Off Grid Living

Off Grid Living

Postby montanamac » Thu Feb 04, 2010 4:53 am

Alternative Power … off grid living


Posted on 28th January 2010 by Mac in Off Grid Power

If you are thinking of living “off the grid” I have some thoughts you might want to consider

If money is no object you can live off the grid without giving up any comforts and conveniences … the sky is the limit as long as the money holds out. However, if you do not have this luxury you need to make other plans

There are basically two categories of self produced electricity. Generator or solar. If operating from a generator you can live pretty well normal as long as your fuel holds out. However, when living in a home that gets electricity from batteries there is a whole new set of rules.

You will not be living the same as you were when on the grid. You, and everyone in the home, will have a “life style” adjustment if you are to be successful living “off grid”. Simple things like using compact florescent light bulbs, turning off lights when not needed, disconnecting “on demand” items like tv’s and other electronic stuff that uses juice even when they are not running. Each one of these things individually are not a big thing but when combined can be a considerable drain on your off grid system. Everyone in the home needs to be thinking electric conservation. Rationing power use and priortizing are a necessity. We got rid of our old CRT television and bought one of the newer flat screen units that uses less than half the power. Look on the back of the tv and see how many watts the unit uses. Buy a “watts up” meter and check out how much power each appliance in you home uses.

Things that use electricity to heat are a no no. Electric stoves, electric clothes dryers, hot water heaters, hair dryers, waffle irons, crock pots, electric broilers, etc are not an option if you are running off or battery and inverter power.

After eliminating the above the next biggest power hogs in our home are refrigerator and freezer. There are ways around both of these that we can discuss at another time. I discovered another item that uses considerable power … the desk top computer. I have two desktop computers I seldom turn on. A laptop uses considerably less power and has become my primary daily user.

When you are using solar power to charge your batteries it works pretty well during the summer time (depending on your power management) when the days are longer and more sunshine is available. However, it is an entirely different story in the winter time when three average sun hours per day is all you can expect on a nice sunny day. But what do you do when you have a week or two of cloudy, overcast conditions? You either shut everything down or have some other way to make electricity. You can only pull your battery bank down so far before you risk damaging your system.

These are all things to consider when making plans to live “off the grid”.

In our daily living we make use of LED lights for “walk around” light at night and I use a good quality headlamp a bunch.

Hope this rant gets you thinking and making plans for the future.

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Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 4:47 am

Re: Off Grid Living

Postby evL » Thu Feb 04, 2010 5:48 am

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Pretty good little piece there Mac...

I liked the part about "walk around" light. I've been doing that for years.

Anyhow I think living on the grid is one thing, it's being able to live off
the grid at a given moment that is something most should be prepared for.
Which you bring to light, hi hi, in your post.

The mention of solar is always a good thing. It has come a long way.
There is some investment but just about any investment made in it will
return in a short time.

It would be nice if these ding-dongs in the valley who run a porch light or
yard light all night long were "off grid" so that they would have a hard time
doing that. But after all how could the bugs and animals see at night without
them. Ah, nothing like light pollution.

And yes the Desktop Computer. That, amongst the real computer users, has
already turned into a dinosaur. And they consume a lot.

Common sense stuff but good reading to be sure.
[][][] evL [][][]
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Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:26 am
Location: Stevensville

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