We celebrated Ernie’s birthday this month as we do each year about this time.
Somehow I don’t remember much else about this month other than construction and the mad panic to get things ready to move out of the fifth wheel before it got too cold.
Much of the month we have continued to live off-grid. We have four deep cycle golf cart batteries to run the 12 volt DC system in the fifth wheel and an inverter to provide some AC. The fridge runs on propane as does the stove. The furnace heats with propane, but uses 12 volts DC to run the fan and not only does it blow air it sucks amps. During the summer here and winter in the south the solar panels supply enough juice unless there are three rainy days in a row. This time of the year, where we are in Northern Saskatchewan, there are not enough rays to help much. The generator needs to run for several hours a day to keep the batteries charged with the load of the furnace fan and lights. It also has to run to supply any electrical tools we are using.
A couple of days before the power company showed up to hook us up to the grid our generator died. The cap at the end of the crankcase fell off and all the oil drained out. I figured that was the end of it and left it sitting in its puddle of vital fluid and went and borrowed Ernie’s generator.
When SaskPower was here I was talking to one of the guys and he asked about the generator. I explained. He pulled the start cord and the motor turned over easily. “It doesn’t look like it seized”, he said. I guess the oil level switch did its job. I replaced the part that fell out and added oil. It started and ran fine. I cleaned up the oil spill.
As October morphed into November we kept plugging along doing whatever was in front of at the time. We shifted tasks depending on mood, weather and availability of material.
Ernie and Nick came by and we worked together and completed all the wiring needed for the rough-in inspection. The special right angle drill made two holes and died. A warranty replacement will be in the mail but not much help that day.
The inspector came by and said he was happy. I had called about two exemptions and he granted both. I didn’t want the septic tank macerator pump on a GFCI breaker, because of the potential for nuisance trips. He allowed that as long as I put in a single outlet, rather than a duplex.
The other exemption I asked for was for the in-floor heating. Code calls for electric heating to be on its own circuit. The in-floor heating was 150 Watts at 120 Volts. All the other heating was 240 Volts. Also, code says things inside the bathroom have to be on a GFCI. The controller for the in-floor heating has its own GFCI. Supplying one GFCI from another is asking to be annoyed. He allowed me to just add the 150 Watts to a lighting circuit .and use the GFCI built in to the controller.
The winter snow arrived. The real cold was going to be right behind it. The hardware store phoned. The window I had ordered last summer had arrived. I ran to town and picked it up, came home, cut a hole in the wall and installed it in the dark while the snow swirled around me. I just cut the siding back around the window. That’s now a job for next summer.
Somewhere in all this activity we installed the bathtub, the bathroom fan, the toilet and the hand basin. We may not have running water but we can carry water and after we use it the waste water disappears down a drain. With the fixtures in place sheet rocking of the bathroom could commence. Before we put the tank in the water shed I used the shed as a workshop and built a bathroom door out of left over tongue and groove spruce that had been used for the ceiling/ second floor.
The SaskPower crew showed up. Not much for us to do but watch, which was fun. I visited with the supervisor while the crew worked.
We were grateful they agreed to run the two cables in a trench beside the road and not cut a path through the trees. Two cables? Yes. The transformer is on a ring feed. It is fed from two directions at once. They trench out to the grid road and find the line going past and cut it and tie a wire from our transformer to each of the two cut ends. That way if there is a fault on the line they can isolate that fault and continue to feed all the customers on that ring. If there were faults in two different segments, they would have to start digging right away. The customers affected could be affected for a day or two. Fortunately that is rare. We lived on the other half of the property for about fifteen years. When the supply was by overhead line from one end outages were common. Since going underground they are rare.