Saturday, November 22, 2014

First Lesson Learned

First thing that didn't go as expected, and I was expecting some things to do just that, relates to heating. The joys of moving into an off grid home in the middle of winter. I do not recommend this. I'd advise you to pick a nice mild time of year, preferable with long hours of daylight so you have plenty of time to be sure everything works well, before you really need it to. Of course, that's not what I did.

 I learned that one should not plan on being fine without electricity for a length of time while you get your solar setup hooked up, if your propane heater and stove both need electricity to ignite. I thought no electricity would be fine for a while as I have plenty of oil lamps, lantern, etc for light and refrigeration is really no problem when it's super cold outside. But since it's super cold, I was planning on using the propane heater, for sure, around the clock. However I was unaware that the model I got (I am assuming there are versions for which this is not true) would not start at all without power running to it for the ignition.

 So, my little generator has been working hard while I've been over there moving stuff in and getting settled. I am not however actually living in my house until we get the heat set up to work consistently. The batteries are the only major missing part of the system right now. They are still in the mail but will hopefully arrive on Monday. The generator, solar panels, inverter, charge controller, etc. are all present already, so with some help from a knowledgeable friend, hopefully that setup will happen rapidly and maybe I can actually start living there with heat by Monday or Tuesday.

So, if you ignore my advice to not start a project like this in the winter, at least know that you should investigate every carefully if something you think runs on propane also needs electricity to start. Hopefully in a few months I'll know everything I should have know before I started!


  1. What a great invention and way to live and travel. Outstanding. Keep on Rollin'

  2. Our instant hot water heater actually uses the flowing water to generate electricity for the ignition spark. It's a Bosch AquaStar.