Saving Energy

The MPPT Charge Controller | How it has Changed Everything!

July 23, 2016
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The maximum power point tracking… MPPT charge controller … has got to be one of the most innovative, game changing and misunderstood components in the solar industry. There is so much misinformation, it is time to clear up the myths of the MPPT charge controllers, explain what they do and explore what they cannot do. […]

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Off Grid Water Systems | How to Eliminate the Water Pump

July 22, 2016
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The best possible scenario when designing your “off the grid water system” is to not need a pump at all! This can be accomplished in many ways: a natural spring fed well that is up the hill from your home or cottage a dug well on a hill above your dwelling create a well with […]

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Choosing the Best Well Pumps for Off Grid Homes

July 13, 2016
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If you are not careful when designing your off grid water pumping system, your pump can be the single largest load on your solar, wind or micro hydro power system.   The best way to provide water to your off grid home is to not use a pump, if possible. But since that is not […]

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Making a Dump Load with a Hot Water Tank Heater

September 18, 2015
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Can a standard off-the-shelf tank style electric hot water heater can make a dump load? Electric tank water heaters are an excellent choice to make a dump load for your solar, wind or micro hydro power system as they are easy to get, cheap, already insulated and have holes to mount low voltage water heating […]

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How to Choose a Clothes Washer for Your Off Grid Home

August 11, 2015
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We just purchased a new MAYTAG MAXIMA X Front Loader 4.7 cubic foot unit that is rated to consume 108 kWhs of electricity per year assuming you do eight (8) loads of laundry a week (Canadian Energuide Rating) and use the “NORMAL” setting. Our own testing shows it consumes 140 watt hours per load at […]

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The Best Choices for Heating Your Solar Home | And The Worst!

March 17, 2015
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The largest energy consumer of any home-built in the northern hemisphere is the heating system. Designing the correct heating system is critical in the success of the off grid home. Build it wrong and nothing else will matter. Almost all heating systems require some form of electricity to operate whether it for the fans (oil, […]

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The Best Off Grid Heating System

March 14, 2015
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The greatest advance in home heating in the past few decades has to be the Open Direct System invented by Radiantec. The Open Direct System uses a highly efficient condensing tank-style water heater that provides both radiant space heating and domestic hot water all in one unit cutting electricity requirements for those of us living […]

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How to Choose a Dishwasher

July 14, 2013
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You might be thinking…. Why is someone who lives off the grid (and an energy saving nut) talking about a dishwasher? The reality is that homesteaders and solar homesteaders don’t want to live like we are in the stone ages. Dishwashers, like clothes washers and refrigerators are a part of living in this modern age. […]

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Using an Electric Heater as a Dump Load

April 12, 2013
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A common question I get asked is “Can I use a standard 120/240 AC heating element or hot water heater element as a DC dump load for my wind turbine/water turbine/solar system?” (Wondering what a dump load is? Click here) (More advanced diversion load info for solar, wind and water power) The answer is yes […]

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Choosing a Gas Range

March 19, 2013
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Most people would expect purchasing a gas range is straightforward. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Please Note: Do not buy an “off the shelf” gas range for your kitchen if you live off of the grid or use a generator to run your home. They use an electric glow plug to light the oven. […]

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How To Eliminate Phantom Loads

March 19, 2013
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Phantom loads are plaguing the world and are a huge problem for those of us living off the power grid. What is a phantom load? Everything possible must be done to eliminate phantom loads or at least reduce them. But how do we do that? The simplest way to eliminate a phantom load is to […]

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Make Your Water Filter Efficient

March 19, 2013
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If you don’t have access to clean water in your off grid home, nothing else will matter. Some will be fortunate enough to have crystal clear and potable water directly from a spring or well but most of us will need some type of water filter or purification system. The problem is most of the […]

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How to Choose a Refrigerator

March 17, 2013
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Your refrigerator could be the largest consumer of electricity in your off the grid home. Selecting the right one for you is less about aesthetics and more about size versus power usage. Less than two decades ago it made sense to purchase a propane refrigerator for two reasons: Solar electricity was prohibitively expensive AC power […]

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Circulating Pumps for the Off Grid Home

March 16, 2013
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It is almost inevitable you will need at least one circulating pump for your off the grid homestead. Whether it is for radiant home heating, keeping fish alive in a aquaponic or aquaculture system or making a home-made air conditioning system, circulating pumps are very important. If you go to your local hardware store and […]

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How to Choose a Freezer

March 15, 2013
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Adding a freezer to your off the grid home might be too much of a power hog but you might be surprised how efficient today’s freezers are. Selecting an efficient freezer is much like selecting the most efficient refrigerator. There are essentially two types of freezers available at your local appliance store: Chest freezer Upright […]

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What are Phantom Loads?

March 12, 2013
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If you live off the grid you will need to reduce your power consumption as much as possible. Any unnecessary power consumption is known as a phantom load. Learn about phantom loads here.

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Hot Water Heating Systems

March 11, 2013

Domestic hot water will account for about 30% of your home’s energy footprint. Only a few decades ago there were very limited options for the off grid home’s water heating system. Back then the only options were a gas hot water heater, some form of wood boiler or the often high maintenance solar hot water […]

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Make Your Refrigerator More Efficient

March 8, 2013
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Whether you are in the process of purchasing a new fridge or already have a fridge there are ways to make it more efficient. First you need to figure out which type of refrigerator you have, coil on rear or condenser on bottom. We will add photos to show the difference as soon as possible. […]

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Ivan Labs El SID DC Circulating Pumps

March 4, 2013
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The Ivan Labs El SID circulating pumps have been the best choice for solar hot water and radiant heat for at least the past few decades. For solar hot water they are used to pump water from the solar collector(s) to the heat exchanger (or storage tank) and sometimes a second pump to pump from […]

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Using Your Wood Stove to Heat Water

March 1, 2013

One of the most overlooked functions of a wood stove is heating water. A few decades ago many wood stoves (especially cook stoves) used what was a called a hot water front in conjunction with a tank (range boiler) beside/behind the wood stove to produce endless hot water. The hot water front (which is nothing […]

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