Thursday, November 3, 2011

Northeast Snow

On Saturday we got hit with a freak snow storm.  My area received 8-10 inches which is normally not a big deal, but two things made it a unique problem.  The snow was the wet and heavy variety, not normally a problem.  The problem is that the fall foliage is just starting to change so the leaves are on the trees.  Add 8-inches of snow to that, and tree limbs started falling.  We lost power at 3pm on Saturday.

Here is where the gas fireplace was worth every penny spent.  I remember our PM telling us it has a battery backup during power outages so now would be a good time to test it out.  Nothing...ugh oh!  I pop the grate off the bottom section and find the control unit needs 4-AA batteries.  This was a quick fix and our fireplace was ablaze.  If it wasn't for this, I'm not sure what we would have done.  Some of our neighbors did not opt for this option and their houses were so cold they stayed with friends.

The 1st night, before going to sleep, I checked on the sump pit and the water was only slightly above normal, OK no problem.  On Sunday morning, the water level was 2-inches from the top.  Being an IT person, it never occurred to me to get out a bucket and manually bail it out.  So I went to the nearest auto store and picked up a 1,000 watt power inverter.  Ran an extension cord into the basement, attached the thing to my running car and ran the sump.  The temperature rose back into the 50's then on, so the snow started melting very fast.  I ran the pump 3-4 times a day to keep it well below level.  Turns out our neighbors had the same water issues, so it looks like the water table in our neighborhood is 8-10 feet below ground level.

The power finally returned on mid-day Tuesday.  I heard reports that other locals in more rural areas didn't get it back until yesterday or even today so we should count ourselves lucky.

We are thinking about getting a battery backup emergency sump pump system in case we are away and this happens again.  Also looking into a backup generator although that isn't really in the budget right now.


  1. Oh boy! Makes me regret getting a fireplace now! Glad it all worked out for you. What do you think of a hydro back up sump pump??

  2. WOW! So glad you were able to get all taken care of!

  3. Yeah, now that the temps are plummeting, I'm regretting not getting the fireplace. Maybe we can add it someday.

    We only got an inch or so and the power stayed on. My friend in Jersey JUST got her electric back on today (thursday!). We might be in for a long one...

  4. I'm not really familiar with the various brands of sump pumps. Do you have experience with the hyrdo?

  5. Just catching up on blogs. SW introduces a concept of hydro sump pump which I had never heard of. In doing a little research it appears like for less then $500 you could have one installed and it is powered by your cold water supply. It was not clear how many gallons of water it would take to pump out a standard sump pump but I would think it would take many many many uses before you came close to the cost of a battery back up unit or a gas powered generator. Unless you have a lot of water accumulation and quite frequent power outages this seems like a great idea.