Pacific Gas & Electric power outage in Northern CA affecting your reef tank?

saf1

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 15, 2018
Messages
3,823
Reaction score
5,430
This is why solar systems combined with battery back ups are so vital moving forward. I'm having a system installed on my house next month. 2 Tesla Powerwalls to start. Going to add an extra Powerwall every year until I can go fully off grid with our electric.
I'm waiting for other manufactures to get on board with the power cells. I do not support Tesla (no disrespect to those that do). I think they are a pretty good idea if the business sizes solar generation properly. Home owners still need to use energy smart as well as design both home energy use and again solar generation to make them worth while. Solar panel efficiency still isn't up to low earth orbit / space station generation yet with what, most consumer panels 18 - 23%? Again, this is just consumer grade / affordable.
 
Best reef aquarium LED lighting

lapin

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 16, 2017
Messages
3,767
Reaction score
6,582
Location
Austin
I dont think this is going away until the CA PUC forces PG&E to give up all its assets and puts them out of business.
Question for those without power
You still have natural gas?
If so, a Natural gas generator is prob the best bet as a low cost alternative. It could supply some of your house with power if not all of it
If you do not have gas perhaps you can have a 500 gallon tank put in the ground in your front or back yard.
 

saf1

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 15, 2018
Messages
3,823
Reaction score
5,430
Best thing a home marine hobbyist, or even freshwater because some people have multiple tanks, is a line of battery backup for at least one critical component. Depending on the severity of the outage, in this case planned (which I personally don't agree with), a power head battery backup may be enough. Battery back up such as ecotech's rather than a computer APC/UPS.

I've read a few here also using cars (good source as an emergency) and generators. Maybe when this is all said and done a list could be compiled and sorted by price, duration, and maybe something with level of difficulty to implement. Maybe even an emergency. In any case wish you all with PG&E well.

I lost my 100 gallon tank back in the 2000 - 2001 rolling brown out & ENRON. On vacation and one of the events happen to trip our AC breaker. Controlled, uncontrolled, power manipulation or preventative maintenance is a sore spot with me - but that is my issue.

Take care all.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Dkeller_nc

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 2, 2019
Messages
670
Reaction score
875
Someone asked on this thread about how long a S.W. tank can go without power. I live in hurricane country, so I can answer with a bit of personal experience.

The first, and most honest, answer is "it depends". Specifically, it depends on the tank design (sumps, reactors, etc...), the bioload, and how well the tank's been maintained.

In my experience, an established reef tank full of critters can go 4-6 hours without any back-up power or circulation without issues. Any longer than that and the oxygen levels drop low enough that some critters start to die, and that causes a cascade of additional deaths as the decomposition of the dead critters uses up oxygen that diffuses in from the tank's surface.

If you've back-up air pumps (like Cobalt's) or back-up circulation from something like EcoTech's battery back-ups, then a tank can go indefinitely without power so long as 2 things remain true: the tank's temperature doesn't drop below about 72 deg F nor rise above about 84 deg F, and the aquarist disconnects any and all reactors in the system that aren't getting circulation.

That last point is extremely important. In an enclosed reactor that isn't getting circulation, setting for longer than about 6 hours drops the oxygen level in the reactor to the point where anaerobic bacteria start to produce hydrogen sulfide. If the reactors aren't removed from the system, there's a possibility that when power returns and the reactor volume is flushed out into the main tank there will be enough hydrogen sulfide to poison fish and other reef life. So disconnecting reactors if you anticipate a long power outage is a good safety practice.
 

saf1

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 15, 2018
Messages
3,823
Reaction score
5,430
Someone asked on this thread about how long a S.W. tank can go without power. I live in hurricane country, so I can answer with a bit of personal experience.

The first, and most honest, answer is "it depends". Specifically, it depends on the tank design (sumps, reactors, etc...), the bioload, and how well the tank's been maintained.

In my experience, an established reef tank full of critters can go 4-6 hours without any back-up power or circulation without issues. Any longer than that and the oxygen levels drop low enough that some critters start to die, and that causes a cascade of additional deaths as the decomposition of the dead critters uses up oxygen that diffuses in from the tank's surface.

If you've back-up air pumps (like Cobalt's) or back-up circulation from something like EcoTech's battery back-ups, then a tank can go indefinitely without power so long as 2 things remain true: the tank's temperature doesn't drop below about 72 deg F nor rise above about 84 deg F, and the aquarist disconnects any and all reactors in the system that aren't getting circulation.

That last point is extremely important. In an enclosed reactor that isn't getting circulation, setting for longer than about 6 hours drops the oxygen level in the reactor to the point where anaerobic bacteria start to produce hydrogen sulfide. If the reactors aren't removed from the system, there's a possibility that when power returns and the reactor volume is flushed out into the main tank there will be enough hydrogen sulfide to poison fish and other reef life. So disconnecting reactors if you anticipate a long power outage is a good safety practice.
Good points. Especially on the reactors.
 
Best reef aquarium LED lighting

WVNed

The fish are staring at me with hungry eyes.
View Badges
Joined
Apr 11, 2018
Messages
3,000
Reaction score
11,177
Location
Hurricane, WV
Quite honestly I hope everyone comes through this OK. If you are going to rely on a gen set get a good one that is sized for long term use. Pay attention to the required maintenance.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Paul Sands

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
May 7, 2019
Messages
329
Reaction score
410
Federal deregulation of utilities happened in 1992. Now we have a massive for profit company in California that controls a vital public utility as a result.

And for the record, this isn’t just a California problem. You may remember power outages across much of the eastern coast that were the result of similar problems. Pretty much our nations entire electric grid isn’t being maintained properly due to this problem.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

MERKEY

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Oct 5, 2019
Messages
262
Reaction score
580
They have whole house generators that run off of natural gas and propane. I think those start around $5-6k installed.
Buy a 10k generator for 1000 from costco and have an electrician hook it up for 800. Just did it and whole house is solid. We live on 5 acres and have a well and septic so it had to be done hah
 

[email protected]

Living the Reef Life
View Badges
Joined
Nov 18, 2012
Messages
26,468
Reaction score
27,258
Location
Ontario, California
Hi guys, I've removed multiple posts that were part of a rather heated debate about politics. Please remember that political rants aren't allowed on Reef2Reef. You can review our terms of service for questions on that.

I do hope everyone affected by the blackout is safe and that backup plans to keep your livestock surviving through this mess are helpful. We're praying for you guys that are dealing with it!
 

Silver14SS

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 8, 2017
Messages
1,563
Reaction score
2,680
Location
Charlotte, NC area
Hi guys, I've removed multiple posts that were part of a rather heated debate about politics. Please remember that political rants aren't allowed on Reef2Reef. You can review our terms of service for questions on that.

I do hope everyone affected by the blackout is safe and that backup plans to keep your livestock surviving through this mess are helpful. We're praying for you guys that are dealing with it!
You missed a few :)

"Political discussions, statements, or rants are strictly prohibited."
 

[email protected]

Living the Reef Life
View Badges
Joined
Nov 18, 2012
Messages
26,468
Reaction score
27,258
Location
Ontario, California
You missed a few :)

"Political discussions, statements, or rants are strictly prohibited."
Ha! Thanks! We went back through to check again. :)
 

Stoney

Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 15, 2019
Messages
40
Reaction score
32
Arent solar panels relatively useless in the winter? Not to mention cost, IIRC each of those power walls costs around 5k. I could probably get two whole house generators for the price of solar panels and a couple power walls.
 
Top Shelf Aquatics

[email protected]

Living the Reef Life
View Badges
Joined
Nov 18, 2012
Messages
26,468
Reaction score
27,258
Location
Ontario, California
Arent solar panels relatively useless in the winter? Not to mention cost, IIRC each of those power walls costs around 5k. I could probably get two whole house generators for the price of solar panels and a couple power walls.
I've never had them, but in Cali (at least in SoCal) we get sun pretty much year round.
 

saf1

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 15, 2018
Messages
3,823
Reaction score
5,430
Arent solar panels relatively useless in the winter? Not to mention cost, IIRC each of those power walls costs around 5k. I could probably get two whole house generators for the price of solar panels and a couple power walls.
Not useless but the generation window is a lot lower than other times of the year. There are a couple, probably many, solar power generation windows (hours per day) based on your location. Weather does play a factor though of course.
 

Stoney

Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 15, 2019
Messages
40
Reaction score
32
I've never had them, but in Cali (at least in SoCal) we get sun pretty much year round.
Yea I think socals probably better for solar. At least in my area, we typically get a month or two of rain and clouds. But I lived in Westwood for a couple years, and a couple rainy days in a row definitely wasnt unheard of.

Not useless but the generation window is a lot lower than other times of the year. There are a couple, probably many, solar power generation windows (hours per day) based on your location. Weather does play a factor though of course.
Right, but if I'm powering my tanks 24/7 it probably wouldn't last too long right? Especially if I have to worry about the fridge too. I also heard that solar panels cant be wired to power your house directly, so the batteries are required for any utility at all. Just seems like solar isn't enough on it's own, especially for extended outages like this one. IMO If I have to get a generator anyways, then I might as well just get the generator since it's the only solution that covers all scenarios.
 

AllSignsPointToFish

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Oct 1, 2015
Messages
3,044
Reaction score
2,006
Location
Gulf Breeze, Florida
How long are the power outages expected to last? If you can get your hands on a couple of large capacity, deep cycle batteries and an inverter, you should be able to ride through most of these events pretty well. Generators are also a great backup, but you can get a couple of batteries and an inverter for around $200-250.. Also, sometimes Sam's club will sell 800W inverter/generators for $149. I picked up one just so that I have power that can be deployed quickly in an outage.
 

Stoney

Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 15, 2019
Messages
40
Reaction score
32
If you've back-up air pumps (like Cobalt's) or back-up circulation from something like EcoTech's battery back-ups, then a tank can go indefinitely without power so long as 2 things remain true: the tank's temperature doesn't drop below about 72 deg F nor rise above about 84 deg F, and the aquarist disconnects any and all reactors in the system that aren't getting circulation.
Sorry I should've been more specific, I meant light blackout but with backup air pumps. That's good to know though, that's why I stick with media bags instead of a reactor. Wouldnt a reef start to decline after enough time without light and decent flow from actual pumps? I imagine softies would be fine for awhile but I'm not optimistic about acros after a week with just backup air pumps. Just a hunch though.

How long are the power outages expected to last? If you can get your hands on a couple of large capacity, deep cycle batteries and an inverter, you should be able to ride through most of these events pretty well. Generators are also a great backup, but you can get a couple of batteries and an inverter for around $200-250.. Also, sometimes Sam's club will sell 800W inverter/generators for $149. I picked up one just so that I have power that can be deployed quickly in an outage.
PG&E said 5-7 days. I understand a planned outage for the duration of the storm, but how does it take them 5 days to get power back? Power was restored in a day after the Loma prieta quake.
 

Rate your current reefing satisfaction level! (CLICK HERE)

  • Very satisfied

    Votes: 237 46.0%
  • Just satisfied

    Votes: 124 24.1%
  • Somewhat satsified

    Votes: 110 21.4%
  • Not satisfied

    Votes: 44 8.5%

Online statistics

Members online
2,006
Guests online
4,832
Total visitors
6,838
Top