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Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 547 total)
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  • in reply to: How go off grid legally in the USA? #66506
    elnav
    Member

    This just goes to show how widely different jurisdictions can be. I don’t doubt that some states do have restrictive rules but in other area and countries it differs. Because I was specifically asking I learned that a community not so far from where I live has no code requirements. Another community has a few regulations but not many. However a couple of places do have strict rules because they are trying very hard to be a tourist attraction. Quebec city old town has very restrictive rules governing everything concerning including the color used on exterior of buildings. This is also a function of maintaining the historical nature of the old town. In other words you need to check out each and every locality. Quite often a road is the boundary. Different rules can apply on the other side. Posting generalized rules may be more confusing that helpful.

    in reply to: How you design an off-grid home to deal with extreme heat #66507
    elnav
    Member

    I found this website with an article showing how buildings were air conditioned as much as 1500 years ago. Note how modern architects have sucessfully adapted the ancient concept and modern architecture design.

    The sentence concerning how construction costs were also reduced really intrigued me.

    https://edition.cnn.com/2012/02/28/world/asia/ancient-air-conditioning-architecture/index.html

    At the same website you will also find articles and diagrams on how to make food storage containers that will keep food safe for many days without electric refrigeration.

    Pre-history off-grid anyone?

    in reply to: Using Wood Stoves for Off-Grid Cooking #66509
    elnav
    Member

    For summer use a solar stove is a good alternative. This website show models that work at night.

    https://www.engineeringforchange.org/news/2012/02/04/ten_solar_cookers_that_work_at_night.html

    in reply to: Off the grid in Canada. Questions #66500
    elnav
    Member

    Wind is always problematic. It is too variable because the mountains tend to deflect prevailing winds. This is why off-shore wind turbine farms are popular and on land turbines tend to be located on ridges where land shape tends to affect local winds. Conditions can vary between locations close together. I know several people who insist South town near here has frequent winds although my own location is sheltered and thus do not see much wind.

    The mountains often have a stream that is not fish habitat and thus open to hydro-electric development. In addition there is a local dealer who specializes in wood gas generation equipment. This is especially suited to a CHP installation. There are a couple of wind turbines around.

    in reply to: How you design an off-grid home to deal with extreme heat #66491
    elnav
    Member

    We live in a mobile that is upgraded as per description in previous post. So far the interior is keeping much cooler than outside. Walked up to highway to get mail and it just about did us in. What a relief to get home again to the cool interior. We have not even needed to run a fan yet.

    in reply to: Off the grid in Canada. Questions #66488
    elnav
    Member

    While attending a music festival yesterday I got talking to someone who just moved here from Alberta. He told me he bought a farm at a third the value same size farm in AB sold for. The farm was already off-grid. This is not unusual. Estimates vary but it is guesstimated 1/3 of the population in the region is off grid. These are normal folks living normal lives in conventional homes doing conventional jobs. Only thing is they live beyond the grid.

    in reply to: How go off grid legally in the USA? #66481
    elnav
    Member

    LaMar points out a very neat solution. When someone moves out and no one moves right in the power utility cuts the power and if applicable the gas company shuts of the service. However the place is already legally conforming or else grandfathered unless the building is condemned. You can still buy or lease the place and move in. So what if you never get around to asking for the power to get reconnected. Best of all the place will normally have septic and maybe water well ready to go. In a pinch you can buy a cheap genset to get going and worry about the fine details later as time and money permits. As long as you pay any land taxes they can’t throw you out.

    in reply to: How go off grid legally in the USA? #66482
    elnav
    Member

    Many places are not incorporated as towns etc. The property falls under regional or state jurisdiction. Typically this is classed as rural or mixed rural and residential. Codes and regulations are typically less restrictive than inside municipal boundaries. Any real estate agent can assist with finding out the legal status.

    in reply to: Problem with 12 v pump supplying on demand water heater #66480
    elnav
    Member

    At one time I worked for an RV place and we saw all sorts of ‘defective’ shureflo pumps. I discovered I could disable the ‘defective’ pressure switch by replacing it with a blanking plate and some silicon gasket goo.

    Naturally the customer got a replacement pump and went away happy but I saw no reason to throw away perfectly good pumps that just had a problem with a pressure switch. Sometimes I could even fix the faulty switch by adjusting it. You could also plumb in an external pressure switch. Some systems use a pump requiring an external switch so get one of those and bypass the Shurflo switch.

    in reply to: Going off grid with Cancer? #66478
    elnav
    Member

    We have had both family and friends live with cancer in remission.

    With a heart condition you probably can’t do heavy physical work but everything else should be doable. I advised one person who had a physical limitation so she could not pull start a small genset. We used the power feed for her hydraulic tailgate for her wheel chair to charge up her house battery when the solar panels did not get sufficient sunlight.

    The key detail is whether or not you can still get to the treatment center for treatment. Cars can be fitted with hand controls for people who cannot use their legs so no reason why off-road vehicles cannot be fitted to drive to an off grid location. Best enjoy life now because it will not last forever.

    in reply to: Off Grid Appliances #66479
    elnav
    Member

    One of my customers paid $300 to a refrigeration guy to replace the old power hog compressor with a new modern Danfoss compressor. These are renowned as being energy efficient and available as either 12V DC or 120V AC models.

    It irks me to see people get ripped off with exorbitant prices for something I know is available thru the trade for reasonable prices. There is nothing exceptional in the ‘off-grid’ or DC models. Its just the compressor motor that runs on a different voltage. Unfortunately the specialty market retailers see them coming and hike the prices accordingly.

    Quite often a freezer will quit while the cabinet is still in good shape. Good candidate for a Danfoss replacement. If the refrigeration guy you are talking to don’t know how look for someone with better knowledge.

    Freezers often have thicker insulation than what a fridge has. Chest models are better than upright versions. Treasuregift has it right. When you open a chest model the cold air does not spill ouit.

    elnav
    Member

    Admin had written:

    “Traditional Homes in India and the Middle East are built at low cost to withstand extreme heat and promote cooling breezes, but that kind of lesson is not learned in most modern American homes”.

    The lesson has been learned by architects but the general public has ignored it. I first heard of such simple and inexpensive house building tricks in the sixties when I worked summer jobs for an architect. Later on I saw several designs applying these techniques but the general public kept ignoring such design innovations. I don’t know if it is a case of the building industry seducing people away with more appealing looking houses or simply because people were more interested in fashion and status than practicality.

    Most libraries will have books on how to build solar and passive designs. The information is already there you just have to dig a little bit to find it.

    Here in the north mobile homes are often fitted with a ‘winter roof’ consisting of a peaked roof over top of the mobile. The steeper angle sheds snow and coincidentally provides shade with an air gap below, but above the original mobile roof. This alone provides for about 15 degrees reduction in interior temperatures on a hot summer days. In the interior mountains it is not unusual to get 100+ degree daytime temps.

    Shade and ventilation and some evaporation goes a long way to alleviating summer heat even if you do not have utility power.

    Keep ‘er cool!

    elnav
    Member

    No ductwork? No DC refrigerators?

    Although it may be too late to cope with the present heat wave, several things can be done in short order. Homes in hot climates tend to have white or reflective exterior surfaces. Lots of insulation is good, more is better. Yes it sounds counter-intuitive but consider this. You can cool off partially at night then keep heat from invading living quarters during the day. Even something as simple as shiny aluminum foil can be a radiant heat barrier. Reflectix is a bubble wrap product coated one side with silver foil. It is often used in attics to reflect the radiant heat from dark roofing tiles back up instead of down to living quarters. In the longer run consider installing light or even white or silver colored roofing materials as oposed to darker colors.

    Duct work is not that expensive. It can be retro fitted in attic or under floor or in basements. Worst case it can be run on shady side of house. Granted it may not look great but its a choice of comfort or appearance.

    Even something as basic as hanging up towels soaking wet to give some cooling as water evaporates will provide some relief. Fans will speed up this process even in humid climes.

    Yes I am aware swamp coolers are not as effective in coastal area compared to desert climates. But it does work.

    While working on survey crews in blazing summer heat I learned to wear long sleeved white shirts and a hat. Soaking the collar and sleeve cuffs and the hat gave me some relief even on hot humid days. Better than heat stroke any day.

    If I was building from scratch I would put R40 insulation in walls and ceiling. Exterior siding would be a white color. The roof would be the new metal sheeting in a silver color. If house was built on a slab I would place a large trunk duct on slab then tee off to various rooms. The slab being in shade and in contact with ground would be the coolest place in house on a hot summer day. It would help cool the trunk duct.

    When I built a house in the Great Lakes region I designed ducting for central air conditioning but discovered I did not need it. Just fans.

    If DC power is all you have either get a small inverter to power an icemaker or buy a DC refrigerator. You can blow a fan across a bowl of ice cubes for an effective cooler. More elaborate setups are also possible given some DIY skills.

    in reply to: Nickel Iron vs. Lead Acid — Off-Grid Battery Showdown #66451
    elnav
    Member

    why only 25% DoD. Acccording to the datasheet from the battery manufacturer NiFe can tolerate deeper discharge than lead acid and deliver the same number of cycles.

    in reply to: Nickel Iron vs. Lead Acid — Off-Grid Battery Showdown #66442
    elnav
    Member

    The subject of battery technology will be an ongoing debate for some time.

    In the past five years lithium Ion has grown in prominence in automotive and marine applications in the sizes needed for an off-grid house.

    Yesterday a friend posted a lenghty technical post on another forum where he illustrated the cost effectiveness of this new techology.

    HOWEVER there is a fly in the ointment. This kind of battery requires special chargers and you cannot use regular 12V or 24V chargers suited to conventional lead acid.

    This also means solar power systems must use special chargers and at this time not too many vendors provide this.

    For this reason I would prefer NiFe technology because the cells can tolerate deep discharge and rapid recharge compared to conventional lead acid. Someone mentioned using only shallow discharge to about 30% in order to get long life. NiFe can tolerate far more so you do not need as large a battery bank for the same amount of daily energy consumption. The conventional thinking was you should size a bank to 3X as large to cover a multi day period of cloudy weather when solar panels or a wind turbine does not produce enough.

    I would counter this by saying a gasoline generator of very modest size cost far less and uses far less in fuel than the additional cost on battery capacity. Locally we pay $5.00 per gallon and one local food vendor runs a snack wagon he powers for about $1.50 per day to run his freezers and electric grill plus lights. He uses a 3kW generator running all day long.

Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 547 total)