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Old 08-10-2020, 10:46 PM   #1
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Major storm damage and reserving energy

Try to keep this short as we are on limited power. Major storms rolled through the midwest and heard Iowa and Illinois got hammered. Hope the rest of you are safe and in one piece.

We are safe thank goodness, but house took a beating but Airstream was in storage so thankfully we will be limping along using it for cooking and some living quarters. We have no power, probably none for the week.

Trying to reserve all I can in the AI. Canít remember how long a propane fill will run the generator. Any advice there? Would it be best to shut off the main battery disconnect while not using it to reserve battery power since we canít plug in. We have a Goal Zero Yeti with solar but I had not played around with it yet. Any advice is appreciated. Important when itís not just for fun now. Please be my brain power, you have no idea what a day it had been. Lost about 10 trees, 3 on the house, and looks like a bomb went off in our yard and no water or electricity. Any advice is welcome to extend the power as long as possible. We only have 100 watts of solar which doesnít do much. Thanks in advance, might not get to say it for a bit!
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Old 08-11-2020, 05:02 AM   #2
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I feel for you Hawk-Ination. We lost a tree in those storms but luckily didn’t lose power. I don’t have personal experience with that much generator use but in a search on this forum found someone else’s report that it uses about 1/3 to 1/2 gallon of Lp per hour. The tank is reportedly 18 gallons, but isn’t likely completely full even after a fill, what with air and vapors in the tank and lines. You may want to think about unplugging your fridge from the AI (mine is under the sink, behind the sponge tray), and try running that off your goal zero as much as possible, so that it isn’t using your house battery. Good luck to you, and I’m really sorry you’re in this situation.
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Old 08-11-2020, 06:21 AM   #3
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So sorry to hear the news about the devastation. Hopefully things will get back to normal at some point in the not too near future.

Best advice I can give is to use your good judgement regarding energy use. Shut everything down, battery off whenever possible.

Are you a member of the AS Club? If so maybe others in your unit can give a hand.

Wishing you the best!
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Old 08-11-2020, 06:36 AM   #4
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I had my Interstate at my mechanic's shop getting the tires rotated and balanced, and an alignment when the storm rolled through.

Almost every street in Tipton was closed or nearly closed by downed trees. We have municipal electric and the crews got most of the town's power restored by 9pm, although there are apparently a few areas still without power.

My 7.5kw generator in the big moho is having fuel issues...

Your 2800 will burn about 1/3 to 1/2gal propane an hour depending on the load. The refrigerator, however, will run for ten days or more on a tank of propane (provided, of course that you have an ammonia-absorption fridge.) My T1N's propane tank is only about 7 gallons. I don't know what the newer coaches have.
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Old 08-11-2020, 07:55 AM   #5
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Hawk-nation,
Sorry to hear about your situation. Can you get more propane if you run out?
In FL, we used the trailer fridge to save considerable $$ of frozen and refrigerated food, and trusted the power company to come through in a reasonable time frame. Running directly on propane is most efficient, vs. through the generator. Of course, that means turning it on right away. (With hurricanes, there’s enough warning...)
I would say, with a generator, saving every last amp for later is not your main concern.
BTW, propane weighs four pounds per gallon. 30 pounds is right around seven gallons.
Good luck.
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Old 08-11-2020, 08:32 AM   #6
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We had the storms roll though the metro area also. About 70,000 without power at it's peak. Now down to 30,000 this morning. Utility says it will take till tomorrow to restore all electric. We had wind gusts up to 75 mph with most of it being tree damage and some flash flooding in some areas. Thankfully my trailer is tucked away safe and sound in a garage and I kept power and my trees are fine.

I do have a portable 3 way Yamaha 2000i generator as a backup unit. Interestingly enough my usage of the unit on propane pretty much mirrors the run time on gasoline. I have a couple of 20 LP bottles I keep in the garage, and if I have a long term need I can use a hookup for my natural gas grill on my deck to connect to the Yamaha if I would have a long term need for use.

It really comes down to the motor size of your generator and the number of watts you need to provide. Here is a link to some interesting information from the developer of Motor Snorkel. It will give you all the information you need to compare the usage of propane vs gasoline vs natural gas.

https://motorsnorkel.com/propane-consumption-rate/

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Old 08-11-2020, 11:48 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Hawk-ination View Post
Try to keep this short as we are on limited power. Major storms rolled through the midwest and heard Iowa and Illinois got hammered. Hope the rest of you are safe and in one piece.

We are safe thank goodness, but house took a beating but Airstream was in storage so thankfully we will be limping along using it for cooking and some living quarters. We have no power, probably none for the week.

Trying to reserve all I can in the AI. Canít remember how long a propane fill will run the generator. Any advice there? Would it be best to shut off the main battery disconnect while not using it to reserve battery power since we canít plug in. We have a Goal Zero Yeti with solar but I had not played around with it yet. Any advice is appreciated. Important when itís not just for fun now. Please be my brain power, you have no idea what a day it had been. Lost about 10 trees, 3 on the house, and looks like a bomb went off in our yard and no water or electricity. Any advice is welcome to extend the power as long as possible. We only have 100 watts of solar which doesnít do much. Thanks in advance, might not get to say it for a bit!

Might you have the option to set a saw pole on your property to plug in the Airstream and use like you would at a campground? We had to do that many years ago after a devastating incident rendered our home unusable for months. It was nice to stay on our own property to keep eye on things while damage was repaired. Weíve never been more grateful to have our Airstream.
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Old 08-12-2020, 12:44 AM   #8
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Short reply-limited cell service.

Good advice from all. Glad everyone in Iowa is ok so far.
No propane options on the fridge unfortunately.
2 gas stations open in a city of 100,000 and all electricity is off so no transactions are able to be processed. Good question on propane. We located some about 30 min away and now the city to our south is up and running so things are getting better.

If you didnít see it the storm was terrible, extending the width of Iowa and Illinois. 100 MPH winds maybe a but lower but sustained here for half an hour plus. Trees are decimated, houses with trees on them, missing roofs, power poles and signals snapped right off. Itís an unbelievable amount of damage. Pictures of fields just flattened.

Going to try the Yeti on the fridge we need some fridge action. Forgot to say we have an electric cooler so might do that too. Generator running for a few hours is keeping the batteries up enough. Shutting down at night. Advice is great. Thanks for numbers on the generator. Glad everyone is ok. Our roof is fixable and thanks for the well-wishes.
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Old 08-13-2020, 07:03 AM   #9
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We are one hour north of you. Our power is on and gas stations worked - until the ran out of gas from everybody driving up from CR to fill up. Drove through Belle Plain yesterday - what a mess there.
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Old 08-13-2020, 07:24 AM   #10
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I spoke to my brother in Coralville 4 hours after it rolled through and he was in a mild state of shock. They are saying it had the force of a Category 2 hurricane. No power and hundreds of trees down just from the spot he could see.
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Old 08-23-2020, 02:31 PM   #11
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Hi everyone, I wrote a reply and it didnít post so everything I wrote went bye-bye. Just wanting to thank everyone for their responses and well-wishes. Iím sorry to those of you who had damage or have family that were impacted. For some reason, I keep thinking we can leave our home and it will be like a tornado where we will be a mile away and everything will be fine. Thatís not the case by far. The loss of trees and damage to homes and businesses outside our little cul-da-sac is unbelievable and still very shocking. There is not one inch of the city that wasnít hit hard and they are saying it was the force of a category 4 hurricane. We actually feel fortunate to be able to live in our home, our roof looks a little haggard but itís really still in one piece thank someone above for that. We had the Airstream for a warm yet quick shower, and food with family bringing water to get us through. We were also one of the first rounds of homes to get power back on. Some were without for over a week, and although you might think Iowa is rural, we are just like everyone else. We donít normally go without electricity. Well, that is unless you are Amish, I guess!

Iíll write a bit about the experience with the power situation later, we did learn some things as we went. I would actually highly suggest to pretend you arenít able to power your Interstate for a few days by electricity and see how you manage getting by. Maybe also without a propane fill readily available. With the extreme weather and now fires and hurricanes on both sides of the country, or whatever comes your way, itís not a bad idea to see how you would do it before you might ever need it. I thought I knew enough and had read enough on the forum, but when the time came, I wish I would have tried before hand, just to know how long we could hold out on battery power. Or how long the propane tank would hold out, etc.

Iím thinking way more of springing for a lithium upgrade now, and maybe more solar even though I didnít believe in it much before this storm. So glad we had the Yeti. I had to learn itís charge and discharge rates, but I think we dialed it in by the third day and when I had time to mess around with it a little. Iíll come back and share a bit if anyone needs the info for the future but weíve been working all day again, and my head needs a rest too!

Our yard is cleaned up, our house is still standing, and we were unhurt. We have food and water, and the Airstream is undamaged in the driveway, and most important, we still have each other! What more can you ask for and be thankful for? Appreciate the help during this difficult time. Thanks for the kind words too. Hope to be back out traveling soon and meet some of you very nice members! And especially the best to the Iowa members, we will stay Iowa strong but that was quite a challenge, yes?! Hope you all rise above and stay safe and well.
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Old 08-23-2020, 02:41 PM   #12
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Hawk-ination, it’s good to hear from you again and glad you’ve got power back. We came through on 151 on our way to and back from Door County... the amount of crop and tree damage was shocking. It was difficult to find trees that didn’t have their tops sheered off. We didn’t really drive through any of the metro area, but I can just imagine what kind of damage all those broken limbs would have caused in town. I wish we had some Hawkeye football to look forward to...
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Old 08-23-2020, 04:32 PM   #13
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I think you'd be better off buying a large generator for use at home after future storms if that is the reason that you are considering lithium and more solar. You can easily power refrigerator, freezer, and a couple of fans with a few thousand watt generator and use the Interstate for showers. Not being critical of either addition, just not sure they are worth it as a 'just in case'. On the other hand if your typical use of the Interstate would benefit from more solar or lithium, then go for it.
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Old 08-23-2020, 05:23 PM   #14
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I watched the Ag news yesterday and they plotted the sustained winds as over 100 mph right through the middle of Iowa. They sampled multiple corn and soybean fields that were leveled. I cannot imagine what you went through.
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Old 08-24-2020, 09:35 AM   #15
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My brother (volunteer fireman) in Coralville has been out working a chain saw all day every day since it happened. He's still going strong at 72 YO.
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Old 08-25-2020, 07:44 AM   #16
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Good for your brother in Coralville! I wish I could help others more at this point but we just finished cleaning up the yard and removing dangerous limbs and trees after two weeks. I can’t imagine how it feels to keep it up any older than me cause I’m feeling it but going to try to help others now.

Yes, the damage is mind-boggling. The corn took the brunt of the winds and much is either almost or totally flat. I think they reported 40 percent of Iowa’s crop is damaged now. Took a few drives so far and the damage in Cedar Rapids is stomach turning. We had to have been in the apex of the storm and it hooked above us, so we got a prolonged wind event over others along with the strongest winds. They are estimating 140 MPH gusts and I’d almost bet they were around 100 MPH for around 45 minutes. You get to the south edge of Cedar Rapids and it looks a bit normal, but the swath of this city got hit hard beyond words. They just said 1700 homes are uninhabitable, which is mind boggling. I think our city probably had the most tree cover out of maybe any I’d visited and it’s estimated we lost half our trees, I think it’s much higher than that figure. Hundreds of years old oaks, pines, walnuts, any tree really, just snapped off like toothpicks.

I wish people could actually understand how bad it is outside of here. You might see pictures, but to drive through it is a different experience entirely. There is not one road not lined with tree and limbs piled so high you can barely see the homes behind them. You just see home after home, business after business, missing siding, missing roofs, missing parts of their building, their buildings are blown down, or half down. Trees were busted through roofs and sides of homes, it’s so sad to see. I feel so badly for people who are hurting so much with such damage from these storms. It’s unbelievable. I feel like I’m still in shock over it, and it’s hard to see and absorb the level of destruction.
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Old 08-25-2020, 08:45 AM   #17
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When you have a minute, Hawk, inquiring minds would love to know if you got your water heater running and what was the problem?

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Old 08-25-2020, 03:56 PM   #18
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Yes, the damage is mind-boggling. The corn took the brunt of the winds and much is either almost or totally flat. I think they reported 40 percent of Iowa’s crop is damaged now. Took a few drives so far and the damage in Cedar Rapids is stomach turning.
...

I wish people could actually understand how bad it is outside of here. You might see pictures, but to drive through it is a different experience entirely.
...

It’s unbelievable. I feel like I’m still in shock over it, and it’s hard to see and absorb the level of destruction.
I had to take a trip to my building in Spencer last weekend, a quick overnighter up and back. I took the Interstate and fueled at the Casey's on Edgewood on the SW corner of town. I decided to go out Hwy 30 to I-35 to Hwy 18 and across... and I couldn't get onto 30 from Edgewood for the line trucks having the ramps blocked for repairs. So I went south and meandered west... and found the same thing at the Wiley on-ramp. So I had to wander further west on rural streets until I found another on ramp off of the west end of 16th Street. On Hwy 30, out by the old Ced-Rel Motel, nearly to Benton County, was the farm with one Harvestore down, one crumpled in half and a small one still standing. I my 65 years I have never seen wind damage a Harvestore. Unbelievable.



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Old 08-25-2020, 07:27 PM   #19
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Iíve seen silos and bins folded over like that so far, but havenít been out of town far enough to see a Harvester bin folded like that yet. Thereís a very large storage bin folded over on 16th Ave. we didnít know about because we couldnít watch the news while our power was off. Quite shocking. I really canít put into words how bad I feel for the farmers and just everyone in this situation.

Maggie, I have not had time to get to it yet. Iím curious what is going on but I also have to replace the macerator this upcoming weekend so first things first! Yuck... ! Just by chance we had a couple issues at the same time of the storm. Our bathroom exhaust fan also exploded when I turned it on, so guess Iíll get to learn how that replacement works. Thinking they didnít make it out of UV resistant plastic from the multiple times Iíve read about replacements. Iíd probably be on it sooner but the campgrounds are so full, thereís not too many places to go right now anyway, even if we could find time to get out and about.

Trying to catch back up on inside jobs since we spent the past two weeks cleaning up the trees and the yard. So glad to have it done before hell unleashed itís fury in the form of 90 plus degree temps.

Love our Interstate but finding you need to be able to fix and figure things out. Helps so much to have this forum to find information on where and how to find what you need.
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Old 08-25-2020, 07:39 PM   #20
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Itís an awful mess, Iíve been following it online.

My late husband was an Iowan and his middle son lived for years in Cedar Rapids.

I feel badly for everyone impacted, and canít imagine getting up and keeping going amid such destruction.

But, itís what weíre wired to do... to survive, pick up the pieces and try to move forward.

All the best as you sort this all out.

Maggie
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