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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Off grid power usage and guests

My dad and his new wife have been staying at my place. It's been nice to have them around. However, they don't understand the whole off-grid thing.

To be fair, I've access to the grid so it's not like the lights are about to go out. I am a bit surprised at how often I've had to use utility power since they've been here.

My lovely wife and I have adjusted our lifestyle to the solar rhythms. Without really thinking about it, we adjust our chores to when we have more solar generated power. Normally we don't do our laundry first thing in the morning. We wait until the sun's hitting the solar panels full force. We also use our clotheslines most of the time. Where my dad lives they don't even allow clotheslines so it's normal to put things in the dryer.

Cooking is another area where we do things a lot differently. If we've excess solar power we'll use an electric hot plate to cook on. Sometimes we use our outside propane stove. If it's cool and the woodstove is going we'll cook on wood. Even what we cook that day depends on what cooking method is currently the most economical.

It's not worth educating our visitors for the few weeks that they are with us. My energy bill will be a bit higher this month, but that's a big deal. Fortunately I have grid power right now instead of depending on a backup generator.

In a grid down situation we'd really have to practice strict energy disciple, especially if we have guests.



  1. Nice to have family visit. I bet they take some of your good ideas back home with them!

    1. It's nice to have family, but they will go back home and keep doing things the same old way.

  2. Hope Dad an the new Bride had a good stay!

    I don't recall how you handle your batteries when you head south. What do you do to keep the batts from freezing and possibly breaking? Do you leave the system on? Or?

    1. I turn the main breakers off and shut down the inverter. However, I leave the batteries charging from the solar panels. Keeps them from freezing. They are in a big covered battery box so they keep warm enough.