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Jenny what kind of winter climate will you be experiencing at the location you plan to reside at? This will have a significant impact on the choices you need to make for equipment and RV housing.
Oven lover you have intuitively grasped the essence of the concept. However you omitted to mention a couple pf details. Were you planning to do this with the oven door open or closed? Where in the house is the oven located? Where in the house is the thermostat to the gas furnace?
By design, an oven is intended to maintain the heat inside the oven cavity. The thermostat sensor is a capilliary tube mounted inside the oven. If the door is closed heat loss is only going to occur out through the small chimney vent tube usually located under one of the top burners.
Once the oven cavity reaches the set temp the thermostat opens and power to the element is cut off. If the temp drops the power is turned on at full wattage for however many minutes is required to raise the temp back up to the set point.
If the oven door is open, heat loss will be greater and the element will stay on longer. Any time it is on it draws the full current.
Because you live in an area with low electricicty cost due to hydro-electric generation you may well find electric heat to be more economical than natural gas. The same is true in my area. We pay 7.5 – 8.0 cents per kilowatt and people who tried natural gas quickly found it more economical to use electric space heaters than running the gas furnace. Where we lived before we found the gas company charged us $30 per month to be connected even if we never used any gas. No such charge was levied by the electric utility company. They did charge some amount for infrastructure ( Wires and poles) but it was around $7 per month.
Thermostat and oven locations will play a part. If the kitchen is far enough away from or isolated from the area served by the furnace thermostat then you will not see a reduction in gas consumption. but if the heat from the oven reaches the same space then the furnace will run less often and your gas consumption will decrease while your electricity bill will rise somewhat.
I haven’t got the formula handy at the moment but you can convert the watts used into BTU and then compare that to how many BTU the furnace uses when it runs. Unfortunately the gas company measures use in terms of cubic meters so now you need to convert a cubic meter of gas into so many BTU per cubic meter. Then you will be able to calculate your savings if any.
Not much has been published in the popular press about comparative efficiencies of various electric heater. This makes it harder to quantify results. Anecdotal reports I have heard suggest electric heating in my area where hydro power is available at low rates is less costly than gas heat. In areas where coal or natural fas fired power generators are used to create electricity this will not hold true.
Most of the posts were done a year ago. It would be interesting to see if the intervening year has made a difference. I have seen a proliferation of low cost consumer LED flashlights, camping tent illuminations and of course tail light AND marker lights on vehicles even the traffic lights have been converted to LED. despite these advances people continue to comment about the poor quality of LED lights for reading lights and general illumination. Many new boats with cabins now come with LED interior lighting as standard so are the complaints justified or is it a case of if it isn’t dirt cheap and looks just like familiar tungsten filament lights then it isn’t any good.
My own tests and product experimentation suggest LED technology is rapidly maturing into very good and usable light fixtures and the price premium is no longer a real detterent when so many of them sell for full retail price at under $10 USD
Is it a case of the US volume market making for better choice and lower pricing or is the European market very similar?
One of my clients bemoaned the fact he was unable to find 12V LED lighting only battery operated ones using 3 or 4 dry cells. And he didn’t want to buy a car adaptor costing $60 or more.
Good quality LED lights do have an internal regulator ccircuit to convert the raw 12V DC power so it really isn’t less efficient to use external adaptors instead of dropping resistors that just waste the power. Switch mode supplies typically run at better than 90% efficiency when fully loaded. How much does a dropping resistor waste by comparison. The answer being more! and it produces heat in the process. Not so good in warm climates.
I realized many of the cell phone power adaptors are really switch mode regulators and these often end up in the dumpster when people upgrade to a new cell phone.
What it means is you can take one of these junked car adaptors that charges the 4.5V cell phone battery packs and feed it from your RV raw 12 V and regulates it down to feed LED portable lamps intended for battery operation. It seems most manufacturers make adaptors with incompatible plug/socket connectors so the old never seems to fit the new.
Marshall has an excellent tutorial series on how to build a power system. Best of all, the concept is scalable to suit almost any size home from an RV van camper to a big ranch. I have been building such system for a decade now although my first effort at a genverter dates back almost 40 years. Last year I ended up quoting on how to upgrade a ranch system for a 17 building, 4000 acres self sufficient retreat commune. This week-end I received a query from someone who is looking to move to our area in order to minister to a church congregation. He needs an off grid home PDQ.
As an interim step he plans to bring his caravan camper and park it on a piece of land that is not serviced nor would it meet the building codes as mentioned by the poster who first wrote about ‘failed in BC’. Since we are in the same area in BC near Prince George I have a good idea how to overcome the issues. My wife’s uncle lives off grid on the family homestead and there are half a dozen off-grid homes in this area already.
Mike I currently live near Prince George in Hixon. If you read this how about connecting up for a discussion? you made the mistake of asking the bureaucrats to help you.
They will always say NO! or sometimes a qualified ‘maybe’ provided you pay $$$ for permits, inspections, etc. that justifies their existence. There are ways and means of circumventing these obstructions without breakinbg the laws, just slipping through the loop holes. My wife’s uncle lives here off-grid and I know of half a dozen off-grid homes, one of them new, currently under construction.
Sixsoxs I’m assuming you still check this forum from time to time.
Blazie made some good suggestions. How about responding so we know any advice is actually received.
I see several reasons why your system may have drained the battery bank. This advice is applicable to any person building their own system. Location by latitude is important to know. At higher latitudes you get much less solar input compared to the theoretical rating listed for the panel. If you are above latitude 45 the actual output of the panel could be as little as 50% during winter months. Secondly does the panel have isolating diodes. Several of the lower wattage panel do not because of the inherent voltage drop created by the diode itself. This means the solar panel actually drains the battery at night .
Thirdly that 35 watts for the music system amounts to nearly 2.9 amps X 12 hours or roughly 34.8 amp hours of consumption. In other words your music system is using all of the potential power the solar panel might be able to deliver but drain the battery bank of the charge in a couple of days. One week end in other words.
Not to mention which you are not going to get full output from that solar panel for the full period of daylight time. At most you can expect 4-5 hours of maximum output on a good day. Early morning and late afternoon is not going to deliver as much power no matter how much the sun is shining.
You mention using a 400 watt capacity inverter to run some night lights but do you shut off the inverter when not in use? The parasitic load will kill your fully charged battery in less than a week; even if the inverter is not driving any load.
The short answer is you need much bigger panel capacity. Secondly you need to understand where the hidden current drains can be found.
Forget the 7 amp charger it is not sufficient. It will barely handle the self discharge of the battery bank, let alone deliver 425 amp hours of real charging power.