Hmmm... Where should I start?
We purchased our current home nearly 6 years ago. It had been sitting empty for quite a number of years and it has needed a lot of 'elbow grease'. One area that was desperately needing an upgrade was the power system. The solar array was very old and seriously insufficient, the batteries were half alive, and the equipment was ancient and 'Jerry-rigged'.Continue reading
One night it happens…the storm of the decade hits and your power is out.
Your water is gone within a couple flushes, your freezer is going to start thawing out, and the food in your fridge will start spoiling shortly.
But no worries…remember that generator you bought a few years ago? That’ll light your house up again, right?
Maybe. Or maybe not. There’s a good likelihood that your fuel has gone bad (if you even have any stored).
So here are some key tips to make sure your fuel is in top-notch condition when you need it. Continue reading
Last year we decided to add a freezer on our homestead. Up until then, we had been doing fine with just a fridge, but there are some things that are just better when frozen, and it was a convenience thing for us. Also, having a freezer enables us to stock up on certain items when they are on sale, thus saving us money in the long run.
And anytime you buy a new appliance, it's an excellent opportunity to become more efficient--whether you are currently off the grid or not. It will save you money now (on your power bill) and will save you a LOT of money when you do go off the grid in the future.
Be aware that many freezers can add a lot of extra power usage and run up the cost of your off-grid power system. But if you are careful, shop wisely, and use a little strategy, you can end up with an excellent freezer that is super efficient.
Here's how I chose mine. Don't feel like you need to choose the same one (models are constantly changing), but I think the process and info I used will help you in making an informed decision. Continue reading
Recently, Lisa and I moved an 1,800-pound forklift battery system all by ourselves—and without any heavy equipment! In this post and video, I’ll show you how we did it and give you some tips and pointers from the numerous times I’ve had to move big batteries.
Forklift batteries (aka industrial batteries) are hands-down the most cost-effective options for an off-grid solar system. But the biggest question I get from clients is “How can you possibly unload and move a huge battery like that?”
You see, forklift batteries can range from several hundred pounds to several thousand pounds. I’d say that a battery weighing 750-1,500 pounds is the most common size of individual forklift battery found in an off-grid solar system. Smaller systems might only have one battery, while larger ones could have several.
Moving that much weight at one time can be intimidating, to say the least. So in this post, I’ll be sharing a bunch of tips I’ve picked up after moving and installing a number of forklift style batteries.Continue reading
There are so many gimmicks and gadgets out there that I pretty much tune them out. And when they make big claims, it’s especially obvious!
When it comes to extending the life of batteries, there is no exception to this rule. Lots and lots of gadgets out there! Some good, and some a waste of money (or worse).
In this post, you'll see one of the very few “gadgets” I use with my off-grid solar batteries. It’s called the Battery Life Saver, but generically most folks refer to these devices as a battery desulfator.Continue reading
When we purchased our new (to us) homestead, it came with an old dilapidated off-grid power system.
It didn’t take much expertise to see the writing on the wall—this power system was a relic from the past and was on its last leg. We would need to replace it soon...
I often get questions from folks who live in cloudy climates about the feasibility of solar power. My typical answer is that we live in a location that is about as cloudy as possible in the winter. Combine that with the very short winter days that come in a northern latitude and it's a recipe for solar failure. Or so it would seem.
In the last several years, the market has been flooded with many so-called “solar generators”. They are basically tiny, portable solar systems and are often touted as your key to energy independence or security. But do the facts bear out these claims? Are “solar generators” ever useful for anything? In other words, are they trash…or a treasure?
Let me preface this by saying that any off grid system can produce power that is just as "clean" if not "cleaner" than what you get from the power company--IF you choose the right inverter. That's why I'm letting you know about the 'unclean power' option so you don't make the mistake we made.
You may be wondering how feasible it is for a home that is currently hooked up to the power lines to go off grid. In many ways, it's probably easier than you think. However, there are a few items we should look at more closely. In this article, I'll walk you through the basics of what you need to know and what to look out for. And at the end, I'll give you a great resource for further information.