All Posts by Nick Meissner

Why Off-Grid Power Systems?

One of the most important factors that has encouraged dependence in our society is drum-roll...

Electricity.

Before everyone started using it, people were much less reliant on “the system”. However, in it's favor, life sure has gotten a lot easier!

Just think for a minute of all the different things you use electricity for. Can you name them?

Honestly, if we follow the trail of dependence for almost any item we use or need, it leads to electricity--with very few exceptions.

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Washing Machines Using Off Grid Power

When you move off the grid, you naturally want to have appliances that will use the least amount of power, get the job done, do it well, and be durable. This is the same for a washing machine. You want one that will use the least amount of electricity, use the least amount of water (for those times when water will be scarce), extract the most water out of the clothes during the spin cycle (so it won’t take so much electricity/propane gas to dry the clothes), do a great job washing the clothes, be quality built for durability, be simple to repair, and in this case be able to operate on a Off Grid Power System. Just as a quick note, some washers require a sine wave inverter and will not run on a generator OR will void their warranty when operated with generator or inverter power.

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Poor Man's Efficient Refrigerator

In years past, almost all conventional refrigerators and freezers were so inefficient as to render them useless to folks living off the grid.  This meant the only options were rather expensive DC units (such as Sunfrost).  While these models are super efficient and work very well, it just wasn't much of an option for someone on a tight budget.

So we found a great low cost AND super efficient option. I think you’ll love it if you’re pinching pennies while going off the grid!

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Water Cisterns

There are really three main questions to decide in regard to a water cistern:

  • Should it be above ground or underground?
  • Should it be concrete or plastic?
  • What capacity should it have?

Above or Below?

First, unless you live in an area that absolutely will not have any deep freezes, it only makes sense to have an underground cistern. Also, UV rays will deteriorate plastic tanks that are above ground. And that is not to mention the risk of a tree falling on it, a tractor running into it, etc.

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Water Pipes for Plumbing

Using the correct pipe for a particular job can be quite critical. It is important to ensure that it is large enough to not restrict the flow of water, but yet not any larger than it needs to be (due to cost). There are also the considerations of what type of pipe to use and what strength rating. Many times there are at least a couple of good options. Before we give some recommendations, let's go over a few rules:

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How to Measure Vertical Fall of Your Water Source

To measure the vertical fall of your water source, you will need some form of a level. The preferred instrument is an optical sight that has a level built into it. This device allows one to sight a level line while looking through the optical sight. One such level is made by CST/Berger and is called a "Locke Hand Level" (around $20).  If an optical level is unavailable, a short carpenter's level may be used. Let me show you how...

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Developing a Springhead

Springs are an excellent source for some of the finest water systems available. But they can also have their drawbacks. Many springs are seasonal, meaning they disappear during dry times of year. Some are normally year-round but may not be reliable during droughts. And although the water is captured before it leaves the ground, springs are shallow water sources and can therefore be more susceptible to surface contamination than a deep well (usually not a problem in rural areas, but still a consideration). Water rights issues should be looked into. So how do you develop a springhead?

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