Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Thirty-three Years Old...Too Old, Too Old, Too Old

Our generator is a small one but large enough to power the pump that brings up our water, the refrigerator and our freezer, a few lights, and one element on the range. On the evening of July 2, our generator sputtered to a stop. 

We had been without electricity for nearly twenty-six hours. There were estimates of several days more before we would have it back. Tom and I were both tired and hot. Eric had just brought over frozen food from my daughter's  house since their freezer was losing its ability to hold anything cold. Their electricity had gone off a couple hours before ours had.

The situation was grim...for fifteen minutes.

Then our lights flickered, then came on and stayed on. Bless those out-of-state workers who worked long hours in close to one hundred degree temperatures to help out us Ohioans.

We didn't look forward to replacing the generator.  They are not cheap.  But the one that sputtered to a stop was thirty-three years old.

Tom hates to dump anything that might possibly  have useful life left in it. He got out the generator manual. Can you believe we still had it?

Half way down the third page, was the note..."Worn brushes should be replaced after one hundred hours of use. They should not be less than 1/4 inch thick."  

We wondered how many hours past one hundred this generator had been used.

Tom had never  looked at  the brushes.

Tom called a local motor repair shop.  He had three questions.  "Can you repair a 33 year old generator?" "Do you have replacement parts available?"  "Can you use the part number and order the part?"

The young woman on the other end of the phone line had the same two word answer for all three questions.  "Too old."  "Too old."  "Too old".

But Tom is not one to give up easily.

When Eric came over, he gave him directions on how to find and check the brushes.  Tom intended to buy some similar brushes.  That would be cheaper than buying a generator.

But low and behold! The brushes were just fine, not worn down to 1/4 inch.  In fact, they  were still about 1/2 inch thick. Eric drained the oil and gasoline reservoirs and refilled them with new oil and gasoline. He replaced all the parts and when Tom started the generator... the generator ran just fine.

"Well," said Eric, "you're set for another 33years."


  1. I shudder to think of that amount of time without electricity..we have a generator too. Good thing it was an easy repair...Gene puts a product called Stable in ours so the gas doesn't varnish:)

  2. We were lucky. Tom thinks there was something in the gasline. The oil was black and thick, too, so there must have been a number of problems.