparts for the length of time it took to get the clean up under way.
hi again
Me and my friends declare LIPA unreliable because they did NOTHING to prepare for the storm dispite several days warning. the ONLY thing they did was call for post-storm back-up. No tree trimming crews about at all.

Sandy wasn't katrina strength... but still damaging. IMO, the gov't response was very good. (I'm a prof at a college in zone a in brooklyn... I've seen some bad stuff, but the neighborhoods are all already churning again. In a a few months, the bulk of the damage will be gone. This is NO WAY near the neglect NO experienced... dragging on for years. Those poor people.... Can blame the feds, the local gov't and both political parties for that hot mess. I hope it NEVER happens again in the US.)

Now if only mobil, exon, and shell could get some gas over on LI! Basically, only citgo and gulf have their sh!t together in my area....
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:06 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by diy'er on LI

hi again
Me and my friends declare LIPA unreliable because they did NOTHING to prepare for the storm dispite several days warning. the ONLY thing they did was call for post-storm back-up. No tree trimming crews about at all.

Sandy wasn't katrina strength... but still damaging. IMO, the gov't response was very good. (I'm a prof at a college in zone a in brooklyn... I've seen some bad stuff, but the neighborhoods are all already churning again. In a a few months, the bulk of the damage will be gone. This is NO WAY near the neglect NO experienced... dragging on for years. Those poor people.... Can blame the feds, the local gov't and both political parties for that hot mess. I hope it NEVER happens again in the US.)

Now if only mobil, exon, and shell could get some gas over on LI! Basically, only citgo and gulf have their sh!t together in my area....
Obviously not a professor of electrical utility management; a few days of tree trimming wouldn't have done squat. I'm sure they were doing what was necessary with only a few days warning before the storm. They probably did a good job of it too, despite not having you or your friends there to supervise. I'm not a power guy, but my guess is that their first priority would be transmission assets.
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:14 AM   #11
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Install a vented gas convection wall heater with a thermopile and be prepared for the next storm and power outage. I have one in the basement and it heats the house just fine at well below 0F.


Last edited by Fairview; 11-09-2012 at 04:16 AM.
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