Imagine walking through peaceful backyards. The birds are singing. A gentle breeze riffles through the trees. The neighborhood is quieter than usual because just minutes before, power to the homes was interrupted and most residents are without power.
A quiet, barely noticeable hum draws your attention and you walk around the side of a home to investigate. The noise isn’t loud. In fact, from the sidewalk you probably won’t even hear it. On the side of a house is a Cummins standby generator and as you stand next to it, you can still hear the birds singing and the crunch of gravel under foot.
Life After Katrina
Just like most parts of the country, residents of New Orleans experience power outages every year. They may last for a few minutes or a few hours and like people everywhere, residents call the electric utility to find out when power will be restored.
As Hurricane Katrina neared land in 2005, the storm began to knock out power before it even made landfall. Cyril Laan had evacuated his family, but he stayed behind to take care of his house and property. His power went out hours before Katrina made landfall and stayed out for six long days.
Hurricane Katrina, the threat of other storms, and the possibility that the power could go out at anytime prompted Cyril to carefully research and then purchase a standby generator for emergency power.
I talked with Mr. Laan recently about his experience during Hurricane Katrina and the days that followed, and his decision to purchase a Cummins Liquid-Cooled Generator.
Super Quiet Cummins
Asked how important generator noise level was when making a purchase decision, Mr. Laan had this to say. “Sound level was at the very top of my list of selection points.” He went to say that the life of the generator was also important, which meant purchasing a liquid-cooled machine that ran at half the speed of an air-cooled model.
Watch this 55-second video and notice the birds singing and gravel crunching underfoot.
The low noise level of the RS30 generator from Cummins Power Systems hasn’t just impressed the Laan Family. Others from the neighborhood are also impressed. In the video, you can see the house adjacent to the Laan home and feel confident they are undisturbed by the generator.
Is normal conversation possible within feet of the generator? Laan says, “…the video I shared proves beyond a shadow of a doubt, one can even hear birds chirping in the background…not something possible with other brands and models I investigated.”
Mr. Laan cites the loss of refrigeration as a major problem during an outage. In advance of Katrina, he purchased hundreds of pounds of dry ice and regular ice. Even so, it was not enough to keep all their food safe and quite a bit ended up in garbage bags. Without air conditioning, staying cool and comfortable was also a problem.
The RS30 standby generator from Cummins changes everything. “The unit runs the entire household with every electrical appliance turned on, which includes three central air conditioners, two convection ovens, three dishwashers, three microwaves, clothes dryer, washing machine and every other device with an on/off switch turned on. The system is designed to handle the full household load requirement.”
Mr. Laan points out that anyone purchasing a standby generator should consider load management during their selection process. It wasn’t a feature he thought about and so far hasn’t needed it, but it could be an important consideration for others.
How Norwall PowerSystems Helped
After rejecting all inclusive bids from local contractors as too expensive, Mr. Laan decided to serve as his own general contractor and hire others to do the work he could not.
He talked to the sales staff at Norwall PowerSystems and found them extremely helpful and knowledgeable. After the generator was purchased and delivered, the electrician was hooking up the air conditioners and ran into a snag. A call to Norwall PowerSystems straightened it out.
“The included generator cost was just one-third of the total in the contractor quotes. I found Norwall PowerSystems and realized I could save a lot of money by doing it myself.”
Doing it himself meant renting a fork truck, getting friends to help unload the unit and position it on a pedestal he made out of concrete and rebar and a custom mounting frame of aluminum I-beam. He secured the necessary building permits and hired separate contractors for the plumbing and electrical work.
Now when the power goes out, Cyril Laan and his family don’t worry about food spoiling or living in heat and humidity. They can enjoy the deck with the generator running and have a conversation without having to shout or even talk louder than usual. And of course, they can still enjoy the birds singing and the breeze.
Images and Video Courtesy of Cyril Laan 2014
Updated February 13, 2018