Tuesday, September 16, 2014

power outage

The other day a planned power outage notification came in the mail from Southern California Edison.  Naturally the first thing I thought about was how this would affect the wines I keep in my three little wine coolers, especially given the hot summer we've had here in Southern California. 

The outage was scheduled for tomorrow - September 17th, from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm.

Today when I got home from work, I discovered that SCE pulled a fast one and had the power outage today!  I thought that was pretty crummy of them to do this and not let anyone know so that they might prepare for it. Now, I am only guessing/hoping that today's outage was what originally was planned for tomorrow.  When I called SCE the customer service assistant was clueless.  She said it made sense that today was it, but tomorrow's outage was still showing on her schedule and had not been canceled. She told me to call back tomorrow.  

Well duh, I might as well just wait and see if it happens or not if I have to wait until the day it is supposed to happen. That really ticks me off.  I hope that today was the planned outage because two days in a row with temperatures near 110 is ridiculous to have an outage on purpose. The house was 93 degrees when I got home. 

Guess what?  I just checked SCE online and now it says that the power outage will be rescheduled: "Certain conditions have caused this outage to be rescheduled."  

Hmm.. maybe the "certain conditions" are that IT WAS DONE TODAY AND CAUGHT EVERYONE BY SURPRISE!!!  I imagine people must have protested an obviously bad idea of depriving residents of electricity on one of, if not the hottest days of the year so they sneakily did it today to catch everyone off guard. 

Anyway, that's not why I am writing this post. I wanted to let you know how my wine coolers fared on this 110 degree day with no electricity for 7 hours, from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. 

First off, the fridge seemed pretty well insulated. The freezer, normally at a -2.2 degrees, went up to 12 degrees so the frozen stuff survived.  So did the items in the fridge compartment; the temperature there was about 42 when I got home, which is just a few seconds before power was restored.  Normally it is around 33-35 degrees.

As for the wine coolers: 

The thermometers showed the room got as hot as 96 according to one, and 93 according to two other ones. I tend to think the two at 93 are more accurate. Now that's hot!  

The latest wine cooler, a 24 bottle dual zone Wine Enthusiast brand that has 12 spaces each in the upper and lower compartments, registered a high of 76.6 degrees in the upper space and 70.5 in the lower. The upper space was measured with the thermometer that had the higher room temperature reading than the other two, though, so I am thinking maybe the max was a degree or two lower than the 76.6 reading. It's a thermoelectric cooler.  Normally the top is around 56 degrees and the bottom 55 degrees.

The 16 bottle cooler, also from the Wine Enthusiast is a 4x4 slot single zone thermoelectric cooler. This one hit a high of 65.7 degrees. Normally it is in the 54.1-54.5 range. 

My Vissani cooler, the oldest one that has a compressor, normally shows a mid-56 temperature.  It went up to 64.4 degrees. 

I'm relieved.  While this increase in temperature did no favor to the wines, at least it didn't get warm enough to damage them.  Assuming 76.6 was the warmest any compartment got, that isn't bad at all considering 7 hours without power in 100+ degree outside heat and 90+ degree indoor heat. 

Looks like the Vissani has the best insulation, warming up by only 8 or so degrees, whereas the Wine Enthusiast units ranged from 10 to 20 degrees.  As far as cooling back down, the power came on at a little past 4:30. It's nearly 9:30 and they haven't yet gotten back to where they normally are - not even the Vissani.  They're close but not on the mark. The Vissani is full whereas the others aren't at capacity. Yet. 

The house isn't back yet, either.  The thermostat is normally at 80 degrees and it's 82 in the house with the air conditioning running.  

I just don't want to put these appliances through that test again. 

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