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NE (PA) Question (by Richard [MI]) Feb 18, 2021 9:17 AM
       NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Feb 18, 2021 9:36 AM
       NE (PA) Question (by Richard [MI]) Feb 18, 2021 10:21 AM
       NE (PA) Question (by Roy [AL]) Feb 18, 2021 10:24 AM
       NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Feb 18, 2021 10:31 AM
       NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Feb 18, 2021 10:35 AM
       NE (PA) Question (by Roy [AL]) Feb 18, 2021 10:48 AM
       NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Feb 18, 2021 10:49 AM
       NE (PA) Question (by Roy [AL]) Feb 18, 2021 11:10 AM
       NE (PA) Question (by Oregon Woodsmoke [ID]) Feb 18, 2021 11:11 AM
       NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Feb 18, 2021 11:12 AM
       NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Feb 18, 2021 11:13 AM
       NE (PA) Question (by Oregon Woodsmoke [ID]) Feb 18, 2021 11:15 AM
       NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Feb 18, 2021 11:19 AM
       NE (PA) Question (by Richard [MI]) Feb 18, 2021 12:22 PM
       NE (PA) Question (by Richard [MI]) Feb 18, 2021 12:29 PM
       NE (PA) Question (by small potatoes [NY]) Feb 18, 2021 1:06 PM
       NE (PA) Question (by myob` [GA]) Feb 18, 2021 1:46 PM
       NE (PA) Question (by Lana [IN]) Feb 18, 2021 1:53 PM
       NE (PA) Question (by Dodge [PA]) Feb 18, 2021 1:58 PM
       NE (PA) Question (by Roy [AL]) Feb 18, 2021 2:02 PM
       NE (PA) Question (by Lana [IN]) Feb 18, 2021 2:02 PM
       NE (PA) Question (by Roy [AL]) Feb 18, 2021 2:26 PM
       NE (PA) Question (by Richard [MI]) Feb 18, 2021 2:48 PM
       NE (PA) Question (by Lana [IN]) Feb 18, 2021 2:57 PM
       NE (PA) Question (by Lana [IN]) Feb 18, 2021 3:11 PM
       NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Feb 18, 2021 3:20 PM
       NE (PA) Question (by Roy [AL]) Feb 18, 2021 3:21 PM
       NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Feb 18, 2021 3:51 PM
       NE (PA) Question (by Dodge [PA]) Feb 18, 2021 4:16 PM
       NE (PA) Question (by Landlord ofthe Flies [TX]) Feb 18, 2021 4:45 PM
       NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Feb 18, 2021 5:01 PM
       NE (PA) Question (by John... [MI]) Feb 18, 2021 5:12 PM
       NE (PA) Question (by Lana [IN]) Feb 18, 2021 6:04 PM
       NE (PA) Question (by Lana [IN]) Feb 18, 2021 6:10 PM
       NE (PA) Question (by Stargazer08 [IL]) Feb 18, 2021 6:34 PM
       NE (PA) Question (by Lana [IN]) Feb 18, 2021 6:57 PM
       NE (PA) Question (by 6x6 [TN]) Feb 18, 2021 8:12 PM
       NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Feb 18, 2021 8:27 PM
       NE (PA) Question (by small potatoes [NY]) Feb 18, 2021 9:06 PM
       NE (PA) Question (by Richard [MI]) Feb 18, 2021 9:30 PM
       NE (PA) Question (by myob [GA]) Feb 19, 2021 7:09 AM
       NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Feb 19, 2021 7:16 AM
       NE (PA) Question (by ob [GA]) Feb 19, 2021 7:55 AM
       NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Feb 19, 2021 8:01 AM
       NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Feb 19, 2021 8:05 AM
       NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Feb 19, 2021 8:10 AM
       NE (PA) Question (by 6x6 [TN]) Feb 19, 2021 8:39 AM
       NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Feb 19, 2021 9:47 AM
       NE (PA) Question (by Dodge [PA]) Feb 19, 2021 10:15 AM
       NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Feb 19, 2021 10:18 AM
       NE (PA) Question (by 6x6 [TN]) Feb 19, 2021 10:19 AM
       NE (PA) Question (by 6x6 [TN]) Feb 19, 2021 10:26 AM

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NE (PA) Question (by Richard [MI]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 9:17 AM


In your post in the How Cold thread, you mentioned a wind turbine for making electricity.

In light of the problems with them in Texas (freezing up) and the potential problems with propeller type generators, have you looked at the cylindrical type units. These rotate instead of having a propeller and the rotation is transferred to driving the generator unit.

Jacques Cousteau's ship Alcyone had two of these set up to assist propulsion (likely through the gearing to the propeller shafts).

It doesn't seem to me to be much of a stretch to construct a lightweight tower of cylindrical shape with louvers all around it (to catch the wind no matter the direction) and then just hook it to a generator to produce power. 55 gallon steel drums come to mind. Cut out the ends, weld together end to end, add louvers and mount on a customized platform with bearings. 4 or 5 of them would get a tower about 15-20 feet tall. Maybe, like an old windmill on farms, have a raised tower and mount the thing on that since higher elevation sometimes gets more wind.You could possibly make a small test model from paint cans.

Of course, you could make a tall setup with several spinners (like the shutoff arrangements in a round flue) spaced inside and an open bottom and top. In the daytime, as temps warmed up, air would enter the bottom and rise to the top from convection and cause the spinners to turn, Hook them up to the generator for power. To accelerate wind velocity as it rises, just narrow the cylinder like they do for ramjet engines and the venturi effect will speed up the airflow and turn the spinners faster. I can see systems like this on high rise buildings, maybe 10+ stories. Paint the outside black to encourage heating of the air and as the air rises it turns the spinners. (Low cost electric production with almost no moving parts (other than the spinners), just warm air rising. Not dependent on the wind.

Maybe to run it at night, I've got some ideas as well.


NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 9:36 AM

I think I've heard of what your referring to being used in old smokestacks at abandoned factories. I wouldn't know where to start with something like this so would have to find a company to look at my needs and location.

I am steering away from solar due to a tremendous amount of mature pine trees blocking the southern sun. Also, I don't want to punch holes in my roof or clog up my yard with a bunch of panels. I do have a lot of wind at my house though because I live pretty high on a mountain.

NE (PA) Question (by Richard [MI]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 10:21 AM

It's good you are higher up. There are average windspeed maps available online. With the round setup, I'd put it outside of course. If the trees restricted the wind where you could put it, maybe the vertical setup with the spinners might be better. Hook the barrels with ends cut out together end to end. Then take a thin metal rod the diameter of the barrel or a bit more, and get a couple of bearings. Attach bearings to the inside of the barrel and put the rod between them. One end of the rod would be a bit out one side or maybe both sides. To this attach some type of gear which would turn a generator assembly via gears or belts. Wire the output to a controller/inverter or whatever works and the output of that to the house. Attach a round lightweight piece of aluminum or plastic to the rod/s (like a pie plate) inside the drum. . This baffle would almost close off the barrel, just a tiny clearance so the breeze going up through the assembly would turn the baffle. You might have several of these baffles in the setup and wire them together.

If the setup did not produce enough electricity, either get a step up setup to increase voltage or maybe run some low voltage circuits to use low voltage. Low voltage (12 volt) systems are available for lighting and low power stuff.

Step up/step down transformers are available at Grainger mail order store. --24.180.xx.xx

NE (PA) Question (by Roy [AL]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 10:24 AM


Just pay your monthly power bill and forget about all of these Rube Goldberg solutions for alternative energy sources. Plus, there is enough coal, oil and natural gas in the ground to last another 100 years.

NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 10:31 AM

Roy, this has nothing to do with saving the planet and everything to do with independence.

Richard, that heat stuff. I may have to YouTube this a bit.

NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 10:35 AM

*thats neat stuff

NE (PA) Question (by Roy [AL]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 10:48 AM


Okay, explain independence to me. This should be interesting.

NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 10:49 AM

Producing your own power.

NE (PA) Question (by Roy [AL]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 11:10 AM


How do you produce your own power? Is your roof covered in solar panels? Do you use wind mills? How do you heat your home?

NE (PA) Question (by Oregon Woodsmoke [ID]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 11:11 AM

It seem to me that it would take a heck of a lot of wind to turn 55 gallon steel drums. Those things are really heavy. They would need heavy bearing systems to turn. Wind generators are made of lighter materials.

On the independence issue, there are places in this country that have the power grid turned off fairly frequently. Solar or wind generators would make that a non-issue.

A couple of states have now passed laws banning gasoline powered engines in the future. That is going to cause a huge jump in the price of electricity and other home heating fuels. There will be greatly increased demand on the power grid, which already can't support all the users in some areas, and it will add additional taxes onto utilities because the government will be giving up gasoline taxes at the pump, because there won't be any more gas stations pumping gasoline. That lost income will be made up by taxing electricity even more than now.

NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 11:12 AM

I heat my home primarily with wood and have high-efficiency propane forced hot air. If you would back up and re-read the entire discussion on this topic "How Cold", you would see that my next step in independence is moving towards producing my own power. Then this particular conversation would make more sense to you.

NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 11:13 AM

Oregon, I don't think he's talking about turning the 55 gallon drums, I think he's talking about the drums being the tube that the heat rises through creating a vortex to spin the fans inside that generator power. I may be wrong, but I think that's what Richard means.

NE (PA) Question (by Oregon Woodsmoke [ID]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 11:15 AM

At one time, in Central Oregon, it was common for farmers to run their irrigation pumps with electricity generated by putting water wheels into the irrigation ditches and converting that spinning into electricity by using a automobile generator.

Way too mechanical for me to understand, but it was being done, which proves it can be done..... if you happen to have access to flowing water.

NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 11:19 AM

Oregon, there's many ways to do it. The old smokestack at abandoned factories worked on the natural convection of heat rising as the stacks got hot in the sun. Cool air entered the bottom and turned turbines as it rose to exit the top. Pretty neat stuff.

I certainly don't understand the technical aspect of this, so I definitely could not go out and just build one in my yard and have it run a battery bank and power my house or kick on when grid power goes out and take over powering my house. That's where everything is too confusing for me.

NE (PA) Question (by Richard [MI]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 12:22 PM

NE, Yes, that's what i was thinking, like the smokestacks. Cool air in at the bottom and as it rose it would turn devices in the stack that would feed a charge to a generator.

Smoke, I agree that the drums may be too heavy to spin them. Perhaps a wooden dowel arrangement where dowels were overlapped and cross braced. Then attach this sheet metal to the outside with screws. I've got several rolls here that are 24 inches wide and 50 feet long (from Menards). A series of coils about the diameter of a 55 gal drum and slightly overlapping , then pop river them together and screw them to the wood framework might work. The louvers can be punched into them with a jig or I think there is a tool for that. I've seen car hoods that had louvers punched into them so I know that it can be done. --24.180.xx.xx

NE (PA) Question (by Richard [MI]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 12:29 PM

Independence. Not relying on someone else or the government for what you need.

"We are from the government. We notice you failed to get your Covid shot. No electricity and no heat for you".

We are from the government. We see your child is not enrolled in our school and not receiving our indoctrination. We will be removing your children from you".

We are from the government. We see you are not wearing your mask as we require. No gasoline or food for you."

We are from the government. We hear you said something we do not like. We are taking you and your family to the reeducation camp." --24.180.xx.xx

NE (PA) Question (by small potatoes [NY]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 1:06 PM

From an energy independence perspective wind should not be your first choice. It's application is limited, even where you think it's windy. There is a massive investment cost that is probably not going to produce a ROI in your lifetime. As a general rule of thumb the tower needs to be 30% taler than surrounding terrain/ obstacles. Wind at lower elevations is turbulent and not suitable. I've seen vertical turbines in wholefoods parking lots that spin. Spin does not = producing power. Hydro is very exciting and doable, but has limitations in the NE w/ freezing/ seasonal water flows. The economy of early America was based on hydro power. Hanford Mills is a great museum in the Catskills that demonstrates the full evolution from cutting logs to producing steam for one of the first town wide electric systems.

From a building perspective the best place to throw money is in weather sealing. In new construction it is in a thick envelope. For your home, adding solar hot water would be the next best investment. For a lot of people adding a power disconnect and installing a PTO takeoff to use their tractor/ equipment as a generator is the next logical choice. Wind, solar or hydro that is not grid tied requires a thorough calculation of you complete energy use and the maintenance of a battery bank, not something most will choose to invest in and manage.

And in Texas it's convenient for the energy co to blame it on renewable energy. In reality they did nothing to course correct after past winter events like in 2011. That's a decade of inaction.

NE (PA) Question (by myob` [GA]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 1:46 PM

alley please calm this bunch down.

Are you all shi ing me?

Alaska the last frontier living off the grid move there....

NE (PA) Question (by Lana [IN]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 1:53 PM

Hey Roy, I began my quest for energy independence over 20 years ago.

I spent years cutting my use first. No dishwasher, no clothes dryer, nothing that is a luxury except A/C in my bedroom at night.

My hybrid wind/solar system went up in 2006. I have a 4500W solar array run through 3 Outback MX60 Charge Controllers combined with a Bergey 1.5Kw wind turbine with a

Midnight Solar Charge Controller at 104 feet up on a hilltop. My smaller turbine has never frozen but has come down twice for repairs. So small turbines are much more freeze resistant. I have had to sweep off my solar panels for days now. My system runs at 24V DC and charges 2 battery banks with 3000 amp-hr capacity. I equalize the batteries weekly and maintain monthly. The stored energy goes through 2 Outback 3500W inverters in parallel for 7000 watt capacity. I never run even half that(no vacuum cleaner and microwave at the same time) I only run 120 although a step up transformer for 240 is possible.

I keep a grid tie for the times in midwinter when there is an energy doldrum and for storms where I want to charge up to a 100% battery bank going in. I use less than 1000kw per year. My backup is a 14KW Onan generater running on longstoring LP with its own tank. I heat with wood and LP wall furnaces than have Ecofans mounted.

It has taken at least a decade to learn how to live on a 24V battery bank. Every once in a while a hidden load will damage a battery bank by draining it. It has been my well pump twice running all out all the time. First time an underground leak and second twice a failed cutoff sensor/switch.

How's that NE?

NE (PA) Question (by Dodge [PA]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 1:58 PM

Great thread. Just wanted to add that using lots of insulation to your home will reduce the demand and it makes these small systems more feasible. For example, less solar panels to run your house AC, less cords of wood to hear for the winter.

Also, I've seen some setups that have waterpipes running thru the wood stove to heat domestic water.

NE (PA) Question (by Roy [AL]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 2:02 PM

Hey Lana,

You have quite a system there. My only question (for now) is WHY DO YOU DO THIS? What is so great about energy independence from the main power grid?

NE (PA) Question (by Lana [IN]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 2:02 PM

I also heat my water with a roof drainback system and a 100gal storage tank to hold the hot water. The backup is a tankless LP water heater to boost the temperature if needed. I do not wash myself, clothes, or dishes until 2PM when my solar water is hot. This year I hope to put up a 10KW turbine and run the excess energy through hot water in summer and resistance heaters in winter. I also want to use an old telescope powered mount to track the sun with a solar cooker so I can can foods with solar energy.

10 days without power in midwinter would make all this the best investment I ever made.

NE (PA) Question (by Roy [AL]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 2:26 PM


How much did all of this 'off the grid' energy independence equipment cost you?

NE (PA) Question (by Richard [MI]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 2:48 PM

Small potatoes, Thanks for that info. I've dabbeled in these type things off and on over the years. Never went for things in a big way because I moved around a lot, so most of the time it was not economically feasible.

Lana, I am in awe. How long did it take to assemble and implement this stuff? Would i be right in saying that such an investment would only be feasible if a person/family was intending to stay long term at their place?

Roy, I think about this stuff because the future is uncertain and I would rather be as self sufficient as possible in the event of problems.

I remember the days of the Arab Oil Embargo in the early 70's when the lines at the gas station were blocks long and you could only get 8 gallons max and often it was certain names (like A through M on even days and N through Z on odd days), not to mention the exorbitant price of a dollar a gallon.

Of course, a dollar then was 1/3 of an hours wages for many. Now that 1/3 would be closer to $5 or $6. So it was as if current prices were $6 a gallon by comparison.

I'm learning a lot here.


NE (PA) Question (by Lana [IN]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 2:57 PM

I do this because I have always been strange. I used water in a 50' outdoor hose with a nozzle left in the sun to wash my hair as a teenager. I have always been a science geek.

In 2005, a nearby county lost power from a winter ice storm for over two weeks. I worked nearby in a hospital and talked to enough people who lived through that nightmare that it made me think. At the same time I bought a farm and I had to fight horrible winds to get anything done. One day as the wind ripped a gardening project out of my hands and I had to chase it down, I realized I needed to use the wind rather than fight it, hence the plan for a wind turbine.

The cost Roy is 100 to 200K over the years. 4 or 5 cars, but I drive a car for 20 years. 2 to 4 houses then. Some people think like me and others simply don't.

NE (PA) Question (by Lana [IN]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 3:11 PM

Richard I did three years of extensive reading and planning. I fired three contractors who leaped into renewable energy as a fad without experience, and I finally went with Third Sun Solar in Ohio. They knew their stuff. But, the first time my wind turbine needed maintenance, they had stopped installing and maintaining wind turbines because they were making money hand over fist using federal grant monies to install massive solar arrays for corporations. In 2010, we located an excellent electrician/alternative energy expert/windsmith near us. Bill and I have had my turbine up and down and troubleshooted now 3 to 4 times. Solar panels virtually never need maintenance.

Home Power was the journal I started with in 2003. I also have a home library on home power, wind energy, and water supply. Secure your water supply before all else. Propane refrigerators are readily available. Refrigeration, cooking, and heating are next priorities. A Kilawatt meter can be used to understand the energy consumption needs of all your loads. You can reasonably be able to produce 500 to 1000 kw per month, so first you must trim your sails.

NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 3:20 PM

Lana, that's great.

Roy, independence doesn't stop at just financial independence. Some of just want to be prepared for things and left alone.

NE (PA) Question (by Roy [AL]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 3:21 PM


You are a rare breed. $100 -$200K. This is beyond my comprehension. Why don't you quit driving your car and ride a bicycle or walk?

Of all of the people who want to save the planet from greenhouse gases, they are not going to sacrifice their gas burning automobiles.

NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 3:51 PM

Roy, you car gets you to you other location when your first plan fails. Gas guzzlers are the best!

NE (PA) Question (by Dodge [PA]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 4:16 PM

It doesn't have to be a save the planet or save money thing. It's about not depending on big corporations or public infrastructure.

No matter what "unforeseen" thing happens or public infrastructure fails you and your family will be comfortable.

Even if you never need the systems, it's peace of mind as well as a fun project.

Some people are just wired that way. My truck has a spare tire, tire plug kit, and air pump.

NE (PA) Question (by Landlord ofthe Flies [TX]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 4:45 PM

Wind turbines have these problems:

1. No wind, no power

2. They have to shut down the turbines when the wind is too strong or it will tear it apart.

3. If there's a freeze, precipitation could freeze on the blades making it unbalanced and it will wobble until it falls apart.

4. Freezing to the point that it won't turn

5. Dead birds everywhere

6. Noise - they aren't quiet

Unfortunately, due to federal programs, Texas was persuaded to replace 30% of our dependable power plants with turbines. This resulted in a week of cold weather and electricity demand while running at only 70% capacity.

NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 5:01 PM

Yes Dodge, its basic preparedness. It's one of those things where once you get one thing taken care of, you always see the next thing that can be improved. I'm looking at buying a small box trailer to keep packed with emergency "move into an empty rental" supplies. If my house burns down and we lose everything, what do I do with 4 kids? I'd rather go set up shop in an empty rental unit and not skip a beat than be subject to the Red Cross housing or worse my mother in laws house. :) hahaha. Then spend several weeks being denied by landlords for having a lot of kids. :)

NE (PA) Question (by John... [MI]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 5:12 PM

So, just some more info on wind turbines due to lots of misinformation about Texas...

First, we have them in lots of places much colder than Texas got down to recently. They work fine in cold weather. We have them all over here in Michigan and this morning it was -5F (which is colder than Texas got to) and they were all happily spinning away just fine! We also have LOTS of them in the arctic where it is even colder.

My point is -- wind turbines can work fine in cold climates when properly installed and maintained for those climates. Texas's turbines do not have "cold weather packages" on them. So, just because they didn't prepare for the cold in Texas does not mean that this is a normal problem for wind turbines in other areas.

I'm told that, in my area, they have NEVER had one of the large-blade ones need to shut down due to too much wind. That's more of a precaution for tornados and hurricanes. So, in those areas, yes, they auto-stop to protect themselves. And, again, not a normal occurrence to be worried about.

As for birds, there are a LOT of turbines out there and the current estimate is that they kill between 150-500k birds per year. That seems high until you consider that power line collisions kill over 20,000,000 birds per year. And general building collisions kill almost 600,000,000 per year. And, well, cats kill about 2.4 BILLION birds per year.

Sorry, but turbines are not causing "dead birds everywhere" compared to the millions killed by other structures.

Also, again, I have these all around my house. I can't hear them. At all. I can see them. That's it. They ARE quiet.

Sorry, LLotF, I just have to disagree with you on most of this one. Most of what you list is simply not accurate for most wind turbines.

- John...

NE (PA) Question (by Lana [IN]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 6:04 PM

In my opinion wind turbines remain a problem for grid support due to the physics of wind power. When the wind speed is 35MPH and my turbine is cranking out 1500 watts, I usually have battery space to put it into or I plug in a space heater in winter to use the excess energy. When wind speed doubles the energy production does not increase by 2X, but by 8X, the cube of 2. How do the massive wind turbines handle this energy surplus? They don't, they dump energy. The technology for grid storage of energy does not exist and this remains a problem with large scale wind energy projects. The other problem is, sometimes in winter you just can't get anything out of wind turbines or solar panels. Renewable energy output is highly variable, highly unreliable, and weather dependent.

Germany and the UK are having the same problems right now. Germany has 30,000 wind turbines but they are having trouble with freezing of blades and their solar panels are covered in snow from winter storms and their grid infrastructure is aged. Our failing grid infrastructure is designed for steady, controllable production of energy by non-renewable sources. Foreign Policy magazine did a great article 2/10/21 called "Is Germany Making Too Much Renewable Energy?."

Renewable energy is not dependable, especially in mid-winter. Another problem is gale force winds can produce so much energy due to the speed cubed power output equation that grid components get fried. There is lots of electrical engineering problems to solve before rushing into RE and relying on it.

NE (PA) Question (by Lana [IN]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 6:10 PM

With the above said, I love my wind turbine, but I have 6 massive forklift batteries to hold its output. My turbine is really cranking now and my bank fully charged. I have plugged in 2 electric heaters to absorb the extra energy and heat my house by wind power. Small wind systems can be awesome.

NE (PA) Question (by Stargazer08 [IL]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 6:34 PM

Lana I'm impressed with your set up. My horse barn is totally off grid. I use solar to run lights and electric fence and passive solar to heat one water trough. I also collect rain water.

Going off grid at your level is a big financial commitment. How do you think what you are doing is viable as you age and your physical limitations prevent you from doing much of the maintenance? If you are rural, it's much harder to find competent contractors/ least that is my experience in southern Illinois.

NE (PA) Question (by Lana [IN]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 6:57 PM

Yes Stargazer, I have a great solar/wind energy man who shows up right away when I have trouble. He is an electrician who also does all different types of renewable energy and is a competent windsmith.

I have a full time handyman I trained in battery maintenance in December and I am glad. I broke my ankle last week falling on ice and my system is too far for me to get to for weeks more. As I age the physical limitations may be problematic especially eyesight for me as battery care needs to be meticulous. Your system sounds like some batteries are involved since your fencing and water trough heater have to run at night.

I was really disappointed when my original installer, who advertised maintenance, dropped me because they were making too much money. You can't maintain a system without a pro to back you up. A good place to start in the home is a solar panel to run a refrigerator, with a battery, charge controller, and inverter although DC refrigerators exist. The RV industry can provide a lot of RE projects that are DC based. My two failures were irrigating my garden with a solar powered 24V DC pump from my pond and trying to install a gate system at the end of my drive to close at night, open when needed for passage, and open again in morning. I finally had to run an AC line 1000 feet to the gate.

I hope you continue to add projects. I think it's fun.

NE (PA) Question (by 6x6 [TN]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 8:12 PM

WOW! You guys and gals are spending way too much money and time on going green.

I am certainly no expert on the subject but, just watch some really old movies and you will get the idea.

I love the idea of being self reliant and self efficient. However, to truly achieve this you need to be willing to live like they did before the industrial revolution. Also before electricity and indoor plumbing. How many of you are willing to do that?

If you want to be left alone and self reliant and self efficient then you will need to be willing to work hard and produce your own goods and services through the use of hand tools and animals and water mills(if your lucky enough to be near running water, hopefully down hill from it).

You would need to can your food and have cellars and preferably ice houses or at least ice boxes. You would need to be able to spin your own thread and make your own clothes and everything else.

You would have no modern day amenities nor would you have any motorized vehicles or equipment. Basically become Amish with or without the religion and, if you want to be left alone, then there goes the Amish idea as they work in numbers and accomplish lots.

NE and Richard are on the right track to a degree. The wood stove is perfect and creating your own windmills and using gears and belts is great but modern generators and batteries would defeat the purpose and require you to depend on other people to build or maintain them unless you can build your own.

You would definitely need to be willing to live with a lot less and forget about money and rentals. Are you ready for that?

Otherwise it is like taking a camper or motor home to go camping, pointless and a waste of money.

NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 8:27 PM

6X, it's more than just all that guff. It's about seeing ways to be self reliant and working towards it. Do you one car or several? Do you have one stream of income or several? Do you have enough to eat?

How many people in Texas wished they had heat right now? How many will fix their homes so this doesn't happen to them again vs how many will breathe a sigh of relief instead when Netflix comes back on?

If you rent to a scum bag, do you evaluate what you did wrong so you don't repeat the mistake?

NE (PA) Question (by small potatoes [NY]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 9:06 PM

Lana, way to go. I explored doing all that for my cabin. Took a 40hr PV class and realized my cabin had all electric baseboard and could never sustain that off grid. I have yet to build it over and make it passive. I did install a 2021 certified Drolet 1800 wood stove and it's made a world of difference. I also took a 10 hr wind class and a Solar HW one too. I thought of going into the renewable energy field but realized that it made no sense to sell people solar when their money was best put toward weather sealing first. I took the BPI certification courses but decided I didn't want to go down that road. I subscribed to Home Power for years and kept up with developments. I got hung up on the battery bank issue and consumption management. For a while it looked like the incentives were right for distributed solar and then utility companies lobbied states to limit pricing. I still wonder if putting solar on rentals would make me money, but then I'd have to be responsible for the utilities.

I have a DIY project I've put off, to make a solar panel canopy for my electric golf cart. Picked up a couple panels free a while back. Would love to convert my old truck to EV some day. Another great energy independence project is to make your own biodiesel and drive it around.

6x, yes it is an investment that is not inexpensive. I think many of us have the willingness to do it and have accumulated more than some know-how.

NE (PA) Question (by Richard [MI]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2021 9:30 PM


Your take on things is interesting. I really don't want to go back to pre industrial times. I like the modern conveniences. However, I want to have alternatives if I need them. The current situation in Texas is a good example. Also, depending on what the govt does in the near future and also long term could make alternatives necessary.

As the Scouts motto says "Be prepared". --24.180.xx.xx

NE (PA) Question (by myob [GA]) Posted on: Feb 19, 2021 7:09 AM

In my younger and much foolisher days -- did the chop wood and stove junk. Then it dawned on me-- should I be spinning my wheels to be Daniel Boone or build my plan for wealth -- working and finding homes? ANSWER: the house with the wood burning stove-- is now a rental. I don't chop wood and my TENANTS make me independent. YES! I just walk over to the gov't approved thermostat and turn it up. Then I laugh and say-- to myself of course--"wonder how many tree's NE cut down today"?

Independent yea right!!!!!! Get a grip.

NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Feb 19, 2021 7:16 AM

But yet you wore a snorkel?

We have different blood flowing through us MYOB, thank God for that!

NE (PA) Question (by ob [GA]) Posted on: Feb 19, 2021 7:55 AM

We, as in our household, "EVALUATE" each life threatening situation and don't take chances--- just in case. The evaluation is this : we protected ourselves until we knew no real threat.

NOW lets talk wood: since I'm experienced with trees and stoves. Lets see: they don't always fall where you want. The use of chain saws and wedges and axes and lifting of logs and loading them on pick ups and on and on and on. Not to mention the gas needed for those saws and log splitters.

Yea you'll be independent all right????

NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Feb 19, 2021 8:01 AM

As much as possible. Wood comes for free from others or from flip houses that I hire crews to drop if it isn't simple. Makes sense to bring them home to burn. Oh and one of my grunt laborers does most of the splitting in downtime, so there's that.

NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Feb 19, 2021 8:05 AM

And I'm glad you evaluated it and found that there's no real threat! ;) at least not enough to justify a snorkel....

The woodstove situation, we live out in the sticks. There's a real possibility of losing power for several days. How do I keep heated my home then? If I needed to do log prep at home there's always electric chainsaws you can buy for work next to your wood pile. Generator, or in lana's case, battery bank.

I know you're just poking fun of me, that's OK. You can't dog a dog though.

NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Feb 19, 2021 8:10 AM

All this preparedness stuff is just insurance, MYOB. We work enthusiastically to prepare our businesses to be able to handle whatever situations get thrown at us. Should we not do the same for our personal homes and lives? Seems as though they go hand in hand. I'm actually glad to see so many other landlords here that do this stuff! Restored a little hope from my previous assumptions that grew over the last year.

NE (PA) Question (by 6x6 [TN]) Posted on: Feb 19, 2021 8:39 AM

All of you are failing to see that you are missing all of the exercise. Log splitter? What's that? I am very inexperienced at this but, I used a splitting maul and manual labor. It is good exercise.

Let's go back a little further in time, shall we?

In order to be truly self reliant and efficient, think cave man or cave woman.

Okay, yea, I spend a little too much time alone but I am kind of use to it.

What all of you seem to be searching for is a back up plan for a temporary period of time using modern amenities that will require skilled people to build, maintain and repair.

That is not true self reliance or self efficiency. That is looking for a motor home that requires a gas station to be nearby.

If you want to truly be prepared for a government take over or a real life long and life changing event then you need to start by preparing your mind to live like a cave person. No modern day amenities.

Welcome to the jungle.

NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Feb 19, 2021 9:47 AM

6x6, you mean like the land I purchased to build an off grid rustic cabin?

NE (PA) Question (by Dodge [PA]) Posted on: Feb 19, 2021 10:15 AM

I'm not willingly giving up any modern conveniences, just making sure I've got some back up plans to keep comfortable. It's not an all or none situation, it's not a green situation, it's not a saving money thing. It's just having some backup plans in place.

Just as some landlords avoid fully leveraging their properties and having minimal reserve funds, I don't want to fully leverage my comfortableness on the electrical company, water company, gas company, etc providing uninterrupted service. But I'm not going to give up their service as it's cheaper and easier to use their services.

NE (PA) Question (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Feb 19, 2021 10:18 AM

Dodge, that's a perfect example.

NE (PA) Question (by 6x6 [TN]) Posted on: Feb 19, 2021 10:19 AM

I love that idea NE.

Live off of the land.

The simple life. Physical labor is required but you get the benefit of self reliance and efficiency and exercise. If you have a family on the same track then you have the help you need when the job requires more then one person. However, in today's world, it would be difficult to get all of the family to agree to live like that. We are a spoiled country.

I also love the idea of nature and learning from it and watching the animals. Your busy working a lot but at your own pace and in a relaxed environment. No more worries about money or dealing with the human race outside of your family. When I look at most of the problems that I have or have had or will have, there is a human attached to the other end. Is that taking it to the extreme? Yea, maybe, as we are social creatures and need each other to a certain degree but we are also our own biggest problem.

If you live without modern amenities, especially TV and social media, then life is much more peaceful.

NE (PA) Question (by 6x6 [TN]) Posted on: Feb 19, 2021 10:26 AM

I guess my thinking is more for peace of mind.

Also, more in terms of a more dire and long lasting situation.

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