Saturday, March 11, 2017

Losing power and running water (again)!

Every winter, we encounter cold, clear conditions that cause ice to form on our hydro intake grate.  This reduces or blocks the flow of water, causing us to lose electrical power and running water to the house.  After our big snowstorm in early March, the temperatures plunged down to 10 degrees and even though I had checked the intake that day, by midnight the water had stopped running in the house and we were getting low voltage alarms.

This photo is of our hydro dam from an earlier episode of intake grate ice this winter.

Here is Jen at the same spot after the last snowstorm.

Luckily, Jen and I had broken a snowshoe trail up to the intake after the snowstorm in anticipation of having to make a midnight run to clear ice.  There are a couple challenging spots to navigate, including this steep hill we climb with the help of a rope.

Getting to the intake grate involves climbing on ice and snow covered rocks in the creek.

The black hydro line runs out of the creek to the left of the photo.

Here's the big picture of Sadie Creek in full winter mode.  The water to the right is running over the top of the dam.

Stepping out on top of the dam to check the intake grate.

This is the intake blocked by ice formed by supercooled water under the surface of the water.  When the water hits the intake grate, it immediately turns into ice.

I clear the ice by using a long bar to scrape the ice off the intake. 

Here's the intake with ice almost cleared.

Getting down the snow and ice covered rocks is usually harder than getting up.

Getting ready to get the snowshoes back on for the trip down the hill.

After several sessions of clearing the intake with a heavy steel bar, I made up a lighter weight scraper.

Sadie Creek is almost completely iced over after a week in the deep freeze.

Frozen waterlines to the lodge mean carrying water in 5-gallon buckets.

I fill them from the water that exhausts from the hydro shed.

Pulling the heavy buckets out of the water.

There is still some soft snow around, so I'm using snowshoes to keep from going too deep in the snow.
Bringing the buckets back to the lodge.

It's warmer in the sun (up to 20 degrees!)!

All the water we'll need for several days!

1 comment:

  1. Hard core. Just like the Swiss Family Robinson Caruso. Or Sly and the Family Stone Temple Pirates.