Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generator

January 4, 2023

Backstory: When our 116-year-old house’s brick foundation was rebuilt back near the dawn of the 21st century, it involved a plan to direct any excess and accumulated water away from the new concrete via drainage pipes leading to a small cistern inside the basement and when the level within it hit a certain depth, an electronic pump would engage that pulled the water up and out and away down the south side of the house.

Whoever those so called professinal folks were in making that ass-backwardian choice I still marvel that there wasn’t anyone among them who might have asked some variation of “Doesn’t anyone see the problem of bringing water INSIDE the basement?”

Because early on, I sure did. For one, pumps are mechanical devices prone to eventual failure — and typically at the most inconvenient times. For another, rain storms serious enough to saturate the ground and thus fill that cistern carry with them the risk of power outages. And seeing as that electric pump ceases to function in the absence of electricity, it wouldn’t take much before our cistern overfloweth and create an indoor underground wading pool.

So several years ago I invested not only in a portable generator, but also a just-in-case replacement pump kept on standby. Additionally, to protect against a full doomsday scenario involving a broken pump and a power outage, I bought a second small pump you can screw onto a hose that can be run outside, all of which can be seen below.

Cistern! Cistern!

I was never a boy scout, but damn do I embrace their motto: “Always Be Prepared.”

Now, in the history of me being so ready and set, there’s been only a couple times where I’ve had to use the generator either with the existing pump or with the smaller one. But the point isn’t how often. The point is that it’s worked.

I’m hoping, if needed, it’ll work again, perhaps as soon as tonight or tomorrow. We’ve had more than two inches of rain fall in the past week which means the ground is already pretty saturated in advance of what all the prognosticators are saying is going to be a doozy of an “atmospheric river” arriving later tonight. The Los Angeles basin is estimated to get hit with between two and four inches of hydro-meteoric activity — and in a period of roughly 24 hours. Basically it won’t take much to get that cistern filling up.

As such, I hauled out the generator early this morning and test started it since it has been sitting unused for well over a year (it fired up on the second pull –yay!)