Cozy Warm in Hurricane Sandy

When a black woolly bear crosses your path twice, beware.You know a bad winter is expected!

Hurricane Sandy arrived about dinner time on Monday, October 29 with winds picking up and snow coming with it. Mark was ready for any emergency radio help that might be needed, as was Alison back in Beltsville. The snow and wind continued all night and our electricity went off soon after midnight. I got out of bed and called the electric company just to let them know the extent of their outage.

And the snow and wind continued on and on.


As soon as the power went out, our Guardian Generator,7kVA capacity, came right on. A unique feature is that it runs off propane gas (our tank holds 500 gallons) which is very clean and reduces maintenance greatly. We had it installed in 2004 “just in case” we might have a power outage for few days in a row. The day after it was put in we had a huge rain storm and the power was off for a couple days.”What a coincidence.” I wrote in my diary. And how good it was not to have to bail water from the spa to flush the toilets!

It’s been faithful and we had the wisdom this fall to check its battery—-it needed replacing.

Its downfall, which we never realized when we bought it, is that when the snow piles up in the winter (which it always does) the intake and output vents become blocked. This meant that every time it snowed Mark and I would have to  trudge to the back of the house and dig the snow away. We finally realized that the whole idea of an automatic generator to save us the stress of an outage was now adding more stress. Why would a company build this generator which couldn’t be out in the snow? (Their larger model 15kVA is equipped with chimneys.)

I purchased for $145.00 a “shed-in-a-box” thinking we could cover the generator and just leave a small opening on each side for air to move through. It was a hasty decision. I should have talked it over with Mark. I didn’t understand that the intake vent would be sucking in the air of the output vent. The “shed-in-a-box” is still in its carton.

My son-in-law Barry pondered the issue and the great “aha” moment came to him. He figured out how to solve it. Over 4th of July, 2011, he, with much help from Andrea, Dana and Chris Cove, the “Snort” was created—-its name came just because it looks sort of “snortish” (not to be confused with the real snort as seen here.)

Barry’s wooden corner boxes, all nicely finished and stained, fit the generator to a T. They will prevent the snow from piling up against the vents. A pair of  tall pipes stand regally at the corners to allow airflow in and out, no matter how deep the snow.

We hardly had much of a winter in 2011 so the Snort never got tested. Frankly I was glad for an easy winter. But Hurricane Sandy is here and has put this design to test. The snow is piling up all over. We couldn’t have reached the generator to dig out around the vents if we had wanted to.

Our electricity is still out 4 ½ days later (November 3rd). We had no phone until this morning and the cell phone works sporadically. But the generator has hummed along the whole time and is still going. We had heat and water. Toilets flushed. We showered in our toasty bathroom. The refrigerator and freezer kept cold. We have several wall sockets connected to it so I could plug in my coffee pot and keep my laptop running. We have TV (although we had to shovel a path across the deck and scrape the snow and ice off the dish on a couple occasions).

We managed to make a trip into town for supplies (and to vote!) on Friday.  We saw that there are trees lying across the electric wires at the foot of the mountain road. We’ll probably be one of the last areas to get our service back. I’m not worried – our Barry-bilt Snort-modified generator is on a roll!

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I love that you and Mark ad still cozy and warm with the help of the Snort! It helps me to sleep well at night 🙂

I love to see your post! I hope to see your GREAT place one day. Take care of you guys 🙂

Love Mary

So good to hear from you, Mary, and we’d love to see you up here, but AFTER winter is over!

OK….I love a good adventure story….LOL…Glad to hear you are all safe and doing fine….Love Vance

BTW I love the pictures of all the snow! I am a snow kind of guy who loves all the seasons….I can’t wait for it to snow here….What is so nice about snow is that it really doesn’t happen that often here so it really isn’t a hardship for us here in Monroeville, Ohio

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