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October 25, 2010 at 12:00 am #64787retired profile of WrethaOffGridSpectator
Starlite, my hubby and I live off grid in a small cabin, we have a wood stove, but don’t use it very much, we dress warmly, let me repeat, we actively dress warmly, especially at night. We keep the place just warm enough to keep the pipes from freezing, during the winter it’s not uncommon to see your breath inside the cabin. I don’t know where you live or what your temps are like in winter, we live in a high desert mountainous area, our daytime temps are comfortable, but at night it gets in the 30s, sometimes into the 20s, and on rare occasions it gets into the single digits. Since you have heat, and I assume you have a thermostat, I would say to turn it down as far as you can, get used to that then turn it down a little more, do it a little at a time, it’s amazing what you can get used to. Get a good down filled blanket, that made all the difference in the world for us. Get some good thermal long underwear, wool socks, wool hat and gloves.
For your windows, you can get those window kits that cover your windows with plastic, you can also add a layer of bubble wrap, anything to create dead air space will help insulate your windows.
You can also close off any rooms you aren’t using, no one says you have to heat unused rooms. If you can afford it, get a programmable thermostat, that way you can set it colder at night, and have it come on in the morning just before you get out of bed. Again, keep it as low as you can, but you can bump it up in the mornings, that’s when I want more heat, after I’m up and about (and dressed) I can handle the cold again.
WrethaOctober 25, 2010 at 12:00 am #62776starliteMember
I just joined. I am a young senior lady, not wishing to go all the way off grid at this stage in my life unless I have to. However, I do want to reduce my dependence [esp. on electriciy] as much as possible. It is Oct. and I am gearing up for the seasonal struggles with the XX#%$ electric company. They had me on an equal payment plan over the summer, when my bills were real low, and now that winter is coming, the bums without notice took me off the plan so they can force huge payments from me as the bill triples or more in the winter. What I paid on the payment plan was a big chunk of money too. I am in a 2 bedroom one level senior complex, with adjoining units on either side, the north and south sides. My walls on the east and west are almost completely single pane window. I have central forced air heating thru heat registers in the ceiling. If possible, I want to not use that at all. I am astonished at the level of expertise and ingenuity on this site, and I am hoping some of you might be able to suggest ways I can heat without using the central heating system. I have not yet this year used it, am wearing a sweat suit and another shirt and sweater, woolen hat, ect, as I type this. I am comfortable. My first priority is to save money, my second is to spite the power company, who are overcharging us, my third is to save myself the aggravation of having to beg them each year to put me on a plan so I don’t have to give them as much as $200 a month to heat a 930 sq.foot apt. All my neighbors here are having the same grief. Any suggestions much appreciated.
StarliteOctober 26, 2010 at 12:00 am #64790starliteMember
Thanks Wretha, for this helpful reply. (there doesn’t seem to be a way to reply with a quote from your reply.) Yes, I am trying to acclimate myself to colder weather, alittle hard for me as I have Raynauds Disease, benign except for cold hands and feet in cold weather. I am glad to see I am on the right track.Yes, I think clothes are a big part of this. I have not turned on the central heat at all yet. The daytime inside temp. is 60degrees right now. I have on a knit hat and layers of clothes. I am going to purchase long johns. I am wearing latex exam gloves which enable me to type while keeping my hands warmer. I am wondering if some of the new lightweight fabrics skiers use would be worth getting. As well, what about warming bricks in the oven as a radient heat source? I have heard of that, but don’t know how effective it is. My living/dining room is one open space, and where I do all the living, a fairly good sized space. I am in the northwest, it is pretty cold and wet in winter, temps are much like where you are, but the wind chill factor is worse, I think, because of the wet.It is good to know that people can adjust, thanks.
starliteOctober 26, 2010 at 12:00 am #64796elnavMember
You say your east and west walls are almost completely glass single pane glazing. I do not know to what extent you are handy or mobile. Nor what your finances are like. In your situation, I would use ordinary construction grade vapor barrier plastic. This is six mil thickness and has a slightly milky appearance. Granted it is not optically clear like the 3M heat shrink window stuff, but you get a lot more coverage for a given price. The 3M cost $15 for a 60″ X 80″ window in the hardware stores around here. For $39 I can buy a roll of vapor barrier covering 1000 square feet. Roll is 100 feet long and plastic is 10 feet wide.
I’m in similar situation to you. Nearest town is an hours drive away.It cost $20 in fuel to make one round trip but that is a moot point since we no longer have a vehicle with a valid licence. It expired and we can’t afford to renew it. After my stroke I lost my drivers licence.
The key to insulation is the air gap in between panes and sheets so I would frame the window space using 1″ thick wood strips. If you can’t do that maybe some handy person in your area can help.
Morning sun does not feel like it gives warmth as much as the afternoon sun so put two separate film barriers on the east wall for a triple glaze effect. Even 1/2″ separation is good. If you line the framing where the plastic film contacts it with double sided tape you get a better air tight seal. Place one layer of plastic on the west wall unless it happens to face prevaling winds that does a lot of cooling.
The incoming sun on west wall will give a bit of heat.
Sounds like you have individual furnaces(electric?) for each unit. My guess is a lot of heat is dumped out through the duct wall before it gets to the living compartments. Is there any way to reach this space and place insulation around the duct to minimize heat loss? Although the oil filled heaters are nice and safe get one of the radiant heat dishes that you can direct to face you when you sit in your favorite chair. this will heat you directly not the air around you as th eoil filled heaters do. Set your thermostat to 60F not higher. that will prevent cycling as often and thus reduce your electric heat bill.
Where we live it sometimes gets to be -30 below at night and stays there for days on end. When that happens we each sit in our easy chair while watching a DVD movie (we have no cable) or reading while wrapped in our arctic sleeping bags. The bag is already warmed by bed time and we stay comfortable even though the rest of the trailer is only 60F and sometimes lower. As long as our pipes don’t freeze we don’t really care. Because we have switched to counter top cooking appliances the cooking heat stays in the food, and does not get wasted leaking through the air and out the cracks in the walls. We can warm up with the food or hot drinks like tea which are not that expensive. We only pay $100 per month up here in the far N-W interior and they have not shut us off yet. We used to live closer to the coast which was a bit warmer but always raining. It got depressing not seeing the sun for weeks on end.October 28, 2010 at 12:00 am #64806currentenergycanadaParticipant
hi, I am not sure how you get your hot water. Our company extracts energy out of hot liquids and uses it as heat. We generate the heat with our solar systems. Examples are on our web page at currentenergy.ca, email me if I can be any help.October 31, 2010 at 12:00 am #64811TrmParticipant
currentenergy drive by you twice a day 5 days a week minimum
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